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Top 10 Things to See and Do in Fortaleza

Top 10 Things to See and Do in Fortaleza

Picture of Georganne Hassell
Updated: 28 April 2017

Fortaleza is among Brazil’s largest cities and it is certainly one of its most dynamic. From music venues to ice cream parlors, check out our top 10 spots to discover in this beautiful coastal city.

Chill out at Dragão do Mar

With a name like Dragão do Mar (Dragon of the Sea), you’re sure to have a good time. This cultural center is a hive of activity, with plenty of bars and restaurants to check out, as well as Brazilian movies. There are also special concert events, a planetarium and two museums, Museu de Arte Contemporânea and the Memorial da Cultura Cearense, to discover. Make at least one stop here for a coffee or a beer, and stick around for a show or explore the museums.

Dragão do Mar, Rue Dragão do Mar 81, Fortaleza, Brazil, +55 85 3488 8600

Savor the Sabores

Fortaleza’s year-round warmer temperatures mean that a delicious bowl of ice cream is always in order. Our top pick for sorvete (ice cream) is 50 Sabores – though the shop usually has more than a hundred different flavors to choose from. Check out some of the Brazilian fruit flavors as well as the liquor-infused caipirinha flavor, or get a taste of the tapioca ice cream.

50 Sabores, Av. Dom Manuel, 65 – Centro, Fortaleza, Brazil, +55 85 3032 5851

Explore mangrove swamps at Parque Ecológico do Cocó

Though Fortaleza has some great beaches in and around the city, travelers shouldn’t overlook the Parque Ecológico do Côco, which promotes environmentalism and offers a different look at the city and the fortitude of its inhabitants. The park was created in 1991 as a result of locals and ecological organizations raising awareness and fighting for the preservation of the area, which includes mangrove swamps. Take a boat trip up the Rio Côco and see for yourself how magical the mangroves are.

Ecological Park of Cocó, Av. Engenheiro Santana Júnior, Fortaleza, Brazil, +55 85 3234 3574

Sample regional cuisine

The Fortaleza restaurant scene has plenty of options, but for authentic northeastern Brazilian food you should head to Restaurante Coco Bambu Frutos do Mar. It’s consistently rated among the best and most popular joints that offer a midrange menu pricing. Try the seafood dishes and pretty much anything with coconut sauce. 

Coco Bambu, Av. Beira Mar, 3698 – Beira Mar, Fortaleza, Brazil, +55 85 3198 6000

Be inspired at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza

Nearly 40 years of back-breaking work led to the building of Fortaleza’s Metropolitan Cathedral. Completed in December 1978, the cathedral was created in the Neo Gothic-Roman style and is the third largest in the country. Five thousand worshippers can fit inside, and it is worth a look to explore the architecture and sheer magnitude of the church.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza, Praça da Sé, Fortaleza, Brazil, +55 85 3231 4196

Experience Fortaleza’s best gastrobar

Fortaleza has plenty of beach-style bars, but for some tasty cuisine and a better selection of beer try out Moleskine Gastrobar, the city’s foodie hotspot. It’s as urban-hipster as you can get in a Brazilian beach town, and the menu features a lot of grilled meats, though consider starting with their popular bobó de camarão, or shrimp and manioc purée appetizer.

Moleskine Gastrobar, Professor Dias da Rocha 578, Fortaleza, Brazil, +55 85 3037 1700

Take in a concert at Mucuripe Music

Get ready for a night of Brazilian music in a packed house at Mucuripe Music. This modern and spacious venue regularly fills up for a variety of music shows, ranging from axé (Afro-Brazilian pop), to the traditional country-style music, forró.

Mucuripe Music, Av. Santos Dumont 4400, Fortaleza, Brazil +55 85 3034 2447

#DeOntem pra você conferir só um pouco do caldeirão de animação que foi #SauloNoMucuripe 💥 Foto: @alana_andrade

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Raise a glass at Boteco Praia

No trip to Fortaleza would be complete without a stop at a beachside boteco, or bar. We’re fans of Boteco Praia which has super-cold beers and a stunning seafront view. The vista and atmosphere is worth the slightly overpriced food and drink, especially if you go at sunset.

Boteco Praia, Av. Beira Mar 1680, Fortaleza, Brazil, +55 85 3248 4773

Hunt for souvenirs at Mercado Central

Take home a piece of Fortaleza in whatever form you choose, be it a leather bag, palm basket, bottle of cachaça or gourmet cashews. All this and more is available at Mercado Central, which boasts more than 500 kiosks and stalls to satisfy even the pickiest souvenir hunter.

Mercado Central, Av. Alberto Nepomuceno, 199 – Centro, Fortaleza, Brazil +55 85 3454 8586

Discover state history at Museu do Ceará

Get a history fix at the Museu do Ceará, where exhibits display the anthropology and history of the state of Ceará. The real gems are found in the smaller stories, like that of four fishermen who set sail from Ceará’s coast to arrive in Rio de Janeiro to alert the government of the poor conditions they and their fellow statesmen were suffering from.

Museu do Ceará, Rua São Paulo 51, Fortaleza, Brazil, +55 85 3101 2610