Havana is one of the most photogenic cities I’ve ever visited. Even though I wasn’t hunting after the most Instagrammable places in Havana, it was inevitable that during three full days in Havana, we would find some great photo locations. And we did! There are so many beautiful places in Havana, the capital of Cuba.
We were also very happy to add Havana to our series of Instagram guides from all around the world. Make sure to check this blog post category to find beautiful photo spots from all around the world (London, Istanbul, Tokyo – just you start with).
Without further ado, let’s get started!
This post's overview:
- 1 Instagrammable hotels in Havana – where to stay in Havana
- 2 Most Instagrammable places in Havana:
- 2.1 Paladar La Guarida
- 2.2 The terrace or Iberostar Parque Central
- 2.3 Walk around Plaza Vieja – the Old Square
- 2.4 Have a coffee in one of the restaurants facing Plaza Vieja
- 2.5 San Francisco de Asis Square and the streets nearby
- 2.6 Obispo street
- 2.7 Panaderia San Jose
- 2.8 El Capitolio
- 2.9 The streets of Old Havana
- 2.10 City tour in one of the classic car (pick your colour)
- 2.11 Malecon
- 2.12 Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square)
- 2.13 PASEO DEl Prado
- 2.14 Cafe Havana
- 2.15 The Museum of Revolution
- 2.16 Havana Forest
- 3 Summary of the most beautiful places in Havana
Instagrammable hotels in Havana – where to stay in Havana
Cuba is a completely different world. Whatever you might have heard or imagined – it’s different to what you have experienced. It’s exciting and challenging at the same time. As of early 2020, Internet in Cuba was pretty much non-existent unless you’re staying at a 5* hotel, where you can buy internet cards to use them in the hotel lobby. And well, don’t even think that you’ll be able to upload a YouTube video or Skype with your family – you’ll be lucky enough if you’re Instagram account loads at all.
If you aren’t staying at a 5* hotel in Havana, you can use internet hotspots available next to major parks and landmarks. However, you also need to buy internet cards for those and the only working hotspot we found was in the Floridita cafe.
If you’re happy with the upcoming internet detox, you can choose from a huge range of more or less affordable centrally located apartments with beautiful photogenic balconies. We stayed at La AKDmia Cuba and while the rooms were very simple, their balcony was amazing!
If you don’t want to have internet detox and have a bit more money to splurge on the hotel in Havana, I recommend staying at Iberostar Parque Central – it has the most beautiful view over El Capitolio and Old Havana.
Now let’s talk about the best photo locations in Havana!
Most Instagrammable places in Havana:
Paladar La Guarida
418 Concordia, La Habana, Cuba
One of the most Instagrammable locations in Havana and entire Cuba is the famous restaurant Paladar La Guarida. This restaurant hosted pretty much all politicians and celebrities who ever visited Cuba. You might be surprised, but even though you can’t buy much in the grocery stores all around Cuba, the restaurant scene is thriving in the capital.
Pretty much all the restaurants order products from abroad, so you’ll be surprised how much you can find in Cuban restaurants. It’s not just Ropa Vieja and pork sandwiches! However, you must be prepared that sometimes deliveries go wrong or arrive late and it’s common for the restaurants not to have all the items from their menu. For example, during our stay, there were no avocados anywhere in Havana and Varadero ran out of peppermint. So don’t expect to go to a certain restaurant to try a specific dish – you must be open to other dishes from the menu.
Anyway, Paladar La Guarida is a great restaurant. It’s very Instagrammable – the most beautiful part is the entrance, where it looks like a medieval castle from Europe. There is also a mural dedicated to Fidel.
The restaurant itself is beautiful, but perhaps not as impressive as the entrance. It’s not cheap either – the prices were pretty much the same as in London. The portions, however, were tiny. I can recommend coming there for drinks – cocktails are great there!
Also, make sure to book your visit online a couple of days before your intended visit (yes, there is a system for online bookings in Cuba), as the resultant gets very busy!
The terrace or Iberostar Parque Central
I already talked a bit about Iberostar Parque central in the section of the most beautiful places to stay in Havana. However, you don’t need to stay at the hotel to be able to enjoy their restaurants and terraces. You can come there for a drink (or two). It’s an open-air terrace and the views are the best I’ve seen in Havana.
From the terrace, you can see the manicured El Capitolio and the crumbling, yet insanely photogenic Havana Vieja (Old Havana). It’s especially beautiful if you come there for sunset.[vc_message style=”round” message_box_color=”success” icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-check”]If you’re interested, what gear do I use to take photos, I have Sony A7 III with Samyang 35 mm prime lens.[/vc_message]
Walk around Plaza Vieja – the Old Square
Many people assume that Plaza Vieja is located in Old Havana, while, in reality, it’s pretty far from there. Plaza Vieja is located close to the ferry port and to get there, you need to walk for about 15-20 minutes from El Capitolio.
There are always street musicians, so the square is cheerful during the day and night. In the evening, we even saw people dancing there.
Have a coffee in one of the restaurants facing Plaza Vieja
When you visit Plaza Vieja, don’t miss a chance to have coffee or a cocktail in one of the restaurants facing the square. You will see people promoting these restaurants offering free wifi, but don’t go there for WiFi, go there for the view (mainly because WiFi doesn’t work at all – in 15 minutes, we managed to update the email inbox).
Make sure to pick a restaurant on the first floor, so you have a better view.
