I didn’t get much of a chance to wander around Natal because I was too sick to do anything, but it’s a great place to spend some time. My trip to the city is incomplete and I’d like to go back to properly experience it.
Natal doesn’t have much in the way of historical sites, except for the Forte dos Reis Magos, which I didn’t get to visit. The fortress is a star-shaped structure built in 1598 and a small path from the beach at Praia do Forte gives visitors easy access.
What Natal is famous for is sand dunes. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an urban setting set entirely within sand dunes, and I’m not sure if another even exists. Parque das Dunas is a huge national park dedicated to the dunes. Again, unfortunately I was too ill to visit the actual park, but at least could admire the dunes from afar.
My friend Mike and I stayed in the most popular area of Natal, Ponta Negra. The beachfront is lined with hotels, restaurants, bars, and shops. The beach was full during the day and the bars and restaurants were packed at night. It seems like it would be a really laid back and relaxing place without a World Cup going on.