As tourists, we’re often wary of venturing too far off of the well-worn path. Macao, however, is one destination that warrants a wander, walking in and out of laneways and exploring the many communities by foot. It is this way that a visitor is most likely to find true hidden gems of cafes, shops, and local treasures.
Macao Peninsula is host to most of the major attractions in all of Macao. The Ruins of the Church of St. Paul, Guia Fortress & Guia Chapel, Monte Fort… of course, these are must-see attractions. Their beauty and history say so much about what influences have shaped the culture of Macao. But in between each of the major attractions are wonderful walkways. Take The Street of Happiness, or Rua da Felicidade, for example. This small street is minutes from the famed Senado Square and Sir Robert Ho Tung Library. But it is here where some of the best cafes are hidden. Similarly, the Ruins of St. Paul is a landmark itself. But the district as a whole is a haven for souvenir shopping. Duck in and out of the alleys to find shops selling knick-knacks, antiques, and local handicrafts. In fact, one of Macao’s best flea markets is tucked away a few streets beyond the Ruins of St. Paul’s.
Taipa Village, an island of only 7 square kilometres, has undergone a renaissance. Today, food and art aficionados have flocked here to transform this fishing village into a hub of craft in all forms. Here, three of Macao's Michelin-starred restaurants find their home, along with the famed Lord Stow’s Bakery. A leisurely walk along Rua do Regedor presents you with more dining options than you can imagine in such a small space - and each is remarkably delicious. At night, bold flavours continue flowing in the form of drinks. Pop in and out of the popular pubs, most of which create a casual, welcoming environment that make all visitors feel at home.
Beyond Taipa and Cotai is Coloane, another small island. A handful of historical landmarks dot the map of Coloane, but what makes this island stand out to us are the natural features. The Southeast Coast of Coloane Island has a short family-friendly trail where visitors get the chance to take in striking views of both mountains and the sea. Hac-Sa Beach provides a bit of serenity. While it has black sand and may be too narrow for a proper sunbake, this beach creates an oasis for visitors who crave a bit of a break from the most popular attractions.
While Macao is small in surface area, it is dense and full of heart. So much life is packed into each walkable street, no matter how small. It is a beautiful region to explore with fascinating, historic, or tasty surprises in every corner.