5 Macau World Heritage Itineraries

5 Macau World Heritage Itineraries

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macau itineraries
5 Macau itinerary options for visiting the Historic Centre of Macau.

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Put on your best walking shoes and explore the Historic Centre of Macau with one of these Macau itinerary options. The best way to discover the Historic Centre of Macau is to explore on foot, particularly in the areas between Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul’s, which is a pedestrian zone.  

It’s possible to get an overview of Macau’s World Heritage sites in half a day if you maintain a fast walking pace but two full days will give you much more time to do this spectacular World Heritage area justice. 

Just be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, as those beautiful cobblestone pavements are not suitable for all footwear.

Similarly, the World Heritage area is not friendly for baby strollers or pull luggage as the streets are hilly, windy and the cobblestone surfaces are difficult with wheels. It’s best to use a baby carrier for those with little ones and leave your luggage at the hotel instead of dragging wheels through the city centre.   

One of the unique aspects of this World Heritage area is that all the World Heritage-related things to do in Macau are within walking distance in the Historic Centre of Macau.

If you’re planning on staying longer in Macau, read this for more places to visit in Macau

Contents

5 Macau Itinerary Options 

Macau Itinerary 1 – ½ Day World Heritage Highlights

macau itinerary world heritage
A 1/2-day Macau itinerary might be a bit rushed but you’ll certainly get a taste of what this historic centre has to offer.

Macau Itinerary Description

This itinerary is a whirlwind visit through the Historic Centre of Macau. It is suggested for those who want to see the very best attractions and famous landmarks in the World Heritage area but have only a few hours of time available. It is the downhill version of the same route that can also be done in reverse (see next itinerary).

What you will see (in order)

  • Guia Fortress
  • Lighthouse & Chapel (Guia Hill)
  • Ruins of St. Paul’s (Company of Jesus Square)
  • St. Dominic’s Church
  • Lou Kau Mansion
  • Leal Senado (Senado Square)
  • St. Lawrence’s Church (near St. Augustine’s Square)
  • Mandarin’s House (Lilau Square)
  • A-Ma Temple (Barra Square)

How to do this itinerary

This itinerary starts at Guia Fortress, descending the hill to the Ruins of St. Paul’s.

You then make way gradually downhill through the Historic Centre of Macau all the way to A-Ma Temple at the southwest and of the peninsula.

Keep a Macau map handy in order to navigate the streets, from one attraction to the next.

Itinerary notes

Great Distance
  • You are going to cover a lot of ground in a short time with this itinerary. 
  • You will have approximately 10 minutes per attraction and will need to limit photo and food stops as much as possible in order to complete the itinerary in three hours.
  • Lastly, have comfortable footwear and a good meal beforehand to keep your energy levels sufficient. 
Opening Hours 

Taking this route, you will start at 9 am when Guia Fortress (Guia Hill) opens and be finished around 12 pm at A-Ma Temple (Barra Square).

All attractions should be open by 10 am by the time you reach them in the morning.

Avoiding the Crowds 

Unfortunately, there is no way of avoiding the crowds between Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul with this itinerary due to arriving there later in the morning. By that time, the crowds will have set in for the day.

An example of how this itinerary might work

  • Start at Guia Fortress (Guia Hill) @9am
  • Walk 1.2 km (25 min) to Ruins of St. Paul’s (Company of Jesus Square) @9.40am
  • Walk 400-metre (10 min) to St. Dominic’s Church (Senado Square) @10.00am
  • Walk 100-metre (3 min) to Lou Kau Mansion (Senado Square) @ 10.15am
  • Walk 280-metre (5 min) to Leal Senado (Senado Square) @10.30am
  • Walk 650-metre (10 min) to St. Lawrence’s Church (St. Augustine’s Square) @ 10.50am
  • Walk 350-metre (5 min) to Mandarin’s House to @ 11.05am
  • Walk 500-metre (8 min) to A-Ma Temple (Lilau Square) @ 11.35am Finish at 11.50am
  • Lunch at Restaurante Litoral (near Barra Square) @12pm
5 Best Itineraries For Exploring Macau's World Heritage Historic Centre. Click To Tweet

Macau Itinerary 2 – ½ Day World Heritage Highlights With Uphill Walk

best macau itinerary
Another Macau itinerary option involves quite a bit of walking.

Itinerary Description

This itinerary is a whirlwind visit through the Historic Centre of Macau.

It is suggested for those who want to see the very best attractions and famous landmarks in the World Heritage area but have only a few hours of time available.

