Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana)

#6 in Best Things To Do in Havana
Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana) picture
El Toñio/Wikicommons

Key Info

Details

Museums, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.3

scorecard

  • 4.5Value
  • 3.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

This museum houses the largest collection of art in the country and is separated into two buildings; one for Cuban art housed in the Palacio de Bellas Artes, and (two blocks away) another for the rest of the world in the Centro Asturiano. The Cuban portion of the museum highlights a variety of artistic styles and mediums depicting everything from the Spanish occupation to the revolution. Visitors will view work from some of the country's greats, including Guillermo Collazo and Raul Martinez, the Andy Warhol of Cuba. If you're a fan of Picasso's "Guernica," seek out Servando Cabrera Moreno's portrait of the Bay of Pigs.

The international side of the museum is just as diverse. There, visitors will run into Roman, Japanese, Greek, Spanish and British pieces, with the oldest artwork dating back to 500 B.C. Recent visitors were happy to report there is lots to see in the museum, but particularly enjoyed perusing the Cuban portion. Some regular museumgoers commented that the non-Cuban art museum had much of what they've seen before, so think about what you want to see and plan accordingly. Being a state-owned museum, it's important to note that there is a no photography rule that is strictly enforced.

You can find the museum in Old Havana, about two blocks south of the Museo de la Revolución. Admission is 8 convertible pesos ($8).

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El Malecón1 of 8
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#1 El Malecón

To tourists, Old Havana may be the city's heart and soul, but to Cubans, it's El Malecón. Technically speaking, El Malecón is a 5-mile-long boulevard that stretches along the water, with Havana Bay on one side and the edges of Old Havana, Vedado and Central Havana on the other, depending on where you are. But metaphorically speaking, El Malecón is both a meeting point and place of refuge for locals looking to catch a breath of fresh air after a long day or night.

During the day, you're likely to see some residents along with a tourist or two, but at night, especially come sundown, is when you'll see flocks of Cubans holding loved ones close as they watch the sunset, crowds of young people laughing and drinking, fishermen waiting for a catch or even a small dance party. And sometimes, you may not see anybody at all. On particularly stormy days, waves crash up against El Malecón and much of the sea spills onto the roads, making for a great photo op.

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