Natal is situated on a peninsula between Rio Potengi and the Atlantic Ocean and is the capital of Rio Grande do Norte. Natal is nowadays one of the most attractive beach capitals of the northeast coast.
The territory of Natal was in 1534 proclaimed by the Portuguese as one of the 12 coastal captaincies. After this the area became abandoned for almost 60 years. After a short French period, who used the area as military base to attack the south, the Portuguese began to build a large fortress, which they used in the war against the French. In 1633 the fortress was taken over by the Dutch, who rebuild the fortress with stones but kept the five-point star shape. From this fortress, who was occupied by the Portuguese again, the city emerged. Natal stayed a little an unimportant town untill the WWII, when the Americans used the area as a military base to attack North Africa.
Natal does not have much to see of historical or cultural interest but you can still visit the fortress; Forte dos Reis Magos. It is a city of extraordinary beaches, dotted with tiny fishing villages. The most sought-after beaches are Genipabu and Cotovelo. There are also delightful fresh-water beaches along the Potengi river and its falls.