A guide to things to do in Havana

A beautiful blend of the old and new, Havana is all about classic cars, crumbling Spanish colonial architecture, salsa and booming nightlife. Cuba’s capital city is electric, with a population of more than two million. It serves up colourful buildings, carnival celebrations, not to mention deliciously tasty food. Whether you’re seeking some sunshine, a spot of history or want to hang out with the locals, Havana is where you’ll soak up the tropical atmosphere and take a step back in time.

Meander along Malecón sea wall

Malecón is a sea wall that runs along the length of the city for about eight kilometres. Try a walk all the way to La Rampa in the Vedado district, where you’ll be spoiled for nightlife. The walk way was built over a period of approximately 50 years, so as you stroll along it, you’ll bear witness to some of the incredible transformations the city has undergone over the years.

Treat yourself to a vintage car ride

Because of Cuba’s long-standing communist government, they weren’t able to import new cars. So expect to see cars from the 1950s everywhere. Take a trip down memory lane and ride in one of the older cars. While there aren’t as many around as there used to be, you can still pick one you like outside of the Hotel Inglaterra or the Museum Revolution and be driven around, Cuba-style.

Salsa the night away

Your trip to Cuba wouldn’t be the same without catching some salsa – it’s a fundamental part of Cuban culture. This type of music is heard all around the city, but be sure to check beforehand to make sure they’re playing the style you like, as there’s so much variety. If you fancy brushing up on your skills first, find a salsa class so you’re a little more prepared.

You'll be spoilt for must-see sights

Don’t miss the amazing buildings and various other urban features in the city. First up is Plaza de la Revolución, which is home to the Jose Marti monument as well as the giant face of Che Guevara on the wall of the Ministry of the Interior.

Next up is the Capital Building, which is exactly the same build as the US Capitol building but just a tad bigger. History buffs won’t be disappointed with the Museum of the Revolution – rest assured you’ll learn something new in this fascinating building.

Experience the world's the smoothest cigars

What better place to find out more about Cuban cigars and where they came from than at one of the factories? Even non-smokers will appreciate the history of the nicotine-based treat, particularly since Cuban cigars have been associated with the city for countless years. You can head to a few places to experience this, and it’s a good idea to book ahead of time. Though the cigars you’ll find in the factory shops are pricier than elsewhere, they boast first-rate quality.

Try Cuban food at a paladar

Don’t leave Cuba without eating at a paladar, an eatery that gives you an incredibly personal dining experience. You can find them all over Havana, scattered in among everyday restaurants. Given that they’re usually fairly small, the best ones will normally have a lengthy wait or involve a reservation ahead of time. But it’s worth the wait – more often than not, you’ll get treated to a mojito, a cigar and perhaps a glass of rum at the end.