Granada is Nicaragua’s colourful, colonial gem and the perfect place to learn more about the country’s rather turbulent history. The town is one of Nicaragua’s most important cities, both economically and politically. Nowadays this beautiful and very colourful colonial city is also the most famous tourist destination in the country. However, mass tourism does not occur here; Granada is still a beautiful and authentic city where you can easily entertain yourself for a few days.
Granada was founded by Fransisco Hernandez de Cordoba in 1524. This makes it the oldest city on the American continent. The city was named after the Spanish city of Granada. But the city is also seen as ‘Gran Sultana del Gran Lago’, or the Great Sultan of the Great Lake. This is due to the strategic location on the shore of the large lake of Cocibolca.
The city has a glorious war record and was attacked by English, French and also Dutch pirates and you can still visit various historic forts, now silent witnesses to these attacks. A city-tour by bike or foot takes you back in time and lets you see and feel the true history of the town. Visit the market or the town square to enjoy the liveliness of the locals and the day-to-day life of ordinary Nicaraguans.
Granada was built on the shore of the great Lake Nicaragua. Due to an eruption of the Mombacho volcano in the past, there are now about 365 small islands in the lake. Some islands in the lake are inhabited, others are completely overgrown and form an ideal breeding ground for birds. On some islands, you can spot monkies as well.
It’s easy to rent a small boat (with or without a tour guide) to explore the islands and spend part of your day on the water. A visit to the Mombacho volcano is also recommended, because you can make a nice hike through the cloud forest.
Not far from Granada you find the vibrant town of Masaya. Visit the colourful local market where you can buy nice handmade items and souvenirs. A trip to the Masaya volcano cannot be missed, because of the gaping and smoking crater, you can actually see from up close!
In addition, the charming village of Catarina is a must-visit. Here you have an unbelievably beautiful view over the lake of Apoyo (a nice blue-green crater lake) and Granada.
As a result, Granada is the ideal base for tours within the city itself, but also for visits to surrounding villages and other sights.
We really liked our hotel Con Corazon in the centre of Granada! The volcano trip to Masaya is also highly recommended, we have seen lava there and at sunset this was a very impressive sight.
It was a good decision to start our holiday in Granada and to get used to the climate and the people. We have been on the road with Jimmy the Man for a day and he showed us around Granada. We had a great day with a great guide!
I really enjoyed my visit to Granada in Nicaragua. The flights and transport to the city were excellent. The warm welcome and excellent guides in Apoyo and Masaya. Steamy volcanic funnel and lots of lava rock.
In cities like León and Granada, try to have a look inside the houses. Many have a hacienda-like layout with beautiful courtyards and colourful cement tiles.