Historical and Interesting Places to Visit in Old Havana
Havana has a lot of places to visit. It depends on what kind of tourist you are or what you are looking for.
Well, let´s assume you are a tourist interested in architecture and history. If this is the case then you should go to Old Havana, above all to the area "Casco Histórico", which is the oldest area in Old Havana, where the first houses and buildings were constructed. Nowadays there are many architectural jewels from every time.
You can start your ride at the central park José Martí where there is an amazing sight. Jose Martí is the Cubas national hero and there is a marble statue of him at the center of the park. Just in front of this park you would be able to see the "Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso", the most beautiful theater in Cuba (an amazing building from the XIX century). On one side of the theater is the Capitolio Nacional, an incredible building which is alike to the US Capitol building in Washington DC, this building has become in one of the symbols of the city. On the other side is the "Hotel Inglaterra", the Havanas oldest hotel. The "Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes" is a museum of art which is in the vicinity, here you will find a huge art culture from Cuban paintings and crafts to Greek ceramics.
On one of the corners of the "Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes" begins the narrow Obispo Boulevard street, one of the most popular street in Old Havana with a lot of shops, restaurants, cocktail bars and people. At the beginning of Obispo Boulevard you can find "El Floridita", a former cocktail bar where the Nobel Prize of literature Ernest Hemingway used to go to drink Daiquiri. Inside this bar there is a statue of this writer, it is very common to see tourists to take a photo next to the statue.
I recommend you to visit the four main squares in Old Havana: Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, Plaza de San Francisco de Asís and Plaza de la Cátedral. All of these squares are surrounded by magnificent buildings, dating from the 1700s, and a lot of interesting places and museums. Examples of these places are the "Cátedral de San Cristóbal de La Habana"(an old cathedral with two unequal towers and framed by a baroque façade, the Jesuist began its construction in the 18th century), the Palacio de los Marqueses de Aguas Claras(a baroque palace with a beautiful shady Andalucian patio), the "Museo El Templete"(a museum with a tiny neoclassical chapel where Havana´s first Mass was held beneath a ceiba tree in November 1519), the "Casa Lombillo"(a house from the 18th century), the "Palacio de los Condes de Casa Bayona"(a palace from the 18th century which is the oldest building in the area), the "Palacio de los Capitanes Generales"(an old palace which was built on the site of Havanas first church, it is a classic example of Cuban baroque architecture), the Palacio del Segundo Cabo(headquarter of the Spanish vice-governor), the "Castillo de la Real Fuerza"(the oldest existing fort in the Americas with a tower which is crowned by La Giraldilla, the symbol of the city), the "Mercaderes" street(an interspersed street with museums, shops and restaurants), the "Museo del Tabaco"(a museum of the Cuban cigars where you can admire indigenous pipes and idols), the "Museo Nacional de Historia Natural"(a museum where is exposed examples of Cubas flora and fauna), the "Centro Wilfredo Lam"(a cultural center which usually displays the work of modern painters), the "Taller Experimental de Gráfica"(an art workshop which offers the possibility of engraving classes), the "Museo de la Navegación"(a museum to expose the history of the fort "Castillo de la Real Fuerza", it has a huge scale model of the "Santísima Trinidad galleon"), the "Museo del Automóvil"(a museum of former cars with ancient Pontiacs, Ford Model Ts and Thunderbirds), the "Maqueta de La Habana"(a scale model of Old Havana with incredible details), the "Casa de la Obra Pía"(a typical Havana aristocratic residence built in the 17th century), the "Iglesia y Monasterio San Franciso de Asís"(an erstwhile church cum monastery built in the 17th century, nowadays also there is concert hall for classical music), the "Museo del Ron"(a museum which shows the rum-making antiquities and the complex brewing process), the "Cámara Oscura"(a place with a clever optical device which offers a 360-degree view of the city) and the "Iglesia y Convento de Santa Clara"(the largest and oldest convent built in the 17th century).
This is only a mention to some of the many places in Old Havana where you would be able to notice the beautiful history and architecture of this "old town" in Havana. Definitely it would be a great experience to discover some of these places on your own while you wander around Old Havana.