Fortaleza is a major city on Brazil's northeast coast, and the capital of Ceará state. It is one of the largest cities in Brazil and certainly one of the most vibrant. The city is perhaps the most popular domestic package tour destination, and Europeans are following suit. Despite being quite a party town, the carnival in Fortaleza is rather feeble, though growing bigger by the year, with the largest parades being maracatu-style. In 2018, there were 2.6 million inhabitants in the city, and 4.1 million in the metropolitan area.
The official history of Fortaleza as a permanent settlement dates back to the 17th century, when the Dutch had a brief dispute with the Portuguese over the territory. The first settlement was known as Fort Schoonenborch and it was founded by the Dutch West Indian Company in 1649. During Portuguese and Brazilian rule, the city has had several names, always beginning with Fortaleza.
Quite an effort has been put into restoring colonial architecture over the last years. One thing worth seeing is the sunset, either from Ponte Metalica, Praia Iracema, or the beach by the fish market, Mucuripe.