Must see attractions in Macau

  • Top ChoiceSights in Macau Peninsula

    Ruins of the Church of St Paul

    The most treasured icon in Macau, the towering facade and stairway are all that remain of this early-17th-century Jesuit church. With its statues, portals and engravings that effectively make up a ‘sermon in stone’ and a Biblia pauperum (Bible of the poor), the church was one of the greatest monuments to Christianity in Asia, intended to help the illiterate understand the Passion of Christ and the lives of the saints.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Macau Peninsula

    Church of St Joseph

    St Joseph’s, which falls outside the tourist circuit, is Macau’s most beautiful model of tropicalised baroque architecture. Consecrated in 1758 as part of the Jesuit seminary, it features a scalloped canopy and a staircase leading to the courtyard from which you see the arresting white-and-yellow facade of the church and its dome. The latter is the oldest dome ever built in China. The interior, with its three altars, is lavishly ornamented with overlapping pilasters and attractive Solomonic 'spiral' columns.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Taipa

    Taipa Village

    The historical part of Taipa is best preserved in this village in the south of the district. An intricate warren of alleys holds traditional Chinese shops and some excellent restaurants, while the broader main roads are punctuated by colonial villas, churches and temples. Rua da Cunha, the main pedestrian drag, is lined with vendors hawking free samples of Macanese almond cookies and beef jerky, and tiny cafes selling egg tarts and serradura pudding.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Macau Peninsula

    Guia Fortress & Chapel

    As the highest point on the peninsula, Guia Fortress affords panoramic views of the city. At the top is the small but stunning Chapel of Our Lady of Guia, built in 1622 and retaining almost 100% of its original features, including frescoes with both Portuguese and Chinese details that are among Asia’s most important. Next to the chapel stands the oldest modern lighthouse (c 1865) on the China coast – a commanding 15m-tall structure, often open every Saturday and Sunday in July.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Kun Iam Temple

    Macau’s oldest temple was founded in the 13th century, but the present structures date to 1627. The roof ridges are ornately embellished with porcelain figurines and the halls are lavishly decorated, if a little weathered. Inside the main hall stands the likeness of Kun Iam, the Goddess of Mercy; to the left of the altar is a bearded arhat rumoured to represent Marco Polo. The first Sino-American treaty was signed at a round stone table in the temple's terraced gardens in 1844.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Macau Peninsula

    Sir Robert Ho Tung Library

    This charming building, founded in the 19th century, was the country retreat of the late tycoon Robert Ho Tung, who purchased it in 1918. The colonial edifice, featuring a dome, an arcaded facade, Ionic columns and Chinese-style gardens, was given a modern extension by architect Joy Choi Tin Tin in 2006. The new four-storey structure in glass and steel has Piranesi-inspired bridges connecting to the old house and a glass roof straddling the transitional space.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Coloane

    Ká Hó Church of Our Lady of Sorrows

    Tent-like with a long, slanting roof, like hands in prayer, this church was raised in the Ká Hó leper colony in 1966. It was built for use by the female leprosy patients staying at the leprosarium, along with their families and caretakers. Italian architect Oseo Acconci designed the simple and graceful structure. The sturdy wooden door has planks echoing the angularity of the roof and the bell tower. The bronze crucifix was by another Italian, sculptor Francisco Messima.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Leal Senado

    Facing Largo do Senado is Macau’s most important historical building, the 18th-century ‘Loyal Senate’, which houses the Instituto para os Assuntos Cívicos e Municipais (IACM; Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau). It is so-named because the body sitting here refused to recognise Spain’s sovereignty during the 60 years that it occupied Portugal. In 1654, a dozen years after Portuguese sovereignty was re-established, King João IV ordered a heraldic inscription that is displayed inside the Leal Senado's entrance hall.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Monte Fort

    Just east of the Ruins of the Church of St Paul, from which it is separated by a pebbled path and picturesque foliage, Monte Fort was built by the Jesuits between 1617 and 1626 to defend the College of the Mother of God against pirates. It was later handed over to the colonial government. Barracks and storehouses were designed to allow the fort to survive a two-year siege, but the cannons were fired only once, during the aborted attempt by the Dutch to invade Macau in 1622.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Macau Peninsula

    Chapel of Our Lady of Penha

    This graceful chapel atop Penha Hill was raised as a place of pilgrimage for Portuguese sailors in the 17th century, purportedly by survivors of a ship that had narrowly escaped capture by the Dutch. Most of what you see though came about in 1935. In the courtyard is a marble statue of Our Lady of Lourdes facing the sea; symmetrical staircases lead down to a grotto of the saint, complete with pews and altar. The grey chapel is visible across the lake.

