Macau, also Macao, is a wonderful place to stroll and if you’re feeling energetic, you can walk to almost all of its sights in a day; it covers only 11 sq mi/28 sq km. Feel of the hilly, winding streets and back alleyways and although the European-style architecture and plazas are unusual for this part of the world, you could never confuse Macau for Lisbon.
The most famous landmark is the Church of Sao Paulo (circa 1600). All that remains is the facade—the rest of the church was destroyed by fire in 1835. It’s worth climbing the imposing set of stairs to view the ruins up close, especially at night when you can see the lights of the city below. Farther up another set of stairs is the Citadel of Sao Paulo do Monte, where you can still see the cannon that helped repel the Dutch invasion of 1622. The view of the city and countryside is fantastic.
Offshore are two islands. Taipa, which is linked to Macau by a dramatic bridge, offers a chance to visit small fishing villages, a horse-racing track, the Macau Jockey Club, and a fascinating Chinese cemetery, the burial sites are carved out of the side of a cliff and face the sea. The Taipa Folk Museum depicts the life of the early Portuguese settlers. Across the causeway from Taipa is Coloane, whose main sites are the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier, a 16th-century missionary (his arm is in a reliquary there), and two popular beaches, Cheoc Van and Hac Sa.
Macao is a melting pot overflowing with gastronomical, historical and cultural riches. Sink your teeth into the first fusion cuisine in the world, stroll down cobbled streets to take a step back in time and participate in the endless lineup of events and festivals.
Macau has long been a gambler’s destination of choice, and in recent years, world-famous casinos such as MGM, Wynn and the Sands have opened huge venues. In fact, the total gambling revenue for Macau is now higher than Las Vegas. It is clear that Macau has become the gambling destination of choice in the world.
When talking about Macao country, one needs to mention its distinctive blend of culinary delights. Local cuisine blends both Portuguese and Cantonese influences into its flavours. When travelling to Macao you will have to taste a Macanese-style Portuguese egg-tart or Pasteis de Nata’s, which is its signature Portuguese-inspired dessert. For more about Macao country cuisine, read our best street food in Macao feature.
Macau has a tropical climate with hot, humid summers (April-September) that can reach temperatures of 95 F/35 C. Winter is short, January-March. Heavy rains June-September make summer a less desirable time to visit. Clear, sunny days make
October-November the best time to visit.