Named so after being established as settlement on December 25th 1599, Natal is Brazil’s ‘Christmas town’ in perennial holiday season.

Where beach-life is king, Natal is an open-air playground studded with palm trees and lapped by turquoise Atlantic waters. Located in the north-eastern state of Rio Grande do Norte, it’s also the Brazilian city which lies closest to Europe. 

Many of Natal’s beaches are dotted with mobile stalls selling the country’s national cocktail – caipirinhas. The cocktail is made with a mix of sugar, lime and a punchy sugarcane liquor called cachaça.

Natal’s true lounge-lizards, basking green iguanas are a common sight along the region’s beaches. The reptiles follow a strictly vegetarian diet and can grow up to 6ft in length.

The Atlantic provides a livelihood for many natives of Natal. Gillnetting (fishing with a large mesh net) is the most common way to yield a catch with barracuda, mackerel and red snappers just some of species of the sea bounty.

Natal’s abundance of steep sand dunes offer a utopia playground for adrenalin junkies. Bashing across the slopes of Genipabu and Pitangui in a rented dune buggy is one of the most high-octane activities to experience. 

Natal hosts Mexico vs Cameron on Friday 13 June, Ghana vs USA on Monday 16 June, Japan vs Greece on Thursday 19 June and Italy vs Uruguay on Tuesday 24 June

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