Five centuries ago, Christopher Columbus referred to this place as "the most beautiful land that humans have laid eyes on" and although he never got to know the city in its origins, he was certainly right about the natural beauty of the area.
At present, it is still possible to enjoy the lush vegetation as well as numerous historical buildings and excellent examples of popular architecture. Without going any further, its old town is one of the most beautiful in the country, since it has managed to preserve more than half of its architectural heritage in good condition and was named a National Monument in 2003.
While wandering the streets of Gibara, you can gaze upon interesting buildings from the late 19th and early-20th centuries. Do not miss their doorways, neoclassical façades, columns, colonial courtyards, grand entrances and stained-glassed windows.
One of the corners of the city that you must visit is the old Plaza de Armas, presided over by a miniature replica of the Statue of Liberty in New York. It was built thanks to public donations and was crafted by Italian sculptors. This sculpture commemorates the entry of the troops commanded by Colonel Cornelio Rojas, on the 25th of July 1898, which marked the end of Spanish domination. The square is also home to the charming parish church of San Fulgencio.
We also recommend stopping by the old headquarters of the Spanish Casino, which has been converted into the House of Culture of Gibara and the town theatre famous for having hosted many important shows in its glamorous past, and which is in the process of reconstruction.
Take time out to visit the so-called Cuartelón, which houses the ruins of nineteenth-century forts erected by the Spaniards, one of which is the battery of Ferdinand the 7th of Spain, which was built to protect the port from pirates.
As for museums in Gibara, the Museum of Decorative Arts, home to of one of the most remarkable art collections in eastern Cuba, and some of the most interesting semi-circular stained glass windows in the country is certainly worth mentioning. You will find it on the top floor of a beautiful neoclassical building.
Two other notable places are the History Museum, which brings together pieces from indigenous settlements, documents and personal objects of the region's forebears, and the Museum of Natural History, where you can learn about the indigenous and migratory animal species that abound in this part of the Antilles.
To relax, why not take a stroll through the Calixto García Íñiguez or the Las Madres park? They are two of the largest parks in Gibara.