Read about the city

Havana, with its two million inhabitants, is the largest city in the Caribbean and at the same time one of the most attractive and charming ones. The happy Cuban soul is everywhere, and the beautiful setting with the many old and colorful buildings from the colonial era as well as the abundance of 1950s American cars make the city unique in the world.

Cuba has an attractiveness like few other places. The story of Fidel Castro's Communist Cuba in the tropics just a few miles from the United States has been a source of inspiration to many and to the annoyance of others. Whatever one thinks, the Cuban people and country provide unforgettable times.

The era with the many vintage Amercian cars of the 1950s is like a step back in time to the American-influenced Cuba as if nothing had happened in the last several decades. The houses are also largely preserved from that time, so the Havana town center is quite homogeneous without many modern buildings between the old, low-rise buildings in Spanish-inspired style.

If you make a trip into the countryside, the life-affirming Cuban soul follows along, and everywhere you meet smiles, joy, beautiful scenery, quaint towns and tropical beaches. Rent a car or join a tour to magnificent cities and gems in the lush tropical nature. New memorable places are everywhere.

Other attractions

Gran Teatro, Havana

  • Havana Grand Theater/Gran Teatro de La Habana: This beautiful theater is home to the Cuban National Ballet. The theater opened in 1915, but as early as 1838, the stage Teatro Tacón was located in this place. Anna Pavlova and Sarah Bernhardt are just two of the stars who have performed here over time.
  • San Francisco Square/Plaza de San Francisco: At San Francisco Square, you can see Havana's stately old exchange, Lonja del Comercio, which is now furnished as an office building. You can also see the church of Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis, which was built in 1608.

Central Station, Havana

  • Central Station/Estación Central: Havana Central Station is the city's main railway station and the largest station in Cuba. From here, you can board local trains and trains to other parts of Cuba. The railway history of Cuba started in the 1830s, and the Estación Central opened in 1912 as a beautiful successor to the Estación de Villaneuva. At the train station's two towers you can see the coats of arms for resp. Havana and Cuba.
  • Revolution Museum and Granma Memorial/Museo de la Revolución y Memorial Granma: This museum's collection portrays Cuba's independence and revolutionary time in a fine way. Among the most interesting items on display are Che Guevara's beret, an American spy plane and the boat Granma.

Castillo de la Fuerza, Havana

  • The Army Castle/Castillo de la Fuerza: The Army Castle is among Havana's oldest buildings. The fort is built on the orders of the Spanish King Filipe II in 1577, and it is still well preserved with its bastions, gantries and cannons.
  • The National Museum of Fine Arts/Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes: At the National Art Museum you can see the country's finest collection of Cuban art. The museum was founded in 1913, and here you can see fine works from the 1600-1800s, and then here is also a large 1900s collection.

Partagas Tobacco Factory, Havana

  • Partagas Tobacco Factory/Fábrica de Tabaco Partagas: The Partagas plant is Cuba's largest cigar producer. Founded in 1845, it annually produces millions of cigars. You can visit the factory on an interesting tour, where you can see the production of the famous goods.
  • Lenin Park/Parque Lenin: In Havana's large Lenin Park you can see a large monument to the communist leader Vladimir Lenin. The park is nicely landscaped and here you can do many lovely walks and possibly a tour on the park lake in a rented rowboat.

Havana University

  • University of Havana/Universidad de La Habana: The University of Havana was founded in 1728 as the first in Cuba. Today, there are many faculties at the university whose main building is located in the Vedado neighborhood. The most beautiful and well-known hall is the elegantly decorated Aula Magna.
  • Bodeguita del Medio: This is a bar in Havana that has become famous for the many well-known guests who have been here over the years. The bar also believes that it was here that the cocktail Mojito was invented and served for the first time in 1942, when the Bodeguita del Medio also opened.

