Cheer yourself up with these 10 picture-perfect scenes of Havana.
Cuba's colourful capital
Cuba's wonderfully charming capital city, Havana, is one of the most colourful cities in the world, in body and in spirit. Its beautifully bright houses and friendly faces give it a certain joie-de-vivre that is sure to lift anyone's mood. Here are just a few pictures to brighten your day and give you the travel bug!
Electric, bustling streets
Street performers can always be found in the streets of Old Havana, the historic city centre. Every October, the city celebrates its Theatre Festival, during which professional performers take to the streets as well as the city's theatres to entertain the public. But if you take a stroll down the streets of Old Havana on any day of the year, you're sure to find something exciting happening, from men on stilts to ladies dancing, immerse yourself in the vibrant Cuban culture.
Grand public buildings
Built in the late 1920s, El Capitolio is one of the most famous public buildings in Cuba. The former house of the Cuban Congress, the building fell into disrepair after the 1959 revolution, and has since been renovated and opened to the public. The building also houses Cuba's zero mile marker, from which all other locations in the country are traditionally measured. Entry fees are very affordable, with guided tours around the building.
Unusual, thrilling street performances
Los Gigantes are a group of dancers on stilts who take to the streets of Old Havana each day. Their performances are so famous that some people will wait in the streets for hours just to see them. As if dancing on stilts wasn't already difficult enough, many of these old streets are cobbled, making the performances not only a dance spectacle, but also an impressive and dangerous balancing act. Los Gigantes' joyfully colourful costumes are bound to lift your mood!
Cuban classic cars
Havana is known worldwide for having mostly restored, classic cars on its streets. This happened after the 1959 revolution, when importing cars and even car parts was banned in Cuba, causing time to virtually stop in the automobile industry. Today, thousands of these original 1950s classic cars are still circulating Cuba, mostly in Havana, and many of them function as taxis.
A coral stone cathedral
Officially La Catedral de la Virgen María de la Concepción Inmaculada de la Habana, this stunning, Baroque-style cathedral is situated in the northern part of the historic centre. Built in the late 18th century, the building looks onto a tranquil square dotted with cafes. If you look carefully, you might also notice several marine fossils in the coral walls of the cathedral!
El Gran Teatro
Home of the Cuban National Ballet, the Gran Teatro de La Habana is one of the city's most visited buildings. Each year it attracts thousands of visitors to a range of performances and events from ballets and plays to orchestras and operas. Located just next door from El Capitolio, the spectacularly ornate building was originally constructed as a community centre for Galician immigrants arriving from Spain after Cuba gained independence.
Spectacular sunsets over the Havana skyline
This brilliant sunset over the Havana city skyline is a sight to behold. The towering dome of El Capitolio, to the left of the picture, was one of the tallest in the world at its time of construction and largely resembles the United States Capitol. Enjoy this fantastic Cuban sunset from the statue of El Cristo de La Habana, on the eastern side of the port, which overlooks the whole city.
The dome featured in this picture belongs to the Museum of the Revolution, situated in northern Havana. It was the former home of the president of Cuba until just after the revolution, when it was converted into a museum to honour the historical reform of Cuban Politics. The Neoclassical dome protrudes above the buildings around it with sunshine yellow bricks and fits beautifully into the mismatched, rainbow skyline of Havana.
Walking through the streets of Havana, you'll struggle to find dull colour, even in people's clothes. Cuba's traditional dress consists of vibrant, brightly coloured pieces, and is often characterised by matching headbands or bandanas. These women's dresses are an example of how Cuban style takes inspiration from a number of influences including Iberian Spanish and West African traditional dress with ruffles, headwraps and intense colour to create something all its own.
Golden hour over the port of Havana
A popular stop for cruises, the scenic port of Havana sits to the left of the old city and is overlooked by many historical monuments including the Statue of Christ and the Morro Castle. This fortress, visible in the distance on the right of the above photo, is officially called El Castillo de los Tres Reyes del Morro. It was originally constructed in the late 16th century to protect the city, which used to be named San Cristobal de la Habana, and today serves as a maritime museum open to the public.