Weekend Breaks to Havana
Planning a short break to Havana? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Havana. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Havana. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.
Top 10 Things in Havana on a Short Break
La Bodeguita del Medio is Havanas most celebrated bar located at Calle Empedrado 207. Hemingway bent his elbow here; Salvador Allende, Fidel Castro, Harry Belafonte and Nat King Cole have all left their autographs on the wall. The B del M as it is also known as, oozes history and suffers from over popularity.The food here is simple and well prepared Cuban dishes).
One thing you need to remember is that, this joint is crowded and very rowdy, so you definitely need a reservation, and even if you have one, you might need to wait for a table. La Bodeguita del Medio is open from 10:30 to midnight daily.
The National Fine Arts Museum has three floors of this square city block building with a central courtyard and zigzagging ramped stairwell. There is an extensive collection of Cuban art and sculptures on display, with modern masters like Wifredo Lam, Raul Martinez, Amelia Pelaez and Rene Portocarrero being well represented. The international collection leans heavily on Classical and neoclassical European works with some American, Latin American and Oriental works on display. The Admission fee is $3 for adults and children get in free of charge.
For more info visit: www.museonacional.cult.cu
The Memorial Jose Marti is located at the Plaza de la Revolucion, Nuevo Vedodo. This marble tower is the highest point in Havana and stands at 109 meters tall. At the base of the tower is a statue of the poet and national independence hero Jose Marti, and inside the base is a museum dedicated to Marti, where you will find manuscripts, memorabilia, portraits and other informative displays. There is an elevator that takes visitors to lookout rooms at the top of the tower, which offers panoramic views of Havana. Located here as well is a small theatre where concerts and poetry reading are held. Admission price for adults is $6 and children under 12 are free.
The building, which houses the Museum of the City, is an example of a beautiful 18th century Cuban Baroque and is one of the most important and well preserved building in Habana Vieja. This was the seat of the Cuban governments for over a hundred years. There are dozens of rooms with polished marble floors and ornate architectural details holding displays of colonial era relics and artifacts. The courtyard has a white marble statue of Christopher Columbus and the Throne Room has thick red velvet draperies, an array of treasures and a plush throne that was built for the monarchs that visited from Spain. The admission fee for adults is $2 and children are free.
The Museo de la Revolucion y Memorial Granma is located at Calle Refugio 1. This museum is housed in the former Presidential Palace, which the dictator Batista tried to impress the populace with in the 1950s. Cubas history is outlined by the museum with emphasis on its independence and revolutionary struggles. The exhibits include photographs, cinafilm, clothing, original documents and weapons. Outside you will find several trucks, planes, tanks and a piece of a shot down U2 spy plane. They all surround the glass enclosure of Granma, which is a 59foot motor launch that carried Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other fighters to the island in 1956. The admission price is $5 per adult and children get in for free. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday.
El Malecon is an Oceanside pedestrian walkway that stretches from Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta in Habana Vieja to the Almendares River. Through the day you will see men fishing off the coral outcropping that border the walkway and children swimming, and at night you will see lovers entwined on cozy perches and groups of people all along the sea wall. The most picturesque section of El Malecon is probably Centro Habana with its crumbling facades, faded paint, neoclassical buildings and neo-Moorish buildings, which separate the Malecon from the city. When the weather is rough, you might have to time your steps or even cross the street because the waves break so furiously over the sea wall.
This is the classic cathedral of Old Havana. On the inside the cathedral is simple thanks to a radical 19th century neoclassical makeover, but the vaulted ceilings, massive stone pillars and modest collection of art and antiquities make it worth a visit. Visiting hours at the cathedral are Monday to Saturday 10:30am to 12:30pm, Sunday 9am to 12:30pm and if you are lucky you can even attend Mass here which is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday at 8pm or on Sunday at 10:30am.
This Historical and Military Park is located at Carretera de la Cabanna, Habana del Este and was built by the Spanish in the 16th century. The military fort is at the entrance to the harbour and offered Havana protection from enemy ships and pirates. There is a collection of old weapons at the fort, including a huge catapult. Every evening at 21:00 a cannon is fired across the bay. The Parque Historico Militar Morro-Cabana is open daily from 8am to 10pm. The admission fee is $3.
This is the place where it is said that the city was founded. A small chapel, El Templete, was built here in 1828 to mark the spot. In front of the chapel is a ceiba tree, which is similar to the one under which the first mass is Cuba is said to have been performed. The Museo de la Ciudad dominates the plaza De Armas, which once was the former Presidential Palace. The oldest building in the square is the impressive Castillo de la Real Fuerza, which was the colonial fortress and is home of the Museo de la Ceramica Artistic.
The Real Fabrica de Tabacos Partagas is the oldest cigar factory in Havana. The cigars are still rolled by hand and there is a tradition that someone is employed to read to the workers while they work.
A visit to Havana would not be complete without a visit to a cigar factory.
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