25 Famous Landmarks in Cuba That You Have to Visit

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10 min read
A city skyline with colored historic buildings and greenery under a partly cloudy sky
Cuba is a destination with numerous renowned landmarks to see

Cuba is a Caribbean country located to the east of Mexico. When visiting, you'll find an array of things to see and do, and the country boasts both bustling cities, like Havana, and tropical beach locations, such as Cayo Coco and Cayo Largo.

If planning a trip, you may be wondering:

"What are some famous landmarks in Cuba?"

Some famous landmarks in Cuba are historical, cultural, and natural attractions. Famous Cuba landmarks range from museums and memorials to outdoor features, including parks and waterfalls, like El Nicho Waterfalls.

To continue learning about popular landmarks in Cuba, keep reading!

Note: Although Cuba has made progress politically and now brands itself as a tourist destination, do be aware that there is still an unstable political climate if planning to visit.

  • 25 Cuba landmarks

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25 Famous Landmarks of Cuba

Cuba Landmarks Map

A map of Cuba landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

© master2 via Depositphotos
A stone building with a dome roof and a red car on the street in front of it
Cuba's National Capitol Building houses museums and a planetarium

National Capitol Building, Havana

Also known as El Capitolio, the National Capitol Building is a Cuban political building found in Havana. The structure appears similar to the United States Capitol but was actually modeled after the Parthenon in Paris. The building was commissioned in 1929 by president Gerardo Machado.

Tourists visiting the Capitol can appreciate the architecture and also visit three museums and a planetarium housed inside.

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One of the many famous landmarks in Cuba is Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Castillo de la Real Fuerza is one of many famous landmarks in Cuba

Castillo de la Real Fuerza, Havana

Constructed in 1577, Castillo de la Real Fuerza is a fort that sits on the banks of Havana harbor. Interestingly, the castle was originally built to protect the city from pirates. In addition, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is thought to be the oldest fort structure in the Americas.

During a trip to Havana, a trip to Castillo de la Real Fuerza is a must. You can explore the fort and learn more about its history and uses.

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A grey star-shaped tower with a statue in front of it, under a blue sky with clouds
The views from the top of the José Martí Memorial are beautiful

José Martí Memorial, Havana

José Martí is a Cuban writer and national hero, and the José Martí Memorial pays respect to him. The structure was completed in 1958 and is one of the most famous places to visit in Cuba.

Located in Havana, the memorial features a tall tower surrounded by columns and manicured gardens. You can even go to the top of the tower, where you can appreciate panoramic views.

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A path by the ocean with a castle and lighthouse in the distance
El Morro is a 16-century castle in Havana Harbor

El Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro, Havana

El Castillo de Los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro, also known as El Morro or Morro Castle, is another old structure constructed in the late 16th century.

This fortress guards the entrance to Havana harbor and, along with La Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, helped Havana harbor to become the safest harbor in the Americas during the 16th and 17th centuries. Again, the main threat that the castle was protecting against was pirates.

At the castle, you can wander around the grounds, learn more about its history, and admire coastal vistas.

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An old castle building with two canons in front of it, under a clear blue sky
Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta is another castle in Havana to visit

Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta, Havana

Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta is directly across from El Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro. This fortress was built between 1589 and 1600 and was also intended to protect the coast and Havana from pirates, also known as Corsairs.

You can take guided tours at the castle that will teach you more about its history. You can also explore alone on a self-guided tour and enjoy the views from the castle.

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The entryway to a cream colour, mansion-style home with palm trees on the patio
Finca Vigía was the home of legendary writer Ernest Hemingway

Finca Vigía, Havana

One of the famous Cuban landmarks that is a must-see in Havana is Finca Vigía. This attraction, in San Francisco de Paula Ward, was the former home of Ernest Hemingway. As with his house in Key West, the house now acts as a museum.

If interested in visiting the home of the renowned writer, you can tour the property, which looks as it did when Hemingway lived there. You’ll also learn more about his life and the works he wrote at Finca Vigía.

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A cathedral building with two towers and a square area with tables in front of it
The Cathedral of Havana is one of eleven cathedrals across Cuba

Havana Cathedral, Havana

The Cathedral of Havana is one of eleven cathedrals in Cuba. This landmark is found in Old Havana and was constructed in the mid to late 1700s. A particularly interesting fact about this location is that Christopher Columbus’ remains were kept here until 1898.

Havana Cathedral is a stunning piece of Baroque architecture with a breathtaking interior and exterior. While in the Cuban capital, visiting the church and appreciating its design is highly recommended.

