Essential information for Havana
- Fly direct to Havana from Gatwick.
- Fly direct to Varadero from Gatwick every Sunday.
Do I need a visa?
All UK passport holders flying directly from the UK require a Tourist Visa. These can be purchased at the time of booking or from the Virgin Holidays desk at the airport for £15pp. Non-UK passport holders and UK passport holders flying into Cuba from outside of the UK should contact the consulate: Cuban Consulate, 167 High Holborn, London WC1V 6PA.
What you need to know about Cuba
Not sure what to expect? We've got it all here for you, so you can enjoy your holiday in Cuba. Read through our top tips on what you need, and how to prepare for your adventure on this unique Caribbean island.
Classic cars and carnivals: Havana highlights
Colourful buildings, soulful music, carnival celebrations and deliciously tasty food…
We think Havana holidays should be on everyone’s destination list. Whether you're looking for some fun in the sun, exploring the old buildings, hanging out with the locals or looking for a different type of family getaway, our package holidays to Havana have something truly unforgettable to offer.
Once you’ve touched down and stepped out of the airport, the first thing to grab your attention is colour. Colourful cars. Check. Colourful buildings. Check. Havana will make you feel happy from the very start to the very end of your holiday. With vintage and retro influences all around the city, step back in time and soak up the tropical atmosphere with our pick of the things you shouldn’t miss on holidays to Havana...
Havana holidays wouldn't be complete without exploring ‘Old Havana’, or Habana Vieja to the locals. With its narrow streets, tall buildings and colour all around, Old Havana will find a way to your heart, and make you never want to leave. Old Havana is especially known for its great meeting spaces, so be sure to check out the plazas, which each have their own historical stories and buildings to be explored. Gather during the day with locals and tourists alike and soak up the atmosphere.
Havana is a city rich in history, so a visit to the Capitol Building, ‘El Capitolio’, is a must-do on any explorer’s list. Be amazed by bronze covered statues, replica diamonds and grand halls before heading over to the Museo de la Revolución to discover the stories of the famous Cuban revolution.
Alongside the city’s history, one thing you’re sure to discover on holidays to Havana are the beautiful and brightly coloured vintage cars on every street. To explore Havana in true retro style, why not spend the day cruising around the city in a coloured vintage taxi?
Havana tours are another great way to explore the city, but if you’re looking to discover the rest of the island, we have the tour just for you with The Cuban Experience. This tour will take you all over Cuba, where you can embrace all that the island has to offer.
Fancy a quick break from the city centre to breathe in the fresh salty sea air? Take a walk along the El Malecón at sunset, where the locals go to relax and meet with friends for the evening. With the sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the seadrive is one of the most soulful spots in Havana.
With hotels to suit every kind of holidayer, our package holidays to Havana are a cut above the rest. From city-centre bases to seaside retreats, all of our resorts are ideally located to make the most of Havana — the choice is yours!
To immerse yourself in the heart of the city, stay at the Iberostar Parque Central hotel. With its grand colonial-style architecture and roof terrace overlooking the historic city, it's easy to see why this is one of Havana’s most luxurious hotels. Just a short walk across the road is the Floridita Restaurant where you can try one of Ernest Hemingway’s famous daiquiris!
Just a short walk from the seafront, shops and bars is the NH Capri hotel. Once playground to the rich and famous, the hotel is still considered to be one of Havana’s most important buildings. With its contemporary feel, great location and history, a stay here is definitely on our list. And if that’s not enough, the 17th floor Azul bar offers panoramic views of the city, where you can unwind and feast your eyes on the skyline. Did someone say mojito?
If relaxing by the pool is more your thing, the Melia Cohiba hotel is for you. With a freeform swimming pool, this the perfect place to lounge around, rejuvenate and soak up the sun during the day. In the evenings, head to the adult-only Habana Café for traditional Cuban shows and dancing.
With Spanish and Caribbean influences, food and drink in Havana are second to none. If you’re looking for some delicious and authentic food, check out many of the paladares. These are locally owned restaurants, sometimes located in the houses of the owners, serving typical Cuban cuisine. Here are some of our top dishes to try on Havana holidays:
- Ropa Vieja: this traditional Cuban dish can be ordered in most local restaurants and paladares. Shredded beef is slowly cooked in a rich tomato based sauce with green peppers.
- Moros y Cristianos: the Cuban version of rice and beans is a staple dish that will appear with almost every single one of your meals.
- Grilled Lobster: as Havana is located along the coast, fresh seafood is in abundance. Cuba is known for its delicious lobster and is surprisingly inexpensive to dine on, so we recommend sampling a freshly grilled lobster (or two!) during your stay.
Of course, no Havana holiday would be complete without starting each morning with Café Cubano (fresh coffee). The coffee is sweetened with demerara sugar whilst it’s being brewed. We can’t think of a better start to the day, can you?
It’s well worth planning holidays to Havana around some of the city’s spectacular events, if you can - after all, what better way to fully immerse yourself in Cuban culture? Here are just a few of the most amazing events happening in Havana:
- May Day May 1st: Known as International Workers’ Day, Havana hosts the largest celebration in the whole of Cuba. Take part in the parade with the workers to celebrate this national day.
- Carnaval de la Habana End of July: Havana’s famous carnival along the El Malecón, this is the only way to really experience true Cuban culture! Spend the day watching colourful traditional dancing and sampling the locally-made rum before partying the night away.
- New Year’s Eve December 31st: Bring in the New Year in style! Havana is one of the most vibrant cities to celebrate New Year’s Eve in the Caribbean. Head to one of the plazas early to start the celebrations with the locals.