Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, Macao's Historic Centre includes more than 20 historic and culturally significant sights. From churches and temples to forts and squares, Macao's Historic Centre reflects the area’s rich cultural legacy and its unique mix of Portuguese and Chinese influences.
Macao's Historic Centre is best enjoyed on a half-day or full-day walking tour. Popular stops include Senado Square, the heart of old Macau with its colorful colonial buildings; the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul with its grand façade; the 15th century A-Ma Temple, dedicated to the goddess of the sea; Monte Fort, which helped defend against the Dutch in the 17th century; and Guia Fortress, with its lovely chapel and the first modern lighthouse built on China’s coast.
Most sightseeing tours will stop at some of the sights in the Historic Centre. Tours originate from Macau, Hong Kong, or China. Those planning on visiting other attractions in southern China can opt for a multi-day tour of Macau, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, or Guangzhou.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Macao's Historic Centre is a must-see for first-time visitors to Macau.
- Though some of the sights are free to enter, others charge an admission fee.
- Wear sturdy and comfortable shoes, as the sights are spread out and include some hills and stairs.
- Full-day tours from Hong Kong can last upward of 11 hours.
How to Get There
Macao's Historic Centre is on the Macau Peninsula, which is located in southern China, near Hong Kong. It can be reached via ferry from Hong Kong or south China (Shenzhen, Shekou, Nansha). From the ferry terminal there is easy transport via taxi or bus. Macau also has an international airport, located on Taipa Island, about 20 minutes’ drive from the city center.
When to Get There
Macau and the Historic Centre can be visited year-round. Open hours and days will vary among the different sights. Macau is generally busiest during the weeklong May and October Chinese national holidays.
Sights in Macao's Historic Centre
Macao's Historic Centre includes the Ruins of the Church of St. Paul, St. Augustine's Square, Senado Square, the Leal Senado Building, Barra Square, A-Ma Temple, the Moorish Barracks, Mandarin's House, Sir Robert Ho Tung Library, St. Lawrence's Church, St. Joseph's Seminary and Church, Holy House of Mercy, St. Augustine's Church, the Cathedral, Dom Pedro V Theatre, Sam Kai Vui Kun Temple, Lou Kau Mansion, and several more.