The 7 best places to visit in Cuba
Cuba is one of the countries that has inspired me the most. In a few months, I was able see all kinds of different landscapes. Today, I’m sharing the list of my favorite places you mustn't miss! Habana Vieja and Santa Clara are the best places to understand Cuba's history and legendary revolution. Cuba is also a land of extraordinary surroundings, including the tropical forest of Viñales or the divine beaches of Varadero and Baracoa. If you're looking for Cuban fiestas with salsa, mojitos and a local vibe, Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba are the places to go. Whether it's to relax, to have fun or to understand the country's history and culture, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Cuba.
Our selection of must-see places
Located at the eastern end of Cuba, Baracoa is not the most accessible destination but it's definitely worth a visit. Enjoy the livelihood and explore the authentic city centre and narrow streets. In the evening you can enjoy live music and many seafood restaurants. If you prefer nature then expect to be amazed: Visit the parks of El Yunque, Alexander of Humboldt or Boca Yumuri and explore mountains, forests, rivers and waterfalls. You can also visit the quieter but beautiful beaches of Maguana, Manglito or Cajuago.
Hiking | Nature | Beaches
Welcome to Paradise. Varadero is the seaside resort and the best place to go if you're looking to have a good time in a dream setting. Imagine beaches as far as the eye can see, palm trees and white sand. The water is the perfect temperature with incredible colours that seem almost unreal. A typical day swimming and lazing in the sun usually ends up on the dancefloor. Music floods the streets and the restaurants offer their best dishes and cocktails. Treat yourself to a cruise or a diving trip and discover the fabulous landscapes and animals.
Relaxation | Sea | Seaside resort
Santiago de Cuba
Head to the south of the island where there are less tourists but lots of exciting things to do: Santiago de Cuba. Music is the main focus here, in fact the most famous Cuban artists like Compay Segundo come from here. There are concerts from morning to evening in the bars and squares or at Casa de la Trova, where the biggest groups perform. It's also a great place to take a music lesson or a dance class. Santiago is also known for its carnival which the whole city celebrates. The old Cuban capital offers several historical places to visit such as the cathedral, the Cespedes Park, the Moncada barracks and the Museum of the Underground Struggle.
Art & Culture | Festivals
Habana Vieja (Old Havana)
When you think of Cuba, you imagine colourful streets, old American cars and sipping a Cuba Libre in one of the Capitol's many lively squares. All of this can be found in one neighbourhood: Old Havana. This is without a doubt the most typically Cuban place to go to in Havana. Exploring the streets of the Capitol is like walking in a postcard: The Malecon and its famous promenade bordered by colourful buildings, the Prado and its different museums (Fine arts museum or the museum of the Revolution), many fortresses and beautiful churches. All of these are reasons why the capital is classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.
Art & Culture | Architecture | Monuments | Museums | UNESCO World Heritage
The picturesque city of Trinidad is proof that Cuba is a cultural destination. Classified as World Heritage by UNESCO, the city offers a colonial architecture so well preserved that you get the impression that time has stopped. Among the many museums to visit, discover the Fight against Bandits (that also offers a great view of the city), archeology, colonial art and architecture. The city's authentic charm is a testimony to the time when Trinidad was home to the richest owners of sugar cane fields.
UNESCO World Heritage | Architecture | Nice village | Museums
Far from the capital and American cars, Viñales allows you to discover Cuba from another angle, in the middle of the rainforest. It is THE place to go for nature lovers. Much smaller than Havana, it takes no more than an hour to tour the city. The main attraction in Viñales is the valley, classified as a UNESCO Heritage site, which offers breathtaking natural landscapes. Here you could spend hours observing the incredible colours and stunning views (climb up to find the best viewpoints) or chatting with locals. Surrounded by the famous round mountains, the "mogotes", you can explore the hidden treasures of this city on foot, on a bike, or on a horse! The choice is yours!
Countryside | Hiking | Nature | Viewpoint | UNESCO World Heritage
Visiting Cuba is also the opportunity to find out about its history. Santa Clara is a symbolic city for the Cuban revolution, it is here that the rebels guided by Che Guevara won their very last battle. In fact, there are tributes on every street corner with statues, restaurant names and of course the majestic mausoleum where Che is buried. Exploring the city will teach you lots about the history of Cuba, giving your trip a deeper meaning. You can also wander around the cultural centres, museums and parks.
Art & Culture | Monuments
Journalist and travel blogger
Unfortunately, “must-see” also rhymes with "mass tourism", which is perhaps the only drawback when visiting Cuba. Most of the country's attractions are also sought-after by groups of visitors from all over the world. It can sometimes feel like you're in an amusement park rather than a dream island. The best advice I can give you is to not rush to every attraction, even if it means seeing less. Take the time to appreciate every detail, discover local bars unknown by tourists and get to know the residents. This is the only way to discover Cuba's authentic charm.