Are you traveling to the northern coast of Brazil, in the state of Ceará? Find out where to stay in Fortaleza, the “Land of Light!”
Known as Terra da Luz (Land of Light) due to its 2,800 hours of sunshine per year, Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil, home to a population of 2.6 million. Thanks to its tropical climate and 34 kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches near the city center, Fortaleza is the second most desired destination of Brazil and fourth Brazilian city that receives more tourists. Fortaleza is located in northeastern Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. World famous for its dune landscapes, beaches, and Bahia’s carnival, Fortaleza is a party-friendly destination, attracting party aficionados all year round. Between the low houses in the city center and the skyscrapers tickling the clouds on the edge of the ocean, Fortaleza offers a blend of tradition and modernity, though the traditional part of Fortaleza seems to be gradually but surely fading away in the face of frantic modernity, replacing vintage houses with a “concrete” coastline. Nevertheless, Fortaleza has much to offer to its visitors: a pleasant tropical climate, as well as a rich cultural and musical heritage (championed by traditional Forro music and dance), its long strips of golden sandy beaches, and historical monuments.
Between the central and coastal neighborhoods, the business district, the residential quarters, and the outskirts enjoy Fortaleza’s array of different atmospheres. Accommodation-wise, housing rates in Fortaleza are similar to those in Portugal. Read our selection of the best neighborhoods to stay in Fortaleza.
Downtown Fortaleza – the “blonde bride of the sun” – is likely to seduce a great many visitors, from adventurers, relaxation seekers, and thirsty party-goers. Fortaleza’s “centro” (city center) stretches from the Ingleses Bridge (English Bridge) to Antonio Pompeu Street, which serves as the limit with the José Bonifacio district. If you’re fond of architecture and keen to discover local Brazilian culture, you won’t be bored here: the city center as many museums, squares, and theatres (the Ceara Museum, the Culture Museum, the Museum of Digital Culture, the José de Alencar Theatre, Capistrano de Abreu Square). In the mood for a stroll? There are a few parks in the area including Parque das Crianças and Praça dos Martires. Don’t miss the wild Monday evenings – a must-see tradition – at the Pirata Bar, near the English Bridge, and the lively beach of Iracema.
Near Praça do Ferreira and Praça Clóvis Beviláqua sits the city’s Gothic cathedral, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza, with its 75-meter high towers. The city center is like a labyrinth, intertwined with a myriad of shops, bars where you can go out during the day and in the evening, or the Centro Dragão do Mar (housing two museums, cinemas, theatres, a library, and a planetarium) – a local favorite. Centro is an excellent place to stay in Fortaleza. However, if you are looking for peace and quiet, instead aim for areas outside the city center, offering a wider choice and range of accommodation options.
To the east of the center, Meireles is a bustling neighborhood, offering waterfront facilities and a range of hotels lining Avenue da Abolição. Situated just off Avenida Beira Mar, Meireles beach attracts many party-goers who come to enjoy lively tropical evenings with their feet in the sand. A fun and vibrant place to stay in Fortaleza.
Praia do Futuro
A long sandbank located east of Fortaleza, the “beach of the future” and its jaw-dropping waves make it a favorite spot for kitesurfing and surfing. Unsurprisingly, Praia do Futuro is a Brazilian favorite. You’ll find many restaurants, bars, and hotels along the coast, especially between Avenida Clovis Arrais Maia and the long Avenida Dioguinho. Accommodation in Praia do Futuro I and II is an excellent place to stay in Fortaleza if you enjoy spending time on the beachside, indulge in water sports during the day, and party the night away.
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