#01 Villa Clara northern cays

The cays’ stunning white-sand beaches sit in isolated splendour at the end of a narrow causeway.

#02 Jardines del Rey

One of Cuba’s most popular resorts has miles of beaches, including one of the country’s best in Playa Pilar, its largest coral reef and its top kitesurfing spot.

#03 Museo Presidio Modelo

Tour the isolated prison where Fidel Castro and his cohorts were incarcerated.

#04 Caverna de Santo Tomás

A guided walking tour through narrow underground chambers, replete with colonies of bats and glinting underground pools is a thrilling Tolkein-esque outing.

#05 Habana Vieja

This well-preserved colonial centre boasts perfectly restored centuries-old buildings throughout its narrow streets and historic plazas.

#06 Alejandro Robaina Tobacco Plantation

This small but highly successful tobacco plantation offers refreshingly down-to-earth tours.

#07 Viñales

Particularly enchanting on the morning when mist rises from the valley floor, Viñales’ prehistoric landscape is unforgettable.

#08 The Hershey train

Take a trip on this antiquated electric train that slowly winds through the best of the gentle countryside from Havana Province to Matanzas

#09 Diving off the southern coast

Benefiting from the calm waters of the Caribbean sea and copious marine life, the diving at María La Gorda, Punta Francés and the Jardines de la Reina is world-class

#10 La Plata mountain trail

Bring Cuba’s recent history to life with a day of mountain trekking to explore Fidel Castro’s revolutionary base camps

#11 Punta Gorda, Cienfuegos

The magnificently decorative Palacio del Valle is the icing on the cake during a wander around the broad avenues of this bayside district in laidback Cienfuegos.

#12 Santiago in July

This is the best time to visit Cuba’s second city, when its vibrant music scene boils over and the annual carnival brings fabulous costumes, excitement and song to the town

#13 Trinidad old town

This much-visited sixteenth-century town is packed with colonial mansions and churches, threaded together by cobbled streets and compact plazas

#14 National league baseball

Take a seat alongside the exuberant crowds at one of the country’s timepiece baseball stadiums

#15 Classic American cars

Ride around Havana or Varadero in one of Gran Car’s classic 1950s cars, a testament to both US engineering and Cuban ingenuity

#16 Havana Jazz Festival

This lively festival is the perfect showcase for Cuba’s jazz musicians.

#17 Baracoa’s countryside

Jewel of coastal eastern Cuba, tiny Baracoa makes an ideal base for exploring the verdant rainforest, mountain peaks and tranquil rivers dotted about this part of Guantánamo province

#18 Plaza de Armas book market

The colourful stalls set around this lovely Old Havana square offer a feast of fabulous vintage and pre-and-post revolution magazines, postcards, photos, posters and vinyl, from Cuba and the US.

#19 Havana’s Malecón

All the idiosyncrasies of Havana are on display here: the majestic and crumbling buildings, beatbox salsa, kissing couples and jineteros.

#20 Hotel Nacional

Wander around the cliff-edge gardens of this majestic hotel in the capital, or sip cooling cocktails on one of its elegant terraces.

#21 Fábrica de Arte Cubano

A club, arts centre and gallery space rolled into one, this slick converted peanut-oil factory is the place to experience Cuba’s counterculture arts scene.

#22 Las Terrazas, Pinar del Río

Thickly wooded hillsides, grassy slopes and natural swimming pools make this idyllic eco-resort a great base for a few days’ exploration.

#23 Colonial Camagüey

The most overlooked of the country’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the 500-year-old heart of Camagüey, with its tangle of streets, abundant churches and lovely squares, is a great place to wander around and to stay, with an outstanding set of boutique hotels and casas.

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