Majestic colonial charm, radiantly colorful houses, iconic vintage US cars, a sparkling zest for life and fabulous dream beaches: Cuba is as diverse as it is unique. Hardly surprising that the country is currently one of the most popular travel destinations at all. Because here the Caribbean paradise meets the charm of past times. We reveal the most beautiful places in Cuba, which you should have experienced in any case once ..
Havana, the heart of Cuba: for a cocktail with Ernest Hemingway
This is where every trip to Cuba should begin: Havana, perhaps one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You can stroll along the impressive boulevards, past epochal buildings, and then mingle with the people in the maze of alleyways in the neighborhoods. Cuban live music always resounds from somewhere and you soon begin to understand why Ernest Hemingway found his home in Cuba. The globetrotter traveled a lot and lived fast before settling in the country. Here he wrote his best works, first of all "The Old Man and the Sea", and in Havana you can still feel a touch of the inspiration that once spurred Hemingway on to his literary masterpieces.
Of course, the quierlige city offers countless attractions. There is, for example, the former presidential palace, where today the museum of the Cuban Revolution is located, or the Capitol, which was built according to the American model. Equally impressive: the main square Plaza de Armas and the Plaza de la Catedral. Or enjoy perhaps the most beautiful view of the city from the glassed-in pool on the roof of the luxury hotel Parque Central Havana. But you can experience Havana the Hemingway way if you take two or three days and let yourself drift through the old town, accompanied by Caribbean sounds. For the incomparable Hemingway experience, we recommend a visit to the legendary bar El Floridita. This is where the author preferred to drink his daiquiri.
Varadero in Cuba: where life is celebrated
From Havana it is worthwhile to travel on to Varadero, on the PenInsula de Hiacos peninsula about 120 kilometers east of the capital. The fabulous, 22-kilometer-long, snow-white dream beach is no longer an insider tip and tourists from all over the world loll here under the Cuban sun. And nevertheless a side trip to Varadero is worthwhile. Although the original charm has been lost through the multitude of hotels, bars and restaurants, boredom should never arise in Varadero. There is always something going on here. During the day, diving enthusiasts enjoy the diversity of species under water – dazzling coral reefs, funny fish, lobsters and (with a bit of luck) turtles. Sailors, surfers and water-skiers enjoy themselves on the surface of the water. Golfers will find a sporting El Dorado in Varadero. Guests of the luxurious Melia Varadero, for example, have direct access to the town's exclusive golf course. The best way to end the evening is in a bar. However: it will probably not remain with a drink. The nights in Varadero are long.
Trinidad: Cuban place with ancient history
On the south coast of Cuba lies this colonial beauty: Trinidad. Lovers of luxury will revel in the glorious past of Trinidad, which was founded in 1514 and gained enormous wealth through the sugar boom, in the fine Grand Hotel. The colorfully painted palaces and city mansions still tell of Trinidad's long history. The beautiful Plaza Mayor is the place to start your exploration of the city. Impressive are also the buildings of the Historical Museum (Museo Historico Municipal) and the Museum of Architecture of Trinidad.
For those who want to take a break from historic walks, Playa de Ancon is only 12 kilometers from Trinidad and is easily accessible by cab. The fine white sandy beach is rarely crowded by tourists. The water here is particularly clear and invites you to take a plunge into the waters of the Caribbean Sea. And Trinidad is world famous for something else: every evening live concerts take place on the steps of the Plaza Mayor in the "Casa de la Musica". Here Cubans and tourists celebrate together under the open sky and toast to life with mojito from plastic cups. It is not uncommon to be asked to dance Salsa. So don't be shy. Even those who do not know the rhythmic movements of Salsa should accept the invitation to dance. You will miss an authentic Cuban and very fun evening otherwise.
Cienfuegos: French colonial splendor on the south coast of Cuba
More undiscovered by tourists than Trinidad is the charming coastal town of Cienfuegos in the picturesque bay of BahIa de Jagua. The city also bears the name "Pearl of the South" – and rightly so: because Cienfuegos captivates with a unique culture. Once a French enclave, the old town is still an unparalleled example of French colonial splendor. It is not without reason that the masterful building ensembles are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Just above Cienfuegos sits the Castillo de Jaqua, an impressive fortress built to protect the city from piracy and now considered one of Cuba's most important military structures. It is said that the "Lady in Blue" haunts here, a woman in a blue brocade dress.
Along the coast of Cienfuegos stretches a unique reef. Here a structure of columnar corals, known as "Notre Dame", offers a fascinating underwater labyrinth for divers. Our tip for Cienfuegos: the most beautiful view over the city and its bay can be enjoyed from the roof terrace of the fine Hotel La Union. Especially recommended at sunset.
Cayo Coco& Cayo Maria in Cuba: a place in paradise
The coral island of Cayo Coco on the north coast of Cuba can only be reached via a 27-kilometer-long causeway. It is a paradisiacal retreat, access to the miles of snow-white dream beaches of Cayo Coco is strictly controlled. Only tourists or Cubans who work in the hotel complexes are allowed to pass the causeway, but they leave the island again in the evening. In this respect, the coral island hardly offers authentic impressions of the country, but it does offer the most beautiful and cleanest beaches of Cuba. The clear water on Cayo Coco shines in strong turquoise and shallows so shallow, you have to walk a few meters until you can swim in the sea. The sand is fine and warm, the palm trees sway gently in the wind, in short: Cayo Coco is a dreamlike place, far away from stress and everyday life. If you are looking for even more relaxation and luxury, you should stay at the wonderful Melia Capo Coco.
A bit more north and still a bit quieter, lies the island of Cayo Santa Maria. It is the cayo furthest out to sea on the north coast of Cuba and a pristine paradise. Here you find nothing but untouched nature and powder sugar white beaches. Cayo Maria is a jewel among Cuban islands. But if you think the beauty of the island can't be beaten, you're wrong. The fine resort Royalton Cayo Santo Maria, which blends into the fabulous surroundings, puts the crown of luxury on the stay in paradise.