Gray wooden bookstalls, complete with yellow awning and gingerbread columns, line the softly sloping and tree lined Calle de Claudio Moyano, a pedestrian walkway that skirts Madrid’s Retiro Park on the side closest to Atocha Railway Station.

Named after Claudia Moyano, the politician who reformed the Spanish education system in the mid 1800s, this unique open-air book market has been around for decades. Locals considered it to be the literary equivalent to Madrid’s renowned Rastro flea market.

On any given day, crowds gather around the tables, flicking through the books, looking for a bargain and perhaps even a possible first edition.

The market is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm but Sunday morning is the liveliest time to visit.

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Liz Lewis is a New Zealand based writer who favors wine tasting and food markets over bungy jumping and mountain climbing.