This is the uphill version of the same route that can also be done in reverse (see the previous itinerary).

What you will see (in order)

  • A-Ma Temple (Barra Square)
  • Mandarin’s House (Lilau Square)
  • St. Lawrence’s Church (near St. Augustine’s Square)
  • Leal Senado
  • St. Dominic’s Church
  • Lou Kau Mansion (Senado Square)
  • Ruins of St. Paul’s (Company of Jesus Square)
  • Guia Fortress, Lighthouse & Chapel (Guia Hill)

How to do this itinerary

This version of the route starts at A-Ma Temple and is a gradual uphill walk all the way to Guia Hill where visitors have a fairly steep climb up to Guia Fortress.

Keep your map of Macau handy to navigate the streets, from one attraction to the next.

Itinerary notes

Great Distance
  • You are going to cover a lot of ground in a short time with this itinerary.
  • You will have approximately 10 minutes per attraction and will need to limit photo and food stops as much as possible in order to complete the itinerary in three hours.
  • Note that this is the uphill version of this route so wearing comfortable shoes and having a good meal beforehand in order to keep your energy levels sufficient is important, especially once you reach Guia Hill.
Opening Hours

Taking this route, it is best to start around 9.30 to 9.40am at A-Ma Temple (Barra Square) and finishing around 12.45pm at Guia Fortress (Guia Hill).

You don’t want to start earlier because the Mandarin’s House, the second stop on this route, doesn’t open until 10 am in the morning and you don’t want to miss this attraction.

Avoiding the Crowds

Unfortunately, there is no way of avoiding the crowds between Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul with this itinerary due to arriving there later in the morning. By that time, the crowds will have set in for the day.

An example of how this itinerary might work

  • Start at A-Ma Temple (Barra Square) @9.40am
  • Walk 500-metre (8 min) to Mandarin’s House* (Lilau Square) @ 10am
  • Walk 350-metre (5 min) to St. Lawrence’s Church (St. Augustine’s Square) @ 10.20am
  • Walk 650-metre (10 min) to Leal Senado (Senado Square) @ 10.40am
  • Walk 280-metre (5 min) to St. Dominic’s Church (Senado Square) @10.55am
  • Walk 100-metre (3 min) to Lou Kau Mansion (Senado Square) @ 11.10am
  • Walk 400-metre (8 min) to Ruins of St. Paul’s (Company of Jesus Square) @11.30am
  • Walk 1.2 km (25 min) to Guia Fortress (Guia Hill) @12.05am. Finish @12.20am
  • Lunch at FADO Restaurant (Royal Macau Hotel) @12.45pm

Macau Itinerary 3 – ½ Day Standard (Senado Square to Ruins of St. Paul’s)

itinerary macau
Macau itinerary half-day option.

Itinerary Description

This itinerary is a concentrated visit of the most popular area of the Historic Centre of Macau between Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul’s.

It is the best itinerary for those with limited time who want to see as many World Heritage attractions as is possible without covering great distances.

What you can see

Senado Square
  • Leal Senado
  • Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple
  • Holy House of Mercy & Museum
  • Cathedral, Cathedral Square
  • St. Dominic’s Church & Treasure of the Sacred Art Museum
  • Lou Kau Mansion
Company of Jesus Square
  • Ruins of St. Paul’s
  • Museum of the Sacred Heart & Crypt
  • Na Tcha Temple & Exhibition Centre
  • Old City Wall
  • Mount Fortress & Macau Museum
  • Friendship Statue and Rua do Paulo (Food Street)

How to do this itinerary

Starting at Senado Square, visit as many of the World Heritage attractions, respective museums and other points of interest as they like until reaching the Ruins of St. Paul’s.

This route can be done just as easily in reverse, starting at the Ruins of St. Paul and ending at Senado Square.

Keep your map of Macau handy as it is useful for pinpointing the location of the various attractions you will look for in the area.

Itinerary notes

Short distances

You won’t cover much ground between attractions with this itinerary so this means longer visits to those that hold your interest.

It also means more stops for photographs and more time trying interesting foods you find along the way.

Opening Hours 

Quite a few World Heritage attractions in this area don’t open until 10 am.

As such, starting too early in the morning could mean not being able to enter certain attractions, however, given that everything is relatively close by, you can always circle back and visit the missed attractions after 10 am.

Avoiding the Crowds 

This is the most popular area of Historic Centre of Macau and it becomes very crowded between mid-morning and until early evening each day.

By starting early you can visit for a while before the crowds become annoying. 

