El Rastro Market
If you want to show off your knowledge of Madrid, you have to spend a Sunday morning in El Rastro, the most popular and traditional market in Madrid. You won’t have time to go through it all, but you’ll discover the flavour of the authentic by strolling through its streets, from Cascorro Square to Embajadores Street, passing through the Ribera de Curtidores and adjacent streets and squares, with its wide catalogue of curious, welcoming and enigmatic shops.
The Rastro, Cultural Heritage of the City of Madrid, has been held for more than 250 years from 9am to 3pm every Sunday and bank holiday, in the area that used to be occupied by the tanneries next to the Matadero slaughterhouse (now a cultural centre). It is believed to have received its name from the trails (rastro in Spanish) left by the carcasses as they were transported from the slaughterhouse to the tanneries, where the animals’ skin was turned into leather goods.
So, the best thing to do now is to let yourself get carried away and surprised whilst soaking in the atmosphere and the more than 3,000 stands that are set up in the neighbourhood and discover the most authentic corners of the Rastro, the most prestigious ones.
Here are 10 tips to guide you through the Rastro and find some classic spaces:
Ribera de Curtidores
Ribera de Curtidores is the main artery of the Rastro. It is a long, sloping avenue that is filled on both sides with stands. Here, you will be able to find everything: new and second-hand clothes, plugs and electrical appliances, shoes, costume jewellery, books, albums, crafts, furniture, lamps, leather goods, cameras, etc.