The Rastro Market, a Madrid institution!: The oldest flea market in Madrid
Declared Heritage of the City of Madrid in 2000, the Rastro is the largest open-air flea market in Madrid; extends between Toledo Street, Embajadores Street and Ronda de Toledo, and has its nerve center in Plaza de Cascorro, around the statue of soldier Eloy Gonzalo, hero of the Cuban War.
At Rastro, it is said, it is possible to find everything, from costume jewelery to leather processing, from trinkets to vintage clothing, from coins to books and CDs, from sportswear to antiques, the latter displayed in the windows of the shops that are overlook this maze of streets and squares.
The rastro: the market that is not just shopping
However, it is not only the objects that attract in this market but the lively and “truly Madrid” atmosphere that you breathe. So mingle with the inhabitants of the city and follow them in their “route of tapas y vermouth”, you won’t regret it! Our recommendation is the “Casa de las navajas”, bar of tapas and local dishes. This means that it is not a real restaurant (and therefore we like it even more!) But a very typical Madrid place where you can enjoy samples of various traditional dishes. If you like fish, try the razor clams, or “las navajas” that give the place its name and that really are mouth-watering! The “Casa de las navajas” is in Cascorro Square 19, in the heart of the Rastro.
If, on the other hand, you are here looking for bargains or souvenirs, don’t forget to bargain: the “regateo” is an essential component of every purchase and a fun for the street vendors themselves. So learn a few words of Spanish and don’t let them down!
But why is it called Rastro?
What is the history of the Rastro? It seems that this area was already known as a place for the sale of used clothes when, between the end of the 15th and the beginning of the 16th century, some slaughterhouses and leather workshops were built here. Perhaps the rivulet (rastro) of blood of the animals killed in the slaughterhouses and then dragged along the streets of this district gave the market its name.
Here are some of the “specialized” roads of the Rastro:
-Fray Ceferino Gonzalez Street or “calle de los pajaros” (street of birds) specializing in the sale of products for animals;
-San Cayetano Street or “calle de los pintores” (street of painters) with sale of paintings and materials for painting
-Rodas Street, General Vara Square, Campillo Square specialize in magazines and games
-Carnero Street and Carlos Arniches Street are instead specialized in the sale of old books.
When: Sundays and public holidays from 9 to 15
Where: Ribera de Curtidores Street and surroundings
How to get there: Metro La Latina or Puerta de Toledo (line 5), Tirso de Molina (line 1), Embajadores (line 3). The best is La Latina and Tirso de Molina, whose exit allows you to go down the Rastro and therefore tire less.
You are close to: Mercado de la Cebada, Real Colegiata de San Isidro, Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Reina Sofia Museum, Royal Palace.