Introduction to Havana
Cuba's capital city is most certianly one of a kind. A tour around Havana is not only invigorating and eye opening, but also refreshing for its lack of fast food chains and clothes stores which we find repeated the world over. Havana is without a doubt, one of the most original and authentic cities of the modern world.
Havana exudes a kind of elegance similar to that of a very beautiful person who truly does not know how attractive they are. Havana is down to earth and real, and while an outsider is immediately recognisable, the city embraces visitors and captivates them with its natural splendour. This unaffected 'realness' and truth is hard to come by, and it is what makes Havana so memorable and special.
There is a huge amount to see and do in Havana, but your best bet is to give yourself time to enjoy this city at a relaxed pace and truly soak up the ambience. Start in Old Havana (La Habana Vieja), leave your map at home and let your senses guide you around the beautiful old town. The streets wiggle in and out of each other and getting lost here is a real pleasure. There are endless plazas, markets and museums to stumble upon, cafés to relax in and people to watch. The impressive and domineering Capitolio is definitely worth a visit. This wonderful piece of architecture is characterised by its magnificent staircase, marble walls, and is crowned with a beautiful dome. It took over three years to make, cost 17 million dollars and required 5000 workers. The cathedral of San Cristobal de la Habana and the Museum of the Revolution are also must sees.
Life takes place in the streets in Havana, and while there are plenty of bars and restaurants to enjoy, you will often find them filled with tourists. Cubans young and old can be found on the Malecón, a long and winding seawall which runs along one side of the city. All Habaneros identify with it as a defining feature of the city and many Cuban musicians sing about the hours they whiled away looking out to sea from this famous spot. Day and night there is life to be found here, from small groups playing music to masses of people gathering for an enormous fiesta, the Malecón is the place to be.
Want to get stuck in? Keep reading our Havana travel guide to get the best out of your trip to the Cuban capital...