What to see in La Havana

Old Havana (La Habana Vieja)

Square of Arms (Plaza de Armas)

Plaza de armas Habana viejaLocated between the streets of O’Really and Obispo this is the oldest square in Havana, founded in 1519. This is the heart of the old town, the foundation of the city, central to its architectural transformation thoughout the years.

From here you will be able to see the monumental complex of El Templete which, as its name suggests, is a small Greco-Roman temple built in 1828 on the site where it is supposed the first mass took place in Havana in 1519. This square is surrounded by places of great importance and historical and architectural beauty. See location

Palace of the Generals of the Army (Palacio de los Capitanes Generales)

Museum constructed by order of Cuba’s governor and considered to be the most important architectural work during the Baroque development of Cuba. Construction began in 1776, but it was not until 1791 that it was finally finished. In its interior patio is a statue of Christopher Columbus, erected in 1862. See location

Castle of the Royal Force (Castillo de la Real Fuerza)

The first fortress built in Cuba, considered a special example of military architecture from the times of Spanish colonial dominance in the Caribbean. On its tower rises la Giraldilla (meaning: the little weather vane), an icon of the city of Havana and one of the most representative and oldest symbols of the city. A legend of love, history and art is enclosed in this statuette, which was built during the third decade of the 17th century. See location

Cathedral Square (Plaza de la Catedral)

Catedral de la HabanaStreets of Empedrado – San Ignacio – Mercaderes and Callejón del Chorro (El Chorro Alley). Originally built in the 17th century and remodeled in 1935. Among the buildings surrounding it are the Havana Cathedral, the house of Marquis of Arches (Marqués de Arcos), the house of Count of Bayona House (Conde de Casa Bayona), (Museum of Colonial Art), the house of Marquis of Clear Waters (Marqués de Aguas Claras), (now El Patio Restaurant), and the house of Count of Casa Lombillo (Conde de Casa Lombillo). See location

Museum of the Revolution (former Presidential Palace - Palacio Presidencial) and Granma Memorial)

Address: 1 Refugio Street. Construction: 1920. Presidential Palace built during the republican period and today the Museum of the Revolution. Its collections reflect various stages of the insurrection which led to power for the July 26th Movement with Fidel Castro as its leader; as well as details of historical events which happened after 1959. In one annex of the museum you will find the Granma Memorial, where the yacht in which Fidel landed on the Cuban coasts to begin the insurrection is housed. See location

National Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes)

Housed in two buildings, one of which shows Cuban artworks and the other universal collections. Cuban Art Building (Edificio de Arte Cubano)(Trocadero Street between Zulueta and Monserrate streets), Universal Art Building (Edificio de Arte Universal)(San Rafael Street between Zulueta and Monserrate streets). The building devoted to Cuban collections dates back to 1954, the one devoted to universal art used to be the Asturian Center (Centro Asturiano), built in 1927. See location

Central Havana (Centro Habana)

National Capitol Building. (El Capitolio Nacional)

Capitolio de la HabanaPaseo del Prado Avenue between Dragones and San José streets. Dating from 1929 and one of the most significant works of Cuban architecture. It used to be the headquarters of the Congress of the Republic of Cuba. In its interior, noted for its great beauty, is the “Room of the Lost Steps”(Salón de los Pasos Perdidos)”, in the middle of which was established the 0 kilometer or beginning of the Central Highway, which runs the length of the Island. Well-known here are the Statue of the Republic and the steps leading down to Prado Avenue. In front of one of its sides, where Prado Avenue ends, is the Indian Woman Fountain (Fuente de la India). See location

Great Theater of Havana (Gran Teatro de La Habana)

Located on Prado Street between San Rafael and San José streets. 1915. The building was constructed to house the Galician Center. The location used to be home of the Tacón Theater, today it's the headquarters of Cuba’s National Ballet. See location

Chinatown (Barrio Chino)

A small area re-creating the streets of the former Havana Chinatown which emerged in the middle of the 19th century then declined and almost disappeared in the middle of the 20th century. In this area are left a very few Chinese immigrant descendents. Plenty of restaurants serving Chinese food and many vestiges of the influence of its old inhabitants in the construction of this area. See location

El Vedado

The Malecón (seafront)

Malecón HabaneroA coastal avenue which starts at the entrance of the Havana Bay and borders Central Havana and Vedado to the Almendares river which connects it to Fifth Avenue, in Miramar. Its construction started in 1901, by stretches, until the termination of its east extreme in the 1950’s. It is a main artery of the city and a recreational place for many Havanans. See location

Nacional Hotel

Address: O and 21st streets. 1930. One of th most distinctive hotels in Havana. Its construction and the fact that it has been witness to important historical events, means the building is now officially a National Monument. It has a historical gallery and gorgeous gardens overlooking the Havana Malecón (seaside). See location

Habana Libre Hotel

Address: L Street between 23rd and 25th streets. 1958. Former Habana Hilton Hotel. With a 27-story tower. During its first years it was considered to be among the best hotels in the world. The Polinesio restaurant, which faces 23rd Street, is one of the emblematic places of Havana gastronomy. See location

Havana University

Universidad de la HabanaL and San Lázaro streets. 20th century. The first university built in Havana, originally founded in 1728. It used to be in the San Juan de Letrán Convent, in Old Havana. After several locations, between 1920s and 40w, it was moved into this central area of the city, in Vedado. The group of buildings surround an interior square full of trees. On the top of its steps rises the sculpture “Alma Mater”. See location

The Revolution Square

Paseo and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes avenues. 1953 – 1960. It was conceived as the Civic Square or Square of the Republic. The monument to José Martí in the shape of an obelisk was erected in 1958 and the sculpture was erected in the same place. High up on the obelisk is a viewpoint. The Revolution Square has been the scene of many important historical events and mass demonstrations during the period after 1959. See location

Columbus Cemetery (Cementerio de Colón)

Main entrance on Zapata and 12th streets. 19th and 20th century. It treasures funeral works by important Cuban artists of both centuries. Declared a National Monument. See location


Fifth Avenue

It starts at the Almendares River tunnel which links it to the Malecón (seaside). It is a gorgeous avenue with a tree-lined promenade and gardens which stretch alongside the beautiful neighborhood of Miramar. Wonderful houses and mansions line both sides of the avenue. See location

Green Tile House (Casa de las Tejas Verdes)

Casa de las tejas verdes2nd Street and Fifth Avenue. 1926. Known as the Green Tile House. Now it is the headquarters of the Promoter Center for Modern and Contemporary Architecture, Town Planning and Interior Design. See location

Hemingway Marina

Access through Fifth Avenue and 248 Street. It is Havana’s most recognisable tourist spot, designed for the docking of yachts and to accommodate the once wealthy visitors. Regualr host for the Ernest Hemingway Marlin Fishing Tournament. See location