The capital and largest city of the of State Rio Grande do Norte, Natal is located in northeastern Brazil. The city has a total population of approximately 862,044 people. It is the capital of Brazil closest to Africa and Europe, and the Greater Natal International Airport connects Natal with many Brazilian cities and also operates some international flights.
Festa Junina (feast of St. John ) is one of the oldest and most-awaited festivals of the year in Natal. It traditionally starts after June 12 and is celebrated until June 29. During this period, there is lots of fireworks and street dancing. Revellers dress up in costumes for a time of fun and good happiness. Delightful fireworks accompany the dancing, as well as traditional foods, which are abundant. As is to be expected, there’s also lots of drinking, singing and noisemaking.
For the festival lovers, Natal hosts one of the largest off-season carnivals in Brazil. It takes place sometime in December, in the streets around Machadão Stadium. The transit department isolates about 3 kilometres of streets, creating a ring, along which the party takes place. During the days of party, a huge truck (called “trio elétrico”), with a band on the top and sound boxes all around, drives slowly along the streets. The crowd follows the trio elétrico singing, dancing, jumping to the sound of the music. Although smaller, the Natal Carnatal has a lot of things in common with the larger Brazilian carnivals. It has costume parties, cultural performances, lavish food and drinks, various ethnic dances, and live bands. There is a Carnival day just for children which is held during the day. Carnival for adults usually start after sundown and can go on until way past midnight.
Food lovers will be impressed with some of the world renowned restaurants in the city centre. The Camarões Potiguar is described as “a bright, stylish and creative homage to the shrimp is arguably Natal’s best dining experience”. This seafood restaurant is a highly rated must-try restaurant for all tourists staying in or travelling through Natal. Case de Taipa is another highly recommended establishment for food connoisseurs. What is probably Brazil’s most famous tapiocaria flips the script on a traditionally $4 street food and turns it into a gourmet treat fit for food enthusiasts. The restaurant hordes an enormous crowd of visitors and locals alike who swarm this colourful and festive place for lightly pan-grilled tapioca ‘pancakes’ stuffed with sweet and savoury goodies.