The fifth largest city in Brazil in terms of land area, Fortaleza (which means “fortress” in Portuguese) is the capital of the province of Ceara. This sprawling city of over two million inhabitants has been a major commercial point in the northeast regions with tourism and manufacturing being its two main economic activities.
A tropical climate, pristine and sandy beaches, a pulsating nightlife and rich culinary finds make Fortaleza one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Brazil. Fortaleza also has one of the highest demographic densities in Brazil.
Whilst the place abounds with natural beauty and it has a rich cultural history, modernization has taken over Fortaleza with the high-rise buildings, shopping malls and hotels for tourists and events. Some landmarks that can be found in the place are the Palacio da Luz, Castelao Football Stadium and the Fortaleza Cathedral which is one of the biggest churches in Brazil.
Like other places in Brazil, Fortaleza has its own carnival season which is marked by lively processions of brass bands, Maracatu dancing and singing in the streets as well as displays and shows on open trucks. But its biggest attraction is still the 25 kilometer stretch of urban beaches, with Praia do Futuro (“Beach of the Future”) being the most popular for bathing, surfing and other nautical sports. Meireles Beach is good for strolling and has the highest number of hotels.
Visitors can also go shop for local handicrafts at Mercado Central, Feirinha da Beira-Mar and the Mercado Publico where there are a number of stalls and shops offering various wares at friendly prices.