el rastro

Disappointment at El Rastro Market

Sadly, the weekly flea market in Madrid´s La Latina neighborhood, El Rastro, isn´t as worthwhile as I´d hoped. I love vintage shopping so I woke up early – well, earlier than usual – to check out this popular attraction that only takes place on Sundays. I was warned ahead of time to arrive early since it gets extremely crowded later in the day. I braced myself and I headed over.

While that proved to be true (though not overwhelmingly so), what I wasn´t told is that of the market´s 3000+ stalls, half would be selling the same products (knock off sunglasses, cheap earrings, leather satchels), one quarter would be selling goods I had no interest in (lamps in the shape of flamenco dancers) and the remaining would be overpriced and not well maintained vintage.

el rastro madrid musicians

My main interest being the vintage stands, I quickly made my way through the hoards of people and found the booths selling vintage cameras, home decor and clothing. The cameras, for example,  were in working order but were priced astronomically high. Perhaps these are just the market prices in Spain but in the United States you would be able to purchase them for half the price and I´m not even taking into account the conversion between euros and dollars. Needless to say, I went home empty handed.

It was a decent place to people watch though. Locals and tourists dig through piles of ten year old clothing sold by the unit (2€ each) while musicians try to attract your spare change. Though I won´t be returning and couldn´t really recommend it to visitors, I suppose if you´re in the neighborhood with absolutely nothing else to do on a Sunday morning, its worth a look.

What did you think of El Rastro? Where do you think the best place to shop in Madrid is?

* Photos shot on 35mm film. Click here to check out more of Madrid on film.

I also just wrote an article about Madrid´s monthly farmers market over at Vaya Madrid. An event that I actually do recommend and intend on returning to. Check it out!

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5 thoughts on “Disappointment at El Rastro Market

  1. I agree that the Rastro is waaaay overrated. Getting jostled by the crowd is annoying, and the majority of the stuff is just junky. By my second year in Madrid I would try to hide whenever anyone suggested an early-morning jaunt to the Rastro…

    1. You might try the Humana stores, they are like goodwill though I haven´t been that impressed. I´m writing an article about a monthly event called Rave Market that is a better option. I´ll post it soon! Its this Sunday at La Tabacalera.

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