El Rastro

Eating out & Madrid Restaurants, La Latina, Rastro, Shopping in Madrid, Travel tips

by Marina Diez

organillorastro.jpgThis famous Sunday morning flea market, located next to La Latina, one of the oldest quarters of Madrid, has everything from clothes, bags and other paraphernalia, to the funny stalls dedicated to just one single thing: there is one, for example, that sells nothing but various shapes and sizes of elastic bands!

One specific side street is dedicated to pets, with real pet shops on either side of the road, and a few people outside selling their own puppies out of cardboard boxes and sports bags. The main street, c/ Ribera de Curtidores, is the place to head to if you’d like to see antique shops in Madrid, most of which open every day of the week.

There are two extra reasons for visiting the Rastro on a Sunday morning: the first is the live music, from the organ grinder playing Chotis, a popular music and dance from Madrid, to a complete Jazz band if you’re lucky.

The second reason is food: finish your Rastro visit with either the traditional bocadillo de calamares, a battered squid baguette sold in one of the many bars lining the main Rastro strip, or head towards the atmospheric heart of La Latina for lunch in one of the many tapas bars around Plaza de la Cebada and Cava Baja.

TIPS: Go early, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., to avoid the masses. Be careful with your wallet, camera and other possessions, as this is a favourite spot for pickpockets.

Metro: La Latina / Tirso de Molina. The Rastro is on Calle Ribera de Curtidores and surrounds. See map below:

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Comment from Katie
Date: June 19, 2008, 11:37 pm

And if you’re out late the night before, going right before it closes isn’t a terrible idea either–say between 2 and 3 pm. There’s a great seafood bar at the top of the Rastro, too. Walking to the market from the La Latina metro it’s right on the corner as you turn onto the Ribera de Curtidores. It has a red sign.

Comment from Marina
Date: June 20, 2008, 11:36 am

Thanks Katie for the extra tips, a bit of ‘marisco’ sounds like a great option after wandering around;-)

Comment from Jordan
Date: June 23, 2008, 10:02 am

I can’t wait to go this Sunday! I didn’t get to go last time I was in Madrid :(

Comment from Elizabeth
Date: June 23, 2008, 8:53 pm

I went during Spring Break when I was visiting hubby. I LOVED it! He, of course, hated it, as most men do! I will be moving to Madrid early next month to join up with him, so I am sure it will be a weekly haunt of ours.

Comment from Marina
Date: June 23, 2008, 9:12 pm

@Jordan and Elizabeth,

Enjoy the Rastro visit, and please let us know if you find something interesting while you are there.


Comment from Jules
Date: June 24, 2008, 9:17 am

Apart from my 15 seconds of panic (see pickpockets link) we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Rastro last year. I’m sure there were people selling old window frames with iron bars like you would see in a Sherrif’s jailhouse in an old Western film.