The Ultimate Macau World Heritage Guide

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With a rich legacy of Portuguese history, it’s not surprising that some of the top things to do in Macau involve exploring its World Heritage treasures. But with 25 historical buildings, gardens and squares spread across the city, where do you start? As TripAdvisor’s Destination Expert for Macau, I have visited Macau so many times I consider it my backyard. 

The Historic Centre of Macau was formally inscribed at the 29th Session of the World Heritage Committee in July 2005 and is referred to locally as Macau World Heritage

things to do in macau at night
Bookmark our comprehensive guide to things to do in Macau for World Heritage fans.

This guide describes each of the World Heritage attractions and gives a brief mention to other interesting places to see while exploring the area.

It is organised around six specific locations (five squares and one hilltop) where all of the World Heritage attractions are found. 

By focusing on these attraction clusters, you should be able to organise your sightseeing plans more effectively.

Use this guide along with my recommendations for ½-day, full-day and two-day itineraries. It’s all done for you, so choose your favourite Macau itinerary and discover the unique World Heritage treasures of Macau.   

While Macau is home to one of the most impressive World Heritage city centres in Asia, there are also plenty of other interesting places to visit in Macau.

Historic Centre of Macau Guide

Barra Square

things to do Macau A Ma
One of the things to do in Macau that most people have on their list is to visit A-Ma temple.

Barra Square is a public space near the southwestern end of the Macau Peninsula.

Starting here and making way along Calçada da Barra, you will find the first group of World Heritage attractions, highlighted by the Macau landmark – A-Ma Temple.

1- A-Ma Temple

Located at Barra Square, A-Ma Temple is one of the oldest and most important temples in the city. 

As visiting the temple is one of the most popular things to do in Macau for free, expect crowds.

A-Ma temple’s original structure was built around 1490 and according to local legend, a lost young girl named Matzu (or A-Ma) appeared upon nearby rocks as a goddess to local fishermen.

Since then, A-Ma has been worshipped at the temple for centuries, along with other deities, like Guin Yin (Kun Iam) and Tin Hau, who is worshipped within respective prayer halls of the temple.

There is much to see in A-Ma Temple, such as small halls, pavilions and shrines that dot the hillside and are connected by winding footpaths. 

A photogenic prayer hall and traditional moon gate are highlights of A-Ma Temple, as is the memorial archway entrance, which is guarded by stone lions.

Tip: An engaging time to see A-Ma temple is Chinese New Year when large numbers of worshippers take to the temple grounds to make offerings, burn joss-sticks and set off firecracker rolls in hopes of good luck and fortune in the coming year. It is a real spectacle, especially on the first day of the New Year.

Fun fact: It is said that the Portuguese named the island after hearing locals refer to the area near A-Ma Temple as ‘A Maa Gau’, which means Bay of A-Ma in Chinese. The Portuguese sailors believed they were being told the name of the island and thought they heard ‘Macao’ – hence the name we use to this day.

A-Ma Temple (free entry) is open from 7 am to 6 pm daily.

2- Moorish Barracks

This World Heritage attraction is located along the narrow Calçada da Barra just a few minutes walk from Barra Square. 

It is a late 19th-century building constructed to house an Indian regiment brought over from Goa to help reinforce the Macao police force during the colonial period.

The Moorish Barracks features a peculiar blend of neo-classical and Moghul architecture that can be viewed from the street as you approach or from the verandah lining the front of the Barracks.

The Moorish Barracks are not open for public visitation, however, the verandah can be accessed from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

3- Lilau Square

Lilau Square is situated along Calçada da Barra between Barra Square and St. Augustine’s Square. 

This location is where the original source of spring water was found in Macau, hence its association with some of the earliest Portuguese residences from the colonial period.

The square features buildings of Portuguese, Art Deco and late 19th-century Chinese architecture including the impressive Mandarin’s House.

One of the fun things to do in Macau’s Lilau Square is to test out the local saying “He who drinks from the waters of Lilau will never forget Macau!”

4- Mandarin’s House

The Mandarin’s House is a fine representation of traditional Chinese architecture and a highlight of Macau World Heritage. 

This World Heritage attraction was only opened to the public in 2010 after nearly a decade of restoration efforts.

Constructed prior to 1869, this property was originally the residential compound of Chinese reformist and literary figure Zheng Guanying. 

Within the premise, there are two main buildings with upstairs and downstairs rooms to explore. 

