If you watched the matches of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in preparation for the 2014 World Cup, you’re probably already familiar with Fortaleza, one of the six host cities for those games. With a population of approximately 3 million, it is one of the largest cities in Brazil. It’s located in the Northeastern part of the country and you can get around the entire area easily by bus, metro and taxi.
Since it’s located along the ocean, one of Fortaleza’s major tourist attractions are its beaches. It should average about 85 degrees Fahrenheit in the area during World Cup, which is perfect beach weather.
Head to Mucuripe Beach if you want to get a look at the traditional fish markets of the area. For shopping and dining around the beach, go to Meireles Beach where there’s a daily handicrafts fair. Alternatively, check out Iracema Beach for more of a nightlife / party vibe. This is the easternmost beach, located closest to the center of the city. You can enjoy surfing and kitesurfing at several of the area’s beaches. If you want to enjoy sunbathing, your top choice beach is Praia do Futuro Beach.
If you want to soak in the culture and attractions of the area then there a few key things you need to put on your itinerary. First off is Theatro José de Alencar, named after the famous author and influential romantic novelist who was also a lawyer. The theatre has live performances almost nightly and is considered one of the major architectural landmarks of the city.
Another landmark is the clock at Ferreira Square, which is considered the heart of the city. It’s a great urban city square and you can enjoy walking around and checking out the historic buildings all around it.
Get some great views of the city from Ingleses Bridge and Metal Bridge. Finally, make sure to see some of the famous cathedrals in this Roman Catholic city such as the Metropolitana Cathedral and the Fortaleza Cathedral.
Make sure to enjoy the traditional grilled meats of a rodizio while you’re in Fortaleza. A rodizio is a type of all you can eat restaurant where the waiters keep bringing you samples of food until you’re full!
Churrascaria Gheller is a favorite restaurant for those meats, not only because it’s tasty, but because dinner is accompanied by the entertainment of a stand-up comedian several days each week. Also, don’t hesitate to try the seafood at the fish market or the nearby beach restaurants since the city is known for its fish.
YOU’RE SO HOT!
Be careful if you seem to be getting a little more attention than usual from gorgeous young Brazilian women while visiting Fortaleza. Its not that you don’t deserve it, but be aware that Fortaleza is considered the prostitution capital of Brazil.
WHERE THE ACTION WILL BE
The Fortaleza stadium is called the Estadio Castelao. It was built in 1973, but renovations for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup have seen the stadium’s seating limit increased to 60,342, an underground parking lot with 1,900 spaces, fully refurbished dressing rooms and a new roof. Even access to the stadium has been upgraded. Four exclusive bus lanes, a light rail vehicle line and two metro stations, were created to make it easier for fans to reach the venue. The complex it will form part of will include restaurants, movie theaters, a hotel and an Olympic centre.