Meet Fortaleza

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil and 91th in the World, with approximately 4 million inhabitants including its metropolitan region. It is the capital of the state Ceará, located in the Northeast region of Brazil. Apart from hosting 6 games of the 2014 World Cup, Fortaleza is one of the most visited destinations in the country, receiving over half a million of tourists each year. Nonetheless, it is the city where I grew up, spent my teenage years and it is where I call home, even though it is not where I was born.

For those of you who have heard of Fortaleza before: I am impressed! I can count in one hand how many times people asked me where I am from and heard about the city before. For those who never heard of it, don’t worry, I am sure the majority of you haven’t, and that is exactly why I am introducing to you today, the city where I have lived the longest time in my life so far.

We can start by where it is located on the map:

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

A bit of history

Fortaleza used to be disputed among Portuguese and Dutch colonialists, and was founded in April 13th, 1726. The Portuguese arrived first, without success on conquering the region they left, and later on came the Dutch, who founded a fortress called Schoonenborch by the commander Matias Beck.

In 1654 the Dutch were expelled by the aboriginals and later on the Portuguese returned and renamed the fortress as Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora de Assunção, where Fortaleza means fortress, the origin of the city’s name. With time, the fortress grew up and a village started to build up, and in 1823 the village was recognized by the Emperor Dom Pedro I as a city.

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

What is so special about Fortaleza?

Fortaleza is a coastal city, where beaches are the main attraction among tourists and locals. There are over 25 beaches nearby, offering a great variety of attractions, such as driving through the dunes, kite and wind surfing, surfing, boat trips, jet skiing, wake boarding, beach volleyball and much more.

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

Porto das Dunas Beach

Apart from the local culinary, which includes açaí and crabs, Fortaleza also offers great restaurants and bars, and huge shopping malls where you find from famous brands to local handcrafts. Not to mention the nightlife – one of the best in Brazil – where bars and clubs with live bands take over.

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

Fortaleza is also the starting point if you want to explore wonderful beach cities such as the famous Jericoacoara, Canoa Quebrada, Flexeiras and many others.

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

Fortaleza, Ceará, por Packing my Suitcase

The average temperature of this tropical city is 26,5C, where the hottest months are December and January and the “coldest” May and June when it is normally rain season. So if you are looking for a warm and sunny place all year long to spend your vacation, here is an option you should consider.

The tourism in Fortaleza increases each year. With the World Cup in 2014, even more foreigners were attracted, especially Europeans, the majority coming from Italy, Spain and Portugal.

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

Dragão do Mar cultural center

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase


Truth must be said, and sadly Fortaleza is the 7th most dangerous city in the World, where there are 78.81 homicides per 100,000 residents. This information is for your awareness, and should not be a reason not to visit the city. There are many ways to deal with this problem, and you can start by:

  • Paying attention around you
  • Taking official taxis
  • Not accepting help from strangers, unless requested
  • Not showing your valuable belongings such as cellphones, cameras, watches, etc.
  • Being careful with the neighborhoods you visit

Fortaleza, Brazil by Packing my Suitcase

All in all Fortaleza has wonderful things to offer, and I know many people – Brazilians and foreigners – who always find an excuse to come back. The truth is: here, fun is always guaranteed!

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • You had me at 26.5 C average! 😀 It looks beautiful and I am pretty sure I have heard of Fortaleza before, but I can’t remember when or how.

    By the way, that crab totally looks like he’s chilling and smoking a cigarette, haha!

    • hahahaha crazy crab… I can only say it was very good 😀
      Cool that you have heard of Fortaleza before, maybe because of the World cup, or me?

      • Probably both 😉 I’ve only had crab once in Portugal and I didn’t like it as it was super salty. Is that how it is or did they do something wrong?

        • hahaha yes!!
          Ohh really? Noo, its not supposed to be salty at all… in Brazil we make with a little sauce but its not salty! I hope you try again, this time a Brazilian crab 😀

  • Oh man, there’s an impenetrable blizzard outside and here you are teasing us with beaches and sunshine!

    • hahaha sorry about that!!! It was hard seeing the photos again for me too… I am back in freezing Germany 😀

  • You are so lucky! Loved this post 🙂 I hope I visit Fortaleza soon! Though, I should visit Munich first don’t I? haha!

