The first morning of our Madrid stay, we set out to grocery shop and, just around the corner from our La Latina apartment, we stumbled across a gigantic flea market. We didn’t know it, ‌but we had discovered one of Madrid’s most popular events held 9 a.m to 3 p.m. every Sunday and on holidays.
Tens of thousands shuffle shoulder to shoulder through this multi-block open-air market of 700 stalls selling clothing, jewelry, antiques, vintage furniture, memorabilia, housewares, and art. It’s a major social gathering for friends and families who cap a morning of shopping with a leisurely meal at one of the many venerable tapas bars along the market’s streets..
As festive and colorful as Rastro is, the crowds can be overwhelming. Frequently, we moved from the packed streets to sidewalks behind the booths, which were less mobbed. Occasionally, police set up entry checkpoints to control access. The event also attracts pickpockets, so act accordingly.