What to do Fortaleza - City sights & activities
For leisure travellers probably the reason of coming to Fortaleza in the first place: the beaches.
Of all metropolitan areas, Fortaleza has arguably the best city beaches in Brazil (OK, except the country’s number 1 tourist destination 2600 km/ 1600 miles south…).
Fortaleza city beachesare no match to other north coast beaches.
The main Fortaleza city beaches are:
– Iracema Beach (Praia de Iracema)
Directly eastward of the city centre, Iracema is the main
nightlife and restaurant hub of Fortaleza, not the best beach. Focal point of Iracema is the long ocean pier Ponte dos Ingleses, a good place for seeing the sunset in Fortaleza and if lucky, dolphins.
– Meireles Beach (Praia de Meireles)
Much nicer than Iracema, is its neighbour to the west. Meireles beach is dotted with palm trees and shady waterfront cafés. Meireles also has a pedestrian boulevard which becomes a night market after dark. Many hotels in Fortaleza are located near Meireles beach.
Fortaleza - Jangadas at Mucuripe Beach
|– Mucuripe Beach (Praia de Mucuripe)
The main attraction of harbour beach Mucuripe is the afternoon return of the Fortaleza fishing fleet, which consists of small traditional boats.
These so-called jangadas are typical for the entire northern coast of Brazil.
Unfortunately, it is hard to say when the boats sail back home to Fortaleza; it mainly depends on the tide.
– Future Beach (Praia do Futuro)
Much cleaner than the other Fortaleza city beaches and the only one for
swimming(Iracema and Meireles are not suitable for getting into the water). Future beach is a fizzy stretch of sand south-eastward of the Fortaleza city centre, with many beach cafés, restaurants and discos. Praia do Futuro is especially busy in the weekends.
In contrary to other large cities in Brazil, Fortaleza has very few historical buildings of interest or beauty. However, if you want to take a day off from the beach in Fortaleza, you might consider visiting these historical buildings in the city centre:
– Fortress Lady of the Assumption (Fortaleza Nossa Senhora da Assunção) – Av Maestro Alberto Nepomuceno 250
The oldest stronghold in town which inspired the city’s present name. The ‘fortaleza’ was build in 1649 by the Dutch. Today the fortress of Fortaleza still serves as a military building.
– Church Our Lady of Rosário (Igreja Nossa Senhora do Rosário) – Praça dos Leões
This is a small, scanty church which is of particular interest because it was built by slaves in the 18th century. The Church Our Lady of Rosário in Fortaleza became some sort of symbol in the struggle for liberation of slaves in Brasil.
– Theater José de Alcenar (Teatro José de Alcenar) – Praça José de Alencar
Remarkable theatre building in the tropics, a combination of Victorian ironwork imported all the way from Scotland and art nouveau styled stained glass. The Theater José de Alcenar in Fortaleza was named after one of the most famous Brazilian novelists.
– Cultural Center Dragão do Mar (Centro Dragão do Mar de Arte e Cultura) – Rua Dragão do Mar 81
Very popular complex in Fortaleza, housed in a beautifully restored block of houses, accessible by several gangways.
The cultural center houses a planetarium, theatre, cinema, cafés, shops and two museums (on popular culture and on contemporary art respectively).
Cultural Center Dragão do Mar
– Museum of Ceara (Museu do Ceará) – Rua São Paulo 51
Best museum in Fortaleza on the history and anthropology of the city of Fortaleza and the state of Ceará. The Museum of Ceara has a motley collection of coins, paintings, furniture, weaponry and indigenous art. Now and then there are temporal exhibitions as well.
Former jail, now tourist market
|– Tourist market (Centro de Turismo) – Rua Senador Pompeu 350
The former jailhouse of Fortaleza has been turned into a lively market.
Each cell has its own small shop. You can buy all the kinds of
souvenirsyou can imagine, but also quality lacework and cashew nuts for instance.
The complex also shelters a small museum of local crafts.
– Central Market (Mercado Central) – Av Maestro Alberto Nepomuceno 199
Bustling place, aimed at tourists. Cheapest in Fortaleza for buying leather and textile goods.