El Rastro was an area in Madrid where tanneries were situated in the past. It is believed that since animal hides were tanned to make leather, a trail of blood was left behind through the present streets that occupy the biggest flea market in Madrid. It is situated nearby La Latina metro stop and is held each Sunday from 09:00 am to 03:00 pm.
El Rastro is Ideally Visited Early Morning
The natives are not known to habitually wake up early, but this is the kind of place that is best visited on a Sunday morning when on a Madrid city tour. The best bargains can be snapped at an El Rastro stall when it starts, so make it a point to head there before crowds start to converge.
Explore Further for Antiques
Most of the market stalls in and around Plaza de Cascorro area sell souvenir, t-shirt, incense burner, and other unbranded products used in households. Its main antique stalls and stores can be found on plazas and side streets, which go past the main thoroughfares. You can find a collection of vintage home ware in any of those areas nearby the streets Calle de Embajadores and Ribera de Curtidores.
Most Stalls Accept Payment in Cash
Only some of the stalls in El Rastro accept credit card, so ensure to carry cash in your wallet when going to the flea market. Much like some of the street markets in Europe, El Rastro is so big that it is spread across virtually a neighborhood. The streets pave way to buildings and alleyways, so much that El Rastro reminds you of the flea markets in Paris. The stalls are often crowded with people jostling for different items, so the last thing you would want is to argue with a street seller for change.
El Rastro Opens on Public Holidays Too
Not all visitors realize that the open-air flea market operates even on public holidays in Madrid. The off days tend to invite fewer crowds when compared to Sundays, so there will not be many people jostling for bargain. It helps that the Spanish capital has several public holidays, which mostly fall on the holy days of the Catholic. Yet, prior to planning a visit to Madrid’s biggest street market, make it a point to create a list of the shops to cover, so that you are not lost in the crowd.