Madrid, Spain, Travels

A Sunday shopping date with El Rastro, Madrid

El Rastro Flea Market Madrid

It was a beautiful summer noon, and we girls couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to spend our last day in Madrid city. After flamenco dancing show and eating our heart out at the famous Mercado San Miguel, El Rastro seemed like a befitting answer to our queries on how to spend Sunday in the city. Well before anyone confuses El Rastro for some handsome Spanish dude, let us just be clear that we are talking about the famous flea market of Madrid.

Related post: 10 Reasons why we loved Madrid

El Rastro is one of the largest and best open-air flea markets in Spain held every Sunday between 9 am to 3 pm. The market stretches along Plaza de Coscorro and Ronda de Toledo and offers a variety of items ranging from second-hand vintage goods to brand new leather goods and apparel. The market is a favorite among locals and several tourists come here to have a look into the hand-crafted Spanish items that they can maybe take back home as souvenirs.

After a lazy morning strolling through the El Retiro Park, we took the metro to Puerta de Toledo, from where we walked towards La Latina exploring the market along the way. Initially, El Rastro market catered mainly second goods, whereby people could sell their old items, however currently it is a vivid mixture of second-hand vintage and new products. 

El Rastro Flea Market Madrid

El Rastro Flea Market MadridEl Rastro Flea Market MadridEl Rastro Flea Market Madrid

The first few stalls we came across displayed colorful paraphernalia that was mostly vintage furniture, mirrors, old tools etc. Although we were tempted to splurge on some of these retro goods, the thought of carrying them along with us on rest of our Spain trip and yes, the baggage allowance on the flight back home stopped us from purchasing them. Apart from rare collectibles, we loved some of the paintings and art collections that were for sale. We noticed that most of the items are charged a bit too high, but if you’re haggling skills are good enough we are sure you will get these beautiful pieces for the reasonable price.

El Rastro Flea Market MadridEl Rastro Flea Market Madrid

El Rastro Flea Market MadridEl Rastro Flea Market MadridEl Rastro Flea Market Madrid

Soaking up the lively atmosphere of the market, we walked along the main stretch that sold basic items like jeans, tee shirts, scarves and so on. By early noon, the market was getting very busy with people and we felt a bit hassled due to the excess crowd and heat. On deciding to take a break from the busy street, we looked for one of the closest exits to the side street and entered another small but equally captivating stretch of shops selling antique frames, silverware and pictures. After a leisurely stroll amidst the quiet street, we got back to the main market area and decided to get into some serious shopping mode before ending with our tryst with El Rastro.  We purchased a couple of souvenirs like leather satchel bags and charms along the way and head towards one of the tapas bars to treat ourselves after all the walking.

El Rastro Flea Market MadridEl Rastro Flea Market MadridEl Rastro Flea Market Madrid

The El Rastro market might not be a perfect idea of shopping for many but the lively atmosphere around is one of the best ways to soak up the true beauty of Madrid’s vibrant life. If you happen to be in Madrid on a Sunday with no special plans and are looking for a unique experience, then we suggest you visit El Rastro Flea Market.

Tips to remember:

  • Bargain with the vendors to get a fair price on all the items. They will reduce at least 10% of the mentioned price.
  • Beware of pickpockets
  • Try and visit the market at early hours to avoid large crowds.
  • Look out for the hidden gems in the side streets
  • Enjoy the performances of the street artists along the way.

Hope you guys enjoyed our post, do leave us a comment on your thoughts about the place.

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47 thoughts on “A Sunday shopping date with El Rastro, Madrid

  1. That old saying is so true, another mans junk is another mans treasure 🙂 Love to go to flea markets, it’s so amazing the things you can find. I’m always happy when I can find a little treasure, I tend to collect a lot of things.

  2. This reminded me a lot of the Brooklyn Flea Market in New York City! So many beautiful second-hand and handmade items! I love finding gems with lots of character! Did you share photos of the leather satchel and the charms you bought while you were there? I’d love to see them!

    1. Totally agree with you here 🙂 Local markets are the best place to relax and unwind while travelling and yes also get to know local life properly.

  3. I didn’t have time to go when I was in Madrid, but it looks great. So many stalls and so much to see and buy. Next time I will have to make sure I have a full sunday there 🙂

  4. Never been to Madrid, I’m glad I now know about this place! I love the way you write I could really experience the atmosphere ! You really embark your readers with you !! thanks for sharing ! 🙂

  5. I can’t believe I’ve still never been to Madrid- it sounds so amazing (and the weather sounds like it’s even better!) I love finding antique and vintage markets- you never know what you’ll find. It’s like treasure hunting!

  6. I love checking out local markets when I travel! I agree that sometimes that airline baggage allowance can really hinder your purchasing. Although maybe sometimes that’s a good thing 😛

  7. Cool stuff! I love flea markets. I think this is the best part to experience the culture of the place. I hope you’ve practiced your haggling skills and bought some cool stuff.

    1. Totally agree with you, there’s no place better than the local market to be familiar with a new place. We tried our best haggling with the vendors while purchasing some local souvenirs.

  8. Have you ever seen flea market flip on HGTV? This would be the perfect place to find hidden trash and turn it into new found treasures. This brings back so much nostalgia from my childhood, going to the markets with my grandparents. You can find some amazing things!! I would love to go to one overseas just to see the difference between them! Love it!!

  9. I love markets, for they always give insight into the culture of a place! This one looks so lively and full of people and I’m sure the music also helped liven up the atmosphere. It is good to know that you can haggle in the El Rastro, since haggling doesn’t generally seem to be something that is done much in Europe.

    1. Music and the street performers are the special treat while there. And yes, bargaining is allowed at El Rastro and that is what makes it fun shopping in these markets.

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