Top 30 Things To Do In Natal, Brazil - Updated 2021

things to do in Natal Brazil
Anne
Anne
Updated

The capital of Rio Grande Do Norte state in Brazil, Natal is famous for its beautiful coastal sand dunes and the beach neighborhood of Ponta Negra. The Genipabu area of dunes features a freshwater lagoon, while there is a 15 km (9 mi) stretch of beaches south of the city. Natal is also known for the Forte dos Reis Magos Portuguese fortress, a 16th-century star-shaped defense complex. Those interested in history and culture will appreciate the many museums and art galleries in the city. Natal also offers a range of touristic activities, including buggy rides on the dunes, a good range of organized tours, sizzling nightlife, and restaurants. Most visitors head to the Ponta Negra beach neighborhood with its hotels and resorts overlooking the surf and featuring fascinating dunes, but there are also beautiful, quiet beaches to enjoy. Those interested in nature can head to Natal Dunes State Park, an ecological park with trails to explore. For more detail on what is available in the city, scroll down for some of the best things to do in Natal, Brazil.

1. Laze the day away on beautiful Porto Mirim Beach

Porto Mirim beach (panoramic view)
Source: Photo by user Rhalah used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Porto Mirim Beach is located close to Genipabu and is a curving expanse of clean sand, backed by trees and shrubs and overlooking clear and clean waters. A variety of amenities is available close by, including toilets, bars, and restaurants. There is also a selection of many villas and apartments in the popular Porto Mirim Beach Village complex, close to the beach. The beautiful Genipabu Beach and Genipabu Lagoon are also within a 16 mi (25 km) drive from the Porto Mirim Beach.

Porto Mirim Beach

Address: Ceará-Mirim, Rio Grande Do Norte, Brazil

2. Visit the historic Fortaleza dos Reis Magos (from USD 21.0)

The Fortaleza (or Forte) dos Reis Magos (The Fort of Three Wise Men) is located in Natal in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. The fort is built in the shape of a star and is located high up on a cliff overlooking the sea. The fort was constructed in the 16th century as a coastal defensive measure, was the first major landmark in the city of Natal, and was founded on December 25, 1599. The fort is located close to the beautiful Via Costeira beach on the right hand side of the sand bar on the Potengi River.

Natal City and the Southcoast Tour

Duration: 7 hours

1 review

3. Go wildlife spotting at Natal Dunes State Park

Dunas de Natal
Source: Photo by user Bertachini used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Natal Dunes State Park, or the Dunes Park for short, is located in the Rio Grande do Norte state in northeastern Brazil. The park was formed to protect an important area of dunes, as well as the native vegetation and various wildlife and birds in the park. The park runs alongside the coastal highway close to the center of the city of Natal and consists of Atlantic rain forest and sand dunes. There are a number of trails to explore and skibunda adventures can be had. Skibunda is the same as sandboarding, where a sled-like board is used to ride down the dunes. Alternatively, another adventure is aerobunda, which is basically the same as ziplining and involves traveling from the top of the dunes down to the water below.

Natal Dunes State Park

Address: Av. Alm. Alexandrino de Alencar, s/n - Tirol, Natal - RN, Brazil

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 7am - 5:30pm (closed on Mon)

4. Soak up the sun at Praia de Muriú (Muriú Beach)

Praia de Porto Santo
Source: Photo by user GualdimG used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Praia de Muriú, or Muriú Beach in English, is a stretch of beautiful and golden sand, lapped by the calm ocean waves in the city of Natal. The beach is backed by trees and overlooks clear turquoise waters and scenic landscapes. While the beach is mostly an empty stretch of sand, a range of apartments and villas is gradually building up along the coastline nearby so eventually, it will be a busy beach, but for now, there is nothing much available in the way of amenities. Enjoy a lazy day just basking underneath the sun at this quiet spot in Natal.

Praia de Muriú

Address: Av. Praia de Muriú, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: Praia de Muriú

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

5. Relax at Lagoa de Pitangui

Sand buggying Lagoa de Pitangui (8226041431)
Source: Photo by user Ben Tavener used under CC BY 2.0

Lagoa de Pitangui (Pitangui Lagoon) is a beautiful, inland, freshwater lake and is located around 25 km (15 mi) from the city center of Natal, on the northern coast. Many locals and visitors enjoy spending a day at the lake, as an alternative to the beach. The water is very clear and calm and is ideal for children to enjoy a swim. The lake is also surrounded by amenities, including restrooms, restaurants, snack bars, and clubs. There is plenty of parking available. Activities at the lake include fishing, swimming, and boating and buggies are available for hire to enjoy a fun drive over the nearby dunes.

