For a city billed the world’s most densely populated, Macau still has its share of parks and leafy trails to stretch of the legs or enjoy a picnic. From the historic hub on the peninsula to the twin islands of Taipa and Coloane, the lungs of Macau, the choices are many.
1. Guia Fortress Lighthouse & Gardens
Whether you walk or venture on the world’s shortest cable car ride, Guia Hill and its 17th Century fortress is a must for the view alone. Its European-style flora garden is as rewarding as the paved trail which leads to the oldest western-style lighthouse on the China coast.
2. Camoes Garden
Set in a forested hillside in the old Macau, this heavily wooden garden and its grotto is a refuge for locals seeking a peaceful side to their city. Prepare to see locals practising their tai chi, playing chess or even taking their caged pet birds on a walk to catch up with friends.
3. Casa Garden
Adjacent to Camoes Garden, this slice of greenery revolves around a former residence of a wealthy Portuguese merchant, built the year Captain James Cook sailed into Botany Bay. A former museum, today the building serves as a venue for exhibitions.
4. Lou Lim Ieoc Garden
Tucked away on what was farmland is a Suzhou-style Chinese garden, where visitors can escape the city life with a walk along a path which zigzags over a bridge past a pond to a classically Chinese pavilion, home to craft exhibitions and musical performances.
5. Penha Hill & Chapel
Rewarding you with a spectacular view of Macau peninsula and beyond to Taipa is a quiet leafy hilltop, an address shared high-end homes, restaurants and the elegant Chapel of Our Lady of Penha. Built into the hill are the remains of an 18th Century fort.
6. Taipa Houses Museum
It is hard to imagine as you walk along the cobblestone path outside the lovingly maintained colonial buildings in front of a lotus filled pond that this was once Macau’s international airport. A small garden of bonsai plants fills the garden with the Cotai Strip as backdrop.
7. Hac Sa & Cheoc Van beaches
Known as “the lungs of Macau” for its greenery and walking and biking trails, the island of Coloane is also home to two beaches, popular for swimming, kicking a ball around and having outdoor barbecues. And there are restaurants favoured by weekend trippers.
8. Giant Panda Pavilion
At the very heart of a park, on the edge of Coloane Island, is an air conditioned dome which is home to a pair of giant pandas, gifts from China as part of a breeding program. Often you will see the pair wrestling as they slide down the grassed slope into a pond.
9. Taipa Grande
If ever a trail offered sweeping views of Macau it is the Taipa Grande Trail. This 4km-long trail begins at a nature park and takes about 90 minutes to complete. Good news is that there is very little incline. For cyclists, there’s a more challenging fitness trail to pedal across.
10. Taipa Pequena
Spanning 2300 metres around Taipa Penquena Hill is a pathway favourite for those who wish to stay fit while taking in the views of the Macau peninsula and Hengqin Island. The park is popular on weekends, especially among expat Australians working and living nearby.