Free walking tour guide for Macao (9 free things to do besides visiting casinos)
What to do in Macau for FREE
Macau is a fascinating place that has more than just casinos to discover. Macau is full of historical places influenced from the city’s unique blend of Portuguese and Chinese heritage. We enjoyed exploring the city by feet. Here we will show you FREE walking tour! Places that let you visit for FREE!
Follow this guide and the handy Google Maps links that we’ve included for a self-guided clockwise loop around peninsular Macau. This guide will skip the casinos, but will take you past some of the most important historical sites in the city’s old town.
We love free stuff! Check out our other guides for great FREE things to do around the world:
1. Ruins Of St.Paul’s (Ruinas de S.Paulo)
The Ruins of St. Paul’s Church is the one spot that you can’t miss out in Macau. The ruins appear on the 5 pataca coin and the 20 pataca note. In fact, the old church facade is so famous and iconic, that it’s become recognized as the symbol of Macu. It can get quite crowded, so visit the site early, or be prepared to get lots of other tourists in all of your photos.
It’s crowded for good reason, though! Step through the imposing facade, now all that remains of a once-powerful Jesuit base of operations in Macau. Don’t miss paying a reverential visit to the crypt beneath the church!
Tip: I suggest you go there quite early in the morning, as it’s a lot less crowded. If you don’t want too many tourists in the picture, you may walk on the sidewalk on the road (next to the staircase) and duck down. You will get a view like this one below!
Read more about St. Paul’s - This old church has a fascinating history. Don’t miss the crypts beneath the church that hold the remains of several prominent Asian martyrs. If you are a history buff, you’ll love visiting and learning more about the 17th century Jesuit church and its fascinating history.
St. Paul’s Church, Macau Opening Hours and Location
Located at: https://goo.gl/maps/Dv62TCL7NCM2
2. Mount Fortress (Fortaleza do Monte) & Macau Museum
After visiting the Ruins of St.Paul’s, it takes no more than 5 minutes to walk to this historic old Portuguese fort. You will have to walk up the stairs (pass through the beautiful garden) to get to the top, where you can see great views across the city. If you don’t feel like climbing any stairs, just go inside the on-site Macau Museum and take the escalator up. From the top of the fort, you can see almost the whole city. Check out the historical cannons!
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built by the Portuguese Empire in the early 17th century, and was the military center of Portuguese Macau.
Tip: Don’t miss the incredible Macau Museum. If you are lucky enough to visit on a Tuesday, the museum is FREE too!
Fortaleza do Monte opening hours and location
Fortress and garden open 7:00-19:00; Macau Museum open 10:00-18:00 (free on Tuesdays).
The fortress and the Macau Museum are located just next to the Ruins of St. Paul at https://goo.gl/maps/s9ALP3SaqPG2
3. Visit St. Lazarus Church and St. Michael Archangel Cemetery
If you are on a history kick, head to St. Lazarus and St. Michael, a historic Catholic church and nearby cemetery. Wander through the cemetery (which, despite being super crowded is still active!) and look at the tombs, headstones, and mausoleums dating back hundreds of years!
The St. Lazarus chapel is small, but very beautiful and peaceful. The pastel coloring of the building is part of Macau’s iconic old town architecture, which is heavily influenced by Portuguese architecture.
St. Lazarus Church and St. Michael Cemetery Location
St. Lazarus Church and St. Michael Cemetery are located at https://goo.gl/maps/ovnRRmsJmrT2
4. Visit Macau Tea Culture House and Lou Lim Loc Garden
The Macau Tea Culture House is a very good museum where visitors can learn all about the history and process of tea making, and view an impressive collection of tea pots, tea wear, and tea house artifacts.
I only wish that this museum offered a tea tasting too. I enjoy museums as much as I enjoy tea (which is to say, a lot)!
After you’ve spent some time at the free museum, exit from the back of the tea house. You will enter Lou Lim loc Garden. It’s a very peaceful and calm garden and public city park where you can watch (or join in) local people practicing Tai Chi, or just generally enjoying the calm and serene gardens.
