Awash with color, music and photogenic appeal, Nicaragua’s historical hub of Granada has a way of hypnotizing all five senses. It’s no surprise that the oldest colonial city in Central America is a magnet for shutterbugs and culture seekers. After all, its streets lined with pastel buildings, horse-drawn carriages and aromatic cigar shops make it easy to cast itineraries to the wind and simply wander. Even so, the city boasts a range of landmarks that even the most tenacious wanderers will want to cross off their bucket lists.
Founded in 1524 by Francisco Hernández de Córdoba, Granada is ostensibly the first European city in mainland America—and has the colonial-era architecture to prove it. Over the years, the city contended with invasions from English, French and Dutch pirates trying to take control of the country. Today, the political unrest has subsided, leaving the town open for exploration.
Located near Lake Nicaragua, Granada is conveniently situated near volcanoes, islets, beaches and lagoons, making it a perfect base for seeing highlights within the city and beyond.
Julia Eskins is a freelance travel writer and the editor of Here & There Magazine.