Lie back and let it all go in Fortaleza - a bright and breezy Brazillian beachside city of relaxation and rejuvenation. The ‘City of Light' basks in the reliable glow of the bountiful Brazilian sun for 2,800 hours each year, and the locals make the most of it, spreading out across sweeping stretches of pristine golden sand. Nestled on the north-eastern coast of Brazil, reaching towards the equator, the city is as off the beaten track as a vast state capital can be, and it moves to its own infectious forró rhythms.
Get energised for a day exploring - or relaxing - with a morning swim. Dip into the sea at Praia do Futuro, or settle on the sand to listen to the soundtrack of the waves. Fresh coconut water served up from barracas - beach bars – will keep you feeling nice and refreshed. Iracema beach is another urban favourite, while Cumbuco Beach is a tempting option outside of Fortaleza, boasting a vast stretch of idyllic white sand that's punctuated only by the occasional leaning palm tree. Raise the pulse by skidding and roll across sand dunes while you're out here.
If you've had your fill of sea and sand, explore Fortaleza itself to discover more of Brazil's fifth-largest city. Walk streets of ice-cream coloured colonial buildings, or head to Dragão do Mar Cultural Center - a mini-city of arts venues alive with culture and creativity. The Metropolitan Cathedral squeezes a congregation of 5,000 into its Neo-Romanesque architecture, and its stain glass windows blaze vivid colours across its elegant, white-wash interior.