If you're planning a visit to Madrid, you've no doubt looked up the best museums to visit and the hottest flamenco shows to see. But have you thought about scheduling a day for antique shopping? Let me fill you in on a hint: SUNDAY FLEA MARKET!
El Rastro Flea Market
Three days is the minimum amount of time you’ll need in Madrid. Summer is the most popular time to visit, so go in the Spring or Autumn if you can, to avoid the crowds. I'd recommend staying in the trendy Malasaña or Huertas neighborhoods for their hipster dives and vibes, and so you can come back to "your neighborhood" in the evening to meander around for tapas and drinks.
Prepare yourself to live off tapas and Sangria
You can visit one of the largest royal palaces in Europe, with the beautiful Cathedral Primate across the street. Be sure to stop in for lunch at Mercado de San Miguel, which is worthy of visiting for the gorgeous Art Nouveau building design alone. Don't skip some of the best museums in the world, The Prado and The Reina Sofia! And definitely, definitely, book ahead for a flamenco show—we very much enjoyed the intimate setting at Cardamomo.
Cardamomo Flamenco House
But on Sunday, you shop! Get off the metro at La Latina station and you'll find yourself in the middle of El Rastro Open Air Flea Market. It runs along Plaza de Cascorro and La Ribera de Curtidores between Calle Embajadores and the Ronda de Toledo, and it happens every Sunday morning of the year! Most of the booths are selling clothing and junk, so be sure to venture off onto side streets to hunt for some vintage booths. But the real treasure here is that a lot of the antique and vintage storefronts of Madrid are in this same area and are open during the flea market!
Don't worry, I'm sure they'll ship it home for you!
Pace yourself and take frequent coffee and water breaks. You're sure to have a great time meandering El Rastro Market—hope you find something great! Longing to bring the Spanish style home? Here’s some of our favorite finds to get you that European antique look: