Of my top recommendations for your Cuba holiday, one of the most bucket-list valid is definitely visiting Havana. There are so many unique and wondrous things to do in Havana, and must-see attractions you don’t want to miss!

Alas, unless you have unlimited time to spend you are going to have to prioritize.

Use this extensive Havana attractions guide to find the best things to do in Havana, and check off your travel bucket list! 

If the city buzz is what gets you going, you can choose Havana as your Cuba base, and visit other destinations in central Cuba during your vacation. 

This Havana city guide gives you the most famous places and activities that will help you plan your vaycay time whether you wonder what things to do in Havana for a week, a day, or whatever plan you have. 

Havana street with green car

Any link in this article may be an affiliate link! If you click through the affiliate link to do your shopping or booking, it may provide a small commission for me, at no extra cost to you, which makes me able to continue providing valuable information on this website!

So Many Things To Do In Havana Cuba!

When you are planning a trip to Cuba, exploring the capital Havana is a must-do! There are so many things to do in Havana, the main question is what you can not do in this Metropol.

Bright red car

But be aware, that there are very few activities you can book online before going to Cuba unless you use a Cuba-certified tour operator to organize them for you before your arrival. 

Like attending a performance at the National Theatre, or getting a movie ticket. You simply have to visit the box office when you get there!

What are you going to do in Havana?
What are you going to do in Cuba?

1. Walk The Malecon At Sunset

Crowded malecon in Havana

The stonewall that is called El Malecon is an 8-kilometer long structure that follows the sea starting at the end of Paseo del Prado by the Old City, ending a little past the Vedado district.

The Malecon is a very social place for habaneros. People come here every night to chill, but especially on Saturdays.

This is a place for dating, fiesta, and socializing, where people bring rum and sub-woofers, listen to music, dance, watch the sunset and spend the evening.

The wall is wide, and you can sit on it with friends or a lover watching the sunset only interrupted by where the horizon meets the sea towards the dream of America. 

Strolling the Malecon and watching the sunset is definitely a thing to do in Havana I recommend you make time for at least one evening!

Balancing on the Malecon
The Malecon

2. Visit The Havana Fortresses

There are several fortress structures in and around Havana, from remnants of fortifications that do not exist anymore, to the grand fortresses that have guarded the city for centuries. 

El Morro “The Rock”

Fortification El Morro in Havana

The castle of El Morro is situated on the tip of the entrance to the Havana bay, across from the end of the Paseo del Prado overlooking the sea outside Old Havana.

The castle was built in the 16th century to protect Havana from frequent vicious attacks from the sea at the time that was a problem.

El Morro, the rock, is a landmark with its looming tower where the lookout could control any ships approaching the shores of the city. Back then, El Morro protected the entrance of the harbor by stringing a chain across the water to the fort at La Punta.

El Morro at night

The fortress is part of the Old Havana World Heritage Site, inscribed in 1982 for its historical importance in the European conquest of the New World and its unique mix of architecture. 

Today it is a museum and tourist attraction, where you can walk around the centuries-old buildings and let yourself be drawn back to times past. 

Also read: All the highlights of Havanas magic nightlife

Fortaleza De San Carlos De La Cabaña

La Cabaña fortress is situated across the bay of Havana from the Old City and is part of the fortification structure with El Morro. 

La Cabaña was built in the late 18th Century as the capture of Havana by British forces in 1762 proved that El Morro no longer was sufficient to protect the city from its enemies.

When it was completed in 1774 La Cabaña was the second-largest colonial military installation in the New World, right behind the slightly bigger St. Felipe de Barajas fortification at Cartagena, Colombia.

Fortaleza de la Cabana

After the Cuban revolution in 1959 La Cabaña was appointed a prison for traitors, where among others the infamous Che Guevara served as the head of the prison for a period.

It is estimated that several hundred Batista supporters were executed in Cuba after the revolution during the tribunals. The number of executions carried out at La Cabaña in this period within Guevara’s jurisdiction is assessed to be between 55 to 105.

In 2021 it is a quiet place, the peace only interrupted by visiting tourists and the canons firing every night at 9 pm, which can be heard all over the city!

3. Spend A Day At Playa Del Este

To the East of Havana, in Habana del Este, there are several beautiful beaches only 15-20 minutes from the center of the city. These are known as Playa del Este

Where there are beaches there are also hotels, so if you would prefer to stay outside of the city center this is an option. Or you can get a taxi out and back for the day.

Playa del Este sunset Havana

This area does not attract all that many tourists compared to other areas like Varadero or the Keys. This gives you the chance to hang with more of the locals and chat, and make an effort to get to know the Cuban culture and people!

Also read: Take a road trip from Havana to Santa Clara!

What are you going to do in Cuba?

4. El Cristo De La Habana

Just beside the La Cabaña fortress, when you watch from the Old Havana side of the bay, you have a clear view of one of Havana’s most prominent sculptures. The statue of Christ, El Cristo de la Habana where he is overlooking the whole city.

About 20 meters tall, the white Jesus of Nazareth was built from 67 blocks of marble that were brought from Italy after being personally blessed by Pope Pius XII

The statue of Christ in Havana

The statue was inaugurated on La Cabaña hill on December 24, 1958. Just fifteen days before Fidel Castro and his comrades entered Havana in what we all now know as the world-changing Cuban Revolution.

It is easy to stop by and view the statue at the same time you are visiting La Cabana, just a few hundred meters away!

5. Explore Hemingway`s House In Cuba Finca Vigia

Ernest Hemingway is one of the most famous habaneros extranjeros who lived in Havana on and off for 30 years.

Hemingway first visited Cuba in 1928 when he was actually on his way to Spain. He stayed for a few days, and that was the first time he was a guest at the Ambos Mundos hotel in Obispo Street, Old Havana.  

The Ambos Mundos was where he would stay whenever he returned in the next decade, and he had his favorite room there which still has his name on it.

Hemingways house Finca Vigia in Havana

He returned to Cuba in 1932, and 1939, before he and his wife bought the estate Finca Vigia, the lookout ranch.

The Finca Vigia was Hemingway’s home on and off until 1960. It is also where he wrote seven books, including The Old Man and the Sea, A Moveable Feast, and Islands in the Stream. 

The Finca Vigia is now a museum where you can get a sneak peek into the Cuban life of Hemingway.

Also read: Check out my best travel resource tips & advice for bookings of flights, accommodation & adventure

6. Rent A Bike And Cycle Around Havana

If you want to explore Havana a little faster than on foot, you can rent a bike for Havana online with BikesBooking before you arrive.

Just remember that the traffic in Havana is a bit unpredictable, so pay attention and have vigilance when you are cycling the most trafficked streets!

What are you going to do in Havana?

7. Things To Do In Havana Old City

There are said to be more than 900 buildings of historical importance with architectural styles in Old Havana, ranging from Baroque to Art Deco all on show.

Originally, in the colonial days, this part of town was encircled by a 1.5 meters thick and 10 meters high wall to protect the residents. Attacks were frequent, from what has been described as «pirates, buccaneers, and filibusters». In other words, thieves and looters!

Colorful street in Old Havana

The impressive wall was less impressively built by manpower from African slave labor, and today there are only a few sections of it remaining.

One of these is near what now is the Cuba and Chacon police station in Old Havana. This is now the home of the headquarters of the National Revolutionary Police Force of Havana. 

Other and better-kept sections are near the main train station on the far south edge of Old Havana.

You could spend a week just exploring Old Havana if you would like to. I should know, I have spent months there!

8. Hemingways Favorite Place Hotel Ambos Mundos

Visit Hotel Ambos Mundos Havana, Hotel Both Worlds, which was Hemingways home away from home for ten years before he bought his beloved Finca Vigia on the outskirts of Havana. 

Hemingways regular room is still marked, the hotel foyer is beautiful, and there is a rooftop with a nice view of Havana.

Hotel Ambos Mundos

The hotel is still a hotel, and at the back of the foyer, there is an interesting ornate old elevator guarded by a, well, guard, to get you up to the rooftop. 

