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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47 Comments

  1. October 28, 2016    

    So many things to buy…..

  2. October 28, 2016    

    o wow! who doesn’t love markets! It’s so fun to wander around even if you don’t buy anything. I love visit local markets for souvenirs

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Yes, local markets are the best place to purchase little trinkets to take back home 🙂

  3. October 28, 2016    

    One of my biggest regrets was not visiting Madrid while I was in Spain and this post reminded me of that. El Rastro seemed incredible. Usually I avoid tourist markets like it, but based on your summary and pictures I would actually check it out. http://www.elaishajade.com/

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      El Rastro is indeed a bit touristy but if you manage to visit it early it is amazing.

  4. October 28, 2016    

    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.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Completely agree with you hahah. No place like flea market to find priceless trinkets.

  5. October 29, 2016    

    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!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Thanks for the love Deni. Will share more pictures of our purchases soon 🙂

  6. October 29, 2016    

    SO much STUFF! I love a good market. What was your favorite find?

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      The antiques we came across the side streets is one of our favourites!!

  7. October 29, 2016    

    Sounds like a great market to explore.And they always make interesting subjects for photography. Love your colourful images.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Thank you very much Kathryn 🙂

  8. October 29, 2016    

    I rarely buy anything at these markets but I love walking around and taking in the atmosphere! Street markets are a great way to spend an afternoon and mingle with locals.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      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.

  9. October 29, 2016    

    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 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Yes, do make a point to visit El Rastro next time you are in MAdrid. It is pretty amazing!!

  10. October 29, 2016    

    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 ! 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Thank you for the sweet words Helene 🙂

  11. October 29, 2016    

    I love markets like these! I could spend hours wandering around and looking at each stall in detail. Did you spend a lot of money? It’s a good place to practice the language, too!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Hahah as we were on tight shopping budget we could not indulge ourselves much 😉

  12. October 29, 2016    

    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!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Madrid is a lovely place. Do plan a trip to the city if you are in Spain next, we are sure you will love it.

  13. October 30, 2016    

    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 😛

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Hahah yes, can’t imagine buying all these stuff and travelling around 😉

  14. October 30, 2016    

    Looks like an incredibly vibrant activity to do in Madrid! Love the colours. The haggling is such an interesting concept in many countries! Awesome atmosphere.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      It is an amazing place to be! So glad we were there to witness it while in Madrid.

  15. October 30, 2016    

    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.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      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.

  16. October 30, 2016    

    So glad I stumbled across your blog!
    What a wonderful, vibrant tour of the markets of Madrid:)
    Divya

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Thank you for the love Divya :).

  17. October 30, 2016    

    so Vibrant! 🙂 I love visiting local markets, they spell out the essence of the local life. I am sure the atmosphere here would be absolutely colourful!

    handsome Spanish dude:p hehe

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Yes, just the lively atmosphere in markets like these bring such a happy felling :).

  18. October 30, 2016    

    So full of life! Really my kind of place:)

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Yes. El Rastro is a must visit place while in Madrid.

  19. November 1, 2016    

    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!!

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Thanks u :). Happy to bring back your childhood memories 🙂

  20. November 1, 2016    

    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.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      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.

  21. November 2, 2016    

    I saw something similar in Barcelona. They do have cool stuffs.
    And yes that caution should be in bold letters – beware of pickpockets.

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 4, 2016    

      Missed out on the market in Barcelona, what’s the name of the market?

  22. November 7, 2016    

    The market is so colourful! Guess this is th perfect place to get mementos from Madrid 😀

  23. November 9, 2016    

    Wow!! Look at that amazing stuff. I wanna go shopping right away 🙂

  24. November 13, 2016    

    This market is like a giant treasure chest 🙂 I would definitely pick up one of those dolls in a traditional Spanish outfit 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      November 14, 2016    

      Yes they are a very cute and a perfect souvenir if you have little girls to present it to :).

  25. February 16, 2017    

    It is such fun to browse through flea markets, is it not? The antiques are the best part. 🙂

    • 2travellingsisters 2travellingsisters
      February 22, 2017    

      Yes, flea markets are the places to find unusual treasures.

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