Make sure you explore the colourful and chaotic Havana Viejo, the historic heart of Cuba’s capital city and the largest colonial centre in Latin America. Declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1987, the city’s stellar attraction is brimming with frescoed churches, lively plazas and narrow streets buzzing with life, museums, galleries and restaurants. Explore Plaza de Armas, replete with tropical plants and Baroque buildings, and stroll along Calle Obispo, steeped in history, to peer into some of the city’s oldest, crumbling mansions. Further highlights include the Plaza de la Catedral, with its crowning glory, the Catedral de San Cristóbal, the 16th-century Plaza Vieja and Plaza de San Francisco housing the famous Basilica, all worth exploring and a just a five-minute walk from each other.
Learn more about the compelling Cuban Revolution during your time in Havana, which took place from 1953 to 1959. Start with the Plaza de la Revolución, an enormous square that is home to two iconic memorials of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuego, and where Fidel Castro addressed the Cuban citizens throughout the years. Then, stroll to the tower opposite, a memorial to the ‘father of the revolution’, José Martí, where you can take a lift to the top and enjoy one of the best views of Havana 350ft up. Other attractions include the Revolution Museum, full of exhibits from the 1400s to the present day, and the Habana Libre Hotel, formerly the Havana Hilton, where Fidel Castro set up his headquarters after he marched into Havana on 8th January 1959.
Art & Culture
Take a spin in one of the famous 1950s convertible cars on a guided city tour, catch a performance at one of the world's largest opera houses, Gran Teatro de La Habana, home to Cuba's National Ballet and Opera, tour Partagrás Tobacco Factory, one of Havana’s oldest, largest cigar factories and stop by Ernest Hemingway’s favourite watering holes in the Old Town. La Bodeguita del Medio is a tiny, bustling bar where Hemingway supposedly drank mojitos, while El Floridita, which opened in 1817, serves what he once called, “the best daiquiri in the world”. Fans of the writer should also visit Finca La Vigía, Hemingway’s former home-turned-museum on the outskirts of Havana, with more than 8,000 books on display, as well as artwork, the author's typewriter and other personal belongings.
Beyond the crumbling colonial charm, one of Havana’s greatest attractions lies on the seafront. Constructed to protect the city from the sea storms that can hit Havana, the famous Malecón promenade was completed in 1959 and has become a symbol in the area. At seven kilometres long, the Malecón was built as the city’s main artery, and has earned its status as 'Havana's Living Room', due to its popularity as a congregation area for the Habaneros (citizens of Havana). It is also one of the best places to watch the sunset at the end of the day with a refreshing rum cocktail.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
Virgin Atlantic from London Gatwick to Havana.
From London to Havana: 9 hours, 45 minutes
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.