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A palace-style building with a Cuban flag on the front from behind cars
Museo de la Revolución is housed in Cuba's former Presidential Palace

Museo de la Revolución, Havana

Museo de la Revolución is a fascinating museum with exhibits covering the 1959 Cuban Revolution. It houses a range of artifacts, including propaganda posters, weapons, military aircraft, and even bullet-riddled uniforms.

Despite being opened as a museum in 1974, the attraction is located in the former Presidential Palace. The palace is a landmark in itself and was built in 1920.

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An art gallery with a statue in the middle of a room with paintings on the walls
Havana's Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes houses an array of Cuban art

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana

One of the famous places in Cuba that art enthusiasts will want to see is Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. At the gallery, located in Havana, you’ll discover art collections with Cuban works from colonial times to the present.

The attraction was originally opened in 1913 and today consists of two famous Cuba buildings. Palacio de Bellas Artes is the part of the museum dedicated to Cuban art. Palacio del Centro Asturiano features pieces from international artists.

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A hotel building with two towers surrounded by palm trees and the ocean behind it
Hotel Nacional de Cuba is a 1930s hotel in Havana

Hotel Nacional de Cuba, Havana

Hotel Nacional de Cuba is an eclectic Art Deco-style hotel that is a popular place to stay and dine. The building is found in Havana and was opened in 1930.

While in Cuba, you have the option to book luxurious rooms at this beautiful four-star hotel. Alternatively, you can stop at one of the multiple bars and restaurants inside to relax with a meal or a drink while you enjoy the architecture and coastal views.

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A coastal promenade with cars on the road and the ocean on the left-hand side
Walking along El Malecón offers great views of the Havana coast

El Malecón, Havana

Stretching for eight kilometers, El Malecón is an esplanade and seawall that runs along Havana’s coast. The promenade stretches along Havana Harbor in Old Havana and through the neighborhoods of Centro Habana and Vedado.

Walking along El Malcón allows you to unwind as you take in the coastal views. Along the route, you’ll also find many cafes and bars where you can enjoy a cold drink and some delicious Cuban dishes.

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A statue of Jesus with green trees behind it, under a blue sky
Cristo de la Habana has looked over Havana Harbor since 1953

Cristo de la Habana, Havana

Cristo de la Habana, or Christ of Havana, is a statue of Jesus of Nazareth found on a hilltop in Havana. The statue was originally commissioned by sculptor Jilma Madera in 1953.

However, it was forgotten for many years and became covered in overgrown greenery before being re-discovered in the 1990s. Today, the statue looks over the Havana harbor from its hilltop and can be seen from various places in the city.

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© dchulov via Depositphotos
A wall with colorful street art on it
Callejón de Hamel is a modern landmark featuring street art

Callejón de Hamel, Havana

Callejón de Hamel is one of the more modern Cuba landmarks and tourist attractions. This attraction is simply an alleyway! However, it’s the art that covers the alleyway that makes it significant and well-worth seeing.

The walls of the street feature brightly colored murals. The street art is the work of Salvador Gonzáles Escalona, a self-taught Cuban artist. When visiting Havana, making a trip to this alleyway and taking lots of photos is a must!

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© sanguer via Depositphotos
A memorial structure with a statue surrounded by palm trees and green grass
The Che Guevara Mausoleum is one of the most important landmarks in Cuba

Che Guevara Mausoleum and Che Guevara Museum, Santa Clara

Located in Santa Clara, the Che Guevara Mausoleum is a memorial to Argentinian fighter Ernesto “Che” Guevara and his army. The memorial additionally houses his remains, plus those of 29 of his combatants. All died in 1967 during a military battle.

There are a few other statues around the mausoleum too, along with plaques explaining Che Guevara’s influence. There’s also a small museum offering more information on the revolutionary fighter.

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A canon sitting in an old fort with high walls and a tower on the coast
San Pedro de la Roca Fortress is another fortress in Cuba

San Pedro de la Roca Fortress, Santiago de Cuba

San Pedro de la Roca Fortress, or Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, is another of the famous places in Cuba that’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This fortress sits in Santiago de Cuba and was constructed in 1638, primarily to protect against pirate attacks. As the fort aged, it needed many repairs. Luckily, it was restored in 1960 and today is a popular tourist attraction.

During a visit, you can wander around the ancient fortress and admire the panoramic coastal views from various lookout points.

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Casa de Diego Velázquez, Santiago de Cuba

Casa de Diego Velázquez is one of the oldest historical landmarks in Cuba. Constructed in the early 1500s, it’s thought to be one of the earliest examples of Spanish colonial architecture in Latin America.

