10 Cities to See in Cuba

You may wonder, where is the best place in Cuba to visit outside of Havana? Let’s explore the top cities to see in Cuba. You can hop into a vintage car for a luxury cruise around town, puff the legendary Cuban cigar, or ‘invade’ one of the beautiful old buildings and discover the country’s colonial cities. Cuba is no ordinary Caribbean country, and whichever way you choose to explore it, rest assured this little heaven will have you thrilled! Lots of timeless colonial cities throw back to vintage architecture that tells tales of opulence to miles and miles of coastline, dazzling with beauty, and Cuba is love. Welcome to a country reeling from an economic embargo abolished in 2015 – a country fast opening up to throngs and throngs of adventure-hungry tourists.

Cuba has already charmed and wowed A-listers and the “who-is-who” in the global celebrity industry, including Madonna, Rolling Stones, Barack Obama, Kim Kardashian, and Pope Francis. Beyond its pristine beaches, soul-stirring carnivals, and eclectic architecture, you’ve got thousands of reasons to visit Cuba. This little paradise is more than the indefinable magic it embodies. This fantastic destination charms and dazzles beyond its shabby facades like a prince in a peasant’s coat. It is restoring its status amongst the greats of global travel destinations.

Best time to visit Cuba?

The best time to visit Cuba is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. This is when you’ll find the most pleasant weather, with warm sunny days and comfortable temperatures in the 70s and low 80s (Fahrenheit). There’s also less chance of rain and humidity, making it the best time to go to Cuba to explore Cuba’s vibrant cities, relaxing on its stunning beaches, or hiking its lush landscapes.

Cuba remains one of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations. And for a little vacation, the following are the best tourist attractions in Cuba,

1. Havana, the Capital

Hands down, there’s no better way to kick off your Cuban tour than with the first stop at the country’s capital, and by extent, its heartbeat. And as mesmerizing as this city is, Havana perfectly lives up to its reputation as one of the top cities to see in Cuba. It is one of the modern cosmopolitan cities in the Caribbean that’s yet to lose its colonial mid-century flair.

Let’s start with a little stop at Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a slice of the country’s well-preserved history. A day of strolling down its cobbled streets with a brief stop inside the grand Baroque and Neoclassical buildings should just wow you.

A look into the top cities to see in Cuba. 10 Cuban cities to consider for a trip to Cuba.

Discover the two Cathedrals and perhaps dine at one of the legendary restaurants in Habana Vieja. There’s also a 35-meter observatory for a 360-degree view of the city!

But it would be an unforgivable mistake to explore Havana and miss visiting its best-kept gem, the Malecon seafront promenade. Like Old Havana, this 7-km stretch is a history junkie and a sightseer’s paradise. Woe unto you if you visit the Malecon without a camera!

Havana’s Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) is an absolute must-visit. The vast and impressive collection of past and present-day Cuban and international art will leave you flabbergasted. There are lots of 17th-century masterpieces from as far as Greece, Rome, and Egypt.

What about a trip to two of Havana’s greatest fortresses: the Castillo de Los Tres Reyes del Morro and Fortaleza de San Carlos de la Cabana? These 16th-century and early 17th-century gems tell the truest story of Havana’s past, including when it was the region’s most expensive fortress. I’d highly recommend you stop by the museum inside.

Lastly, on your brief Havana trip, visit the famous Plaza de la Revolucion, specifically the grand 109-meter gray tower. It is a historical tower because of the country’s greatest revolutionary and because it has hosted several global greats, including Pope John Paul II.

Directions: To get to Old Havana, the Malecon seafront promenade, the National Museum, and Castillo de Los Tres Reyes del Morro, there are tourist jump-on-jump-off buses to catch. But you can also use a taxi. The Closest airport is José Martí International Airport

Read the Havana Airport Guide

Read Travel Tips for Cuba

2. Trinidad

After having an epic trip around Havana, you should be ready to soak up the lively ambiance of the country’s second-best city – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stroll along the city’s cobblestone streets amidst centuries old, but beautifully restored buildings will feel like a step back in time.

Trinidad, a top tourist attraction in Cuba, mesmerizes with colorful 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries blocks that pay homage to a city whose rise was fueled by ancient sugar and slave trades. Of importance during your visit will be Plaza Mayor whose neo-Baroque buildings and the Neoclassical Church of the Holy Trinity (Iglesia Parroquial de la Santisima Trinidad) attract millions annually.

To be honest, Trinidad is perfect for an adventure-filled trip only if you love history. And so, I’d suggest you bring along your camera, primarily if part of your itinerary would involve riding a horse to the magical 19th road to Sancti Spiritus.

Directions: From Havana, you can get to Trinidad by bus; several bus companies offer to-and-fro daily trips, even though this 6-10-hour trip has no direct buses. But you can also grab a “collectivo taxi” and head straight to Trinidad.

3. Varadero

Visit Cuba’s most famous beach and soak up the Caribbean sun, as you grab terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean and her turquoise waters. From Havana, Varadero is a few miles drive, and immediately you arrive at this gorgeous destination, be ready to bump into celebrities.

