If you like markets then you are about to get very, very happy! Madrid is home to the biggest outdoor flea market in Europe, the El Rastro Flea Market.
In the center of city by Plaza Mayor and its surrounding area, this market is enormous and can be overwhelming at first, but after a while you will get adjusted and be in bargain heaven.
Each Sunday from seven in the morning until two thirty in the afternoon the market invites people from all over the city to come and find everything they are looking for and a whole lot of stuff you never expected to find.
Don’t just stay on the main streets though. The side streets hold some of the most interesting shops, stands, people and items.
Make sure that you try and bargain with the shop-keeps because no price in the market is final. If you are persuasive enough and make a lucrative enough offer, you may find a gift for yourself for less than the ticketed price.
In El Rastro market you will find all different types of clothing, varying in style, fabric and quality; antiques from lost eras; beautiful artwork; intricate jewelry; an unorganized library of cheap books; electronic equipment; and anything else you can imagine.
The market is also a great place to grab a cold cerveza and interact with some of the locals. There are many places to grab a drink and some quick tapas and watch the market move by in front of you.
However, there aren’t many places to grab a full meal so you are better off leaving the market, finding a restaurant, then jumping back into Rastro with a full stomach.
Be wary of pickpockets in this area. Although they are not nearly as common as other places, they are still out there so watch your belongings carefully.