A Sunday shopping date with El Rastro, 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 (as much as our imagination permitted) 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 confuse El Rastro for some handsome Spanish dude, let us just be clear that we are talking about the famous flea market of Madrid.

El Rastro is one of the largest and best open air flea markets in Spain held every Sunday between 9am to 3pm. The market stretches along Plaza de Coscorro and Ronda de Toledo and offers variety of items ranging from second-hand vintage goods to brand new leather goods and apparel. The market is a favourite 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, the market catered mainly second goods, whereby people could sell their old items, however currently El Rastro is a vivid mixture of second-hand vintage and new products. r2

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The first few stalls we came across displayed colourful paraphernalia that were 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 bit too high, but if you’re haggling skills are good enough we are sure you will get these beautiful pieces for reasonable price.r12r9

r8r10r11Soaking 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 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 liesurely stroll midst the quite street, we got back to the main market area and decided to get into some serious shopping mode before endingwith 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.

r5r6r7The 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 to visit El Rastro Flea Market.

Tips to remember:

  • Bargain with the vendors to get a fair price on all the items. They will reduce atleast 10% from 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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