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. I’m not much of a shopper, and I don’t tend to buy souvenirs when I travel. That said I went and I’m glad I took a couple of hours to check out El Rastro. The market is enormous, 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.
Things You Should Know
El Rastro takes place every Sunday (and holidays) from 9 am to 3 pm, and is between Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores. Here is 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 at El Rastro (I was fine). Make sure to keep your valuables secure and hidden while you’re there.
While in Madrid I stayed at the 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. Of course, if you’re not on a budget there are plenty of hotels in Madrid that you can book here.
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What’s the craziest thing you’ve spotted at a flea market?