The Insanity of El Rastro Market in Madrid

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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.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain

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

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

Need some kids toys? El Rastro has you covered.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

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.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

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).

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

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

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

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

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

There were so many kitchen items at El Rastro.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

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.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

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.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

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

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

Yes, you can buy bras and underwear) at El Rastro. I didn’t, but it’s possible.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

Some of the scarves you can buy at El Rastro.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

Some flowers at El Rastro. I was there in October, and they had these for sale.

El Rastro flea market in Madrid, Spain.

Dreamcatchers at El Rastro in Madrid, because if I learned anything while 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 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. You can book a room here.

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

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