Macau Itinerary 4 – Start to Finish (Full Day) 

macau itinerary
Explore Macau with one of these easy-to-use Macau itineraries.

Itinerary Description

This itinerary is for those who want to see it all but have only a single day to spend in the Historic Centre of Macau.

It takes you through the entire Macau World Heritage area at a fairly brisk pace and covers much distance.

You will be able to see each of the World Heritage attractions but will lack the time to explore them comprehensively and will need to take a pass on some of the accompanying museums.

What you will see

Morning: Northeast of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro 

Senado Square
  • Leal Senado Building
  • Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple
  • Holy House of Mercy & Museum
  • Cathedral and Cathedral Square
  • St. Dominic’s Church & Treasure of the Sacred Art Museum
  • Lou Kau Mansion
Company of Jesus Square

Ruins of St. Paul’s

  • Museum of the Sacred Heart & Crypt
  • Na Tcha Temple & Exhibition Centre
  • Old City Wall
  • Mount Fortress & Macau Museum
  • Friendship Statue
  • Rua do Paulo (Food Street)
Camões Square
  • St. Anthony’s Church
  • Casa Garden
  • Protestant Cemetery
Guia Hill
  • Guia Fortress, Lighthouse & Chapel

Afternoon: Southwest of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro 

Barra Square to Lilau Square
  • A-Ma Temple
  • Moorish Barracks
  • Mandarin House
St. Augustine’s Square
  • St. Lawrence’s Church
  • St. Joseph’s Church & Treasure of the Sacred Art Museum
  • Dom Pedro V Theatre
  • Sir Robert Ho Tung Library and St. Augustine’s Church 

How to do this itinerary

Starting off Senado Square, spend around two hours visiting the attractions here and around Company of Jesus Square.

Then proceed to Camões Square, a 350-metre walk from the Ruins of St. Paul’s.

After seeing these World Heritage attractions, continue directly to Guia Hill, 1.6km walk (25 minutes) to see the Guia Fortress attractions.

After you have visited the fortress, walk back down the hill to Royal Macau Hotel and have a Portuguese lunch at FADO.

Afterwards, ask the hotel ground staff for a taxi to A-Ma Temple.

They will happily oblige and save you the trouble of searching for your own taxi one on the streets.

Proceed by taxi to Barra Square at the southwest end of the peninsula where you will see the World Heritage attractions from here to Lilau Square.

Then continue onward to St. Augustine’s Square, which has a nice cluster of World Heritage attractions to visit

This is also where you finish your Macau World Heritage sightseeing.

From here you are a few minutes walk to Senado Square where you started in the morning.

Itinerary notes

Managing Your Time

This itinerary includes 25 attractions squeezed into approximately eight hours of sightseeing time. You should allow two hours of walking and taxi transportation, 1.5 hours for lunch and food stops and another half hour for taking photos.

What you have left is approximately four hours for actual sightseeing translating to roughly 10 minutes per attraction.

If you can keep to that schedule, you will be able to complete the ‘Start to Finish’ itinerary in one day!

Avoiding the Crowds

To make this itinerary work, you should start at Senado Square and cover the area between here and the Ruins of St. Paul’s first thing before the crowds set in.

The rest of the Historic Centre of Macau lacks the crowd pressure found at this location, hence the importance of finishing and moving on first thing in the morning.

Opening Hours

Unfortunately, a handful of World Heritage attractions at Senado Square don’t open their doors until 10 am.

This means you may not be able to enter all the attractions at Senado Square if you start too early in the morning, including the Holy House of Mercy, Lou Kau Mansion and St. Dominic’s Church.

The good news is that you will pass by other World Heritage attractions that are interchangeable for those that may not have opened such as: 

1) St. Joseph’s Treasury of the Sacred Art for Museum at Holy House of Mercy

2) Mandarin’s House for Lou Kau Mansion

3) St. Lawrence’s Church for St. Dominic’s Church

Macau Itinerary 2 Days – Slowing Things Down

2 day itinerary macau
Slow things down and choose a 2 Day Macau itinerary.

Itinerary Description

This itinerary is for those who have a couple of days available and want to slow things down when visiting the Historic Centre of Macau.

It takes in all of the World Heritage attractions, their respective museums as well as other points of interest focusing on the areas northeast of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro on Day One while spending exploring the areas to the southwest on day two. 

