El Rastro is the biggest of all flea markets, not just in Madrid but in the whole of Spain. For some it reminds them of the kind of flea markets that are synonymous with Paris.
You’ll find this Madrid flea market is open from 9 am until 3 pm every Sunday throughout the year, including when public holidays take place. It isn’t only a favourite spot to visit with tourists but many of those who have chosen to make Madrid their home as well those from outlying towns.
It is very typical for many of its visitors not only to spend time exploring the various stalls that have been set up. But is also a nice place to stop and enjoy a pleasant glass of beer (cerveza) as well as some delicious tapas.
But when exploring this part of Madrid and when exploring any Madrid market you need to be careful. Below we offer a few flea market tips you may find useful that will help ensure that you get the most from your visit to the El Rastro Madrid Market.
Tip 1 – Be Aware Of Pickpockets
Theft is quite common even though there are police present. You must make sure that you guard your valuables well. It is best if you avoid bringing a back or rucksack with you. But if you do have to bring such then make sure you wear it in front of you.
Tip 2 – Get There Early
Arrive at around 9.30 or 10 as you will be able to explore El Rastro much more freely. Normally you’ll find that the crowds start to get larger after 11, as this is when many have left church.
Tip 3 – Give Bargaining A Try
Quite a few of the sellers at one of city’s favorite markets are often happy to reduce their prices by between 10 and 15%. But if you really want to get a bargain at this favorite market Madrid then you might want to try closing the deal just before the market is due to close.
Tip 4 – Avoid The Main Thoroughfare
Take time out to spend it exploring the various side streets that make up this particular Madrid market. Here you have the opportunity to go Madrid shopping for some cool vintage items.
Tip 5 – Only Carry Cash
When it comes to carrying cash make sure that it is well hidden and certainly never keep it in your back pocket.
In this renovated covered market there is a food hall where you can try local food. Here you’ll find everything from fried calamari to sangria. But be prepared for the crowds.
Tip 7 – Check Out Those Trading Cards
On both Plaza de General Vara del Rey and Plaza del Campillo del Mundo Nuevo you’ll notice crowds of people of all ages. They are looking through various notebooks protected with plastic containing numerous cards that make up various collections.
Tip 8 – Throw Some Coins To The Street Performers
Do this if you stop to enjoy what they are doing or if you ask for a photo with them. They will very much appreciate your generosity no matter what it is.
Tip 9 – Visit Plaza Mayor When Visiting El Rastro
The walk between these two is only short. You could always start off your morning by enjoying a coffee in a café before making your way to market.
Tip 10 – Market Then Museums
The great thing about visiting El Rastro is that afterwards you can gain access to some of the city’s most well known museums for free. For example why not take time out to visit “The Prado” as access is free from 5 until 7pm when it closes on a Sunday.