One of Madrid's many charms lies in its streets. And, although it may seem so, we are not referring to its monuments, gastronomy or people, but to its street markets.
Tradition is not at war with modernity, and the cosmopolitan Spanish capital is good proof of this. You can browse its street markets in search of fresh vegetables, books with a thousand stories to tell or objects that are looking for a second life.
Some of them have stipulated hours on the same days of the week while others are only held on a few occasions throughout the year, so we hope that your visit coincides with the one you want to discover.
Best street markets in the city of Madrid
If we talk about museums, the first example that comes to mind is the Prado Museum, one of the best museums in Madrid, but if we talk about street markets, the undisputed king is El Rastro.
Documented as the oldest flea market in the city, it is mentioned in writings dating back to 1740. Like every great monument in the city, it has its history. It gets its name from the fact that it used to be a passing place for the slaughterhouse. In this bustling passage, they would leave their mark, un rastro, on the ground.
It is located in the unmistakable neighbourhood of La Latina, making Calle Ribera de Curtidores its backbone and Plaza de Cascorro its heart. Every Sunday and public holiday, from 9am to 3pm, you can stroll around its numerous stalls. There are usually more than a thousand but it can hold up to 3500 stalls. Yes, you read that right.
In each street you will be able to find different objects for sale, but in general, you will be able to find antiques, bird-related items, old books, vinyl records, clothes, paintings, clothing and accessories, among other items. One of those visits you can't miss during your stay in Madrid.
Mercado de las ranas
We go from one well-known neighbourhood to another. On the first Saturday of every month, the Barrio de las Letras hosts what is known as the Frog Market. Here, the stalls you see on the street are the local shops that have taken their wares on sale outside.
More than 200 shops take to the streets, in the purest London style and its Portobello Road. It has a great atmosphere, no specific theme and you'll be able to take a look at decoration, fashion and objets d'art, among other things.
When you've finished browsing, don't forget to visit some of the bars in the area. You're on Calle Huertas, so you'll be spoilt for choice and quality.
Mercadillo Cuesta Moyano
If you are a lover of reading, or simply love books, this is the flea market for you. It is located on the pedestrian street Cuesta Moyano, where the latest novelties in the publishing world coexist with authentic relics of literature.
At the moment there are 30 stalls displaying all their books and a visit is a must, not only for everything it has to offer, but also for its great location, close to the Retiro Park and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Both are a must on your itinerary in Madrid.
It dates back to 1925, when it began with a few stalls selling their books at very low prices, which is why it became known as the "Feria del Boquerón", as they cost the same as a mouthful of Boquerón, an anchovy.
Mercadillo de Pintores
Since 1984, works of art by local artists, both renowned and emerging, have been on display in the Plaza del Conde de Barajas every Sunday morning.
Taller Abierto, a group of local artists, exhibits numerous works that are for sale to anyone interested. You can also find other activities organised by the same group.
Invest in art, in new works, in Madrid talent.
Mercado de Productores en Matadero
Forget about middlemen, go straight to the source and enjoy fresh quality products such as wines, oils, cheeses, fruit, bread and much more. Ecology and crafts come together on the last weekend of every month in the central square of Matadero.
It's not your typical street market, but it would be a crime not to tell you where to find the freshest and tastiest food in the city. Also, you can't miss the food trucks and the area where you can enjoy a good bite to eat. Perfect for recharging your batteries during your visit.
Mercado de Motores
Go to the old Delicias railway station, you can't miss it as the metro stop is "Delicias", and visit the stalls that await you both inside and on the side.
It is held the second weekend of every month and you will find, in addition to a fantastic atmosphere, crafts, clothes, decoration and gourmet gastronomic products, mainly.
Mercadillo Hippie de Goya
The flea market offers what it promises: hippy clothes and accessories. In the heart of the Salamanca neighbourhood, specifically on Avenida de Felipe II, you'll find 24 stalls full of ideas and 100% hippy proposals.
Unlike most markets, this one is open to the public from Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 9.30pm.