Much like New York and Paris, Havana is one of those cities that everyone wants to visit. The mere mention of its name is enough to conjure up iconic images of vintage Chevrolets, gorgeous old palaces and atmospheric cigar factories.
As you meander the narrow streets of Havana’s UNESCO-protected old town – Habana Vieja – you’ll feel like you’re in a time capsule that dates back to the Fifties. Sandwiched between Baroque buildings and confetti-coloured houses is Revolution Square, a mammoth plaza that was Cuba’s political hub during the revolution. Back then, the likes of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro rallied crowds of thousands. These days, the great leaders are immortalised by statues, billboards and shops selling souvenirs with their mugshots on.
The old town only showcases one face of Havana, though. Make for Vedado and you’ll discover a side of the city that’s well and truly entered the 21st-century. Cue glass-fronted skyscrapers, trendy art galleries, and cosmopolitan bars that do a mean line in rum cocktails and salsa beats.
Then, of course, there’s the coast to consider – this is the Caribbean, after all. Havana itself is home to a seafront boulevard, the Malecon, that stretches for seven kilometres. Come evening, the place explodes into life as pavement cafés and jazz bars spill over with people eager to catch the spectacular sunset. If it’s ice-white sands you’re after, meanwhile, you only have to head 15 minutes out of the city.
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