Fortaleza, the capital city of the State of Ceará, it has been for years the number one holiday destination for Brazilians. With many international airlines now flying to Fortaleza it opens it’s door to many international tourist as well, me included.
Fortaleza has sunny urban beaches, a busy nightlife and delicious restaurants.
Below you will find the top things to do in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Things to see in Fortaleza Brazil
Metropolitan cathedral of Fortaleza
Metropolitan cathedral or São José Parish church is the third largest church in Brazil. Built in Gothic-Roman style, it remembered me of the Notre Dame church in Paris. Maybe because it was built by a french architect : Georges Maunier.
Worth having a look! It is situated right next to the central market!
Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Assuncao
Also in the same area than the central market and the Metropolitan cathedral is situated the Fortress of Nossa Senhora da Assuncao. A fort where the history of Fortaleza started. You can visit some of it, the rest belongs to the army.
Parque Ecológico do Rio Cocó
To escape the city life, head over to Parque Ecológico do Rio Cocó. It is a huge park of 1,100 hectares in the center of the city and one of the biggest urban park in South America. In the park you can see a lot of flaura and fauna and even some endangered species while taking a boat tour along the river or while waling on one of the trails. For the more adventurous of you you will also find activities like canopy tours, rock climbing, and abseiling.
Best beaches of Fortaleza, Brazil
The Northeast Region of Brazil is famous for it’s beaches. Also in Fortaleza would will find some good beaches.
The beaches in the city center of Fortaleza, Praia de Iracema and Praia de Meireles along Bei Mar avenue are not the best for swimming but they are very cool urban beaches. Perfect to go for a jogging, watch the sunset, or habe a beer at one of the many barracas.
Praia de Futuro
Praia de Futoro is the nicest beach close to the city center. It is a 15 minutes drive from the city center. We took a uber and it cost us around 6 dollars. It is a 7 km long beach where you can swim. It has some facilities if you would like to surf and many barracas that have a parties of some nights of the week!
Praia de Cumbuco
Praia de Cumbuco is situated around 25km away from the city center. Cumbuco is a small fishing village. It is famous for it’s beach and it’s sand dunes that you can explore when renting a buggy. We did this in Canoa Quebrada and it was really cool. The buggy will also take you to some water lakes for you to swim in 🙂
On the beach there are many barracas, options to do horse backriding as well as kite and wind surfing. You can take a taxi or book a day tour to Cumbuco!
Fun things to do in Fortaleza, Brazil
Be a child again at Beach Park in Fortaleza
Beach Park in Fortaleza was awarded the best waterpark in South America. It is situated around one hour away from the city center on Porto de Dunas beach. A splendid beach!!
Entrance is around 60 dollars for a day. There are plenty of things to do for both adults and children. Don’t miss Insana aka the 41 meters high slide! Too scary for me I skipped my turn but enjoyed all other radical rides!
If you come with friends or your family, you can also rent a private hut to relax.
Watch the sunset in Fortaleza
Tips : The best place to watch the sunset in Fortaleza is at Iate Club or from Praia dos Crush!
Dance the traditional forró
Unfortunately I didn’t had the chance to dance the traditional Forro but I have been told you can dance it or just watch at Pirata and Arre Egua bars.
Shopping in Fortaleza
Shopping in Fortaleza means to buy items typical from Brazil. You will find two main markets in the city. Both of them sell similar things but it is still nice to stroll around.
Things to look for are : pottery,soap, indigenous artwork, basketry, cashews, beach clothes, traditional lace products, leather goods, jewelry, bottles of cachaça, T-shirts, wood works, etc
Buy souvenirs at Fortaleza central market
The Fortaleza central market is a very big complex on four floors where you can buy all the items mentionned above. If you stroll around the market you will find more shops as well.
Night market at Feirinha Beira-Mar
The night market at Feirinha opens around 6pm. You will find many stands selling everything from traditionnal items to beach wear. It is a very good way to start your evening.
Eating in Fortaleza
Have a fancy dinner at Colosso lake lounge
We spent one evening at the Colosso lake lounge. It is quite a fancy beach club in Fortaleza. I recommend to come there already in the afternoon as they have a beach area (no sea here but there is a lake) where you can swim or do stand up paddling. Stay then for dinner and drinks as they play live music later in the evening!
Eat fresh fish at the fish market in Fortaleza
Every morning the fishermen goes to the sea on their Jaganda to capture fresh fish. A jangada is a traditional fishing boat made of wood used in the northern region of Brazil. You can buy the fish they captured later in the day at the fish market and ask one of the stand at the fish market to fry eat so you can eat it there! So cool !
Don’t miss crab night on Thursday!
Many places in Fortaleza do crab night. Popular places are on Praia do Futuro or Croco beach were we went.
Eat an Acai bowl
Brazil is the country of Acai. Açaí is a palm that can be found in the Amazonas region. It gives a blue-violet berry used in a Brazilian dish : acai bowl that made of frozen and mashed açaí and topped with granola, fruits and nuts.
Where to sleep in Fortaleza
While in Fortaleza I slept at the Oasis Atlantico situated on the beach promenade on avenue Beira Mar.
I recommend you to stay in this area of Fortaleza too if you come for leisure 🙂
Fortaleza is the perfect place to spend a day or two before or after flying into Brazil. Don’t miss the nearby destinations that are supposed to be the best beach destinations in Brazil. If your time is limited, Canoa Quebrada with it’s red cliffs and long beaches is a short trip away from Fortaleza and a very fun destination!