An unmissable Sunday event in Madrid is the Market of the Rastro, the largest open-air market in the Spanish capital.
Beloved by the people of Madrid, this ancient market whose foundation dates back to the XNUMXth century has risked closure several times but has resisted and has even expanded despite the limitations imposed by the municipal administration, which has tried on several occasions to regulate the market .
Expanding dramatically, in a completely irregular way, today it has an indefinite number of stalls, probably more than a thousand, where you can really buy everything.
If you are in Madrid at the weekend do not miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of this gigantic market: get lost in the crowd and let yourself be stunned by the bright colors of the wares on sale and the shouts of sellers and buyers.
You can test your bargaining skills - negotiating prices is common practice - and end your day with caps and cerveza in a typical bar of the area.
The “rastro” that gives the market its name is the trail of blood left on the ground by the animals killed in the neighborhood slaughterhouses, which are no longer functioning today.
The Mercato del Rastro is mentioned in many works of Spanish literature: among the authors who paid homage to the popular market in their works we remember Cervantes, Covarrubias, Armesto y Casto.
What to buy at the Rastro market
The Mercato del Rastro is known as the flea market of Madrid, but today the merchandise on sale is no longer limited to second-hand.
Today you can still find many stalls selling furniture, clothes, records and used books, as well as various junk and valuable antiques, but to these are added the stalls selling new clothes, accessories, fruit and vegetables, material electric, souvenirs and all sorts of useful and useless items.
There is also space for crafts and art: an entire street is dedicated to the sale of paintings and painting materials.
Unfortunately, pickpockets are not in short supply in Madrid and the markets represent an excellent opportunity for them to steal without being seen.
During your visit to the Rastro market, or any other market in Madrid, keep your bag tightly closed and tight to you, speak only with the owners of the stalls and do not listen to people who approach you and offer you fabulous deals. Also beware of valuables.
Small tricks and a little attention are enough to avoid ruining your holiday!
Where the Rastro market takes place
The Rastro market takes place every Sunday and on public holidays from 9 to 15 in the popular neighborhood of La Latina, one of the historic areas of central Madrid.
The nerve center of the market is made up of Cascorro Square, while among the streets that are occupied by the vendors' stalls we can confidently name the streets Toledo, Embajadores, Ronda de Toledo, San Cayetano, Fray Ceferino González, Carlos Arniches, Mira el Río, calle Ribera de Curtidores, Rodas and the General squares Vara del Rey and de Campillo del Mundo Nuevo.
However, it is impossible to draw up a precise list of the streets involved because the Mercato del Rastro occupies a very large area with boundaries that are not clearly delineated and is constantly evolving.
How to reach us
If you want to travel by metro, you can get off at three different ones stops near the Rastro market: Tirso de Molina (L1), Embajadores (L3) and Latina and Puerta de Toledo (L5); In alternative, you will arrive by bus or with a regional train (stazione Embajadores).