Although it is open almost every day of the week, Sunday is the day when most of the good people of Madrid make their way to the local market, known as el Rastro. el Rastro, situated on the junction between the Plaza de Cascorro and Ribera de Curtidores streets, in the Barrio de La Latina district of the city, is Madrid’s largest open market.
On a typical Sunday visitors to the market can browse around more than 3500 stalls, displaying a huge variety of products, some international and some locally produced either new or used. Skirting the el Rastro market is a number of antique shops, which are open every day of the week.
In a literal Spanish the meaning of El Rastro is “the trail”, which locals believe is the name of one the tanneries that were once located in the nearby Ribera de Curtidores district, which at one time, at once time housed the city’s abattoir. According to local legend during the transportation of the slaughtered cattle from the abattoir to the tannery and open wagons, a trail (rastro) of blood was left along the street, and the name stuck.
Overlooking the market is a huge statue dedicated to Eloy Gonzalo, a famous soldier of Spanish origin who was one of the heroes of the Cuban War of Independence
Even though the market is open every Sunday is no problem getting there, with Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid buses arriving almost every quarter of an hour, with the market easily accessible for out-of-towners also through the commuter train network (Cercanías Renfe). Those people who decide to come by car will find that finding a parking spot nearby can represent a problem.
One thing for sure is once you make it to , el Rastro you’re sure for an interesting experience and the chance to drink in the city’s differing ethnic groups, all of them either offering all looking for a bargain or at least something unusual. Most of the stall holders are offering items that you rarely see in local shops or malls, from a wide spectrum of products and all of them really interesting.
A lot of people prefer to get to the market as early as possible, for tourists and newcomers to the city who really want to drink in the experience; the best time to arrive at el Rastro on any Sunday is around 11am, when the market is at its busiest. Those wishing to haggle for a bargain in the stalls should arrive a lot later, around midday, when the crowds are beginning thin, and the stall holders might be convinced to part with an item for less money.
Usually by one or two people are ready for a light lunch and congregate around the many bars situated at the edges of the market as well as on the La Plaza de Cascorro to enjoy a cold beer and some tapas. Between three and four the stall holders at el Rastro begin the ritual of packing up to go home, and one of Madrid’s not so well kept secrets closes down for another week.
If you do decide to put down roots in Madrid, then el Rastro will be one of the attractions available to you, and one you are sure to enjoy.
This also great place to pick up items of furniture as well as household goods, and often at a really good price. However you’ll need someone to fill these items of furniture that’s why you should make your way to the offices of ShMadrid, as soon as you decide to settle in the city. ShMadrid are also one Madrid’s not so well kept secrets for being among the most successful and well-liked estate agents in the city, thanks to their a first-class reputation for finding solutions to accommodation problems. If you’re in the market then SH Madrid should be the place you’re heading for. You’re almost certainly guaranteed to find and apartment that absolutely suits you, as they have so many on offers to suit every taste and budget.
Just like el Rastro!