A good starting point for travellers exploring Nicaragua's mountainous regions, Matagalpa (sometimes called the 'Pearl of the North' or even the 'Land of Eternal Spring') is the sixth largest city in Nicaragua and one of the most important commercially. Set in one of the most mountainous regions in the country, it is surrounded by beautiful valleys and steep hills that contain coffee and cattle farms, traditional Indian villages, volcanoes, waterfalls and other interesting places to visit. The city has a uniquely German culture due to settlers in the region, and most of the residents speak English; despite its size it feels more like a village, with a distinct local character and sense of community. Matagalpa is mainly attractive for tourists as a paradise for outdoor activities like hiking, bird watching and horseback riding, and it is the city's location rather than its sightseeing attractions that make it worth visiting. Having said that, there are some interesting museums in Matagalpa and a visit to one of the coffee plantations is a must for fanatics as the region produces very high-quality coffee. There is a decent shopping and restaurant scene and a good range of accommodation to suit all budgets.