Top 10 Havana Traveler
Top 10 Attractions in Havana
10. Parque Historico Militar
The largest fort in the Americas spanning 10 hectares, Parque Historico Militar is a bang-up beginning to our Top 10 Havana landmarks. It was completed in 1774 at the staggering cost of 14 million pesos following the English invasion. When told of the expense, King Carlos III of Spain headed for his telescope, convinced that for such a sum, it must be visible from Madrid! Open 10 AM to 10 PM daily.
9. Plaza de la Revolucion
Though P. J. O'Rourke sarcastically described it as "a vast open space resembling the Mall in D.C., but dropped into the middle of a massive empty parking lot in a tropical Newark,” it remains the central hub of the Revolutionary government. The plaza is famous for its huge mural of Alberto Korda's famous photograph of Che Guevara brandishing the words Hasta la Victoria Siempre (Always Toward Victory). Viva la revolucion! A Top Ten Havana attraction!
8. Havana Cathedral
Once home to some of the remains of Christopher Columbus, this baroque design is unusual in that one of the towers is larger than the other, creating a visually pleasing asymmetry. Take a closer look at the coral cut from the local seabed to construct the church: it’s embedded with fossils of ancient flora and fauna from the surrounding area! Open 9 AM - 5 PM weekdays, 9 AM - 2 PM weekends.
7. El Capitolio
Modeled after the US Capitol building in DC and completed in 1929 at a cost of US $17 million, the Top 10 Havana attraction is now home to the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the National Library of Science and Technology. Directly beneath the cupola is a replica 24-carat diamond from which distances between Havana and all sites in Cuba are calculated. Open Mon - Fri, 8:30 AM - 5 PM.
6. The Malecón
This gorgeous esplanade and seawall stretches for 8 km along the coast where it forms Havana's architectural soul. When the weather turns, the road is often closed to vehicle traffic, allowing for a stroll down the thoroughfare. In the evening, head down to the northeast end of the La Rampa section of 23rd Street, Vedado, for its Top 10 Havana carnival atmosphere!
5. Castillo Real Fuerza
Arghh! Constructed too far inside the bay, this fort had a poor strategic position for the intended purpose - defense against invading pirates! It became a maritime museum—a treasure trove of history—in 1977. A weathervane shaped as a woman, (suggested to be Ines de Bobadilla, Havana's only female governor) atop the watchtower became the symbol of Havana and is featured on the Havana Club rum label. Between pirates, treasures, and rum, you're in for a swashbuckling time! Don't miss this historic Top Ten Havana landmark or you'll be walking-the-plank! Open daily, 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM.
4. Christopher Columbus Cemetery
A cemetery built on top of a cemetery—creepy. Even creepier, space in the Colon cemetery is so valued, you can only be buried there for 3 years before your time is up and your remains are moved to a storage building. Definitely go, because despite the heebie-jeebie factor, this Top 10 Havana landmark is filled with gorgeous architecture, art, flowers, and a lot of history. There are more than 500 major mausoleums, chapels, and family vaults, plus more than 800,000 graves and 1 million internments to tour, all on 140 acres. Open daily, 8 AM to 5 PM.
3. El Morro
Like a beacon of light, El Morro will call to you during your visit to Havana. This enormous Top 10 Havana fort was constructed out of rock taken directly from the moat built around it. The commanding views gave warning of how many enemy ships were attacking, allowing enough time to prepare the cannons. Havana's maritime history flows deep, so take a tour to shine some light on the past. Towering on our Top Ten Havana, this is a must-see! Open daily, 10 AM to 7 PM. Lighthouse hours 9 AM to 8 PM, daily.
2. Museum of the Revolution
Don't skip this prominent museum showcasing Cuba's revolutionary history! Inside are weapons, tanks, planes, and more! But perhaps what is most impressive is the enormous glass display containing the ship, the "Granma"; the very one Fidel Castro sailed from his exile in Mexico to Cuba. Surrounding her is an SA-2 guided surface-to-air missile, a U. S. spy plane, an armored vehicle with flame-thrower, a Hawker Sea Fury F-50, and Jeep Willy's. Leave your cameras behind or pay extra for the privilege of snapping photos in the Top 10 Havana museum. Open daily 10 AM - 5 PM.
1. Old Havana
Founded in 1519 by Spanish explorers, Havana grew to become a bustling metropolis. Acting as a stopping point for sailors crossing between the New and Old Worlds, Havana was, at one time, a main shipbuilding center in the Caribbean. Dominating our Top 10 Havana attractions, Old Havana whisks you back in time to cobblestone roads, charming homes, and large town squares. Vintage cars roll past historic buildings, museums, and forts, while rumba music floats through the air. Be sure to see Old Havana, this important city center will not disappoint!