Hotel Nacional, Havana

  • Hotel Nacional: Hotel Nacional is Havana's best known hotel. It was built in the 1920s by the model Breaker's Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. Many famous guests have spent the night here, and the so-called Havana Conference was held at the hotel in 1946. From the hotel there is also a fantastic view of the city and the sea.
History overview

    Read about city history

    Prior to the arrival of Christoffer Columbus in Cuba's eastern part in 1492, several local tribes had lived on the island for a long period. Founded as the capital of the new Spanish country, Baracoa later became an important center for colonization of the American mainland.

    Havana was founded by Spanish explorer Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at the entrance to the natural harbor of the then-named Carenas Bay in 1519. De Cuéllar had tried a few earlier locations of the city since 1515, but this failed due to the swampy soil of the first elected places.

    Havana was far from the Spanish administrative center of the island, and it therefore developed primarily thanks to its convenient location on the transport route between Spain and the American mainland. The city grew steadily through the 16th century and in 1607 it was made the country's capital. 

    Throughout the 1600s-1700s, Spanish Cuba developed mainly through the extraction of raw materials and cultivation of, among other things. tobacco and the main crop sugar. 

    Spain became involved in the Seven-Day War between Great Britain and France, and the British used their force to besiege and conquer Havana in 1762. The British stayed here for 11 months, after which Spain regained dominion over the city through a barter with Florida as effort.

    The intense production of the island's plantations had gradually increased the number of slaves to almost half of Cuba's inhabitants. It was in the first half of the 19th century, when there were two revolts against the Spanish government, in 1812 and 1848, and both times the rebellion was turned down. Far from the plantations, during this period, some fine mansions and public buildings such as the Gran Teatro were built in Havana.

    A growing portion of Cuba's population, including many of the Spanish descendants, joined the idea of ​​an independent nation, and in 1868 the first war of independence broke out, which Spain won after ten years of struggle.

    José Martí, for which monuments are seen in i.a. Havana today, founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party, the PRC, in 1892, three years later the Second War of Independence broke out, and in 1898 the Spanish government surrendered. Cuba formally became an independent republic in 1902, and now under the strong influence of the United States, which came to dominate the Havana of the 20th century. The most visible result is the Capitolio government building, thought to be a replica of the US Congress building in Washington, which is reminiscent of every US federal government seat.

    During the Prohibition period in the United States in the first half of the 1900s, the arid US wealthy and also some criminals sought Cuba, where they could live a wild life and make a lot of money. Havana was just 150 miles from Florida, creating a colossal activity in the Cuban capital. Luxurious hotels like Nacional, restaurants, clubs and cabarets like Tropicana were popping up everywhere and welcoming Americans. It became the starting point for Havana's lavish life, which attracted many with its extravagance and pleasant tropical climate.

    The American presence created an economic boom in the city that had not been seen before, but at the same time, this development created increasing social problems for many of Cuba's poor population groups who did not share in the relatively high affluence by South and Central American standards.

    Cuba had been led by Colonel Fulgencio Batista since 1933, whose rule was abruptly halted in 1959, when Fidel Castro, after sailing with some of his people from Mexico to eastern Cuba, had begun the struggle for a Cuban revolution three years earlier was a reality. Batista had to flee Cuba, and Fidel Castro became a new ruler.

    In 1961, a US-backed invasion attempt in the Bay of Pigs was turned down, and the same year Fidel Castro declared himself a Communist. The tropical island state now became part of the Soviet Union's sphere of interest, and the United States stopped its diplomatic ties to the country. From this year, Cuba developed significantly politically and socio-economically differently from the surrounding countries. massive investments were made in a health and education system that became among the best in the region. In 1989-1990, the Soviet-dominated Eastern bloc in Europe changed significantly with the implementation of system changes in a number of countries, which led to increasing integration with Western Europe. It caused a major economic setback for Cuba, which, to offset the lost annual support of the Soviet Union, opened to tourism.

    In 1991, the Pan-American Games were held in Havana, and in this connection, an expansion took place in the eastern suburbs, and it was also at this time that the renovation of the historic buildings of the old town, Habana Vieja, was initiated.