The airy terrace on top has a bar and restaurant where you can enjoy a break in your city and walk in the historic aura.

9. Plaza De La Catedral

Plaza de la Catedral Havana

Plaza de la Catedral is one of the five main squares in Old Havana and the site of the Cathedral of Havana where it got its name.

It was the last of the main squares in Havana, built on one of Old Havana’s most beautiful spots, an area that used to be a swamp!

Originally, it was named Plaza de la Ciénaga (Swamp Square) because of its muddy terrain. By the 18th century, it had already become one of the city’s most important squares.

After it was drained and paved, wealthy families moved into the area and began building their mansions there.

It finally became Plaza de la Catedral after the old Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús was consecrated as a cathedral.

In addition to the cathedral, which gives the square its distinct appearance. The other three sides consist of the façades of 18th-century aristocratic baroque mansions.

They were built within 40 years period, and together the buildings give the square an atmosphere of architectural harmony.

Also read: Havana nightlife district by district! 

10. Plaza Vieja Old Havana

Plaza Vieja Old Havana

Take a slow walk around the Plaza Vieja in Old Havana and give yourself time to notice all the artsy details of architecture on the buildings. Lots of sculptures are scattered around the plaza, just spend some time and enjoy the ambiance of the place.

The Plaza Vieja first emerged as an open space in 1559. It was built as a popular alternative to Plaza de Armas and was a place for processions, executions, fiestas, and bullfights.

The whole spectacle could be witnessed by Havana’s wealthiest citizens, who looked on from their residential balconies.

In the eighteenth century, the square turned into a popular market and was then called Plaza del Mercado (Market Square) as the commercial hub of Havana.

Then in 1814 when the Mercado Nuevo (new market) was established in the Plaza del Cristo, it was renamed the Old Square to differentiate.

In Plaza Vieja, you can sit down with a mojito, a coffee, or even lunch in one of the cafes or restaurants in the plaza.

Enjoy people-watching from the shade, and the music of troubadours or small bands that most likely are entertaining all the passers-by.

11. Obispo Street Old Havana

Obispo Street Old Havana

Calle Obispo, or Obispo Street, is the main street of Old Havana.

It runs all the way from the sea up to the little Parque Fransisco de Albear y Lara, which is more like a little square with a fountain right next to the famous Floridita restaurant and bar where Hemingway used to hang!

Along Calle Obispo there always is a lot of life, little shops with souvenirs, clothes stores, ice cream stands, snack bars, museums, and restaurants. And people.

In the lower part, the ambiance is calmer, you can stop and rest at the historic Plaza de Armas (below) on a bench in the shade. Or stop by Hotel Ambos Mundos while strolling up the busy but charming street.

What are you going to do in Havana?

12. Plaza De Armas Havana

The Plaza de Armas Havana (which literally Weapons Square, but it is better translated as Parade Square or parade ground) is a general name used in Latin America for main squares.

The Plaza de Armas is the oldest square in Old Havana, from when colonial Havana was founded in the 16th century. Back then it was situated between a castle and a church, and from there got its original name Plaza de la Iglesia.

It was renamed Plaza de Armas in the late 16th century when the governor, who then lived in the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, used the area to conduct military exercises. 

Plaza de armas City museum facade

In the center of the square is Parque Céspedes, pinned by a white marble statue of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. He was the initiator of the Cuban wars of independence and is called Father of the Homeland.

Around the square are historic sites and buildings like El Templete, a 19th-century, Greek-style Neoclassical temple marking the spot where Havana was founded in 1519.

Also, the 18th-century Casa del Conde de Santovenia, which was an old palatial mansion, is now the elegant Hotel Santa Isabel.

Around the square, you also find the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural which used to house the US Embassy.

Also the former governor’s palace, the 18th-century baroque Palacio de Los Capitanes Generales lies on a street laid with wooden tiles instead of cobbles. 

This is said to be built to lower the noise from the street that appears to have annoyed the Governor. Today the house is the home of Museo de la Ciudad, dedicated to the city’s history. 

