Top 5 sights in Havana

El Malecon, photo by neiljs on Flickr

It’s plain to see why travelers flock to Havana: great music, great food, amazing nightlife – but there is more to it! The sights of the Cuban capital are not limited to rum, cigars and salsa (although these are things that all visitors should try). Today, Havana is much more than the communist capital that it used to be several decades ago, and it welcomes visitors with open arms. There is no better place in the country where you can experience all the essentials of Cuban culture, starting with entertainment and ending with history. Wherever you interests lie, there is no way you will fail to find something that interests you in this city, so here are our picks for the top 5 sights in Havana.

El Malecon

If you want to experience what day to day life is in Havana when people are relaxing, then you should head to the Malecon, a wide esplanade stretching for 8 kilometers along the cost from Old Havana to Vedado. Even if you don’t feel like stopping at the various monuments along the Malecon, the esplanade is the perfect place for a walk any time of the day. In the evening, you will see the young people of the city chatting and hanging out on the stone wall of the esplanade.

Habana Vieja

Old Havana, photo by Effervescing Elephant

Old Havana is the most prized historical gem of the city, and it is not surprising that it was designated a Unesco World Heritage Site. The slightly crumbling buildings are gradually being restored, and the Old Havana is now a worthy rival of other more famous colonial cities in Cuba. Castillo del Moro, La Cabana and Cathedral of San Cristobal are only a few of the attractions in the old parts of the city.

Hotel Tryp Habana Libre

Those who are interested in 20th century history will definitely be happy to pay a visit to Hotel Tryp Habana Libre, where some of the most dramatic historical events in Cuba took place. When Fidel Castro entered into Havana in 1959, he made the hotel his headquarters. Although it was part of the Hilton group when it was opened, the hotel was nationalized in the 60s and renamed ‘Free Havana’.

Castillo de la Real Fuerza

The oldest colonial fortress in the Americas is today an excellent maritime museum that showcases the rich maritime history of the country. Some exhibits date back to Cuba’s pre-Columbian history, and the latest to the days of the Royal Shipyard of Havana, which built over 200 ships for the Spanish crown. The archaeological artifacts retrieved from under water, the pre-Columbian navigation instruments and the model ships make this museum more than worth visiting.

Tropicana Club

photo by Haydn Blackey on Flickr

If your mind needs to relax after seeing so many historical attractions, you can chill out at the Tropicana Club, one of the most famous cabarets in Havana. The kind of musical theater first performed at the Tropicana Cabaret went on the infect the world and be copied in Paris and Vegas, and the performers rose to international fame. The club is still going strong, and an evening performance should definitely be on your Havana to-do list.

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