A local’s guide to Havana, Cuba: 10 top tips

Cuba’s capital is changing and much of the cutting-edge art and new wave of restaurants is in characterful districts away from the much-visited old city

Havana will be 500 years old next year. I have been coming here for 30 years, and while I have experienced just a small part of the city’s history it has had an outsized impact on my life. I fell hopelessly in love on the spot – hooked by its openhearted people and weathered beauty. No one looks you more in the eyes than the Habaneros. It is the city of stares, of sincerity and of kindness. Come here to be mesmerised by the eclectic architecture, with a surprise around every corner; to sway to the Cuban rhythms in surround sound as you stroll; to be inspired by cutting-edge contemporary art; and to taste the creative cuisine of the next gastronomic capital of the world. And whatever you do, explore beyond the borders of beautiful Habana Vieja (Old Havana), to discover the city’s distinct neighbourhoods.

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