Lastly, you can see the 16th-century, Renaissance-style Castillo de la Real Fuerza in this area, the first fortress with triangular bulwarks to be built in the New World. 

Also read: Why visit Cuba?

13. Castillo De La Real Fuerza

Castillo de la Real Fuerza 1 green waters

Castillo de la Real Fuerza, or Castle of the Royal Force, is a fort situated on the western side of the Havana harbor, close to Plaza de Armas.

It was meant to defend Havana against pirates, but it actually turned out it was situated too far from the entrance to the harbor to do that!

After some quick thinking, the fort was instead turned into the residence of a long line of Governors of Havana. 

In 1634, Juan Vitrián de Viamonte added a watchtower here, with a weathervane sculpted like a woman. It was created by an artist from Havana, based on the figure crowning La Giralda in Seville.

The general belief is that it is in memory of Isabel de Bobadilla, Havana’s only female governor through the times. 

Castillo de la Fuerza 2

She was supposed to look after the city while her husband Hernando de Soto went on an expedition to Florida. He vanished at sea, and his wife, while waiting (as she did not know he had died), ended up holding the position for years.

The figure eventually became the symbol of the city of Havana, and even features on the Havana Club rum label!

The fort has had several different uses over the centuries, but in 2010, it reopened as Cuba’s most important maritime museum.

The fort is considered to be the oldest stone fort in the Americas, and was listed in 1982 as part of the UNESCO World Heritage site of “Old Havana and its Fortifications“.

14. The Floridita Restaurant – Hemingways Hang-Out In Old Havana

One of the things to do in Havana is dring with Hemingway at the Floridita Restaurant and bar!
Have a drink with Hemingway at the Floridita1

At the end of Calle Obispo just across the road from the Manzana Kempinski lies the Floridita restaurant and bar on the corner.

The Floridita restaurant is a historic Havana cocktail bar and seafood place, which was also one of its favorite watering holes for Hemingway.

The Floridita restaurant and bar was also a popular hangout for many generations of Cuban and other foreign intellectuals and artists. It is not least famous for its frozen daiquiris that it started serving back in 1918! 

You can still have a meal and a cocktail at the Floridita, and while doing so maybe sit next to the full-size bronze statue of Hemingway that is seated at one of the tables!

Also read: Why you should visit Viñales Valley in Cuba – home of the cigars!  

15. Taste The Cuban Rum Or The Sweet Licor

Cuban locor store

Cubans love their rum and sweet liquor. Get your hands on a bottle of Cuban rum, and sweet liquor of fruit or coconut, and enjoy one of each on your balcony later with a drizzle of ice. 

At the top of Calle Obispo next door to the Floridita, you find a little licoreria, a liquor store, on the left side. It is just big enough for two people to be inside at the same time. Inside the air conditioner is perfect, and they also have a small but good selection of wines.

There are of course lots of small licorerias like this scattered around the city, not just here so just keep your eyes open!

16. Capitolio De La Habana

The Capitolio building in Havana
The venerable Capitolio right beside Parque Fraternidad in Havana

Take a tour inside the Capitolio, the grand building remarkably resembling the White House in the US. It was built in the 1920s and is situated along the Prado next to the Parque de Fraternidad between Old Havana and Central Havana.

Apparently, it is not intended to be a replica of the White House. According to the architect Eugenio Raineri Piedra, the inspiration for the cupola came from the Panthéon in Paris

Before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban Congress lived in this building. Following the Cuban Revolution in 1959, the Cuban Congress was abolished and the building slowly fell into disrepair.

What are you going to do in Cuba?

56 steps lead up to the main entrance where 12 granite columns in two rows welcome you. Inside the main hall, under the cupola, is the 15 meters high gold-covered bronze statue of the Republic (La Estatua de la República).

Bronze statue in El Capitolio
The cuppola in El Capitolio
The halls in El Capitolio

Embedded in the floor in the center of the main hall is a replica 25-carat diamond, which intends to mark Kilometre Zero for Cuba. The original diamond is said to have belonged to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, sold to the Cuban state by a Turkish merchant at one point. 

