The most popular open-air flea market in all of Spain, El Rastro is held throughout the year on Sundays and public holidays, and is the perfect place to go if you are hoping to do some shopping in the city. Whether you are looking for antiques and curiosities, or fashion and accessories, you will find all of this and more at the El Rastro Market.
When to Visit
As mentioned above, El Rastro is open on Sundays and public holidays, but, if you want to be able to beat the crowds, you do need to time your visit quite carefully. The market is open from 9am until 3pm, and it is around noon when the crowds really start to swell, making it best for you to start exploring the market before this time. While the crowds do add to the overall atmosphere so much, they can also make it quite difficult for you to properly navigate the stores. However, there is one exception to this rule, and this is for those who are hoping to bag a good bargain. If this is the case, then you need to arrive near closing time, as this is when many vendors tend to shave around 20% off of their original asking price.
Trying on Clothing
You will find such an incredible variety of clothing for sale at El Rastro Market, and these vary from traditional Flamenco dresses to vintage designer goods to kitschy tourist t-shirts. With so many different types of clothing brought in from countries all over the world, you can imagine how varied the sizes are between them. However, unlike at many other markets around the world, the vendors at El Rastro are happy for customers to try clothing on, meaning that you can ensure that it really does fit before making your purchase.
Explore the Side Streets
In addition to the actual market stalls, there is plenty of other shopping to be done around El Rastro. The side streets may be small, but they are often filled with so many different types of unique stores, as well as more vendors sprawled out across the pavements. Calle de los Pintores, which means Street of the Painters, is one that art lovers should not miss, as there is so much artwork for sale here, while Nuevas Galerias and La Galeria Piquer have some truly one-of-a-kind individual stores.
A Bite to Eat
El Rastro is located in Madrid’s La Latina district, which is known for its Spanish restaurants and bars. There are many tapas restaurants to be found here, making this a great opportunity to try a few authentic tapas dishes. Alternatively, if you are not in the mood for Spanish cuisine, you will find everything from Indian restaurants, such as Bombay Blue, to Arab tea houses here.
El Rastro Market is always an exciting place to head to for a spot of shopping, as you never know what you will end up finding. From rare vintage designer clothing to souvenirs that you can take back home with you, this is a market that appeals to both tourists as well as locals.