The garden has a pond full of fish, a traditional Macanese-style pavilion, and a Portuguese exhibition building. The park was once the private garden of the residence of one of Macau’s most prominent families, but has since been made into a public park that anyone can enjoy.
Lou Lim Loc Garden and Macau Tea Culture House Museum opening hours and location
Lou Lim Loc Garden and the Macau Tea Culture House are located at https://goo.gl/maps/tg6NftahmfN2
The museum is open from 9:00 - 19:00 every day except Monday.
5. Kun Iam Tong Temple (Templo Kun Iam)
Kun Iam is the Cantonese name for Guanyin, the Chinese goddess of mercy. This temple is one of the oldest in the city, and it’s also one of the most atmospheric.
This temple is one of the three ancient temples in Macao. An iron bell in the temple has an inscription of year 1632.
Kun Iam Temple, Macau location
The Kun Iam Temple is located at https://goo.gl/maps/wArR9CjUGvx
6. Guia Fortress and Guia Hill Municipal Park
Guia Fortress, which you’ll see on the back of the 1 pataca coin, is another old Portuguese fort located near the Kun Iam Temple. This fortress, which includes a small chapel and a lighthouse, sits atop a hill at the tallest point in the city. From the fortress, you can look across all of Macau and get some of the best views in all of the city.
Guia Fortress is located in Guia Hill Municipal Park. It’s a popular place for local people to get away from the cramped city for some fresh air and exercise, and it’s common to see people jogging up and down Guia Hill.
The 17th century fortress and UNESCO World Heritage Site was instrumental in defending Portuguese Macau from invasion attempts by the Dutch, their rival colonial power in east Asia. It’s one of the oldest surviving Portuguese structures in Macao.
Tip: You can walk up the hill, but it’s a long, steep climb. If you don’t feel much like walking, you can take a cable car from the park to the hilltop where the fortress is located. It’s just 2 patacas for a one way trip, and 3 patacas for a round-trip ticket. Even with a ticket to ride the cable car, at around $0.30 USD, it’s almost free.
Guia Hill Fortress Location
The fortress is located in Hill Municipal Park. https://goo.gl/maps/ojSAkeDedwE2
7. Fisherman’s Wharf
Fisherman’s Warf is kind of a weird area, to be honest. But I can’t help but like this harbor-front area. Despite its name, Fisherman’s Warf has little to nothing to do with the actual fishing industry. It’s more of a waterfront dining and entertaining district that is designed to make you feel like you are in Europe. It’s not a bad place to chill with a cold glass of Macau Beer!
Fisherman’s Warf can be a little bit tacky, but in a casino town like Macao, that’s part of the charm!
Macau Fisherman’s Warf Location
Fisherman’s Warf is located near the southeast end of the Macau Peninsula https://goo.gl/maps/1ezkGcKgT632
8. Kun Iam Ecumenical Center
Like the Kun Iam Temple, the Ecumenical Center is dedicated to the Chinese goddess of mercy.
The 20 meter tall Kun Iam Center is part religious statue, part cultural center, part museum, and part art installation. Designed by Portuguese artist Cristina Rocha Leiria in 1999, the center was built during the handover of Macau from Portugal to China, and was designed to be a celebration of the unity of East and West.
The UNESCO recognized A-Ma Temple is dedicated to the sea goddess Mazu, from whom Macao gets its name. This temple dates back to the 1400s, and is the oldest temple in Macau.
The A-Ma Temple is one of the historical and architectural treasures of Macau. Each part of the temple is representative of classical Chinese architecture. Walk among the thick clouds of incense smoke for a look at pre-colonial Chinese culture in Macau.
A-Ma Temple opening hours and location
A-Ma Temple is open from 7:00 - 18:00
The temple is located at the southwest part of the Macau Peninsula. https://goo.gl/maps/BhUjuUNYHFB2
It is possible to visit all nine of these great free sites in one day. By the end of your walking tour, you’ll have a look at ancient Chinese culture, Portuguese Jesuit architecture, and modern Macau. If it feels like too far to walk, I recommend Macau’s excellent bus system. To save money, pick up a Macau Pass card at a vending machine or local convenience store.