    In 1998, Pope John Paul II came to Cuba, and in Havana he held a Mass in the Cathedral. The church as well as the square and the streets in front were filled with people, which also happens at the annual May 1 events taking place at Plaza de la Revolución.

    Today, the renovation of Havana is in full swing. Large parts are beautiful in the old days, and the tourism industry is developing rapidly in the capital of the Caribbean's most exciting travel destination.
    Skjul indhold her

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Capitolio, Havana, Cuba

Top attractions

Capitolio, Havana

  • Capitol/Capitolio: Capitolio is Havana's largest building, and it was built with inspiration from and intended as a copy of the United States Capitol in Washington in the 1920s. Capitolio was originally the presidential and governmental building.
  • Plaza de Armas: This square is the oldest in the city, and on it you can see the monument to the rebel hero Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. On the west side of the square is the beautiful Governor's Palace, Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, built in beautiful Baroque style in 1780.

Havana Cathedral

  • Havana Cathedral/Catedral de la Havana: Havana's beautiful Baroque cathedral was built in the period 1748-1777. In 1793, the building was elevated to its current status as the city's cathedral.
  • Cathedral Square/Plaza de la Catedral: Havana's Cathedral Square is one of Central America's most beautiful squares. The surrounding 18th century buildings are elegant, and music or other events often add a nice atmosphere.

Malecon, Havana

  • Malecón: Malecón is Havana's famous promenade, where many Cubans enjoy their leisure time at different times. People swim, many fish or just go for a walk along the coast line.
  • Martí Promenade/Paseo de Martí: This is a beautiful boulevard that runs along some of Havana's most famous sights. The street is also known as Paseo del Prado, and here you can experience an active part of Havana's everyday life, beautiful buildings, traffic, etc. A walk along the promenade should always be a must when in Havana.

Revolution Square, Havana

  • Plaza de la Revolución: Havana's great square of the revolution is the center of the country's government complex. Several of the square's monumental concrete buildings were planned during the pre-communist Batista regime and further expanded after the communist revolution. It is also here that you can see the 109 meter/357 feet high José Martí monument.
Trips in the area

Varadero, Cuba

  • Varadero: Varadero is a resort area with countless hotels along a long sandy beach, one of the finest in the Caribbean. Varadero is located on a isthmus northeast of the town of Matanzas, and it is an excellent place for eg family holidays along the vast beaches. The place is good for snorkeling, diving, golf and much more. You can also see some mansions from before the Cuban revolution.
  • Matanzas: Matanzas is the capital of the province of the same name and it is a cozy provincial town with several sights. A good place to start is the central square, Plaza de la Libertad, where there is a cozy park and fine buildings. You can also see the beautiful Teatro Sauto from 1863, the Cathedral, Catedral de San Carlos Borromeo, and the Necropolis de San Carlos Borromeo.

Playa Larga Bay of Pigs, Cuba

  • Bay of Pigs/Bahia de Cochinos: Bay of Pigs is an area that became historically famous with the failed American invasion of Cuba in 1961. It is also an area where you can enjoy some amazing beaches with the warm waters of the Caribbean. On the stretch between the towns of Playa Larga and Playa Girón, there are many choices for a swim; in the sea and in the beautiful lake, Cueva de los Peces.
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Shopping
  • Manzana de Gomez , Parque Central
  • Plaza Carlos III , Avenida Salvador Allende
  • Shopping streets: Calle Obispo, Vedado, Plaza de Armas, Parque Céspedes
With kids
  • Aquarium: Acuario Nacional, Avenida 3 / Calle 62, Miramar, www.acuarionacional.cu
  • Zoo: Parque Zoológico Nacional, Avenida de la Independencia, Carretera de Capdevila, Boyeros
  • Beaches: Playa de Este & Villa Pan Americana
  • Railroad Museum: Museo del Ferrocarril de Cuba, Calle Cristina y Arroyo, www.cnpc.cult.cu
  • Miniature Havana: Maqueta de la Habana, Calle 28 113, Miramar
Practical info