Lagoa de Pitangui

Address: Lagoa de Pitangui, Natal, Brazil

6. Take photos of Newton Navarro Bridge

Newton Navarro Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Victor Camilo used under CC BY 2.0

The Newton Navarro Bridge in Natal is among the largest cable-stayed bridges in Brazil. The attractive bridge connects the north and south zones of the city as it stretches across the Potengi River. With its attractive architectural design, the Newton Navarro Bridge is a popular photographic subject in the area. The main purpose for its construction was to relieve traffic on the Igapó Bridge and improve access to the Greater Natal International Airport. The bridge is named for an important local artist, Newton Navarro. Head to the beach below with your camera to take some inventive angles of the bridge.

Newton Navarro Bridge

Address: Natal, Brazil

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

7. Relax under a parasol at Ponta Negra Beach

Praia da Ponta Negra 20150814-DSC05653
Source: Photo by user Matti Blume used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Ponta Negra is a landmark beach set in the neighborhood of the same name in Natal and is an ideal beach for families to relax and have fun on the sand. Morro do Careca can be seen at the end of the beach, which is a large dune and viewpoint and considered a landmark in the city. The beach offers plenty of amenities in the way of beach huts, toilets, restaurants, and bars and there are also a number of hotels in the area. Likewise, this area has a lively nightlife available to you once you have rested up during your day on the sand.

8. Stretch out on the sand at Praia de Pitangui

Sand buggying Lagoa de Pitangui (8227122096)
Source: Photo by user Ben Tavener used under CC BY 2.0

Praia de Pitangui or Pitangui Beach is located in Ponta Negra in the Extremoz municipality, 18.6 mi (30 km) from the city center of Natal. The beach is a paradise of clean, curving sand dunes, crystal-clear water backed by waving coconut palm trees. This area is particularly popular during the annual carnival season when much entertainment is available in the nearby clubs and on the beach. Take a leisurely stroll on the sand or rent a buggy for an exciting ride.

Praia de Pitangui

Address: R. Pitangui - Conj. Ponta Negra, Natal - RN, Brazil

9. Watch the waves at Praia do Camurupim

Praia de Camurupim/RN
Source: Photo by user Erick Feiotsa used under CC BY 2.0

Praia do Camurupim stretches along the southern coast, 18.6 miles (30 km) from the city of Natal. The beach offers scenes of beautifully preserved nature and a range of dunes, caves, and waterfalls close by. There are a number of rock formations in the water with natural pools, pleasant for bathing or hunting for sea life. As the sea level is always low here, the beach is perfect for families with children or for the elderly wishing to go for a swim.

Praia do Camurupim

Address: R. Praia de Camurupim - Conj. Ponta Negra, Natal - RN, 59094-420, Brazil

10. Be awed by city views from Praia dos Artistas

Praia dos Artistas
Source: Pexels

This attractive stretch of beach offers views of the city as it stretches down the coastline and is located a five-minute drive from the center of Natal. Praia dos Artistas or Artists Beach beach lies between Praia da Areia Preta and Praia do Meio. Many visitors head to this beach each year. While the popular beach is very clean with crystal-clear water, rocks in some places can make it difficult to walk. Certain areas are ideal for diving and the beach is frequented by many locals and surfers. For those with a camera, it is possible to get some great photos of the city’s skyline.

Praia dos Artistas

Address: Av. Pres. Café Filho, 860-1006 - Praia do Meio, Natal - RN, Brazil

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

11. Have fun on the sand at Praia de Jacumã

Sand buggying Jacumã (8226067613)
Source: Photo by user Ben Tavener used under CC BY 2.0

Praia de Jacumã is located 20 mi (33 km) from Natal in a reef cove. The beach is ideal for swimming and is backed by sand dunes. Visitors can go zip lining from the top of one of the dunes where participants can splash down into the water. Sandboarding is another popular sport here. The Santa Monica complex close by offers a number of amenities and restaurants where good food and cooling drinks can be enjoyed to refresh yourselves.