What you will see:

Day 1 – Northeast of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro 

Senado Square
  • Leal Senado Building & IACM Exhibition Gallery
  • Post Office
  • Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple
  • Holy House of Mercy & Museum, Cathedral
  • Cathedral Square
  • St. Dominic’s Church & Treasure of the Sacred Art Museum
  • Lou Kau Mansion
Company of Jesus Square
  • Ruins of St. Paul’s
  • Museum of the Sacred Heart & Crypt
  • Na Tcha Temple & Exhibition Centre
  • Old City Wall
  • Mount Fortress and Macau Museum
  • Friendship Statue
  • Rua do Paulo (Food Street)
Camões Square
  • St. Anthony’s Church
  • Casa Garden
  • Protestant Cemetery
  • Camões Garden & Grotto
Guia Hill
  • Guia Fortress, Lighthouse and Chapel
  • Guia Municipal Park
  • Guia Cable Car

Day 2 – Southwest of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro 

St. Augustine’s Square
  • Sir Robert Ho Tung Library
  • St. Augustine’s Church 
  • Dom Pedro V Theatre
  • St. Joseph’s Church and Treasure of the Sacred Art Museum
  • St. Lawrence’s Church
Lilau Square to Barra Square
  • Mandarin House
  • Moorish Barracks
  • A-Ma Temple
  • Macau Maritime Museum

How to do this itinerary

Day One starts at Senado Square, visiting the World Heritage and other attractions between this popular location and the Ruins of St. Paul’s at Company of Jesus Square.

When you are ready, proceed to the Camões Square attractions, before carrying on to Guia Hill where you finish your first day of sightseeing in the Historic Centre of Macau.

Visitors can explore the World Heritage area at their own pace and convenience.

If you feel tired after visiting the Camões Square attractions, you can stop for the day, saving the Guia Hill attractions for Day Two when you will have more time available.

Day Two starts at Senado Square again. However, this time you make way southwest to St. Augustine’s Square to visit the cluster of World Heritage attractions there first.

Then, continue southwest, visiting the attractions at Lilau Square and then to A-Ma Temple and Barra Square where ending your day of sightseeing in the World Heritage area.

If you skipped the Guia Hill attractions on Day One, simply flag down a taxi at Barra Square and make way back to Guia Hill, where you will wrap up your Macau World Heritage sightseeing instead.

Itinerary notes

Great Distance

By taking two days to explore Macau World Heritage, you don’t have to work very hard on either day. However, you will be on your feet for several hours on hilly streets and cobblestone pavements so best to wear comfortable footwear on both days.  

Avoiding the Crowds

By starting at Senado Square each morning, you should be able to minimize time spent in the area by late morning when the crowds will have settled in for the day. The rest of the Historic Centre of Macau lacks the crowd pressure found between Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul’s.

Opening Hours

The World Heritage attractions open at 9 or 10 am and stay open until 5 or 6 pm. 

General tips for visiting Macau World Heritage        

How to avoid the crowds

Pick the right time of day

The time of day matters for the area between Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul’s, which becomes very crowded by midmorning and remains so until early evening.

Arrive first thing in the morning before the tour groups to avoid heavy crowds for a couple of hours.

Visitors may also find crowds at A-Ma Temple on particular weekends and the week of Chinese New Year. Otherwise, the rest of the Macau World Heritage is never crowded.

Plan to visit during the week

The time of the week matters as weekend visitors pour into Macau from China and Hong Kong, putting additional pressure on the World Heritage area.

This can be avoided by simply arranging midweek visits to Macau.

Choose the right time of year

The time of the year matters for those who want to avoid the influx of visitors who enter during public holidays and important events such as Chinese New Year, Chinese Golden Week and the week of Macau Grand Prix.

Macau World Heritage sites opening times

World Heritage attractions are open from 9 or 10 am in the morning until 5 or 6 pm. Note that some are closed one day a week (Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday).

Retail and souvenir shops in the city centre generally open around 10 or 11 am and close at various times in the evening depending on their location. Many shops near to Senado Square remain open until late.

Local eateries start opening from 7 am but many popular restaurants don’t open until 12 pm.

Closing times vary so check with the restaurant directly if there’s a particular restaurant you wanted to try but you shouldn’t have trouble finding places to eat until late in the evening.

Macau Weather Impact

During the warmer months (May to October)

It can become quite hot during the middle of the day and if you’re affected by heat do your sightseeing early in the day and later on in the evening.

Be ready to retreat back to your hotel at midday or spend your time inside the World Heritage attractions and museums once temperatures rise.

The wet season (April to October)

There is a distinct possibility of rain during this time of year and humidity can also take its toll.