San Francisco de Asis Square and the streets nearby
Another beautiful square in Havana is called San Francisco de Asis Square. Recently refurbished, it looks very nice with a prominent cathedral in the city centre.
The streets nearby are very photogenic as well. For example, I found this beautiful picture-perfect pink house.
It’s a very beautiful vibrant street full of shops, cafes, restaurants and people. It leads all the way to Plaza Vieja, however, there are many fabulous places on the way.
Just look at this door, for example (below)! I also liked this yellow building below.
Panaderia San Jose
3 min walk from Plaza de la Catedral, Obispo Street
Panaderia San Jose is a very beautiful bakery (where, unfortunately, you can’t buy pretty much anything but the plan bread rolls) located on Obispo street – one of the most beautiful streets on Havana.
However, the storefront is painted and looks a bit similar to traditional Bavarian buildings (see my Bad Reichenhall post).
However, unlike German buildings, it shows the scenes of the life of Cuban farmers.
El Capitolio is undoubtedly the most famous landmark in Cuba. Once you see the capital, you immediately understand that it was built by Americans and not Spanish. El Capitolio looks like something straight from Washington DC, however, surprisingly it fits very well in the architecture style of Havana. And together with the colourful classic cars, it looks even better.
You can take photos of El Capitolio from plenty of places in the city centre.
The streets of Old Havana
Old Havana is a very authentic district located in the heart of the city. Many of Casas, paladars and guesthouses are located in Old Havana. You can find some of the most beautiful streets in Havana in this part of the city. However, Old Havana is a bit sad to see – there are gorgeous buildings that are falling apart because people living there don’t have enough money to renovate them. With lack of foreign investment and blockade from the US (and prohibition of cruises), Cuba is struggling, so there is no wonder that the way houses look in Old Havana is not on the list of priorities.
However, some places look better than others and some streets are very photogenic and make a perfect spot for a photoshoot.
City tour in one of the classic car (pick your colour)
One of the most popular activities in Cuba is a city tour in one of the classic cars. It’s not cheap by any means (we paid $80 for 2.5 hours and it was a very affordable price, most drivers ask for $100 for 2 hours) and the tour isn’t very informative unless you speak perfect Spanish, however, it’s a very worthy thing to do.
Moreover, you can take a lot of photos with the car – so it’s definitely one of the most Instagrammable things to do in Havana.
You don’t need to book the tour in advance – just head to the Parque Central and pick a car of the colour you prefer. The most common cars are probably pink and red (and still, they are so abundant that you don’t have to book in advance), however, you might find a better price and a better guide online. You can check if there are any deals here.
Malecon is a long promenade and also an amazing party place, where all the young Cubans come on Friday and Saturday night. During the day Malecon is usually quiet and it’s just nice to walk around and take some photos.
However, there is one thing you must beware of. It’s not exactly a scam, however, it can be – depending on how you look at it. There are many groups of young people who will surround you and dance & sing around you for about 15-30 seconds and then will demand a payment of 5CUC. It’s hard to spot these guys as they come out of nowhere and they don’t usually ask if you want their performance or not – they just start dancing and demand payment.
If you don’t want that to happen to you, well, watch out for groups of dancers and singers and when you get approached, try to walk out of the circle and say no. If it doesn’t help, be more insistent and walk faster.
Plaza de la Revolución (Revolution Square)
Another Instagrammable and very meaningful place in Havana is the Revolution Square – Plaza de Revolucion, where your Havana classic tour will bring you for sure. On the Revolution Square, you can see the portraits of Che Guevara and Fidel Castro. If you want to read a bit more about the Cuban Revolution, head here.
PASEO DEl Prado
Another beautiful photo location in Havana is Paseo del Prado – a huge Boulevard with the views to the Capitol. The streets of Havana don’t have too many cars, so walking there in the middle doesn’t feel like you’re in a very big and busy city.
During the day, it’s not very crowded there, so you can take some great photos there.
Another location, where you can take a photo with a classic car in the Cafe Havana. Surprisingly, the car is located inside the cafe. Havana Cafe is the signature cafe, where you can watch a Cuban show involving dancing, singing and even a performance of one of Buena Vista Social Club’s original members.
The Museum of Revolution
Another of the beautiful places in Havana is the museum of Revolution – one of the most popular landmarks of the city. It’s located inside a very impressive palace, however, as of January 2020, some of the rooms were being refurbished.
One of the most beautiful views is the view from the balcony – it’s a great photo spot.
Moreover, the museum is very educational, you can learn a lot about the Cuban Revolution. In my opinion, the exposition is a bit chaotic, e.g. it’s not chronological, for example. After visiting the museum, I had to read a couple of articles about the revolution to understand what really happened and in what order.
Finally, the last, but not least of this Instagram and photo guide to Havana is the Havana Forest. Very few people know about this huge and incredibly photogenic forest in the middle of the city, however, we drove past it as part of our classic car city tour.
While we didn’t stop there and my photo doesn’t reflect the true beauty of this place, I recommend stopping there if you want to take some impressive photos.
Summary of the most beautiful places in Havana
Wow, this post really turned out long, however, I just had to share with you some of the tips for travelling in Havana along with the most beautiful places in Havana, as there are things you need to know before coming to Cuba.
I hope you liked these photo locations featured in this post! Should you have any questions or comments about the most Instagrammable places in Havana, please write them down below in the comments section.