Traditional furnishing, carved wooden screens and staircases and an appealing moon gate entrance can be seen. 

Several ground-floor rooms are dedicated to the history of the compound, its restoration efforts as well as the life, profession and writings of Zheng Guanying. 

Tip: A good thing to do in Macau during Chinese New Year is to visit Mandarin House as it serves as a venue for traditional Lion dances and other festival events, while its courtyard and rooms are filled with holiday plants and decorations.

Mandarin’s House (free entry) is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily (Closed on Wednesdays).

Bonus: Maritime Museum at Barra Square

While not a World Heritage attraction, visiting the Maritime Museum at Barra Square deserves to be high on your list of things to do in Macau. 

This is one of Macau’s best museums, providing an overview of local maritime activity and how it has helped shape Macau’s history.

There are four floors filled with displays, model ships, an aquarium for children and other items of interest. 

A highlight is the Little A-Ma Theatre that presents the legend of the local goddess for which the famous A-Ma Temple is named.

The Maritime Museum is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily (Closed on Tuesdays). Entry is MOP10 per adult (discounted entry MOP5 on Sundays).

St. Augustine’s Square

things to see in macau st lawrence
Another thing to do in Macau is to explore the Baroque features of St Lawrence’s church.

This beautiful square is situated along Rua de São Lourenço around halfway between Lilau Square and Senado Square. 

There is a handful of World Heritage attractions and picturesque cobblestone pavements which make the square one of Macau’s most complete Portuguese streetscapes.

Tip – St. Augustine’s Square is only 3-4 minutes away from the famous Senado Square. However, it receives far fewer visitors, meaning more relaxed and peaceful sightseeing.

5- St. Lawrence’s Church

Located along Rua de São Lourenço, just a few minutes southwest of St. Augustine’s Square, St. Lawrence’s Church is one of the largest and most impressive of churches in the Historic Centre of Macau.  

The present building was constructed around 1846 although the church was established much earlier in the mid-16th century. 

The pastel yellow façade is a good representation of neo-classical architecture. 

Within the church, visitors will find Baroque features around the high altar as well as a soft blue-coloured ceiling that complements the soft yellows found within the church quite well.  

Tip: The garden just outside the entrance provides more character to St. Lawrence’s Church. It has a few benches and makes for a pleasant place to get off your feet for a few minutes if you need a break from sightseeing. 

St. Lawrence’s Church (free entry) is open from 7 am to 9 pm daily.

6- St. Joseph’s Seminary and Church

St. Joseph’s Seminary is located on St. Augustine’s Square and is not open to the public but the impressive church is open to the public and accessible from behind the square along Rua do Seminário.   

Built by the Jesuits in 1758, St. Joseph’s is a rare example of a Baroque church in Asia. 

First, visitors encounter an elongated staircase, similar but smaller in scale to what you see in front of the famous Ruins of St. Paul’s. 

The main difference is that instead of being alongside hundreds of other people, here you are likely to have St. Joseph’s Church all to yourself, allowing unobstructed photographs of the staircase and church facade.

The interior of St. Joseph’s has an opulent feel, with fair use of stucco, gold leaf motifs and marble. 

The high altar is quite attractive as is the large pair of Solomonic columns found at the back of the church.

Tip: St. Joseph’s Church is a stone’s throw distance from the back of St. Lawrence’s Church and it is very convenient to combine visits to these two historic churches.

St. Joseph’s Church (free entry) is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

7- Treasure of Sacred Art at St. Joseph’s Seminary

There is a small museum called the Treasure of Sacred Art that opened a few years ago in the Seminary building adjacent to St. Joseph’s Church. 

This is a seven-room collection of 18th to 20th-century religious artifacts and sacred possessions.

Visitors will be able to view historic wall paintings, vestments, vessels and wooden carvings of church icons, saints and the Virgin Mary. Church books and documents are also on display. 

One room is dedicated to the history of the seminary and church.

The Treasure of Sacred Art (free entry) is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily (Closed on Wednesdays).

8- Dom Pedro V Theatre

Dom Pedro V Theatre is situated on St. Augustine’s Square across from St. Dominic’s Church. 

Notably, this was the first western-style theatre in Asia. To this day, performances and events continue to be held at Dom Pedro V.

Constructed in 1860, the facade is teal green in colour and attractive representation of neo-classical architecture. 

It features a triangular pediment and portico fronted by four Ionic columns. 

