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Morning walking tour of Havana Vieja, Cuba

Havana Vieja is the historic colonial heart of the city. This walking tour covers the four most important squares, each of which has its own character and history.

The Plaza De Armas has a peaceful atmosphere with thick, tropical vegetation sheltering an antique book market. Impressive baroque palaces surround the square, such as the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales, now the Museo de la Ciudad, which houses a statue of Christopher Columbus under towering Royal Palms.

The Plaza de San Francisco has some impressive commercial buildings such as the old Stock Exchange and Customs House, however the main attraction is the Basilica de San Francisco, which dates back to 1580.

Plaza Vieja is surrounded by pastel-coloured townhouses and is almost completely restored. The Plaza de la Catedral is home to the exceptionally-beautiful Catedral de San Cristobal, as well as important examples of early colonial architecture.

All the squares are linked by historic streets such as Calle Obispo, which are like open-air museums containing historic shops, vintage car museums and even a chocolate factory. Old hotels can also be visited, such as the Ambos Mundos where Hemmingway wrote 'For Whom the Bells Tolls'.

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Audley Travel specialist Alison

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Photos of Morning walking tour of Havana Vieja