Praia de Jacumã

Address: R. Praia de Jacumã - Conj. Ponta Negra, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: Praia de Jacumã

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

12. Watch a game at Arena Das Dunas Stadium

Arena Das Dunas Stadium
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Elvis Boaventura used under CC BY 3.0

Arena das Dunes is a modern football stadium in Natal, Brazil, and home to the Brazilian football club, América Futebol Clube Rio Grande do Norte. The stadium is also regularly used as a concert venue. The stadium was designed by renowned sports architect, Christopher Lee. The multi-purpose stadium can comfortably accommodate more than 31,000 spectators. The stadium was the host for football matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The modern and futuristic lines of the stadium make it perfect for great photography. Catch a game and feel the exhilaration cheering for your team.

Arena Das Dunas Stadium

Address: Av. Prudente de Morais, 5121 - Lagoa Nova, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: Arena Das Dunas Stadium

13. Follow the eco-trails at Parque da Cidade Natal

Parque da Cidade Natal Entrada
Source: Photo by user Flaviohmg used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Natal City Park, or Parque da Cidade Dom Nivaldo Monte, to give it its full title in Portuguese, is a sprawling park running through the center of the city. The aim of the park is the preservation of the environment and to offer education towards that end. The park features numerous eco-trails, jogging trails, an orchidarium, and a library where visitors can read up on environmental subjects. There is also a wide range of native flora and fauna to be seen within the park.

Parque da Cidade

Address: Rua, Av. Pref. Omar O'Grady - Pitimbú, RN, Brazil

Website: Parque da Cidade

Opening hours: 5am - 6pm (daily)

14. Embark on a shopping spree at Midway Mall

Cinemark Natal
Source: Photo by user Ajmcbarreto used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Retail therapy is an activity most people enjoy, wherever they are in the world. Midway Mall is the largest shopping center of its kind in the Rio Grande do Norte state and is also among the largest in the northeast of Brazil. The mall features around 300 varied stores, selling clothing, fashion, shoes, electrical items, homeware, grocery items, and other goods. There is a spacious food court offering 32 food outlets, giving everyone a tasty snack they can enjoy. A theater complex features seven screening theaters, showing the latest films, as well as a modern theater for theatrical events.

Midway Mall

Address: Av. Bernardo Vieira, 3775 - Tirol, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: Midway Mall

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 10pm; Sun: 11am - 10pm

15. Explore the exhibits at Museu Câmara Cascudo

Memorial Câmara Cascudo
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jorge Andrade used under CC BY 2.0

Museu Câmara Cascudo first opened in 1973 and is a museum relating to anthropology and natural history. The museum has a range of permanent exhibits, as well as rotating exhibits that change throughout the year. The museum’s mission is to investigate the historical, natural, and cultural heritage of Rio Grande de Norte. The collection consists of archaeological, anthropological, paleontological and geological collections.

Museu Câmara Cascudo

Address: Av. Hermes da Fonseca, 1398 - Tirol, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: Museu Câmara Cascudo

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 8:30am - 12pm, 1pm - 5pm; Sat - Sun: 12:30pm - 6pm (closed on Mon)

16. Stroll along the shores of Praia da Redinha

Mirante da Gente
Source: Photo by user Mário Monte used under CC BY 2.0

Praia da Redinha is an attractive sandy beach, popular with both locals and visitors for swimming and sunbathing, and is impressive views of the Newton Navarro Bridge. The Potenji River meets the sea at this point, making the scene even more beautiful. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area to enjoy a meal or a refreshing drink as well as toilets and other convenient amenities.

17. Drive through the winding Via Costeira Natal

Natal-Ponta-Negra-Via-Costeira
Source: Photo by user [Unknown] used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Via Costeira, or to give it its full name Senador Dinarte Mariz Avenue, is a coastal road, walking, and cycling path in Natal. The road starts at Ponta Negra Beach and runs for 7 mi (12 km) to Meio Beach. It is a popular road for visitors to Natal to travel while enjoying the views. On one side, the beach side hotels can be seen, while another reveals scenes of the Dunes Park natural area. The road also connects with Redinha Beach via the Newton Navarro Bridge.

18. Make a splash at Cidade Da Criança

Parque Aquático Cidade da Criança
Source: Photo by user Zekialves used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Cidade da Criança is an amusement and water park in the center of São Bernardo do Campo in São Paulo. It was the first theme park to be built in Brazil and is located behind the former Vera Cruz Film Studios. The park has a range of roller coasters and other exciting rides as well as animal-related attractions and a water park with slides and pools to splash around in.

