The history of el Rastro de Valencia (also known as Rastro de Mestalla) is almost as old as the city itself, at least according to local chronicles. Earliest mentions of this market date back to the time it was located in the vicinity of the central market of Valencia, which at that time was the commercial center of the city.
Scrap dealers, booksellers, ragpickers, and antique dealers would gather there to set up their stalls around the Church of the Santos Juanes. Back in those times, the economy of the city was not like the current one, and the sale of antiques and second hand merchandise was very common as a way of subsistence.
Nowadays, el Rastro de Valencia hasn’t lost a bit of its shine. In fact, it is quite common among many Valencians to show up there on Sundays. Despite the crowds, the market holds on to its laid back vibe, and a visit here is the perfect way to pass a lazy Sunday morning.
With more than 500 vendors, el Rastro de Valencia is one of the largest weekly flea markets is Spain. This flea market is like a trunk of souvenirs and memories, filled with the most varied things that one day were lost among boxes, crates and cabinets and whose owners have recovered to exploit its vintage essence.
There is therefore a vast amount of variety in the items for sale at el Rastro de Valencia. There are picture frames, old books (some vintage), ornaments, toys, household items, jewelry, tools, vinyls from the heydays of the 1980s, plenty of vintage clothing at rock bottom prices, farming implements, ceramics and more. The stall holders love to chat and to haggle, and it feels like many of the visitors here are regulars who come as much for the socializing as the shopping.
As well as the more organized vendors, who put a particular care in the arrangement of their wares, there are also a great number of blankets laid out on the floor, the contents of which look suspiciously like they may have been destined for the trash. So filter through to find the fantastic stalls, and pick any and all items that you fancy.
Opening hours of El Rastro de Valencia are fairly short, and the earlier you can get there heightens the chance of dodging the largest of the crowds, but this is always a busy one. The bustle brings with it a fair amount of pick-pockets, and although this market is well policed it is of course advised to be very aware of your valuables. All in all, it is a fun market that should not be missed.