Fortaleza is a perpetually sunny, seaside city with a vibrant atmosphere, lovely restored colonial buildings and several urban beaches. One of the largest cities in Brazil’s northeast, its main charm lies in its proximity to some truly spectacular beaches, massive sand dunes and laid-back towns along the coast.
If your dream holiday involves sun, surf and sand, with a dash of wild nightlife thrown in for good measure, then you’ve come to the right place! With its beaches and bars, jumping festivals (such as its out-of-season Carnaval, Fortal) and forró clubs, Fortaleza will show you a good time.Day 1: City Circuit
Get your bearings with a wander around the compact city center. The popular coastal promenade along Avenida Beira Mar overlooks metropolitan beaches Praia de Iracema and Meireles: take a dip or relax with a beer at one of the many beach-shack bars. Friends and family back home expecting souvenirs? Make tracks to Feirinha da Beira Mar, a bustling handicrafts market that takes place every evening along the promenade. Fortaleza’s cultural attractions are worth exploring too. The Gothic-Roman-style Metropolitan Cathedral is the third largest in Brazil, while the buzzing Dragão do Mar Cultural Center has a planetarium, art gallery and cinema. It also happens to be smack in the middle of Fortaleza’s main nightlife district.Day 2: Tropical Beach Fantasy
Some 65 miles (104 kilometers) from the city is Lagoinha Beach, formerly a hide-out for French pirates and now an idyllic fishing colony surrounded by towering red sand dunes. Often appearing in films and TV productions, Morro Branco is renowned for its rustic beauty, freshwater ponds and surreal rocky ‘labyrinths’. The tiny village of Cumbuco offers blissfully uncrowded beaches lined with coconut trees and every water sport under the sun.Day 3: Beach…or Beach Park?
A scenic 95 mi (156 km) drive along the poetically named Sol Nascente ('Rising Sun') Highway from Fortaleza, Canoa Quebrada’s pastel-pink sand dunes and reef-protected bay give it an almost mystical feel broken only by the sound of your beach buggy bouncing through the dunes. In the unlikely event that you’re suffering beach-fatigue, Latin America’s largest aquatic fun-park, Beach Park, beckons.