174km (108 miles) SW of Havana
Pinar del Río, the provincial capital, is named for the pine trees that grow along the banks of the Río Guamá, where the city is set. Originally founded as Nueva Filipina (New Philippine), it was re-christened Pinar del Río in 1774 and is one of the last major cities founded by the Spanish in Cuba. Pinar del Río is an animated little city of around 150,000, with a university, several hospitals, and some industries. The city's architecture is a mix of colonial and neoclassical in varying states from finely restored to post revolutionary decay. The city's major attractions can easily be visited in a day, and you'd be better off giving more time and attention to the province's less urban destinations, although the city provides a glimpse of a town unfettered by major tourism.