On both sides of the main hall is the Salón de Pasos Perdidos (Hall of Lost Steps), which got its name from the acoustic in the halls. 

You can see all that and find more magnificent history and details if you take the guided tour of the Capitolio.

Also read:The incredibly well preserved UNESCO protected colonial city of Trinidad

17. Walk The Boulevard San Rafael

The Boulevard San Rafael in Central Havana is a shopping street (most of the distance) that starts at Parque Central and goes all the way to the Vedado district through Central Havana. 

Parts of the boulevard are first a pedestrian shopping area until it becomes more of a residential area with few local shops after the Parque Fe de Valle.

The pedestrian part of the boulevard has lots of shops, restaurants, and bars, and has a more «high-end» feel than Calle Obispo in Old Havana.

The road onwards is is a narrow typical Old-Havana street, with cars, bici taxis, and people, surrounded by colonial buildings and little shops on street level.

The district of Central Havana where the second part of San Rafael runs through is very similar to Old Havana in its formation, but this area has a less grandiose feel.

The buildings do not have the same level of detail and lack all the historic spaces and art you find in Old Havana.

You may feel you get a little lost in the conglomerate of broken streets with cars and bici-taxis and people. If ever that happens, from San Rafael you can always turn to the north, and you will walk straight onto the Malecon and the sea!

What are you going to do in Havana?

18. National Museum Of Fine Arts

Museo Nacional de Belas Artes de Cuba, or the National Museum of Fine Arts Havana, is a museum that shows Cuban art collections ranging from the start of the Colonial era until the 21st century.  

The collections in the museum are placed in two different buildings. One is focused on Cuban Arts in the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the other is displaying Universal Arts, in the Palacio del Centro Asturiano.

The exhibition in the Palace of Fine Arts is dedicated exclusively to housing Cuban Art collections. 

The displayed items span from the 17th and 19th centuries and have sections for religious subjects, landscape, and the Costumbrismo narrative (which just means showing everyday ways and customs of a specific social or provincial environment) from scenes of Cuban life. 

19. Grand Theater Of Havana

the gran theater in Havana

The Grand Theater of Havana is situated beside the Capitolio very close to Parque Central and is home to the National Ballet in Cuba. 

It is a grand structure in the daytime, but even more stunning at night when it is lit up by tens or maybe hundreds of floodlights.

You can book a tour to see the theater, or you can get a ticket and experience the performance. As this is Cuba, you can not pre-book tickets online, but you will have to go to the theater box office and purchase your tickets there while in Havana.

You can try to contact the theatre before your trip to find out what their itinerary is, but you may find they do not plan very long ahead. They are also on Facebook.

20. Visit Museo De La Revolucion Cuba

The museum of the revolution in Havana

The museum of the Cuban revolution is in what used to be the Presidential Palace of all Cuban presidents from Mario García Menocal up to Fulgencio Batista.

It became the Museum of the Revolution obviously after the revolution, on the 1st of January 1959, when Batista fled the country and Fidel Castro took over after ten years of armed opposition and guerilla war against the Batista regime.

The Palace was designed by the Cuban architect Rodolfo Maruri and the Belgian architect Paul Belau who also designed the impressive Centro Gallego, now the Gran Teatro de La Habana.

The building has Neo-Classical elements and was decorated by the famous Tiffany Studios of New York City.

The museum’s Cuban history exhibits mainly cover the revolutionary war of the 1950s and the history after the revolution. Parts of the museum are also displaying the history of pre-revolutionary Cuba, including the 1895-1898 War of Independence waged against Spain.

21. Guided Walking Tours Havana

One oft he best things to do in Havana in your own time, or orgnaized, is to take a city walk on foot! There are so many things to see everywhere.

There are several organizers of walking tours around Old Havana, both free ones with a «drop-in» from a specific point in Havana, to tours where you register for a small fee.

The tours normally last for 2-3 hours and cover the most famous historical sites, and buildings, while a guide tells you the intriguing history and stories of Havana.

Make sure to bring good walking shoes and plenty of water in the Caribbean heat!

