Cuba's architectural highlights: 'music turned to stone'

If Cuba's soul is hidden in its music, then its architecture – in the words of novelist Alejo Carpentier – is its 'music turned to stone.' Running the gamut of styles from baroque to art deco, the country is a museum of soaring architectural eclecticism that, by a trick of historical fate, got spared from the developer's bulldozers.

Got your camera? Right. Let's go on a whirlwind tour of Cuba's most photogenic architectural hot spots…



Soporific Trinidad went to sleep in 1850 and never really woke up. This strange twist of fate is good news for modern travelers who roam freely through the perfectly preserved mid-19th century sugar town like voyeurs from another era.



Shaped by a colorful colonial history and embellished by myriad foreign influences from as far afield as Italy and Morocco, the Cuban capital gracefully combines mudéjar, baroque, neoclassical, art nouveau, art deco and modernist architectural styles into a visually striking whole.


A city of legends and mysteries, Remedios is Cuba's forgotten corner, a colonial secret that glimmers subtly like an undiscovered Trinidad. Sit with a mojito under the winking louvers and keep the good fortune to yourself. Sssssh…


The so-called Perla del Sur (Pearl of the South) is Cuba's most architecturally complete city, a love letter to French neoclassicism that is wrapped picturesquely around one of the Caribbean’s best natural bays.



Classical blends with ecclesiastical in Camagüey – a city of churches, spires, towers and crosses. Then there are the streets: a network of winding, twisting, sinuous thoroughfares which take you to places that even the locals don't know about.

While a picture is undoubtedly worth a thousand words, seeing these beautiful buildings in the flesh is something else entirely! Why not start planning your own Cuban adventure? Lonely Planet's Cuba guide will set you on the right path. You might also like to compare notes with likeminded Cubanophiles in our Thorn Tree travel forum.