The interior includes a small waiting room with chandeliers, wall mirrors and views into the auditorium. 

There is also a second-floor access point with further views into the upper-level seating area.

Dom Pedro V Theatre (free entry) is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily (Closed on Tuesdays).

9- Sir Robert Ho Tung Library

The Sir Robert Ho Tung Library is a former mansion house built in 1894 on St. Augustine’s Square. 

It is named after Hong Kong businessman Sir Robert Ho Tung, who owned the mansion during the early 20th-century. 

Today, the building is both a World Heritage attraction and a public library.

This attraction features impressive European architecture. 

The building facade and front courtyard are lovely and visitors shouldn’t miss the tranquil garden in the back of the property.

Tip: If you are looking for a spot to rest around St. Augustine’s Square, the garden in the back of Sir Robert Ho Tung Library is perhaps the quietest and most secluded location within the entire Historic Centre of Macau. 

Sir Robert Ho Tung Library (free entry) is open from 10 am to 7 pm (Monday to Saturday) and 11 am to 7 pm (Sundays).

10- St. Augustine’s Church

This is the historic church for which St. Augustine’s Square takes its name. 

First established by Spanish Augustinians near the end of the 16-century, the present church building shares traits with other World Heritage churches including a pastel yellow, neo-classical facade and subtle interior decor, typical of Portuguese colonial churches.

Today, St. Augustine’s continues to play an important role in Macau, being the organiser of the annual Easter Procession. 

A special highlight awaits visitors of the church in the form of the sacred ‘Bom Jesus dos Passos’ statue located behind the high altar.

St. Augustine’s Church (free entry) is open from 10 am to 7 pm (Monday to Saturday) and 11 am to 7 pm (Sundays).

Northeast of Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro

Senado Square

what to do in macau senado square
One of the things to do in Macau everyone who visits does is to hang out at Senado Square.

11- Senado Square

Senado Square is the heart of Macau World Heritage and where visitors will find the highest concentration of World Heritage attractions. 

It is an immensely popular place to spend time in Macau.

The square is lined with beautiful pastel-coloured buildings mostly dating back to the colonial period.

It is also the location of Macau’s finest representation of calçada Portuguesa – the Portuguese style cobblestone pavements, which surface the entire square. 

What you will see is a ‘wave pattern’ modelled after Rossio Square in Lisbon.

Tip: Senado Square can be very crowded from mid-morning to late afternoon throughout the year. This is, even more, the case on weekends and public holidays. During Chinese New Year, expect shoulder-to-shoulder foot traffic throughout the day.

12- Leal Senado

Leal Senado is the original municipal chamber of Macau. 

It is situated directly on Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro facing Senado Square. 

This World Heritage attraction is considered the best representation of Portuguese architecture in the city.

Constructed in 1784, Leal Senado features a simple neo-classical facade and a delightful interior staircase lined with blue-and-white Portuguese tiled murals. 

The stairs lead to what is Macau’s most beautiful inner courtyard.

Follow the second set of stairs at Leal Senado to the elegantly carved library designed in the style of Mafra Palace in Portugal.

This is one of the few hidden gems remaining around Macau. 

Free concerts are often held in the foyer while art and history exhibitions are regularly on display in the ground floor IACM Exhibition gallery rooms.

Tip: Leal Senado is decked out to the hilt during the holiday season so be sure to pop in during Chinese New Year, Easter, Mid-Autumn Festival and Christmas.

Leal Senado (free entry) is open from 9 am to 9 pm daily.

13- Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple

Sam Kai Vui Kun is one of three Chinese temples that make up Macau World Heritage. 

It is situated in the old Chinese Bazaar on Rua Sul do Mercado, just off Senado Square.

This is a small 18th-century temple that served as an important meeting place for local Chinese business representatives. 

It features traditional elements of Chinese architecture including grey brick exterior, ornamental friezes, decorative plaster, shrines, deity figurines, hanging incense coils as well as an open interior courtyard.

Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple (free entry) is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

14- Holy House of Mercy Museum

The Holy House of Mercy is located directly on Senado Square.

Originally established in 1569, this was for several centuries an orphanage for young girls and a public health clinic modelled after the Santa Casa de Misericórdia charity of Portugal. 

In addition to its captivating neo-classical facade, the Holy House of Mercy also hosts a three-room museum filled with religious artifacts, porcelain and other items of interest.