22. Get A Hotel Day Pass

If you are staying in a casa particular, one of the lush things to do in Havana is spend a day at a hotel rooftop by the pool! Get a day pass, and enjoy the peace and quiet!

Buy a hotel day pass and spend one day on a rooftop with a pool, if your place does not have that! The Caribbean heat can be excruciating for anyone, not just delicate tourists.

For example the Manzana Kempinski hotel right next to the Parque Central, the Iberostar Parque Central next door, or any of the hotels that have a stunning blue infinity pool on the roof.

Maybe even the historic Hotel Nacional (below) in Vedado, which does not really offer a rooftop, but a beautiful garden where you can enjoy the sun and the pools in the middle of the city.

Also read: The paradisiacal Cuban Keys north off the main island Cayo Santa Maria

23. Check Out The Uptown Vedado District

Vedado is described as a business district, an urban neighborhood as well as the entertainment district of Havana. Although that is true, it is also a cultural area and a somewhat calmer part of the city than Old Havana. 

It is mostly a residential neighborhood, with wider streets and lower houses, and lush parks, all better kept than Old and Central Havana. 

There are a lot of embassies in this area, as well as parks, shops and malls, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and cultural establishments. 

24. Hotel Nacional De Cuba

Have lunch or dinner at the Hotel Nacional (you can also stay there of course), the huge and majestic stone building lying on the edge of a cliff above the Malecon just a stone through from the Caribbean shore. 

From the hotel, there is a magnificent view of the busy life below, and the sea, while within there is a calm elegant atmosphere.

One of the tranquil things to do in Havana is visit the Hotel Nacional bar or restaurang, for a beautiful evening with views of the Havana bay.
The patio of the Hotel National de Cuba

25. The Cultural Gem Callejon De Hamel

Callejon de Hamel Cuba is an alley in Vedado that has become a symbol and a center of Afro-Cuban culture and religion santeria.

It is a display of the African origins of millions of Cubans and is considered a public temple to the Santeria religion and Afro-Cuban culture.

Callejon de Hamel
Visiting the culture hub Callejon de Hamel colorful columns at the border between Central Havana and the Vedado is one of the things you definately should do in Havana.

There are sculptures built into the structures, like colorfully painted path tubs bricked into the walls, or made out to be benched for anyone with tired feet. Everywhere are artsy details in different materials, shapes, and colors. 

On Sundays, the alley is buzzing with music, dance, and people celebrating the Afro-Cuban culture, a spectacle you never will regret seeing!

26. Art & Club Scene Fabrica De Arte Cubano

La Fabrica de Arte is an art gallery and club in Havana, built inside a former cooking oil factory constructed in 1910.

In 2008 a group of Cuban artists and musicians began to look for a centralized location in which art could be shown, leading to the group acquiring the closed factory in 2010.

The current Fabrica de Arte opened in February 2014 and has since gained a fiery reputation as one of Havana’s premier nightclubs and art galas.

Amont the must-do (according to me) things to do in Havana, is spend an all-nighter at La Fabrika de Arte. An amazing venue, and wonderful ambiance, lots ofdifferent zones to explore!

It’s a place for all kinds of people and ages and provides different kinds of art experiences from live bands of any genre to live acting performances, art expos, as well as dancing, drinking, and meeting people.

It is however been noted to attract young Cubans and foreign nationals, and the prices are more suited to foreigners than Cuban salaries.  

La Fabrica de Arte normally has a full program of activities Thursday through Sunday nights every week, pre-pandemic. 

The general advice is to get there before 10 pm as it is always overcrowded and you won´t like missing the experience!

27. Coppelia Ice Cream Parlor In Vedado

One of the things to do in Havana along with tousands of others is have the Coppelia Ice cream in the Vedado!
Coppelia Ice Cream!

The Coppelia ice cream parlor in Vedado is super famous, so much so that it is a tourist site in itself and there are always queues outside.

The place is also very popular among the habaneros, since its opening way back in 1966. 

The Coppelia used to have any flavor you could dream of, but in periods of recession and short supply, it may be limited. 