The mansion was built for Diego Velázquez, the first governor of Cuba. The home is now a museum and includes exhibits on the house itself, Velázquez, and Cuba during the 16th century.

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A greenery-covered mountain range under a cloudy sky
The Sierra Maestra is the largest mountain range in Cuba

Sierra Maestra

Sierra Maestra is one more of the major landmarks in Cuba. This mountain range has an elevation of almost 1,957 meters and runs through southeast Cuba.

The mountainous area is the largest of its kind in Cuba and features lush greenery and hiking trails in some areas. If you enjoy outdoor activities and scenic hikes, a trip to Sierra Maestra can't be missed.

The landmark does also feature in Cuban history because Fidel Castro led his movement from within the mountain range for almost two years.

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Turquoise ocean and a sandy shore under a clear blue sky
Playa Paraiso in Cayo Largo del Sur is one of Cuba's best beaches

Playa Paraiso, Cayo Largo del Sur

Found on the stunning island of Cayo Largo del Sur, Playa Paraiso is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cuba. This coastal attraction features white sandy beaches and sparkling turquoise water.

You can find good resorts here and activities to enjoy, including sunbathing on the warm sand, swimming, and snorkeling.

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El Yunque, Baracoa

Another of Cuba’s famous landmarks that’s naturally occurring is El Yunque. Located in Baracoa, El Yunque is a 575-meter-high limestone mountain that became a national monument in 1979.

The mountain has a few hiking trails, which will take you up to the peak and offer beautiful views along the way. While you must be accompanied by a guide when hiking, the trails are not particularly difficult.

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Cruz de la Parra, Baracoa

Cruz de la Parra is a wooden cross that was placed in Baracoa in 1492 by Christopher Columbus when he first landed in Cuba.

The cross, also known as the Sacred Cross of Parra, is one of the oldest artifacts related to Columbus found in the Americas.

It's thought that Columbus placed 29 crosses throughout the "New World." Cruz de la Parra is the only cross known to still be in existence.

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A waterfall flowing into a large pool with palm trees and other greenery around it
Cascate El Nicho is a beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush jungle

Cascate El Nicho, Cienfuegos

Cascate El Nicho, or El Nicho Waterfalls, is a natural landmark near Cienfuegos. These falls are hidden within a lush jungle and can be reached by following a hiking trail.

Once at the falls, you can swim in the pools below and look for wildlife, including many tropical birds. If you want to explore the area around the falls, you’ll discover some additional hidden waterfalls and scenic trails.

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A beach with driftwood on white sand and ocean water, with greenery behind
If you need a beach getaway, visiting the tropical Cayo Coco is recommended!

Cayo Coco, Jardines del Rey

Cayo Coco is a landmark location that features white sand beaches and many resorts. The tropical island also houses lagoons, and the ocean waters are incredibly clear, making them ideal for diving and snorkeling.

If you’re looking for a beach getaway location while in Cuba, Cayo Coco has to be on your list!

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Cueva de los Portales, La Güira National Park

Cueva de los Portales is another of the natural landmarks in Cuba. This vast cave system is a fun attraction to explore.

The landmark also has historical significance. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Che Guevara made the caves his army’s headquarters for over a month.

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A lake running through green jungle with palm trees
Ciénaga de Zapata National Park is a UNESCO Site that’s home to an array of wildlife

Ciénaga de Zapata National Park

Ciénaga de Zapata National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an important ecological reserve. The park is home to a multitude of tropical plants and trees.

Of course, you’ll also find a vast array of wildlife here. Animals that call Ciénaga de Zapata National Park home include parrots, Cuban boa snakes, and the world’s smallest bird, the bee hummingbird.

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Aerial view of turquoise water, a rocky sand beach, and two small hills
Today, The Bay of Pigs attracts snorkelers and divers

The Bay of Pigs

The Bay of Pigs, or "Bahia de Cochinos" in Spanish, is one of the most well-known natural landmarks in Cuba. The landmark and its name are most associated with the failed United States CIA invasion of Cuba in 1961 that intended to overthrow Fidel Castro.

Today, the Bay is known for its turquoise waters and sandy beaches. If visiting, going snorkeling or diving is highly recommended due to the clear waters that are full of tropical fish and other marine life.

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In Summary

Cuba is home to vibrant cities, tropical coastal retreats, and attractions galore. During your trip, there are certain landmarks in Cuba that you have to see.

From Che Guevara's mausoleum and Ernest Hemingway's former home to a multitude of stunning beaches, Cuba is a country full of notable historical and natural landmarks.

This article was edited by Loredana Elena and was first published on Jan 19, 2022 22:08 UTC.

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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