Barra Square colonial lines
Senado Square at night The centre of Macao is awash in colours St Lawrence's Church
Macau guide to walks in historic zones

Macau Walks THE missionary fervour of successive Jesuits, Dominicans, and Franciscans as they engaged with the Ming Dynasty to secure the first Western toehold 400 years ago, stamped Macau with an enthralling blend of devotion best savoured in the many churches in the Historic Centre of Macau. The Macau Government Tourist Office has crafted eight Macau walks, each a unique cross section of the enclave.

Footsteps into the Historic Centre walking trail is a vintage blend, its centrepiece the lively Senado Square with its rippled

Stroll through churches, tea houses, and art museums

Macau Government Tourist Office

Rua da Barra

cobblestones redolent of the Mediterranean, and St Dominic's Church. This is a spot for street buskers, egg tarts, gew-gaws and peeling pawn shops that now deal as much in offloaded luxury items like Rolex watches, as in traditional jewellery and gold. Signs of the times. The laundered virginal white Holy House of Mercy, once a refuge for the ill, and for widows, is now a selfie haven in front of the central fountains. The walk ends at the former Opium House, an inner harbour witness to history where Western commercial strategy was played out in dark smoke-filled dens, the resulting tensions errupting in the Opium Wars. Next

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Previous Crossroads of China and Portugal is a must-do for anyone with limited time, providing a linear 24-minute stroll from Senado Square to the Taoist A-Ma Temple (1488, 7am-6pm), an incense-wreathed complex dedicated to the Goddess of the Sea. The walk is gentler from the temple and early morning affords the best light and lightest crowds. Then it's on through narrow characterful alleys lined with flowers. Explore Barra Square and then stroll up Calçada de Barra past the mustard walls, arches and crenellated roof of the Moorish Barracks (where Indian troops from Goa were once billeted). This is a neoclassical confection by an Italian architect, and the resultant pot-pourri is emblematic of the cultural crossroads that Macau was. Stop at charming and impossibly tiny, but leafy Lilau Square with its small spring-fed fountain before heading to the Mandarin's House (1869, 10am-6pm, shut Wed), the home of Zheng Guanying, the Qing dignitary who penned his Shengshi Weiyan here. Explore its quite alcoves. Here too is St Augustine's Church and its antique cobblestone plaza.

How about An Experiment of Creativity? This is for sun-lovers, running from Kun Lam Tong and its Buddhas, past


St Paul's facade, a popular starting point for Macau walks
St Paul's facade is the centrepiece of Old Macao A-Ma Temple
Macau General Post Office Guia Chapel and Lighthouse
Macau view from Guia Lighthouse
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St Francis Xavier's Chapel, Coloane Mong-Ha Fort canon
From chapels to ancient forts

half-hour harbourside stroll ending at the Kun Lam Ecumenical Centre by the glinting 20m-tall gold figure of the goddess of mercy. It can get hot in summer so you might pick early morning. From here you'll

Previous the Communications Museum and Flora Garden, before heading on to the Dr Sun Yat Sen memorial and St Lazarus Church. As many do, you may opt to head up to the Guia Fortress and Lighthouse to savour some splendid views over canon muzzles. It is a modestly taxing stroll up (a cable car runs too), along stone lanes that wrap around the knoll leading up to the whitewashed lookout terrace with its instantly recognizable stubby lighthouse and unadorned chapel. Just white doves and a few shutterbugs for company.

The Legacy of Arts and Culture trail leads from Fisherman's Wharf, a jolly themed area with its own coliseum, past the futuristic Macau Museum of Art and the Macau Cultural Centre. It's a breezy

Stroll through churches, tea houses, and art museums

Moorish Barracks

spot the humpback bridge links arcing across the bay to the neon thrum of Cotai. In many ways this delineates the separation of 'old' Macau and the 'new'.

Enchanting Stories of Our Lady of Fatima Parish starts at the arched Border Gate. This is one of the more densely packed parishes and the oldest. The walk leads down crowded tree-lined streets, past the Ox Warehouse up a gentle hill to Mong-Ha Fort. Stop to explore shops and tea houses. The unassuming Mong-Ha offers fine views from its battlements with an array of canons and a nice eco walk with some well-planned play areas for tiny tots. Built in 1849 after the First Opium War, it was intended as a bulwark against invasion from the north. Now it sits Next

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St Francis Xavier's Chapel, Coloane Island
Taipa Houses Museum Lord Stow's Bakery - delicious egg tarts Scooterist at Largo do Presidente Antonio Ramhalo Eanes
Grab the best egg tarts in the world at Coloane

Previous marooned, astride a hugely busy artery of commerce linking China to the city.

The Marriage of East and West in St Anthony’s Parish starts at the legendary façade of St Paul’s Cathedral, passing the old city walls and plunging into a delightful warren of shops and boutiques, to pass St Anthony’s Church, before veering west towards the Protestant Cemetery, the Statue of Dr Sun Yat Sen in Kiang Wu Hospital, and the Fire Services Museum. St Paul’s dates to 1640 and was one of the proudest specimens of Catholic architecture at the time, housing both a church and a college. It was razed by a fire in 1835 but the façade remains a handsome testament to its former glory.

The trail for the Bygone Days of Taipa Village passes through some quaint old districts. The village - in its heyday, a spot for frenzied feasting by Hongkongers in search of crab and prawn - has modernized but managed to retain a fair bit of flavor with some authentic Portuguese restaurants too, like the matchbox Antonio not far from Pak Tai Temple. Try the barbecued chouriço that arrives flaming to your table, or paella. After a pause at the Museum of Taipa and Coloane History, savour the pickled atmosphere of the powder mint green Taipa Houses – Museum – a row of five carefully preserved Macanese homes with white louvred windows, set along a lovely cobblestone path, and dating back to the soft-focus 1920s.

The Nostalgia in Coloane walking circuit is a must and you will likely dawdle on the seafront promenade and at the striking yellow Chapel of St Francis Xavier. Spend some time viewing relics in the chapel, St Francis (1506-1552) led the first Jesuit evangelical missions to Asia. This overlooks a characterful square lined by noodle stalls that have gentrified over the years but provide sufficiently comforting country clatter. Finally, the floral Largo do Presidente Antonio Ramhalo Eanes suggests several lazy strolls around this centre point, and your nose may lead you to Lord Stowe’s Bakery. The English Lord Stowe is credited with the delicious egg tarts that are now a staple on Macau menus. Walk on... Next

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