Many people come to Coloane – the southernmost of the four main areas of Macau – to play a round of golf, see the sights or put in some time on the beach. Coloane is the least developed (no casinos here) and quietest part of the former Portuguese enclave. Its trump card is its natural environment.
An eight-kilometre hiking trail loops its way through Coloane’s rolling wooded hills and there is no better respite from the headlong rush of city life than to take a stroll here – either a section or the full circuit.
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Coloane Hiking Trail
It’s popular with joggers first thing in the morning, and groups often come at the weekends, but at other times you can walk for a long stretch without encountering anyone else.
One of the sheer delights of the Coloane Trail is the constantly changing vistas as you wind your way around.
Read this post for other things to do in Coloane.
Best views from the Coloane Trail
The northern side of the trail looks over Macao proper – gleaming skyscrapers and scores of motor vehicles buzzing over the bridges that span the water between Taipa and the city – while the panorama in the other direction (over the South China Sea) has barely changed since a century ago, when Coloane was reputedly a pirates’ nest.
How to get to the Coloane Trail
There’s no starting line for the Coloane Trail, which has numerous access points, but probably the easiest is via Estrada do Alto do Coloane, which leads up the hill behind Seac Pai Van Park.
Buses stop here regularly, while a taxi ride from the city centre will cost around MOP80.
Just past the Arboretum (home to more than 100 species of local and foreign trees), there’s a choice of turning left or right off the paved road, and striking out along the Coloane Trail itself.
What you will see on the Coloane Trail
For much of the way, the Coloane Trail is well signposted in Chinese, Portuguese and English, and scrupulously maintained, so there is little chance of losing your way or your footing.
There are also regular map boards.
Small Chinese-style pavilions dot the way, providing somewhere to take the weight off your feet, catch your breath and admire the view, and vast granite boulders like giant marbles supply some of the Coloane Trail’s best Insta opportunities.
The Coloane Trail is crisscrossed along the way by other paths, some of which lead to the highest point, 170-metre-high Coloane Peak.
It makes a good side trip if the Coloane Trail’s eight kilometres leave you thirsting for a little more exercise.
The peak is crowned by a glistening white statue of the goddess A-Ma, who is particularly venerated by sailors and fishermen.
It’s 19.99 metres high – a precise measurement which commemorates Macao’s return to Chinese sovereignty 20 years ago – and so visible from various sections of the Trail and other parts of Coloane too.
Tin Hau temple abuts A-Ma’s statue, and it’s busy early in the day when residents from nearby villages come to pray and light joss sticks.
So rather than simply being a tourist attraction or political milestone, the hilltop plays a part in the regular life of the community.
What to take on your hike
Before you set off, stock up on water and pack a picnic.
Lord Stow’s in Coloane is the default commissary hereabouts, best known for the signature egg tarts that the bakery’s been selling for the past 30 years, but also good for sandwiches, rolls and other snacks.
Coloane’s other famous eatery is Fernando’s, a beachside restaurant that’s well suited to a post-hike meal, but – less crowded, reasonably priced and well off the beaten track – Ristorante La Gondola wins on style.
Set back from the sea, Gondola’s pizzas emerge from the oven piping hot and super tasty.
If you want to broaden the Coloane Trail experience, it’s no bad idea to spend a night in situ.
Roughly halfway between Coloane Village and Hac Sa Beach, the Pousada de Coloane was originally a tycoon’s country retreat, but for the past 40 years or so has been lauded as Macao’s most picturesque boutique inn.
There’s a real sense of peace and quiet here with just 28 rooms, a restaurant and a pool, but – best of all — the Trail lies on the other side of the main road no more than ten minutes’ walk uphill from Reception.