Havana is an experience in its own right. A city full of plans and proposals in which passion and fun will become the best memories of your stay. Just walk around La Habana Vieja or mingle with everybody else at the Malecón to discover new sensations, meet great people and learn fabulous stories to fill your suitcase with. To enjoy the real Havana, just get carried away.
Experiences in Havana: What to do
- Shopping in Empedrado Street: Close to the Arts and Crafts hall and the iconic Avenida del Puerto, Empedrado Street delivers one of the most genuine Havana experiences. Just get lost among the stalls of the open-air arts and crafts market and be ready to find surprising traditional objects from this land where culture and art have a prominent role.
- Going to the theatre in El Vedado: Choose one of the many plays on show and spend an evening at the Amadeo Roldán, one of the finest theatres in Havana. From dance performances to drama classics to concerts by the Cuban National Orchestra, there is a lot to choose from. The Amadeo Roldán Theatre first opened in 1922 and was renovated to reopen in 1999.
- Puffing a cigar in La Bodeguita del Medio: A must-see for all visitors to Cuba, La Bodeguita del Medio, on Empedrado Street, in the heart of La Habana Vieja, is the place to have traditional dishes, cigars and mojitos. The atmosphere is so special and charming here, even despite its swarming with tourists these days. The bar is now a sort of museum, showing memorabilia of all the famous characters that have sat at its tables.
- Trying Cuban fusion cuisine: In Centro Habana, next to the Parque Central and a pebble’s throw from the Malecón, there is a high concentration of bars and restaurants serving all kinds of food: from traditional Cuban dishes to fusion gourmet specialties. If you are in for something new, try Casa Miglis and be ready for surprising top-notch Swedish-Cuban flavours.
- Listening to jazz and salsa: Cuban bars with live music afford magical experiences. You can listen to jazz, salsa or cumbia as you sip your glass of rum or dance in the lively atmosphere that is usually associated with Cuban traditions. If you like music, and jazz in particular, this is an experience you should not miss.
- Taking a horse-drawn carriage in La Habana Vieja: To look at Old Havana from a different perspective, try a horse-drawn carriage in front of the Capitolio. It is the ideal means of transport for a bird’s-eye view of the heart of town and an unforgettable experience as well.
- Having a daiquiri at the Floridita: You cannot leave Cuba without a reference to Ernest Hemingway, one of the best guides around La Habana Vieja and a connoisseur of local specialties – both foods and drinks. One of Ernest’s favourites was El Floridita, where he would recommend a daiquiri. The bar is very near the Gran Teatro, and the atmosphere there invites everyone to enjoy themselves.
- Spending the night on Calle 23: Calle 23, aka as ‘La Rampa’, is the liveliest street in Havana by night. Located in the Vedado district, it draws hundreds of youngsters and couples at weekends, who come to a bar for an early drink and then go dancing in one of the many discos available.