Rick Steves Says This Chic, Hidden Gem City Has One Of The Best Food Halls In Europe

Located on the northwest coast of Portugal, Porto is a charming city brimming with history, culture, and tradition. Roughly three hours from Lisbon by train, it's a must-see stop on any Portuguese itinerary — especially if you're looking for some authentic local fare.

Hailed by travelers (and experts) as one of Europe's most exciting foodie destinations, Porto packs a punch in terms of flavors and diversity. Whether it's francesinha (a signature sandwich made with bread, meats, cheese and a tomato-and-beer sauce) or tripas à moda do Porto (a classic Porto stew that combines beans and various types of meat), the lively city is primed and ready to deliver unforgettable dining experiences, no matter your style.

That said, it makes sense that travel expert and writer Rick Steves would praise Porto's food scene as impressive — going as far as to write on his blog that the city is actually home to "one of [his] favorite market halls anywhere." So what's the hallmark in question? Although the travel guru technically doesn't specify, he's most likely talking about the city's famous Mercado Bom Sucesso.

Must-visit spots at the market

Serving a variety of cuisines and gourmet products, and with 47 restaurants to choose from, Mercado Bom Sucesso is a hub of activity. Whether you're craving Japanese cuisine, Spanish tapas, Italian classics, or a hearty serving of Mexican snacks, you're bound to find it as you make your way through the market's bustling stalls.

Some of the most recommended shops and restaurants in the market include: O Forno Do Leitão Do Zé, which serves traditional local pastries and sandwiches; Mariscaria Bom Sucesso, a seafood and Mediterranean-inspired joint; My'Kai Poké Bowls, a refreshing poke restaurant; and Tacos & Tequila, a lively eatery that specializes in authentic Mexican snacks and bites.

In addition to its food offerings, Mercado Bom Sucesso also hosts weekly events that include live music and dance shows, theater, art exhibitions, and even gastronomy workshops for visitors looking for a more hands-on experience. This, coupled with the market's buzzing energy and cultural richness, makes it a great place to dive into local Portuguese culture and catch a glimpse of the vibrant local lifestyle — from leisure-seeking retirees looking for comfort and peace at a cheaper price to the global-minded digital nomads who have flocked there.

Hitting up Mercado Bom Sucesso

Iconic and vibrant, the market opened its doors in 1952 and has welcomed locals and tourists ever since. Sitting comfortably near the top as one of TripAdvisor's best things to do in Porto — it currently holds the 11th spot, with over a thousand reviews — the Mercado Bom Sucesso is a must-visit destination that boasts everything from restaurants to stores, a market, and a supermarket all under one roof.

Access to the market is available by bus, subway, or car. If you're taking a bus, hop aboard bus number 204, 209, 902, 903, or ZM and hop off near the market. Alternatively, if you're arriving via subway, take the Blue, Red, Green, Purple, or Yellow Line and get off at Casa da Música Station. From there, the Mercado Bom Sucesso will be a five-minute walk.

As for planning your visit, you'll be glad to know that the market is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Keep in mind, however, that some stalls and restaurants have varying hours, so it's always best to check the official website if there's one spot in particular you want to try.