    • hahaha you are so sweet!! Yesss, Munich first please! The probability of finding me in Munich is higher than in Fortaleza 😀
      Glad you liked the post!

  • I definitely had never heard of Fortaleza before 😀 I’m glad you’ve introduced me! I’ve been learning more about Brazil lately, and I’d love to visit one day. What other parts of Brazil do you love?

    • Ohh that is interesting!! Are you planning to visit Brazil soon? I can highly recommend Natal, which is not so far from Fortaleza, also in the Northeast region. Porto Seguro in Bahia, beach cities like Angra dos Reis and Buzions in the State of Rio de Janeiro… there are so many amazing places in Brazil, and the truth is that I should visit more places in my country! 😀

      • Isn’t that true for people of any country! 😀 I’d love to visit eastern Canada- I’ve never been past Montreal.
        I have no immediate plans, but my sister and I are hoping to backpack South America together in a few years! Bahia sounds amazing- have you seen the episode of No Reservations that was filmed in the area?

        • hahah true! Ohhh I love Montreal 😀
          Backpacking in South America sounds fun!! I hope you do include Brazil on your itinerary 😀 and if you do let me know if you need anything!

          I still haven’t seen this episode, maybe I should watch No Reservations!! Now I am curious!!

          • I certainly shall! I’ve got a few years to wait as the plan is for her to finish university first 😉
            I would definitely recommend the series! Anthony Bourdain (a chef and writer) travels the world, sampling local food and drink and having great conversations with local people to learn from their perspectives.

          • That sounds great!! I hope it will all work out 😀

            Ohhh I have to watch it, seems pretty cool… and I am addicted to series 😀 thank you for the recommendation!

  • Allane, your hometown is beautiful and all those beaches make it so appealing to me! I hope I am able to visit it and Brazil some day 🙂

    • Thank you dear!! I am so happy that you liked it 😀 I hope you do visit Brazil someday, you will fall in love with the beaches <3

  • Incredible place! I am writing my dissertation abut Brazil! Your post gave me some more ideas, Thank you for sharing! xx

    • Ohhh really? That’s interesting! What are you writing about? Let me know if I can help you with anything 😀

  • Beautiful pictures of a beautiful place! 🙂

    Interesting facts too. I didn’t know it is the 7th dangerous city in the world. It seems so picturesque!

    This hasn’t put me off though, it’s going on my bucket list! 🙂

    I hope you had a great time!

    • Thank you dear, promise is a promise… so here is a bit of my country for you 😀
      I am glad you liked it, and I hope you make it there sometime… the beaches are amazing and the food too 😀

      • My bucket list is down to my feet, but at some point and if I get the opportunity, I will visit Brazil and enjoy the beaches and the great food 🙂

        • Oh my, don’t tell me about long bucket lists hahaha mine never ends!
          I do hope you go someday, Brazil is very worth a visit 😀

          • Me too! I must make a start on this ever-growing bucket list! 😀

          • hahaha yes you do!! And you could start by coming to Germany and visiting me 😀

  • The more you post about Brazil the more I know I’ll need to spend a year or more exploring your beautiful country!

    • hahaha sooo happy to know that!! If you do that you will probably ended up moving there 😀

  • Wow, your home-town is so beautiful! The best friend of my mom and her husband have an apartment there for run away in the winter. I have heard so many nice things about the city from them. We have also been invited by them, but still have not had the chance to go. Also a good friend of mine from Norway was there for the Wold Cup, and I heard just nice things from him as well. I hope one day I will visit Fortaleza one day 🙂

  • I will admit I had never heard of Fortaleza prior to this. Thanks for sharing such an informative post! The photos are amazing! The crab one makes me hungry. 😛

    • hahaha the crab was very delicious I must say 😀 Im glad that you liked the post, thank you for reading!

  • I could definitely use some sun on one of those beaches about now. Beautiful!

    • hahaha 😀 glad you liked it!! Im back in Germany and Im already missing the beach!

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    So fascinating to hear about Fortaleza – I’ll be honest that I was one of the many people you mentioned that haven’t heard of it but it’s great to learn more about your home! It’s good of you to be honest about how dangerous it is but often I think to myself, even at home here in London, there are many areas that are probably dangerous but that we get more casual about it when it is our own home and it’s important to be vigilant in big cities with higher crime rates. It looks so beautiful and with lovely coastline – must have bene such a fun place to live!

