The fort that got Natal started in 1598 still stands in its original five-pointed star shape on the reef at the tip of the peninsula at the north end of town. The views of the city, the Ponte Nova and the dunes across the Rio Potengi are fantastic.
The fort contains a chapel, a well, cannons and soldiers’ quarters. It also boasts the Marco de Touros, a marker stone placed by the Portuguese in 1501 at Praia do Marco, near São Miguel do Gostoso, which is considered Brazil's oldest historical document. A taxi to the fort from Praia da Areia Preta (reached by bus 56 from Ponta Negra) costs around R$15.