Macau is only 11.39 sq. mi. in area, which is slightly smaller than my hometown. Macau might be small, but that just means you can do and see a lot in a short amount of time. So what to do in Macau in one day?
When most people think of Macau, they think of the Las Vegas of Asia. Which isn’t entirely wrong, it’s hard not to be with 33 casinos in such a small area, but there are also many things to do besides gambling. Macau was Europe’s first and last colony, and although today it’s another SAR of China along with Hong Kong, you can still find many Portuguese and Macanese residing there.
There are plenty of historical and cultural sites to see that’ll fill up a whole day of sightseeing. Places that’ll make you forget you’re in Asia and feel as though you’re walking down the streets of Europe, as well as plenty of delicious Macanese food to eat. It’s a pretty easy decision to spend your day seeing both cultural sites and the casinos afterward.
The first stop on any itinerary should be Largo do Senado, or Senado Square. Senado Square is the old town center of the Portuguese colony. The whole area is paved with traditional Portuguese pavement and surrounded by beautiful European architecture from the 1500-1800s. The square is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is filled with Macanese history.
Following down the walkways, you’ll be led to Ruínas de São Paulo, the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Macau. Built in 1580 by the Jesuits, it was the largest church in Asia, but unfortunately caught fire during a typhoon in 1835. The ruins now consist of only the southern façade– but it is still a stunning sight. With intricate oriental and Catholic designs, it is today acknowledged as the “perfect fusion” of eastern and western culture and is yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Next to the Ruins of St. Paul is Monte Fort, Fortaleza do Monte, the oldest fort in Macau. It originally protected the cathedral from pirate attacks. Up on a platform; be prepared to climb some stairs. However, being located strategically in the center of Macau Peninsula, you can get great panoramic views. Macau At the top of the fort was Museu de Macau, a museum preserving Macanese history and culture, which opened in 1998.
Make your way back to the ferry port where you can hop on any of the free shuttles to casinos. I recommend the Venetian, as it’s currently the largest casino in the world. Walk around the various “districts” in the Streets of Venice, which are lined with luxury international shops. Looking for Chanel? Gucci? Louis Vuitton? You can find everything here and more. Looking for something cheaper to do than spend all your money? You can also take a nice gondola ride while your gondolier sings to you (from opera to Chinese songs to Backstreet Boys, anything seemed to go here).
Be sure you call it a day, make sure to grab a famous Portuguese egg tart from Lord Stow’s Bakery. Credited to bringing egg tarts to Asia in the 1980s, Lord Stow’s Bakery was a must-do. Egg tarts can be found all across Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, but the Portuguese egg tart takes it to another level. Sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon on top, this was one famous Macau treat we had to try.
So as you can see, it’s quite possible to see and do a lot in Macau with only one day. Whether you want to spend all day at the casinos, visiting some of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites or a little of both, Macau makes a perfect one day getaway.