To give you an idea as to why Varadero is on the list of the best places in Cuba to visit. There are over 50 top-rated hotels and resorts, botanical gardens, beautiful lakes, bridges, and marine parks. It also has some of the planet’s best beaches and a massive natural cavern system; the Bellamar Caves.

Directions: The closest airport serving Varadero is Juan Gualberto Gomez Airport. However, you can find a taxi from the airport to Varadero or go for Viazul Bus.

4. Cayo Largo del Sur

On your Cuban vacation, this little gorgeous jewel should be an absolute must-visit. Located off the mainland of Cuba, it is one of those uncrowded beaches that a few tourists love retreating to. The best thing about visiting Cayo Largo is its beautiful powdery white sandy beaches, serene exclusivity, and laid-back ambiance. Just a lot of sun, a handful of sunbathers, and lots of resorts to chill in.

Directions: Those flying to Cayo Largo del Sur land at Vilo Acuña Airport. However, you can use a taxi or hop on a bus to get to the city center.

5. Parque Nacional Viñales

Cuba also has one of Caribbean Island’s greatest national parks, and one among them is a picturesque valley with a dramatic landscape characterized by steep limestone hills, little plantations, and fantastic hiking trails. Fidel Castro’s favorite retreat spot, Parque Nacional Viñales is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular site for freshly rolled cigars.

This national park is perfect for an off-the-beaten-path kind of adventure. It’s even better if you are an intrepid traveler, love hiking, or even want to try some boat riding. If you’d love to visit where they manufacture the iconic Cuban cigar, be sure also to visit Parque Nacional Viñales.

Directions: Havana airport is the closest to Parque Nacional Viñales. However, to get to the park, you can use a bus, a taxi, a train or hire a self-driven car.

6. Baracoa

Baracoa is a tourist attraction in Cuba in the North. Baracoa should feel a lot more hospitable. At the country’s oldest city, you will feel the charming ambiance of its colonial architecture, lush countryside, and amazing beaches and waterfalls.

A look into the top cities to see in Cuba. 10 Cuban cities to consider for a trip to Cuba.

But there’s more to Baracoa than just age-old adventure. The ‘First City’ remains in its ancient condition, all buildings pristinely kept. And if you’ve always wanted to hike El Yunque, stop by Baracoa. It’s just 30 minutes from the beach.

Directions: Gustavo Rizo Airport serves Baracoa and the entire region. To get to Baracoa from Havana, you can fly, take the Viazul or simply find a taxi.

7. Maria la Gorda

You probably know about Maria la Gorda, the fantastic scuba diving destination, west of Havana, already. This little-known jewel on the far western tip of Cuba is a hot tourist destination and attracts plenty of visitors throughout the year. Key attractions in this small town, besides scuba diving and snorkeling, include guided trips in the sea, exploring the underwater marine life and relaxation away from the buzzing Havana.

Directions: The closest airports are La Coloma Airport (the closest), Pinar del Río Airport, and Cancun International Airport. But to get to Maria la Gorda from Havana, you can catch a taxi, train or bus.

8. Jardines del Rey

Despite this archipelago remaining largely undeveloped, Jardines del Rey is a tourist attraction in Cuba that attracts thousands of vacationers. The vast chain of tiny islands connected by simple bridges brings together little-known islands, including Cayo Coco, Cayo Paredon Grande, Cayo Romano, and Cayo Guillermo.

Jardines del Rey is situated north of the mainland, Cuba, but has some of the country’s most beautiful and best-kept beaches. For all-inclusive resorts, far away from the capital, browse for offers from hotels found in the Gardens of the King.

Directions: there’s the Jardines del Rey Airport to serve Jardines del Rey – a 4h 20m flight from Havana. However, you can use the train, fly, or simply use the bus or taxi.

9. Santiago de Cuba

You can’t go to Cuba and fail to visit the country’s eastern region, specifically the popular coastal city of popular Santiago de Cuba. The city is as popular amongst sightseers as it is a historic town. And all of its magnificent architecture of bygone eras says it all. From Parque Cespedes to the magnificent Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, most of its 17th-century wonders say it all.

Apart from visiting the town’s greatest wonders, there’s a bevy of cultural highlights to visit, including where the remains of Cuba’s famous military figures are kept. Away from the town, you can also drive to the World Heritage Biosphere Reserve for a little tour of the country’s coffee plantations or even catch a panoramic view of the mountains and the sea.

Directions: The nearest airport is Antonio Maceo Airport. You can, however, take the train, use the bus or hire a taxi.

10. Cienfuegos

There’s a huge reason why your Cuban trip shouldn’t end without a trip to the country’s only French-founded city. Welcome to Cienfuegos, the Pearl of the South. It is a must-visit, even if you’ve never appreciated mid-century architecture.

In La Perla del Sur, there are lots of well-kept 1950s mansions, art galleries, and grandiose architecture that are only exclusive to Cienfuegos. The Paris of Cuba, as it is locally called, boasts a unique atmosphere. It is the only place you can “legally” take a French language lesson, dine line a Spaniard, or meet your fellow curious Europeans.

Directions: From Havana to Cienfuegos, you can take the bus or taxi as it is within Havana.

There is so much beauty and things to do in Cuba. You have a variety of places to choose from as the best place in Cuba to visit.

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10 Cities to See in Cuba

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