Exploring Macau's Culture

Macau’s historical reputation may have been eclipsed by an ever-expanding matrix of casinos, but this former Portuguese colony has much to offer in the way of heritage and beauty. From the cobblestone streets to colonial facades, museums to Moorish architecture, fortresses to street food, Macau remains a city of color, character, and top-notch cuisine.

Planning

Where to Stay: Pousada de São Tiago, Pousada de Mong-Há, the Grand Lapa Macau

Where to Eat and Drink: A Lorcha, Margaret’s Café e Nata, Restaurante Fernando, MacauSoul

What to See: Senado Square and the Ruins of St. Paul, Fortaleza do Monte, Guia Hill, A-Ma Temple, Moorish Barracks

Itinerary

1. Leitaria I Son. Fortify yourself by ordering a Macau-style smoothie made with frothy milk and fresh juice at one of Senado Square’s favorite cafés.

2. Largo do Senado. See everything or just the standouts, which include the House of Holy Mercy, St. Dominic’s Church, and, of course, the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral and neighboring Na Tcha temple.

3. Fortaleza do Monte. Admire the 17th-century hilltop fort; then peruse the exhibits at the adjoining museum to see how Macau has evolved.

4. Margaret’s Café e Nata. Heading northeast along Avenida da Amizade, pop in for a quick lunch. Choose from flaky egg tarts, pastries, and made-to-order sandwiches.

5. Guia Hill. Take the short cable-car ride up Guia Hill, or lace up your sneakers and hike past quirky shrubs manicured to resemble dragons. Once at the top, you’ll be rewarded by stunning views of all Macau.

6. Largo do Barra. Anchoring Barra Square, the A-Ma Temple was built in 1488 for the goddess of the sea. After seeing it, visit the Maritime Museum (also on the square) and the nearby Mandarin’s House.

7. Pousada de São Tiago. If you’re feeling peckish, stop by The Terrace at this romantic former fort for a refreshing tipple or old-school high tea.

8. Moorish Barracks. Originally housing a regiment from Goa to bolster local police, this neoclassical and Moghul complex has stood since 1874.

9. A Lorcha. Just off of Barra Square, the ever-popular Macanese eatery serves up hearty favorites in a friendly atmosphere. It’s best to make reservations.

10. MacauSoul. End the day by lingering over a glass of Portuguese wine—and perhaps listening to live music—at this jazzy venue back in Senado Square.

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