Shopping in Madrid the most “castizo”: El Rastro

Madrid is the best city in Spain to go shopping, but you’ll need to know where to look.

In the downtown streets full of elegant historical buildings such as Gran Vía, Plaza Mayor, Fuencarral or Puerta del Sol, the blocks with stores with affordable prices, young designer fashion shops alongside traditional ones, alternate with restaurants, cafes and terraces.

The center of Madrid is for wandering around and stopping to browse the abundant shops. There is a dynamic, open and cosmopolitan area that makes you feel like one more Madrilenian. Step in!


Madrid is known worldwide as a captivating cultural hub, for the exquisite cuisine and the fashion-forward residents. Each of the amazing neighborhoods have a unique identity of its own and this makes exploring the city a fun adventure.

The capital of Spain can be divided into two main zones:

  • The old traditional Center, with the Puerta del Sol and Gran Vía at its heart.

  • Castizo (traditional) with Argüelles, Chueca, Malasaña, Chamberí, and Lavapiés districts.

The newer Ensanche refers to all parts of Madrid built outside of the old city walls from the 18th century onward. This area includes the Castellana Avenue, the Salamanca barrio, home of some of Madrid’s best shops and restaurants, and northern Chamartín district.

Gran Via in Madrid, Spain
Street of one of the neighborhoods in the center of Madrid, Spain


The Almudena Cathedral is the most important religious building in the city. It was built on the site of a medieval mosque destroyed in 1083 and stands directly opposite to the Royal Palace.

Since it’s across the street from the Royal Palace, the cathedral makes a great stop along the route.

Almudena Cathedral Madrid, Spain
Almudena Cathedral Madrid, Spain


The Royal Palace of Madrid, otherwise known as the “Palacio de Oriente” is one of the main attractions when visiting Madrid. The construction of the Royal Palace from Madrid began in 1738 and took 16 years to complete.

Nowadays, the Royal Palace of Madrid is used exclusively for receptions, state ceremonies and official acts.  It is surrounded by the Campo del Moro Park and the Sabatini gardens. Both of them are also opened to the public to visit.

Royal Palace of Madrid and Campo del Moro Park


Throughout Madrid’s history, Plaza de Santa Ana has been closely linked to the performing arts. Here is where in the first comedy shows and the great artists first came to fame. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, Santa Ana square was popular among the most important artists:  Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega and Cervantes, among others.

La Latina neighborhood Madrid

La Latina neighborhood in Madrid hosts the city’s oldest architecture and some of its finest cuisine. The small alleyways are especially beautiful. On Sundays, La Latina’s most famous street, La Cava Baja, is Madrid’s place to be. This charming street is lined with tiny bars serving up “cañas” (draft beer), wines and tapas.

La Latina Madrid, Spain

It’s a tradition to go to La Latina on Sunday afternoons after the city’s flea market, El Rastro, and hop from bar to bar until late


When deciding where to go shopping in Madrid, the options are very diverse. Madrid offers a great selection of stores to choose from and to buy from the most common objects, to the most specific and bizarre ones.

The capital brings together a large number of commercial areas where you find shops of all kinds. Strolling through a neighborhood, getting lost in its streets, and entering one or another store is one of those addicting plans to do in Madrid.

Shopping in Madrid: Gran Via

Photo: Author Quique Olivar en Unplash


El Rastro Madrid is a flea market in the historic center of the city, in the popular neighborhood of La Latina. This market opens every Sunday and every holiday.

El Rastro is actually the most popular open air flea market in Spain.

There is a main street  dedicated to Market stalls, but the side streets contain the real “treasures”

In the past it used to be almost exclusively a place where anyone could sell antique objects or exchanged them for others. Nowadays, besides things of second hand, you can find new objects: clothes, jewelry, handbags, decorative figures, etc.

El Rastro Madrid, Spain

Photo: Author Bárbara Fdez

El Rastro Madrid, Spain