Cidade Da Criança

Address: R. Tasman, 301 - Jardim do Mar, São Bernardo do Campo - SP, Brazil

Website: Cidade Da Criança

Opening hours: Thu - Sun: 9am - 5pm (closed from Mon - Wed)

Price: From 17 USD

19. Browse through the exhibits at Museu de Minérios RN

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Rio Grande do Norte Minerals Museum in Av. Salgado Filho features displays relating to prehistory, ceramics, minerals, gems, rocks and fossils, laid out in educational exhibits. The museum is open to the general public in the afternoons, but scheduled visits can be booked in the morning.

Museu de Minérios RN

Address: Av. Sen. Salgado Filho - Tirol, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: Museu de Minérios RN

Opening hours: Mon – Fri: 8am - 12pm, 1pm – 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

20. Say a prayer at Igreja de Santo Antônio de Pádua

Saint Antony of Padua - Igreja de Santo Antônio
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user José Luiz used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Igreja de Santo Antônio de Pádua is a pretty Catholic church located next to Parque dos Coqueiros in Natal in the neighborhood of Nossa Senhora da Apresentação (Our Lady of Presentation). The Parish Vicar is Father Robson Nascimento da Silva, while the permanent deacons in the church are Dea. Arioston de Souza Abrantes, Dea. Raimundo Alves de Medeiros, Diác. Manoel Fernandes da Silva and Diác. Severino Faustino Sobrinho. Stop by on your trip to say a prayer or just to admire the beautiful architecture of the church.

Igreja de Santo Antônio de Pádua

Address: Av. Tomaz Landim, s/n, Conj. Parque dos Coqueiros, Nossa Senhora da Apresentação, Natal, Brazil

Website: Igreja de Santo Antônio de Pádua

21. Gaze at the view from Mãe Luíza's Lighthouse

Farol de Natal
Source: Photo by user Mário Monte used under CC BY 2.0

Mãe Luíza’s Lighthouse stands high up in the sand dunes in Natal. The lighthouse can be seen from most places along the coastline. It was named for a much-loved local midwife, Mãe Luíza. The lighthouse is 121 ft (37 m) in height with a spiral staircase of 150 steps. Although this is a working lighthouse, run by the Brazilian Navy, it is possible to visit the lighthouse, which is accessed from a pathway from Areia Preta Beach. Enjoy the views over the coastline, including Forte dos Reis Magos and the Morro do Careca sand dune.

Mãe Luíza's Lighthouse

Address: Via Costeira - Mãe Luíza, Natal - RN, Brazil

Opening hours: 2pm - 5pm (daily)

22. Relax for a moment in Praca Augusto Leite

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Praca Augusto Leite (Augusto Leite Square) is an attractively laid out large public square in the Barro Vermelho neighborhood of the city of Natal and covering around two city blocks. The paved square has a few trees and is surrounded by modern buildings. It is conveniently located close to a number of shops and restaurants. Relax for a while on a bench and watch the people of Natal go strolling by!

Praca Augusto Leite

Address: Rua Maj. Laurentino de Morais, 1220, Natal, Brazil

23. Learn about the history of the area at Instituto Histórico e Geográfico do Rio Grande do Norte

Instituto Histórico e Geográfico do Rio Grande do Norte
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Marcio Lasset used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Rio Grande Historical and Geographic Institute is the oldest cultural museum of its kind in the area. The museum exhibits a number of documents and other items relating to the history and geography of the area. There are some strict visiting rules here, including no food or drink allowed, while photography is only allowed if it is of a non-commercial nature. Visitors are forbidden to touch or lean on any exhibits and the use of cellphones is prohibited as well.

Instituto Histórico e Geográfico do Rio Grande do Norte

Address: Rua da Conceição, 622 - Cidade Alta, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: Instituto Histórico e Geográfico do Rio Grande do Norte

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5pm; Sat: 9am - 4pm (closed on Sun)

24. Meet the locals at SESI Solar Bela Vista

SOLAR BELA VISTA
Source: Photo by user Marcio Lasset used under CC BY-SA 4.0

SESI Solar Bela Vista is a cultural center in the heart of Natal, located in the same street as Museu Câmara Cascudo mentioned above. The center is housed in a neoclassical residential mansion which was built in 1907. The attractive historic building was a luxurious hotel during the 1950s and 1960s. Nowadays, the cultural center has an auditorium for a variety of lectures, as well as exhibition space and rooms for music classes and craft and fine arts workshops.

