The eclectic city of Havana is the beating heart of Cuba: a beautiful, vibrant and friendly city, we challenge you not to fall in love with this crumbling vestige of the opulence of years gone by. Here are our top picks for your time in Cuba’s charming capital city.


A statue of Ernest Hemingway in a bar in Havana, Cuba

The story of Hemingway’s life and work is referenced in many bars and attractions across the city.


Retrace Hemingway’s Footsteps

Ernest Hemingway is one of the first characters that springs to mind when talking about Havana. Hemingway tours are popular in the city and are an interesting way to learn about the author’s time here and his favourite haunts, as well as the sites and experiences in Cuba that informed some of his major works. The bars are one of the best places to start, calling to mind Hemingway’s famous quote: ‘My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita’.

El Floridita is known as the birthplace of the daiquiri, the décor is old-world stylish, and the waiters are dressed in smart red jackets. The main reason to be here is the history and what better way to soak it up than while enjoying an exquisitely prepared daquiri?

For a less upscale glimpse into Hemingway’s past, head to the delightfully authentic Bodeguita del Medio, another of his oft-frequented watering holes. This is a real Cuban bar, tatty round the edges and with walls covered in graffiti. It is popular with the locals and serves delicious, Cuban food. Make sure to try the mojitos, a la Hemingway himself.


Classic cars are a common sight on the streets of Old Havana

Classic cars are a common sight on the streets of Old Havana


Explore the City in a Classic Car

It may seem like a cheesy way to do it but touring the city in a classic car is a fun way to see the city highlights, while soaking up some of that vintage charm for which Old Havana is so famous. Entering Havana is a bit like stepping back in time, so riding around in one of the ubiquitous cars is great fun and only adds to the atmosphere. Choose from a few different cars, making sure you get one that makes you feel as if you’ve landed in a glamourous yesteryear. You can stop off at the top attractions and even enjoy a typical Cuban lunch before finishing up at your hotel, arriving in style.


A local musician in Havana, Cuba

A local musician in Old Havana, Cuba


Wander through Old Havana

If you prefer to use your legs to explore, then a walking tour with a local expert guide is one of the best ways to fall in love with Havana. Start with the old town, full of frescoed churches, delightful plazas and grand mansions now home to many engaging museums and galleries. Brightly coloured facades combine with an air of elegant decay to create a vibrant and romantic atmosphere in this beautiful maritime city.

Our favourite spots to explore are the San Cristobal Cathedral, the Plaza Vieja, the City Museum, the National Capitol Building and the colourful Plaza San Francisco.


Cigar smoking, Cuba

Understanding the production and tradition of one of Cuba’s most famous products is a highlight of Havana


Tour an Authentic Cuban Cigar Factory

One of Cuba’s most famous national products, the Cuban cigar is associated worldwide with luxury and quality. Abundant on the island but extremely hard or expensive to procure internationally, touring a local cigar factory and perhaps testing one out is an essential experience in Cuba! In 1492 Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba and later took the concept of cigars back to Europe – they became a massive hit on the continent and a must-have accessory in the 1500s amongst the elite.

Much like fine wines, tobacco varies in flavour depending on the soil quality of where it is produced. Cigars can vary from region to region in Cuba and the variety is quite astounding. The Cohiba brand is one of the biggest and most famous in Cuba. The cigars were famously favoured by the former Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Reportedly he began smoking at the tender age of 14 and throughout his career as Cuba’s leading politician, was rarely photographed without one of his favourite smokes for decades, often gifting them to visiting foreign diplomats.

The quaint factories that produce the cigars often adhere to centuries old traditions such as having official workshop ‘readers’ who read aloud to the workers from the official Cuban press. This practice is not as widespread as it once was, but at the very least the workshop overseers have the radio on! A highly trained cigar-roller can make more than 200 cigars per day and are locally known as a ‘torcedor’ (twister).


The magical Teatro Nacional in Havana, home to Cuba's national ballet

The magical Teatro Nacional in Havana, home to Cuba’s national ballet


The Cuban National Ballet

Perhaps ballet is not the first dance-style that comes to mind for Cuba – the island being very famously associated with the birth of Rumba, Merengue and Salsa. However, the Cuban National Ballet is very well-regarded, and its dance school has produced stars of exceptional quality that have gone on to perform for the world’s top companies such as the English Royal Ballet and the Russian Bolshoi.

The ballet’s home theatre is a stunning building and we thoroughly recommend using your private concierge to procure some tickets if your stay in Havana coincides with a show!


Are you planning to visit Cuba? Learn more about our itineraries here and contact us today to speak to one of our travel specialists to plan your bespoke luxury trip.