    • I am happy to have introduced to you a new place 😀
      Yes, safety in Brazil is something very important to mention. Most people have no idea how things are there, so its good to bring awareness. And as you said, when you live in the place you already know how it works, when you don’t, you probably end up doing things you should avoid.

      Life was indeed fun when I lived there, people are very cheerful and social in Brazil… so you are always around your friends and family! I miss that very much 😀

      I hope you get to visit Brazil sometime!!

  • I haven’t heard about it ! the beach, the climate, the food.. so tempting !

    • Yess it is!! I hope you make it there someday… you will love it 😀 its a very fun city!

  • With over 25 beaches nearby, I think I am going to have to pack up Monkey and Hubby and move to Fortaleza! Love finding out more about where you’re from. It must have been hard going back to the German cold after your trip!

    • hahaha I thought of you when writing this post, because I know you would love spending some time there, especially in a water park nearby called Beach Park… its a dream for families!! 😀
      Ohh yes, it was definitely hard to come back! Only after 1 week I got used to the cold again! hahaha

  • Wow, I want to leave right now! 🙂 Brazil is on top of my to visit-list and I hope I’ll finally get there this year. It’s freezing here right now (in Belgium), dreaming about the beach, the warmth and the atmosphere… 🙂

    • Thats great to know!! I hope you do make it to Brazil soon, and if you need anything, anything… just let me know, I would be happy to help you 😀

      Ohh, here in Germany is also pretty cold… my 2 weeks in Brazil weren’t long enough hahaha!

  • Sha

    Hello Fortaleza! Thanks for introducing it to us but just curious, how do you deal with the crime rate while growing up? 🙂

    • My pleasure 😀 glad you like it!
      Well, it wasn’t always like this… it got really worse in the past years 🙁
      But the way we deal with it is just praying to come back home alive when we leave…. ok it is not that bad because once you live there, you get used to it. You start to pay more attention around you, avoid going to certain places, putting a tracker on your car 🙁 stuff like that. This is the biggest reason why I dont want to live in Brazil in again. When Im there I see how prisoners people are in their own house. I like the freedom I have in Europe 😀

      • Sha

        Wow, that is really bad then, it’s good that you managed to relocate to a safer place. It’s times like this that I really have to appreciate singapore’s environment because I can very easily walk around at night by myself even after midnight. Hopefully it will get better so that your family can feel safer.

        • Yes it is bad and sad 🙁
          Do enjoy Singapore’s safety 😀
          I hope things in Brazil get better… but I can’t see this happening in a new future 🙁

          • Sha

            That’s very sad to hear but hopefully one day…it will get better ☺

          • Yes!! I hope so too 😀

  • I just stumbled upon this and enjoyed your pics of the city. My fiance is from Fortaleza so I am there a lot. One issue too is the amount of people who speak English – very low! So I have to suck it up and baby talk with people!

    But… It is a great place and beyond out to Canoa and Paracuru is great as well. Ceara is a wonderful state! People should learn about the nordeste as much as Rio or Bahia.

    • Thank you so much for the awesome comment!! How cool that your fiance is from Fortaleza 😀
      You are right… people there and in many other parts of the country don’t speak English. But I think you might guess why.

      I hope you learn some Portuguese so you don’t always have to rely on your fiance 😀

      And I really agree with you that people should learn more about Nordeste as much as they do about Rio! It is a wonderful region!! Do you go there very often?

  • It is a beautiful city with beautiful beach and history, I like the combination. Despite of the safety, I think I should not miss this city when visiting Brazil..

    • Glad you like it Indah 😀 I hope you do go, and if you do, feel free to stay at my mom’s 😀 and if you need tips let me know!!

  • Mariana

    Found your blog today, what a funny thing: I’m also from Fortaleza and I live in Munich too! Ours is a beautiful city indeed, despite violence and chaos haha Can’t really say I miss it all that much, though, Munich is lovely and such a wonderful place to live 🙂

    • Oi Mariana!!! Nossa que legal!! Mundo pequeno hahaha
      Pois é, concordo com tudo que você disse… é uma pena o problema da violência!
      Amo morar em Munique, sou apaixonada <3
      Você estuda aqui?

  • Have you been to Brazil? 😀
    I think you would like the south 😉