SESI Solar Bela Vista

Address: Av. Câmara Cascudo, 417 - Cidade Alta, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: SESI Solar Bela Vista

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 8am - 5:30pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

25. Gaze at the artworks at Palácio da Cultura

Palacio Potengi, Natal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Matti Blume used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Palácio da Cultura - Pinacoteca do Estado do Rio Grande do Norte, to give it its full name, is an art gallery set in a beautiful neoclassical building in the center of the city of Natal. The building was originally the seat of the state government. Visitors can browse a large collection of international and Brazilian art as well as noted artworks by local artists, such as Newton Navarro and Abraham Palatnik.

Palácio da Cultura

Address: Praça Sete de Setembro, s/n - Cidade Alta, Natal - RN, Brazil

Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 8am - 6pm, Sat - Sun: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon)

26. Delve into local culture at Museu de Cultura Popular Djalma Maranhão

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The Popular Culture Museum of Djalma Maranhão is located in an attractive building in at the heart of the city of Natal and features a selection of interesting exhibits relating to regional culture and history. These include a variety of artworks and old photographs.

Museu de Cultura Popular Djalma Maranhão

Address: Praça Augusto Severo, S/N - Ribeira, Natal - RN, Brazil

Website: Museu de Cultura Popular Djalma Maranhão

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 4pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

27. Rest and unwind at Praia de Graçandu

Beach in Natal, Brazil
Source: Pexels

Praia de Graçandu (Gracandu Beach) is a tranquil and quiet beach, nestling along the coastline in Natal, Brazil. The beach is relatively unknown to visitors to Brazil and is, for the most part, used by fishermen and locals. This is the ideal beach to relax on the clean sand, overlooking the calm sea. The water is ideal for swimming even for children and the elderly. There are no amenities and no infrastructure as such at the beach so visitors are recommended to take a picnic with them. Always remember to clean up after you and leave only footprints in the sand!

Praia de Graçandu

Address: Extremoz - RN, Natal, Brazil

28. Wander around Museu Café Filho

Museu Cafe Filho, Natal
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Matti Blume used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Casa Café Filho Museum is housed in a building from the 1800s, which was the first privately owned building in the city. The building was acquired by the state government of Brazil in 1960 and has been restored and listed by the National Historical and Artistic Heritage. The building now houses Rio Grande do Norte Museum of Art and History with exhibits and artwork from 1965 to 1978.

Museu Café Filho

Address: Rua da Conceição, 42-90 - Cidade Alta, Natal - RN, Brazil

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 8am - 6pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

29. Experience a buggy ride at the fascinating Dunas de Genipabu (from USD 110.0)

Dunas de Genipabu is a fascinating range of sand dunes running down the coastal beaches of Natal. The dunes are ideal for those interested in photography, or for a fun buggy ride on the sand and along the coast. Activities like zip lining, sand boarding, and kite boarding are available in the area and there are a number of quaint fishing villages to visit where a traditional meal or a refreshing drink can be enjoyed.

Buggy Ride - Genipabu + North Coast to Jacuma

Duration: 5 to 7 hours

1 review

30. Enjoy panoramic views from Morro do Careca (from USD 21.0)

Morro do Careca (or Bald Hill in English) is a 120-meter (394-ft) tall sand dune which boasts a wonderfully scenic viewpoint on the coastline of the city of Natal. Images of the dune are a common sight on postcards sold in the city and state. Panoramic views can be enjoyed from the top over the ocean, Natal city, the surrounding countryside, and Pirangi Beach. This is the ideal spot to take some panoramic photos of the area before heading down to the beach for a swim.

Natal City and the Southcoast Tour

Duration: 7 hours

1 review

Explore the city and relax on the beaches of Natal

Morro do Careca Natal Brasil
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ricαrdo used under CC BY 2.0

A visit to this exciting and varied city offers plenty of places of interest to everyone. Natal has an array of gorgeous beaches, which are a mixture of popular, busy locations and tranquil and quiet places to relax and revive while on a Brazilian vacation. Besides sunbathing, sandboarding, and buggy riding are prevalent here. Enjoy visiting the various parks and squares, fascinating museums, and colorful art galleries while exploring the many and varied best things to do in Natal, Brazil.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Anne Sewell was born in England, but has spent most of her life in Africa - Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa - and now resides on the beautiful Costa del Sol in southern Spain. She loves writing...Read more

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