Although an iconic place, the tourists on TripAdvisor are not always very impressed when giving the Coppelia a review, to be fair. If you choose to hacer la cola, which might take some time, well. Maybe you love the ice cream, maybe you don’t. 

What are you going to do in Cuba?

28. Cine Yara Cinema

El Cine Yara, Yara Movie Theater, is considered a true cultural icon. It is situated on the busy corner between Avenida 23 and Calle L in Vedado, right across the street from the Coppelia ice cream place!

The building is designed by architects Emilio del Junco, Miguel Gastón, and Martín Domínguez, and comprises the front section of the Radiocentro architectural complex that was opened in 1947 and is still considered to be one of the cornerstones of Cuban modernist architecture. 

At that time the cinema had the most advanced technology of that era in terms of lighting, acoustics, and air conditioning. Initially, the theatre also had a variety of shows in its 1650-seat hall.

Including performances by Cuban and Latin American stars such as Libertad Lamarque of Argentina and Pedro Vargas of Mexico. 

A lot of popular Cuban musical groups have performed there every December it is one of the important venues for the International Festival of the new Latin American Cinema. 

I went there for a stand-up show a while back when truth be told my Spanish was not really up for it, but the crowd laughed, the atmosphere was super and it was nevertheless a great experience!

Cine Yara Vedado Havana

29. Walk In The Venerable Colon Cemetary Havana

The Necrópolis Cristóbal Colón, Colon Cemetary, is a historic and famous cemetery in Vedado founded in 1876, named after the island’s discoverer; Cristopher Columbus.

Before its construction, the dead of Havana was laid to rest at various churches throughout Havana. 

After the fourth cholera epidemic in the 1860es, the city realized there would be a need for a larger space for their deceased, and they began planning for the Colón.  

The Colón is a Catholic cemetery and has elaborate monuments, tombs, and statues by 19th and 20th-century artists. The cemetery has more than 500 major mausoleums, and plots were assigned according to social class.

The areas of the cemetery are divided by rank and social status with distinct areas for priests, soldiers, brotherhoods, the wealthy, the poor, infants, victims of epidemics, pagans, and last but not least; the condemned. The cemetery became another place for wealthy families to display their power with grandiose memorials for their deceased.

The cemetery’s main streets are built in the four cardinal directions, symbolized by a Greek cross, which also represents the spread of the gospel in all directions as well as the four platonic elements.

30. The Napoleon Museum

The Napoleon Museum in Havana houses an important historic collection from the 18th and 19th centuries preserved in the Western hemisphere. 

Founded in 1961, the museum was designed by the same architects that built El Capitolio in Old Havana.

There are almost 8,000 items displayed in the museum, mostly from the period from the French Revolution until the Second Empire of Napoleon III. 

Here you can view Napoleon’s death mask, brought by Dr. Francesco Antommarchi who was the last doctor to treat Napoleon on Saint Helena, as well as Napoleon’s telescope!

The exhibition includes a specialized library, weapons, suits, coins, military equipment, furniture as well as historic and decorative objects. 

31. Plaza De La Revolucion

One of the unique things to do in Cuba is visit the important Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana where even the Pope has spoken on two occasions!
Plaza de la Revolucion in Havana

The Plaza de la Revolución in Vedado is famous for the many political rallies that took place there under Fidel Castro.

Fidel and other prominent people of power had mass rallies here, and more than a million Cubans gathered on the plaza on important occasions. Dates like 26 July and May 1st every year. 

On the historic visit to Cuba by Pope John Paul II in 1998, and Pope Francis in 2015, both held large Masses there during visits to Cuba.

Around the plaza are many important government ministries and buildings, and behind the memorial is the Palace of the Revolution, the home of the Communist Party and the Cuban government.  

The main tourist attraction on the plaza is the José Martí Memorial which features a 109 meters tall tower where you can visit the top, and an 18 meters tall statue. 

Many of the old American cars that offer a one-hour trip (€30) around Havana stop here on the large plaza.

