Madrid’s biggest and most famous flea market takes place every Sunday and on public holiday between the neighbourhoods of La Latina and Lavapiés. The stalls sell everything from leather bags and band T-shirts to antiques, records and flamenco-themed wares. Make sure to arrive early as the market reaches its busiest peak at around midday, and don’t forget to make a stop for a beer and a tapa like the locals do.
If you want to save a few euros on food, check out some of Madrid’s under-the-radar food markets. For fresh food like fish, meat and vegetables, Mercado de la Cebada in La Latina is a great choice (stalls will cook the fish you buy for you on Saturday afternoons, making it one of the best times to visit). If you want food that’s ready to eat, Mercado de San Fernando in Lavapiés, is a popular local choice and prices are low.
The cool neighbourhood of Malasaña, just north of Gran Vía, is the centre of Madrid’s vintage scene: it has many vintage shops with some specialising in certain eras (1970s denim, for example). Calle Velarde is home to several shops, such as Magpie Vintage and Alphaville. Just a few blocks away from Magpie, Flamingos Vintage Kilo sells clothes by the kilogram.
Madrid’s most famous street is home to grand buildings and Spain’s biggest mainstream stores. If you’re eager to explore the likes of Zara, Mango and Stradivarius, this is the place, and you’ll also find the biggest Primark store in all of mainland Europe. It’s conveniently located right in the centre of Madrid, which means you’ll be spoilt for choice when you need a break from shopping and are looking for a drink or something to eat.
Bookworms will love perusing the lovely wooden book stalls found near Parque El Retiro, which have been going strong since 1925. The stalls are open every day and sell mainly second-hand books in Spanish, though there is sometimes a selection in other languages too.
If you don’t fancy facing the crowds of central Madrid, or maybe the weather is not too pleasant, a trip to an out-of-town shopping centre could be a good option. There are several shopping centres around Madrid, many of which are home to all the major high street stores, as well as cinemas. Las Rozas Village is Madrid’s biggest designer discount shopping centre, and is very popular with bargain hunters.
For a great chance to pick up a unique gift or souvenir, visit any of the several markets around Madrid where local designers sell their creations. Mercado de Motores, a market held in Madrid’s railway museum, takes place over a weekend once a month and makes for a great day out (you can even grab lunch at one of the food trucks outside). The Matadero, Madrid’s former slaughterhouse, is now a thriving cultural hub that also regularly hosts markets.