El Rastro

Shoppers at the El Rastro Flea Market in Madrid, Spain

El Rastro in Madrid, Spain, is a flea market popular with the tourists as it has a large array of items on sale. Both new and used items are sold in this flea market. Shopping here is an unusual experience as one can spend a whole day to buy the desired products, and in the process come across many interesting things to buy. It is indeed a different experience jostling among the crowd and bargaining amidst the din created by the shopkeepers, each one crying out his price, trying to outdo the other. The streets are alive with joy and the atmosphere is full of excitement. Thousands of shopping freaks hunt for the best suitable first-hand or second-hand articles at El Rastro.

The shops or stalls are equipped with nearly all the items under the sun that a person may wish to buy. The shops offer used clothing, antique pieces, marvelous old paintings or replicas of classic paintings, tools and fabrics, flowers, magazines, old artwork, showpieces from Madrid, beer glasses from Germany, and a lot more.

Shopping in this flea market is fun due to the hunting one has to do for a particular item, which is indeed a difficult task. It is not everyone’s cup of tea as the market is a huge place. Rare books and magazines can also be bought in this flea market that may not be available in big departmental stores or malls.

El Rastro is a paradise for vendors as they can sell the items to tourists at the said price. Sometimes some gullible tourists are fooled by the vendors. They can be taken for a ride if they are not careful enough. Thus you have to be alert while making a deal and try to bargain as much as possible. It cannot be done always because some shops sell new and good quality items. These shopkeepers follow the merchandized format. The goods sold in these shops are definitely of good quality and comparatively cheaper than in big shops or shopping malls.

After wandering in the El Rastro market, it is highly probable that you may feel hungry. In such a case you can gorge on the special Tapas that are served in small cafes at the end of El Rastro. German beer is also available if you wish to quench your thirst after roaming in the sweltering heat.

The flea market is a place to have a lot of fun and spend a great day if your pockets are out of the reach of the pickpockets that are in great abundance in this market. You can save a wonderful day from getting ruined by taking some simple precautions and staying alert. Have fun while shopping in El Rastro, the famous flea market, and take home unique artifacts, and a once in a lifetime experience from this exotic land.

Location Map of El Rastro in Madrid, Spain

Location Map of El Rastro in Madrid, Spain

  • In the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries the place where we see El Rastro market today, was occupied by junk dealers, slaughterhouses, and tanneries.
  • At the end of the 18th century, the shops for selling edible products, bakeries, tools, hardware and even stolen goods were added. The Council gave the orders for closing the tanneries in this region to prevent the contamination of water.
  • In the 19th century, the slaughterhouses continued to operate on weekdays while on Sundays and weekends, removable posts were placed for selling goods in the flea market.

The El Rastro flea market is located in Madrid. It can be reached within a half-an-hour drive from Madrid-Barajas Airport. The nearest metro stations are La Latina, Puerta de Toledo, and Tirso de Molina. You can also reach the flea market via bus and suburban train.

Early morning is the best time to visit the flea market as it is not too crowded at that time.

This market opens on Sundays and public holidays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Nearby Attractions: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and Teatro La Latina.


Image Credit : Alberto Salguero