  • Sights in Cotai

    MGM Cotai

    In the MGM Cotai's atrium, the walls are hung with LED screens showing razor-sharp images of landscapes from all over the world. These are interspersed with vertical gardens where purportedly 2000 plant species grow, including extinct 19th-century botanicals revived from seed banks. Topping it off is a glass canopy larger than a football field. It's quite an experience to traverse this space – lofty and futuristic, but with the grandeur and transience of an old train station.

  • Sights in Coloane

    Coloane Village

    Coloane's 'urban centre' is an old fishing village on its southwestern coast. It is marked by Tam Kung Temple to the south and Lai Chi Vun Village to the north, with winding alleys, tiny squares, temples and modern villas in between. Coloane Village retains an idyllic air, especially in the late afternoon when the tour groups have left. Attractions here include delicious Portuguese and Macanese restaurants, the Chapel of St Francis Xavier and a couple of small but important temples.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Dom Pedro V Theatre

    This sage green neoclassical theatre is one of the oldest western-style theatres in East Asia, and remains an important cultural venue today. It was built in 1860 by the local Portuguese in the style of European theatres at the time, but some features were added later, including the facade with white columns. Check out the corridor on the right of the main hall; it has beautiful windows in an art nouveau style, and a quaint staircase leading to the upper circle.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Avenida da República

    Banyan-lined Avenida da República, along the northwest shore of Sai Van Lake, is Macau's oldest Portuguese quarter. There are several grand colonial villas not open to the public here. The former Bela Vista Hotel, one of the most storied hotels in Asia, is now the Residence of the Portuguese Consul-General. Nearby is the ornate Santa Sancha Palace, once the residence of Macau’s Portuguese governors, and now used to accommodate dignitaries. Not too far away are beautiful, abandoned art deco–inspired buildings.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Church of St Dominic

    Smack in the heart of Macau's historic centre, this sunny yellow baroque church with a beautiful altar and a timber roof was founded by three Spanish Dominican priests from Acapulco, Mexico, in the 16th century, although the current structure dates from the 17th century. It was here, in 1822, that the first Portuguese newspaper was published on Chinese soil. The former bell tower now houses the Treasure of Sacred Art, an Aladdin’s cave of ecclesiastical art and liturgical objects exhibited on three floors.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Macau Peninsula

    Treasure of Sacred Art

    Northeast of Largo do Senado, the 17th-century baroque Church of St Dominic contains the Treasure of Sacred Art, an Aladdin’s cave of ecclesiastical art and liturgical objects exhibited on three floors. The majority of the items were made in the 19th- or early 20th-century in Macau or Portugal. You'll see doll-like statues of wood or ivory, precious rosary beads, and polychrome wood carvings of heads and limbs of saints stuffed in a wooden chest.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Lin Fung Temple

    Dedicated to Kun Iam, the Goddess of Mercy, this graceful Temple of the Lotus was built in 1592, and underwent several reconstructions. It used to host mandarins from Guangdong province when they visited Macau, the most famous being Commissioner Lin Zexu, who was credited with stamping out the opium trade. His statue stands in the entrance courtyard. The temple has beautiful religious art.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Lou Kau Mansion

    Built around 1889, this Cantonese-style mansion with southern European elements belonged to merchant Lou Wa Sio (aka Lou Kau), who also commissioned the Lou Lim Ieoc Garden. Behind the grey facade, an intriguing maze of open and semi-enclosed spaces blurs the line between inside and outside. The flower-and-bird motif on the roof can also be found in the Mandarin's House and A-Ma Temple.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Gallery of Macau's Gaming History

    Macau's gambling industry goes back to the 16th century, when labourers from China played a game called 'fan-tan' in makeshift stalls. While scholars have written about the subject, this is the first gallery devoted to it. The eye-opening exhibition walks you through Macau's gaming history via texts (Chinese only), fascinating old photos and vintage slot machines.

  • Sights in Macau Peninsula

    Kun Iam Statue & Ecumenical Centre

    An unconventional but utterly ethereal statue of Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, designed by Portuguese architect and sculptor Cristina Rocha Leiria. The 20m-tall bronze figure, emerging from a 7m-high lotus on a causeway in the outer harbour, is probably one of very few seaside Goddess of Mercy statues that is not facing the sea. The lotus shelters a compact ecumenical centre, which comprises a small library, a display of religious objects and a gallery detailing the design and construction of the statue.