The drive from Malaga to Faro, Portugal, about 300 miles, was visually interesting and fun. I love driving along water features and this trip supplied plenty of opportunities.

Faro, Portugal, has 64,000 people living in the city proper, and 118,000 metro-wide making it the largest city in the Algarve region. In my opinion, it is a perfect size; small enough to be compact, sufficiently large to offer a surprising level of urban pleasures.

Tourists flock to the Faro Love sign to be photographed in front of it. I believe that Faro is a very easy place to fall in love with. We recommend staying at the Hotel Faro for its location in the heart of the marina and very good roof top restaurant.

I suggest exploring the marina and old town district by foot – driving the city is difficult. European cities are designed for people, not cars. From the circle, plazas and walking streets veer off from it.

The Eve Senses Hotel across the marina provides a roof top restaurant to take pictures and nicely nosh.

Hotel Faro (above photo), Faro Marina (below photo).

Water is seemingly everywhere in Faro where the Mediterranean Sea ends and the Atlantic Ocean begins.

The above photo captures the city’s waterfront skyline from a pier built out into the bay.

Life in Faro appears to center on activities happening around the attractive and spacious marina and adjacent old town plazas and walking streets.

Boats enter and exit the marina by sailing under a railroad trestle through an opening that leads to the sea, ocean, and close in barrier islands where the best local beaches are located.

Two local seniors sit on a park bench admiring the inlet a stone’s throw from the city center, administrative buildings, and a shopping mall.

The Maritime Directory manages the port and all shipping into and out of it.

Faro has many colorful neighborhoods that provide outdoor cafes and spark a vibrant street culture.

Grassy medians with large shade trees provide the people of Faro idyllic public spaces to enjoy their city, region and climate.

I photographed this outdoor café because of the tree sporting beautiful flowers.

Faro is rich in public art – monuments, statues, gazebos, posters – that fosters shared experiences and a sense of community.

This photo of the marina was taken across the street from the Hotel Faro rooftop to view the many barrier islands where the best local beaches are and accessible only by boat. oH

The rooftop restaurant also provided a good vantage point to capture the walking street and old town that stretches for a mile or two.

Faro’s thriving hospitality industry recognizes the warm and talented people that together make Faro a desirable tourist destination.

Faro has a great central market full of beautiful fresh produce and good places to eat.

Salt cod is a staple of the Portuguese people. The fish, preserved by the salt, must be soaked in water to get a lot of the salt out in order to consume it.

A cornucopia of spices, seasonings and beans are available for purchase.

The same with fresh vegetables, fruits, and fish.

The vendors feel that they are not “tourist attractions” and prefer not to be photographed.

I appreciated the bartender’s creativity with a “Sex on the beach” cocktail and wondered about the ingredients.

Fado music is everywhere in Portugal, especially Saturday night.

It was my impression that the following poster had an erotic quality to it.

Poster art and murals say a lot about what local people value. Regardless, the mustached man playing the accordion is colorful and cute.

Same with the contents of a bottle laying sidewise.

My interpretation is that the people of Portugal and Faro are walking forward and upward.