The Insanity of El Rastro Market in Madrid

Before I went to Madrid my friend, who’d been there about a year ago, told me I had to go to El Rastro – the giant open air flea market that happens every Sunday. I’ll be honest I wondered if it would be worth checking out. See, I’m not much of a shopper, and I don’t really buy souvenirs when I travel. That said I went and I’m glad I took a couple hours to check out El Rastro. The market is huge, it’s a great place to people watch, and I’m pretty sure you could find almost anything you would need here (not guaranteeing you’d be able to take everything that bought from El Rastro back home with you though). Here are some photos from the insanity of El Rastro in Madrid.

Crowd heading to El Rastro in Madrid

Crowd heading to El Rastro in Madrid. The market takes place every Sunday and holiday from 9am to 3pm.

Kids toys at El Rastro in Madrid

Need some kids toys? El Rastro has you covered.

Electronics at El Rastro in Madrid

I liked knowing that if I needed batteries, a camera card, or a phone charger that I could find it at this particular table. There were quite a few electronic tables and stalls at the market.

Power tools at El Rastro in Madrid

Of course if batteries aren’t your thing then there always power tools (don’t know how easy this would be to take home with you).

Vintage magnets at postcards at El Rastro in Madrid

There were a lot booths that had souvenir type items, but I liked this vintage magnets and random postcards of cute animals.

Pots and pans (including paella pans) at El Rastro in Madrid

There were lots of stalls with kitchen items. This one even has paella pans.

Random kitchen gadgets at El Rastro in Madrid.

Kitchen items at the market. So many kitchen items.

Souvenir Flamenco dresses at El Rastro in Madrid

If you don’t want to shell out several hundred Euros for a real Flamenco dress, you can buy a cheap souvenir one at El Rastro.

A suede dress at El Rastro in Madrid

Wearing a suede dress seems like it would be more annoying (it can get wet, it would be hot in the summer) than anything, but if you’ve always wanted a suede dress then this is the place for you.

T-shirts at El Rastro in Madrid

Of course there are also more casual clothes, like these T-shirts (Breaking Bad was a pretty popular theme at several stalls).

Bras at El Rastro in Madrid

Yes you can buy bras (as well as other underwear) at El Rastro.

Scarves at El Rastro in Madrid

Scarves at El Rastro in Madrid. I actually bought a scarf for 2 Euros at El Rastro because of reasons.

Empty (and some full) glass pop bottles at El Rastro in Madrid

Empty vintage pop bottles at El Rastro. There are some fuller ones there too, but I wouldn’t drink that. Go to a bar instead and you’ll get some tapas too because tapas are amazing.

Flowers at El Rastro in Madrid

Flowers at El Rastro. I was there in October and they had these for sale.

Dreamcatchers at El Rastro in Madrid

Dreamcatchers at El Rastro in Madrid, because if I learned anything wandering around El Rastro for two hours it’s sure, why not?

Things You Should Know

El Rastro takes place every Sunday (and holidays) from 9am to 3pm, and is between Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores. Here is a link to a map of the area.
The closest Metro stations to the flea market are La Latina or Puerta de Toledo (Line 5 – basically get outside and find the crowds, it won’t be difficult). A single trip on the Metro will cost between € 1.50 and €3, unless you’re coming from the airport in which case it’s €3.
El Rastro is an open air flea market so you’ll need cash for purchases. Pickpocketing can be an issue with El Rastro (I was fine) so make sure you keep your valuables secure and hidden while you’re there.
While in Madrid I stayed at Huespedes Dolcevita Hostel in a single private room with a balcony. There was a shared bathroom, free breakfast, and free WiFi. The hostel was in the LGBT friendly Chueca neighbourhood and was a 5 minute walk to the Chueca Metro station.  If you’re looking for a private room in Madrid at a decent price (I paid about $25 for my room/night when I stayed) I highly recommend this hostel. You can book a room here.
If you want a higher end accommodation option while in Madrid you can book one here.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve spotted at a flea market?

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5 Responses to The Insanity of El Rastro Market in Madrid

  1. Kathrin February 8, 2016 at 4:40 AM #

    I really like walking through flea markets despite the fact that I almost never buy anything. But it’s just fun to explore all the stalls!

  2. Voyager February 13, 2016 at 3:19 AM #

    your post and photos bring alive the insanity of the market.

  3. Justine February 14, 2016 at 10:45 PM #

    In Iceland, there was a fermented shark at their flea market 😛

    • Alouise February 15, 2016 at 8:13 PM #

      I’ve heard about fermented shark. Don’t think I’d be brave enough to try it though 😆

  4. This couple went... February 15, 2016 at 1:21 AM #

    I enjoyed reading this – it offered more than the usual ‘here are the best attractions in madrid’. Thank you.

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