Hidden gem: The museum’s second-floor outdoor balcony, which overlooks Senado Square, has the best view of the Historic Centre of Macau yet it receives very few visitors.

Holy House of Mercy Museum (MOP5) is open from 10 am to 1 pm as well as 2.30 to 5.30 pm daily (Closed on Mondays).

15- Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady, which is locally known as ‘Cathedral’ or ‘Se’), is located just off Cathedral Square one block south of Senado Square. 

While not as charming as other churches in Macau World Heritage, Cathedral is the most important house of worship in Macau.

The original Cathedral was built in 1622 and the present building was heavily restored in 1850, giving it the grey stone neo-classical appearance that is seen today. 

The interior is modestly decorated and an important sacramental image of the ‘Lady of Fatima’ can be seen near the high altar.

Cathedral (free entry) is open from 9.30 am to 6 pm daily.

Cathedral Square
things to do in Macao Cathedral Square
Cathedral Square is a charming European-style square and a picturesque spot for photos.

Cathedral Square is a small public space just to the west of Cathedral. 

There are a few things to see including a statue of a standing cross, a fountain decorated with seahorse and dolphin spouts as well as blue-and-white tiled murals lining the lower walls of the square along Travessa do Meio.

Tip: The murals below Cathedral Square are the works of George Chinnery (circa 1835-40) and provide a glimpse into the landscape of the Portuguese colony as seen through the eyes of Macau’s most important artist back in the early 19th-century.

16- Lou Kau Mansion

The Lou Kau Mansion is a historic mansion with an understated exterior located along Travessa da Sé, between Cathedral and St. Dominic’s Square. 

This World Heritage attraction is a nice example of late 19th-century Chinese architecture.

The mansion was built for a wealthy merchant in the late 19th century. 

It is a two-story building of typical grey brick construction and includes three halls connected by passageways. 

The Lou Kau Mansion features interior courtyards and rooms lined with decorative plasterwork, carved-wooden canopies, screens and period furniture.

Tip: At various times of the year, concerts are held in the main gathering hall of Lou Kau Mansion and there are exhibitions from time to time. 

Lou Kau Mansion (free entry) is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily.

17- St. Dominic’s Church

St. Dominic’s Church is located at the east end of Senado Square in a small opening known as St. Dominic’s Square. 

This is the most popular church in Historic Centre of Macau with crowds throughout the day.

Dating back to 1597, the present church was built by the Dominicans in the early 17th century. 

The church facade is one of the finest in the city and is fronted by wave-patterned ‘calçada Portuguesa’ cobblestone pavement. 

The scene is a classic image of colonial-era Macau and is one of the best photo spots you will find in the city.

The interior of St. Dominic’s is both neo-classical and Baroque in style, featuring an ornate altar, a column-lined nave and modestly decorated walls. 

From the side of the church, you will also find a detached bell tower, which serves as a museum.

St. Dominic’s Church (free entry) is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily.

Treasure of the Sacred Art Museum at St. Dominic’s Church

Several of the World Heritage attractions in Macau have attached museums, including the Treasure of Sacred Art Museum at St. Dominic’s Church.

You will find several floors of gallery space, displaying over 300 church artifacts. 

On exhibit are historic artworks, sacristy items, wooden figures and other sacred treasures, which came to the church by way of Portugal in the 1830s.

Treasure of the Sacred Art Museum (free entry) is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily.

Bonus: Post Office at Senado Square

The Post Office is located upon Senado Square and faces Leal Senado. 

This is not a World Heritage attraction but might catch your eye as it is an early 20th-century building and a fine example of neo-classical architecture in the Historic Centre of Macau.

Tip: You can buy a variety of souvenir stamps of Macau at the Post Office.

The Post Office is open from 9 am to 6 pm (Monday to Friday) and 9 am to 1 pm (Saturdays). It is closed on Sundays.

Bonus: Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) at Senado Square

A resourceful stop to make at Senado Square is the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) located directly on the square across from the Holy House of Mercy.

Pick up maps of Macau, attraction brochures and the Macau World Heritage audio guide (MOP200 deposit) all of which are free.

Staff members are on hand to answer questions and there are free toilets and Wifi. 

The MGTO Office at Senado Square (free entry) is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

Company of Jesus Square

things to do macau st paul's
Of course, the number one thing to do in Macau is to visit St Paul’s Ruins.

