Macau is fast becoming one of my most visited city, partly because of its close proximity to Hong Kong, but also because of its great food and more importantly: great architecture. As the former colony of Portugal, the city is full of gorgeous European buildings in various shade of pastels, making you feel as though you are somewhere in Portugal and not in Asia. With the added bonus of various exotic and luxurious hotels and casinos, it’s safe to say that you won’t run out of photogenic spots. Which brings us back to the topic at hand: where can you find the most instagrammable spots in Macau?
>For a Macau Itinerary, read here!
>For more on Taipa and a luxury spa escape, read here
St Paul’s Ruin
St Paul’s Ruin is the number one landmark in Macau, standing majestically atop a flight of wide stone steps in the heart of Macau historic center. It used to be the Church of St Paul, which burned down during a thunderstorm, leaving only the southern face standing. Of course, this iconic site is often crowded, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find a little patch to take photos.
Travessa da Paixão澳門戀愛巷
There is a cute little street just below St Paul’s Ruin, which we stumbled across while trying to find a taxi. With a sloped cobblestone path with stone benches and potted plants, the glimpse of St Paul’s Ruin at the end along with the colourful building, it resembles a fairy-tale setting.
There’s nothing that screams Portuguese more than the wavy mosaic floor of Senado Square. Surrounded by colonial-style, pastel-colored two stories building with a central fountain, it was the heart of colonial Macau. It would be challenging to get a photo there without masses of people, and my only advice would be to try to get there early – or learn photoshop!
Mercy Church Right Lane 仁慈堂右巷
Another hidden cobblestone street, this one is by the side of the beautiful Senado Square. The narrow street is more of a lane with a dead end, with pastel yellow houses facing one another at the back. It shouldn’t be too busy since most people walk right by it, but there might just be an Instagram queue!
Note: on my recent visit in January 2018, it’s under construction
The Dom Pedro V Theatre
The beautiful mint green theater is one of the oldest western theater in Macau and still host shows inside its halls. It dates back to the 1860s, and the mint green facade is a dream-come-true to me!
Address: Largo de Santo Agostinho, Macau
Taipa House Museum龍環葡韻住宅式博物館
This row of mint colonial houses faces the vast expanse of Taipa wetland, across from the bustling Cotai stripe. They are relics from the early 20th century, a time when no casinos existed and these are simply homes of Portuguese settlers. Now, they are a series of five beautifully preserved houses that are museums of its domestic past. Their exterior also make them a famous Instagram spot! Entries are free, so budget some time for a roam.
Address: Avenida da Praia, Taipa
Church of Our Lady of Penha主教山
One of the top places to watch sunsets, Church of Our Lady of Penha is situated atop of Macau’s ‘Mid-Level’ district. The church itself, in my opinion, isn’t the most beautiful, but it does offer up a great panorama of its surrounding, including Macau Tower and across the bay.
The church was built in the 17th century by the Augustinians, who were evicted from Macau in the 19th century. It is still running, and the lighting up there on a clear day sunset makes some of the best photos. Be sure to pose on the big staircase, too!
Address: Hilltop of Penha Hill
Our Lady of Carmel Church嘉模聖母堂
Another famous church in Macau, the Paroquia de Nossa Senhora do Carmo sits atop a small hill in all its pastel yellow glory. It is the only Catholic Church in Taipa, built in the late 19th century with a cobble-stone square front (which is now also a road). The clock tower in the center and its neoclassical style makes it the perfect wedding photo venue.
Address: Avenida De Carlos Da Maia
Top of the hill Taipa
For the best view in Taipa, you’d have to head up to the Trilho da Taipa is not only a country trail but also accessible via an almost-vertical lift that would take you up to the park. Here, you can see the entire wetland, the historical Taipa, and the new residential building, as well as Cotai stripe and beyond. If you are a fan of panoramas, then you would have to come up here. Did I mention the lift is free?
Coordinate for elevator: 22°09’16.9″N 113°33’41.0″E
The tallest point of Macau, Guia Hill doesn’t only offer a good panorama of its surrounding, but also an architectural gem of its own: the Guia Lighthouse and fortress. To get up there, it’s a 2 dollar cable car ride plus a short walk, and it’s another great place to watch the sunset. There’s even a cannon, and the Grand Lisboa building has never looked more stunning from here.