Every Sunday morning, this market (which originally only sold second hand items) is put up in the La Latina district.
So, we bet you’re wondering where its name comes from! Well, history states that cows used to be taken along the Rivera de Curtidores (the main market street) from the slaughterhouse to the tanneries (the places where the animals´ skins are made into leather), and these cows used to leave behind a trail of blood along the way – hence the name, and yes, we know the story is a little sinister.
But, put history to one side for the moment! Now we are going to recount the charming truth about this great market, where you can spend a classic Sunday in Madrid. The truth is that El Rastro has become a place where you can find everything, literally everything that you can imagine from the most modern to the most ancient.
As usual, we want to play our part and have put together a recommended route that you can follow so you don’t miss out on any part of this marvelous place!
|Image from: marta.boschroig1|
1. You should start your visit at the top of the market where the closest metro station is La Latina, more specifically in the Plaza de Cascorro (specializing in alternative clothing and other accessories).
2. Then follow a route along the main street, the Rivera de Curtidores, through El Rastro, which is mostly downhill. Don’t be surprised to find that you can hardly move on the street… but this is Madrid my friends!
3. From there, you can check out any of the stands that grab your attention. On the other hand, if you want to start the visit at the bottom of the market, the closest metro stations are Puerta de Toledo or Embajadores.
There are specific areas within El Rastro but these are some of the most well-known:
• Calle Fray Ceferino González: known as ‘la calle de los pájaros’ (birds) and a long time ago, it was dedicated to the selling of animals. Now however, there are only a few specialized shops.
• Calle de San Cayetano: known as ‘la calle de los pintores’ (painters) because here you can find shops that sell the most fantastic paintings and painting materials.
• Calle de Rodas, Plaza del General Vara del Rey y Plaza de Campillo del Mundo Nuevo: these are a few charming streets where you can buy and sell magazines, card games and typical card collections from our parents’ and grandparents’ eras.
|Image from: La chica de las luces|
The market does not have a definitive timetable, but the stands are put from about 9.00 am and are taken down at about 3.00 pm. So, if you intend to see everything, you will have to get up a little earlier in order to make the most of the morning!
And, when you finish your long walk through El Rastro need to boost your strength, don’t worry! The area is full of little bars where you can enjoy a beer and some tasty tapas at a very good price. Enjoy the Madrid life!