The Company of Jesus Square is a melting pot of architecture, heritage and food, 10 minutes northeast of Senado Square. 

This is where you find several World Heritage attractions, including the iconic Ruins of St. Paul’s. 

It is also a fun place to enjoy pastelerías and other food shops that line Rua de S. Paulo as it intersects the square.

18- Ruins of St. Paul’s

The Ruins of St. Paul’s sits atop a long staircase that starts at Company of Jesus Square. 

This is the most famous landmark in the city and the face of Macau World Heritage. 

It is a very popular location frequented by great numbers of visitors – so do expect crowds throughout the day.

Constructed in the early 17th century and named Mater Dei, the church was located next to St. Paul’s College. 

Unfortunately, both were destroyed in the great fire of 1835.  

What remains today is the church foundation, a small museum and crypt as well as the decorative and eerie facade.

Tip: A particularly neat photo spot is found at Travessa da Paixao, a short 50m walk down Rua de S. Paulo after it runs past the Company of Jesus Square. This is a charming alleyway lined with pink and yellow coloured European buildings. At the end of the alleyway is a small gap, which is dramatically filled with an angled view of the Ruins of St. Paul.

The Ruins of St. Paul’s is an important location during Chinese New Year (CNY) as this is where the 238m long dragon parade makes its start before winding through the Historic Centre of Macau.

The Ruins of St. Paul’s (free entry) is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily

Museum of the Sacred Heart and Crypt at Ruins of St. Paul’s

Located in the back of the Ruins of St. Paul’s is the Museum of the Sacred Heart, a single room exhibit of church artifacts, woodworks and sacred pairings. 

In an adjacent room, visitors will find a crypt and tomb that is believed to hold the remains of the founder of St. Paul’s College, Father Alexander Valignano (1539-1606). 

The room also contains the relics of Japanese and Vietnamese martyrs.

The Museum of the Sacred Heart and Crypt (free entry) is open from 9 am to 6 pm (Wednesday to Monday) and 9 am to 2 pm (Tuesdays)

19- Na Tcha Temple

Na Tcha is a small temple with a single room located next to the Old City Wall just to the side of the Ruins of St. Paul. 

Constructed in 1888, the temple is dedicated to Na Tcha, a local folklore God of War. 

The Na Tcha Exhibition Centre on the other side of the Old City Wall is just a few metres away from the temple. Here visitors can learn about the local god Na Tcha as well as festivals associated with the temple. 

The highlight of the Exhibition Centre is the impressive Na Tcha Sedan Chair.

Na Tcha Temple and Exhibition Centre (free entry) is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily (Closed on Wednesdays).

20- Section of the Old City Wall

Right next to Na Tcha Temple is the surviving section of the Old Wall, a defensive fortification built around the city in the mid-16th-century.

What makes the wall fragment unique is how it was constructed.

The early wall was made of compressed ‘chunambo’ – a mixture of clay, soil, crushed rocks, oyster shells and other natural materials. 

See the chunambo up close as you pass through the hole cut in the wall, right before the Na Tcha Exhibition Centre. 

This is how the Portuguese built defensive structures during colonial times. 

Similar examples are found today at other Portuguese port settlements in Africa and India.

21- Mount Fortress

Mount Fortress is the historic military and city defensive fortifications constructed between 1617 and 1626 on the elevated grounds next to the Ruins of St. Paul’s. 

Foundation ruins are scattered along the foothill of the fort and a statue of the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci can be seen before entering the fort.

Atop the fortress, visitors will find battlements with canons and some of the finest views of the Historic Centre of Macau. 

For history buffs, Mount Fortress is also where you find the Macao Museum, located within the fortress walls.

Mount Fortress (free entry) is open from 10 am to 6 pm daily (Closed on Mondays).

Macao Museum at Mount Fort

This is the most comprehensive museum in Macau and an important attraction for those who want to learn about Macau’s beginnings.

The Macao Museum includes 35 exhibits dedicated to pre-colonial history, Portuguese settlement, sea trade and industry as well as other curious aspects of Macau’s past. 

Quality displays are accompanied by helpful Cantonese and English information. 

The Macao Museum (MOP15) is open from 10 am to 6 pm (Closed on Mondays).

Bonus: Friendship Statue at Company of Jesus Square

The Friendship Statue is found directly upon the Company of Jesus Square.

It depicts a young Chinese girl handing a lotus flower to a Portuguese boy. 