▶️ Where To Stay In Havana 2022 | Best Hotels, Neighborhoods & Areas 

32. Museum Of Decorative Arts Havana

The museum of Decorative Arts Havana opened in 1964 in the house of José Gómez Mena.

Gómez’s sister was María Luisa Gómez Mena, who was a wealthy patron of Cuban artists, and a vital figure in Havana at the time.

At the residence, she used to host fabulous parties and gatherings for celebrities from Cuba and other parts of the world, from aristocrats to movie stars, to intellectuals, to politicians.

In today’s museum, you can see exquisite furniture from different eras, as well as numerous pieces of art and sculptures,

In the museum are more than 33,000 pieces of historic and artistic value. You can view oriental pieces from the 16th to the 20th centuries as well as pieces from the reigns of Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Napoleon III.

It is a magnificent display of the decadent wealth and luxury of the aristocracy through the centuries.

Around the mansion, there are different gardens each with its peculiarity. There is the Night Garden, decorated with neoclassical and rococo-inspired sculptures. And then the Garden of the Seasons, displaying four Italian marble sculptures made in the 19th century, representing spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

What are you going to do in Cuba?

33. University Of Havana

The University of Havana is also located in Vedado. It is the oldest university in Cuba, founded in 1728, and it was actually started as a religious institution.

Like so many other structures in Havana, the university building is strewn with art details. Inside the main gate, there are seven frescos that represent MedicineScienceArtThoughtLiberal ArtsLiterature, and Law.

At the main university entrance, there is a bronze statue of Alma Mater, which means the “Nourishing mother” in Latin.

The University developed for centuries until after the coup by Fulgencio Batista in 1952 when free and democratic elections were suspended.

University grounds became a center of gatherings for politically active students, and the student organization FEU was in fierce opposition to Batista. Violent clashes between university students and Cuban police at one point reached their extremes. 

Another long and complicated story, but Batista closed down the university after the FEU attempted to assassinate him in 1957 with support from Fidel Castro. President Batista ordered the university to be closed, and it remained so until Batista fled the country and Fidel Castro entered Havana in January 1959.

Today the University has 19 faculties according to their home page, various research institutions, and currently around 60.000 students from both Cuba and the rest of the world.

Also read: Travel planning and checklists for Cuba travel 2022 with visa options 

Of the many things to do in havana is visit the oldest university in Cuba, the university of Havana
Quite the stairway up to the oldest university in Cuba in Havana

34. Visit The Unique Art Center Fusterlandia

A twenty-minute drive to the west of Old Havana you find the special art center Fusterlandia, a universe of mosaic-covered streets and houses in the Jamainatas neighborhood created by the late artist José Fuster.

Fuster began his art project with mosaic tiles back in 1975, when this area was a scruffy poor fishing community. After the Cuban revolution times were tough in Cuba, and creating art was not a priority in the everyday lives of Cubans.

Fuster had studied at Havana’s Art Instructor’s School and also traveled across Europe to continue his education, where he found inspiration in great artists like Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudi.

He has even been nicknamed the “Picasso of the Caribbean”!

When Fuster was featured in National Geographics in 2013, after four decades of work, he said that his experiences inspired him to create a magnificent piece of art himself.

This is why today you can admire Fuster’s life legacy in west Havana, in his universe of color, surreal details, and visual statements.

It is all created by mosaic and pieces of everyday objects implemented in the neighborhood he made his life canvas.

If you opt for a Cassic Car tour of Havana, negotiate with the driver to extend the tour and visit this remarkable place.

One of the best things to do in Havana is visiting Fusterlandia in west Havana, where the whole block is an art project built over 30 years.
Fusterlandia, where the whole block is an art project!

Wrap-Up 33 Legendary Things To Do In Havana!

Are you feeling the travel buzz yet? So many cool things you can do while visiting Havana, and I keep discovering new ones every so often!

As I live in Old Havana, I have the city buzz practically “in my house” (no such thing as sound isolation here), and I update this inspirational and doer-friendly guide every time I come across another adventure.

Hope you found something to look forward to!

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Do you have any questions about Cuba? Leave a comment, or send me an e-mail! Happy to help!

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