Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Havana a Great Holiday in Cuba; Enjoy This Fascinating and Bustling Capital with Its Heritage of Glitz and Glamour, and Then Head off to Relax in a Seaside Resort

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Havana a Great Holiday in Cuba; Enjoy This Fascinating and Bustling Capital with Its Heritage of Glitz and Glamour, and Then Head off to Relax in a Seaside Resort

Article excerpt

Brought to you by If you land during a local celebration of some sort you'll find something very special about being greeted at Havana's airport by a troupe of dancing girls, clad in sequins and feathers, moving rhythmically to the strains of salsa and handing out glasses of rum punch.

But as you will quickly find out, there's plenty more of this sort of entertainment to be found on this, the largest of the Caribbean islands. But don't choose Cuba's fascinating and bustling capital for a restful holiday. The best plan is to combine a frenetic few days in Havana with a stay at one of the country's beach resorts such as Varadero or Jibacoa. Virgin Holidays offers multi-destination holidays to Cuba, meaning you won't even have to do all the planning.

With a long-standing music and dance heritage, the island is a vibrant mix of old and new -- just take a look at the Fifties American cars you will see everywhere. The Malecon, Havana's main promenade, is still the place where local youths and their girlfriends meet to dance and flirt. Ernest Hemingway's favourite watering holes, El Floridita and La Bodeguita del Medio, act as magnets for curious tourists and the Hotel Ambos Mundos, where it is said he wrote "For Whom the Bell Tolls", is still there. It is not very difficult to imagine the grand old man sitting in the corner with his drink in a bid to beat writers' block.

Start in the Plaza de Armas and take a stroll down the Calle Obispo, Old Havana's most important thoroughfare, and you can peer into some of the city's oldest homes, as well as shops which appear to have been left almost unchanged since the 19th century.

Visit the Capitolio, a replica of the US Capitol building in Washington, then go to the back of the building to visit the Partagas Tobacco Factory, the biggest of its kind in Cuba, where more than 200 cigar rollers produce five million cigars a year. …

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