Spending time inside the World Heritage attractions and museums is a good idea when the rains make walking the streets inconvenient.

During the cooler months (November to March)

Weather conditions can be very favourable for all day sightseeing during the cooler months.

Macau has only a few proper cold days each year and since this is the dry season, chances for rain are much lower.

Macau weather and 7-day forecasts can be found online here.

How to get around Macau

Important Bus Routes to the Historic Centre of Macau

From the Main ferry terminal: routes 3, 3A, 10 or 10A pass near Senado Square where you can begin your visit.

From Cotai Strip: routes 25 or 26A.

Bus fares have been standardised at MOP6 per ride for all routes.  

Hotel Shuttles

There are no hotel shuttles that drop passengers off directly at the World Heritage area, however, there is service between the City of Dreams (Cotai Strip) and Grand Emperor Hotel (500 meters from Senado Square).

Taxis

It’s easy to find a taxi to the Historic Centre of Macau from the main ferry terminal or major hotels along the Cotai Strip.

Unfortunately, it can be quite difficult finding taxis when leaving the World Heritage area as taxis are not allowed to drop off or pick up in front of Senado Square.

They can occasionally be found at the top of the Ruins of St. Paul’s or outside A-Ma Temple but your best bet is either Ponte 16 Resort to the north of the World Heritage area or Grand Lisboa to the south.

Don’t be surprised to find a queue of others awaiting taxis at these properties.

Free Resources

Free Macau Map

This is an essential resource for making your way around the winding streets of the Historic Center of Macau.

The maps are handed out freely at the MGTO Office at the ferry terminals, airport and main office at Senado Square.

You can also download the free map directly from the MGTO website.

What’s On Macau

This is a monthly newsletter published by the MGTO each month with information related to festivities, exhibitions, concerts and other entertainment opportunities taking place around Macau each month.

They are also handed out freely at the various MGTO Offices or can be viewed and downloaded directly online.

Free Audio Guide

he MGTO makes available from their main office at Senado Square a free audio guide (MOP200 deposit) covering each of the attractions within the Historic Centre of Macau.

Free Hotel HANDY smartphones

Many Macau hotels offer free HANDY smartphones with data plans that provide direct internet access to articles such as this and other resources while exploring Macau World Heritage.

Hotels around the World Heritage Area

This is not an exhaustive list but there are plenty of hotel options near to the Historic Centre of Macau for those who want to stay within walking distance.

High-end properties

The closest five-star properties are Ponte 16 Resort, Grand Lisboa and Wynn Macau.

Slightly further away are Mandarin Oriental, MGM Macau, Ascot Macau and Grand Lapa.

Mid-range properties

Popular choices include Metropole, Sintra, Hotel Beverly Plaza, Royal Macau and Best Western Sun Sun.

A bit further away you’ll find Metropark, Hotel Lisboa and Hotel Guia.

Properties a grade or two lower include Ole London, Ole Tai Sam Un and Macau Masters Hotel.

Here’s a comparison of some of the top Macau hotels

Where to eat in the Historic Centre of Macau 

There are hundreds of places to eat and find food around the Historic Centre of Macau. Here is a list of some of the popular places to try while exploring the city centre.

Macanese Snacks and Street Food

These can be found in great numbers around Travessa de Se, Rua da Palha and Rua de S. Paulo in the area between Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul’s.

Popular pastileria brands are Koi Kei and Choi Heung Yuen.

Tai Lei Loi Kei is famous for Macanese pork chop buns.

Chinese Food

You’ll pass by endless local eateries dishing out traditional Cantonese food.

A couple of popular places are Wong Chi Kei (Senado Square) and Yee Shun Dairy Company (St. Dominic’s Square) for their milk pudding desserts.

Macanese and Portuguese Restaurants

Popular places include Cathedral Café and Café Ou Mun (Cathedral Square), Galo Macau (near St. Augustine’s Square), A Lorcha and Restaurant Litoral (near Barra Square) and FADO at Royal Macau (below Guia Hill).

Macau Coffee Shops

The best location belongs to Starbucks (Right in front of the Ruins of St. Paul’s).

For serious coffee, go to Communal Table (Behind Cathedral Square on Rua Formosa) or Terra Coffee (Below St. Augustine’s Square on Rua Central). 

5 Macau Itineraries for World Heritage Fans

5 Macau Itineraries for World Heritage Fans

 

5 Macau Itineraries for World Heritage Fans. #macao #historiccentre #travelitineraries #travelguide #travel

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