The two figures are encompassed by a tilted loop, which bonds and hold them together into a monument that symbolises the friendship between China and Portugal. 

Tip: The Friendship Statue is surrounded by small hedges and is well decorated during holiday seasons. Stand behind the Friendship Statue and you can take photos, including the Ruins of St. Paul’s in the background.

Bonus: Rua de S. Paulo (Food Street) at Company of Jesus Square

Rua de S. Paulo is the famous ‘Food Street’ of Macau World Heritage. 

It is the spot to try Macanese specialty snacks such as braised jerked meats, almond cookies, crunchy peanut candies, ginger candies and Portuguese style egg tarts.

Koi Kei and Choi Heung Yuen are the two most famous pastelerias (bakeries) but there are other local brands visitors can try as well. 

All offer free samples to entice buyers so don’t be afraid to try a few places before making purchases.

Due to its very narrow configuration, Rua de S. Paulo is quite congested during much of the day but the crowd does move, even if it seems like it doesn’t at times.

Expect shoulder-to-shoulder foot traffic when passing through and you may need to be patient.  

Camões Square

Macau things to do St Anthonys church
Going on a hunt for World Heritage wonders off the beaten track (such as St Anthony’s church) is one of the fun things to do in Macau.

Camões Square is a 350m walk northwest of the Ruins of St Paul’s and has several World Heritage attractions, however, given the slight isolation these sites are the least visited within the Historic Centre of Macau.

22- St. Anthony’s Church

St. Anthony’s is on the south side of Camões Square. 

The church was first established in 1560, making it one of the oldest in Macau. 

During colonial times, St. Anthony’s was an important venue for Portuguese-community wedding ceremonies.

The present church building only dates back to the 1930s. It is similar in appearance to Cathedral (Senado Square), featuring a neo-classical facade with grey stone exterior but only a single tower structure. 

There is a fountain just outside the church gates and statue of a standing cross (1638) just within. 

The interior is subtle, modest with hints of Baroque. 

In this manner, it is similar to other churches that make up Macau World Heritage.

St. Anthony’s Church (free entry) is open from 9 am to 5.30 pm daily.

23- Casa Garden

Casa Garden is located at the side of Camões Square and makes up the front grounds of a beautiful 18th-century property built for the Portuguese merchant, Manuel Pereira. 

The British East India Company later rented out the building and today it is the headquarters for the Oriental Foundation.

The garden is European in style and features a pond surrounded by simple landscaping, flowerbeds and statues. 

During the Christmas season poinsettias are placed around the garden giving it an added splash of colour.  

Casa Garden (free entry) is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm daily.

24- Protestant Cemetery

The Protestant Cemetery is located just next to Casa Garden at Camões Square. 

This is the historic burial ground for the early community of Protestants that settled in Macau. 

There are 162 tombs including headstones of important early residents like Robert Morrison for whom a small chapel near the entrance to the cemetery is named.

The most notable tomb at the Protestant Cemetery is found along the northern wall behind the chapel.

It belongs to George Chinnery (1174-1852), the British painter who spent much of his life in Macau.

Chinnery is remembered for his vivid watercolour landscapes of 19th century Macau, many of which can be viewed at the Macao Art Museum (MAM).

You may have also seen Chinnery’s blue-and-white tiled murals that line the lower walls of Cathedral Square.

Protestant Cemetery (free entry) is open from 9.30 am to 5.30pm daily.

Bonus: Camões Garden and Grotto at Camões Square

In addition to the World Heritage attractions at Camões Square, there is a public garden here as well named after the Portuguese poet, Luis Camões.

Camões Garden originally formed part of extended grounds of the British East India Office and Casa Garden. 

Today, it includes well-maintained footpaths through forested and hilly grounds. 

There are statues, a bust of Luis Camões, a rock grotto as well as a Chinese pavilion from which surprisingly good views of the strait and coast of mainland China can be seen.

Tip – A little known gem at Camões Garden is the series of 10 cobblestone engravings representing cantos written by Luis Camões. These are found near the garden entrance.

Camões Garden (free entry) is open from 6 am to 10 pm daily.

Guia Hill      

things to do in Macau guia hill
If you’re feeling energetic, one of the things to do in Macau is to climb Guia Hill.

Guia Hill is the located just over 1km east of the Ruins of St. Paul’s climbing 94m above sea level overlooking the city centre. 

