Havana’s most charming square.

by San Cristobal

It is not possible to mention the beauties of Havana without including The Cathedral Square. With its cobbled streets and beautiful facades it captivates visitors from all over the world.

In earlier times it was named Plaza de la Cinaga (Swamp Square), and later on “Plaza de la Catedral”, it is a place that has much to do with the beginning of Havana, founded on the 16th Century in the proximities of Havana’s harbour.

Late in the 18th century and after many refurbishment to a religious building which eventually became The Cathedral of Havana Cathedral the Square was to be known as The Cathedral Square. The Cathedral it self is just amazing. On its facades the best baroque architecture of Havana can be appreciated which contrast with its complete Neoclassic style in the interior. Beautiful buildings surround the this church harmonizing with the splendour of the square.

Numerous important gatherings take place in this astonishing little spot of Havana. Festival, music concerts and gala dinners for important groups have found the perfect venue in Cathedral Square. The weather is always nice and the atmosphere can not be better. Surrounded by a magnificent architecture and serenaded by some always excellent Cuban music can be the ideal perfect evening.

Just few seconds walk you can find La Bodeguita del Medio, restaurant that together with El Floridita have become the most famous and emblematic restaurants not only in Cuba but also around the world. The specialty of the restaurant is the Cuban cuisine and its walls are engraved with autographs of numerous famous celebrities such as Ernest Hemingway, Mario Benedetti, Pablo Neruda or Errol Flyn and so many others.

The list of celebrities is very long and it has been like that for decades now. Today holiday makers can enjoy one of the best restaurants not only in terms of the food but also in terms of character. Its bar is very intimate, small and cosy and like in many other bars in Havana music is always played by a small traditional Cuban band.

Since very early in the mornings the square becomes crowded with tourists who come to take pictures, visit the Cathedral or any of the palaces around it. After much wandering around you can seat at El Patio Restaurant whose tables are spread all over the square and enjoy the people passing by.

A word of advice is to find a hotel in the old town, there are about 15 of them and they are very small, cosy and boutique hotels with very affordable prices. Santa Isabel and Florida hotels have both the best standard of service and location. Every thing you need to do or see will be walking distance from your hotels. At the end of the day you do not want the hassle of having to take taxis while on your holidays.

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