Once a country which was closed to many travelers around the world, since the 1990s Cuba’s tourism industry has gone from strength to strength. The capital city of Havana, in particular has loads of stuff to entice visitors: as one of the most unique places in the world, it has its own distinct culture which is bursting with vibrancy and fun. Check out this guide to see what you can get up to when on a trip to Havana.

Ride in a vintage car

Old classic American cars rides in front of the Capitol. cubans could only trade cars that were on the road before 1959. HAVANA, CUBA
Old classic American cars rides in front of the Capitol. cubans could only trade cars that were on the road before 1959. HAVANA, CUBA

One of the things Havana is most famous for is its vintage cars, so what better way to get to know the city than to take a ride in one? There are plenty around that will take you on a private tour for one to two hours. Alternatively, if you want to ride in a vintage car on the cheap, take one of the shared taxis; you may find that local jumps in with you!

Take a stroll along El Malecon

Sunset at Malecon avenue in Havana, Cuba
Sunset at Malecon avenue in Havana, Cuba

Popular among tourists and locals alike, walking El Malecon is one of the must-do things in Havana. Initially built to protect the city from the waves, this eight-kilometer promenade treats you to the ocean on one side and the old town on the other. It’s a great place to hang out, people-watch and enjoy a drink, especially when the sun is setting.

Visit a cigar factory

Hand making cigars from tobacco leaves, traditional product of Cuba
Hand making cigars from tobacco leaves, a traditional product of Cuba

After vintage cars, cigars are probably Cuba’s most famous product. There are a couple of factories which offer tours where you can see the cigar-making process in action. Once you’ve done that, you can then buy some of these wonderful products to take home. The price may be higher than what you may find from sellers on the street, but you can guarantee the quality will be excellent.

Explore the Cuban missile crisis tunnels

The Cuban Missile Crisis. Tunnels were dug underneath the garden in anticipation of an invasion
The Cuban Missile Crisis. Tunnels were dug underneath the garden in anticipation of an invasion

If you’re interested in Cold War history then a visit to the Cuban missile crisis tunnels should be high on your list of things to do in Havana. Here you can see the tunnels where missiles were stored, set up and aimed at the US during this fraught time. It’s a fascinating place and gives an intriguing insight into Havana and also Cuba as a whole. To find them, look for the signs by Hotel Nacional which will point you towards them.

Hang out in Hemingway’s old haunt

La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba, the birthplace of Mojito, a famous tourist attraction and has been a favorite for celebrities like Ernest Hemingway Havana, Cuba
La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba, the birthplace of Mojito, a famous tourist attraction and has been a favorite for celebrities like Ernest Hemingway Havana, Cuba

Fans of Ernest Hemingway will know that he spent some time in Havana, completing his most famous novel – For Whom the Bell Tolls – there. One of his favorite haunts was the Floridita, a world-famous fish restaurant and cocktail bar. Now over 200 years old, the bar is just as famous for Hemingway as it is for its daiquiris; the cocktail was invented here in the 1930s. Nowadays it’s still possible to grab a glass of this delicious drink as well as pose for a photo with the man himself – a bronze version of him, anyway.