This is the location of the last of the UNESCO World Heritage attractions – the Guia Fortress.

25- Guia Fortress

Guia Fortress was a strategic stronghold between 1622 and 1638.

For several centuries, this defensive position was used to watch over the peninsula and survey the surrounding waters of Macau.

The lighthouse found here is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Macau.

Within the fort, there are several things to see, including an Observatory room with a brief history of major typhoons that have landed at Macau.

There is an information room where visitors can learn about the chapel, lighthouse and military tunnels.

A small section of the tunnels at the fortress can be passed through as well.

Guia Fortress (free entry) is open from 9 am to 6 pm daily.

Guia Chapel

Formerly known as Our Lady of Guia Chapel and part of the original Guia Fort construction in 1622, this is one of the first places of Christian worship in Macau.

Restoration efforts in 1998 revealed the presence of centuries-old European and Chinese religious frescos upon the inner walls of the chapel.

Lights are kept dim within and no photography is allowed inside to protect these unique historic artworks.

Guia Chapel (free entry) is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily.

Guia Lighthouse

The Guia Lighthouse dates back to 1895 and was the very first modern lighthouse built along the coast of China.

It is an important landmark perched beautifully upon Guia Hill and a popular photo stop for many visitors to Macau.

Guia Lighthouse is not open for regular public visitation.

Bonus: Guia Hill Municipal Park

The grounds behind Guia Fortress make up the Guia Hill Municipal Park.

These public grounds are a good place to seek rural refuge for visitors needing a break from the busy streets around the Historic Centre of Macau.

There are quiet walking trails through wooded and shady areas, historic bunker sites and a children’s playground area.

Bonus: Guia Cable Car

A popular way to visit Guia Hill and the fortress attractions is the Guia Cable Car, which starts at the front of Flora Garden below the hill.

A fun two-minute ride on the cable car brings you to the upper terminus. From here it is a four to five-minute walk to Guia Fortress, Chapel and Lighthouse. 

The Guia Cable Car (MOP2 single/MOP3 return) is open from 8 am to 6 pm (Closed on Mondays).  

Wondering when to go? Read this post for the best time to visit Macau. 

Macau World Heritage Guide
Macau World Heritage Guide
 
Macau World Heritage Guide. #macao #worldheritage #travel #travelguide

13 COMMENTS

  1. 25 World Heritage sites in one area is a lot. Would love to wander all the squares and temples, especially the Company of Jesus Square. Climbing Guia Hill would also be high on my list

  2. Looking at these photos, I would never think they were from an Asian city at all. All the buildings and churches look rather European, don’t they? I had never considered visiting Macau, but now you’ve got me reconsidering…

  3. I had no idea there was so much history in Macau. Thank you for the thorough post and highlights of the UNESCO sites. It would take so much time and energy to visit! For as crowded as you say the sites can be you certainly were able to capture great photos without crowds.

  4. And here I thought all Macau had to offer was gambling! Glad to find out I was wrong! I’ve seen pictures of the ruins of St. Paul’s before but not all of the history. What an interesting tale, I can’t wait to see it for myself. Macau has such an interesting history, I can’t wait to visit and explore it all. Thanks for sharing!

  5. A friend recently told me about their visit to Macau and I was so intrigued. Reading this adds so much texture to our conversation. Had no idea Macau offered so much more than being like a “Las Vegas.” It’s great that you focused on the historical and cultural aspects of the city. Love reading the article, but would have liked to see a few more pictures:)

  6. I had no idea that Macau had such a rich architectural and cultural legacy. After seeing your post, I am thinking of adding it to my list of destinations. I think 3-4 days should be perfect for exploring the world heritage site.

    • Four days would be a reasonable amount of time to see the World Heritage sites as well as check out some of the other cool places in Macau.

  7. Thanks for such a comprehensive list of World Heritage Sites to visit in Macau, I wasn’t even aware that there are so many! I had the impression of Macau more as a modern, lively, casino-filled, skyscraper-filled city, almost like a mini Vegas but to read about all these amazing heritage sites has made me look at it in a different way. I wasn’t very keen on visiting either Hong Kong or Macau earlier but maybe I should put it in my bucket list, I would love to visit these places you’ve mentioned.

  8. I had no idea there was so much history in Macau! St Paul’s Ruins look beautiful, although eery – I’d love to see it on Chinese New Year even though it would be so busy there is an amazing atmosphere I’m sure!

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