Known as the “City of the Sun” for a reason, Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte on Brazil’s northeast coast, offers year-round sunshine and perfect temperatures, which are ideal conditions for a Royal Holiday traveler looking for a beach vacation. A handsome city that dances to the beat of forró music and that is fueled on street food like churrasquieras, Natal offers the best of Brazil in a convenient package right next to astounding beaches with some of the clearest water outside of the Caribbean. For Royal Holiday travelers looking for endless expanses of sandy beaches and glittering waves, as well as a glimpse of the friendliest city in Brazil, Natal fits the bill.
Royal Holiday members will stay at the Hotel Vila do Mar Brasil, which features a private 500-meter beach and all the resort trappings one could hope for. With 24-hour room service, a minibar, and ocean-view balconies, this hotel on the Via Costeria beach is the perfect home base for beachcombers and sun worshippers alike. Located well within the area of the Parque das Dunas, the famous sandy region that gave Natal its second title, “The City of the Dunes,” Vila do Mar provides four-star service right in the middle of everything that the region has to offer.
Founded on December 25, 1597, as a village that supports the nearby Forte dos Reis Magos, Natal is Portuguese for “Christmas,” and a holiday spirit still prevails over the city over 400 years later. Widely regarded as one of Brazil’s safest cities, Natal has been an up-and-comer in the tourism industry for many years. Its crystalline ocean and famous beaches, including Porta Negra and Pipa, draw people from around the world, although it remains a favorite vacation spot for Brazilians, as well. Water sports are naturally very popular, though Royal Holiday members looking to get under the sea will want to travel to Maracajaú, where the Parrachos coral reef sits below the glass-like water in natural pools, a perfect place for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Natal is a city with many beaches, and a visit means enjoying a new vista every day, whether it’s from the Farol de Natal lighthouse at Mãe Luiza Beach or a comfortable restaurant on Artistas Beach.
Natal provides a perfect vacation getaway for anyone looking to soak up the natural beauty of the Brazilian coast, especially once you leave the beach and reach one of the handsome parks surrounding the city. Dunas State Ecological Park offers guided tours of the second-largest urban park in Brazil, but the real draw remains Genipabu Dunes Ecological Tourism Park, where dune buggies can be found cruising through an astounding landscape daily. Royal Holiday members looking to beat the heat would do well to visit the Natal Aquarium, the country’s largest, or take a day trip to Ma-Noa Park, with its family-friendly waterpark, as well as horseback riding and glittering, natural pools. No visit to Natal would be complete without checking out the Forte dos Reis Magos or the Natal Historic Center, which offers a glimpse into the architectural and cultural history of the region. People who arrive in June can take in the Festa Junina, a 15-day festival. In November or December, the city celebrates Carnatal, its carnival.