The Mercado de Motores: Madrid’s best kept secret

The Mercado de Motores, a pop-up vintage market which mixes music, food, entertainment and shopping in an old train station, is a must-do if you’re visiting Madrid.

Whenever anyone asks what I’d recommend for them to do in Madrid, I answer immediately: go to the Mercado de Motores. Madrid is full of attractions, from Royal palaces to world-class art museums, but this quirky vintage market held in the city’s railway museum is my top pick every time.

The Mercado de Motores is held at Madrid’s Railway Museum on the second weekend of each month

The Mercado de Motores is held on the second weekend of every month at the Museo del Ferrocarril, just outside the city centre. Getting there from the city is really easy – just get the metro to Delicias and it’s a very short walk from the station.

The Museo del Ferrocarril itself is a magnificent old railway station which was built in the 1880s and abandoned in the 1960s. Late in its life as a station it featured as a filming location for Dr Zhivago. Since 1987 it’s been home to one of the biggest collections of locomotives and coaches in Europe.

The Mercado de Motores in Madrid

We visited the Mercado de Motores on a sunny Sunday in October as part of our #EUtour visit to Madrid. When we got there we were fascinated straightaway by the gorgeous building and the collection of vintage bicycles at the entrance. We queued for a few minutes to get in, but it moved quickly. When we were there most of the visitors seemed to be locals rather than tourists.

One of the vintage furniture stalls at the Mercado de Motores in Madrid

The Mercado de Motores is described by its organisers as “not quite a flea market, not quite a popup”. Inside the beautiful station are stalls with all kinds of hand-made, vintage-style things to buy, from art, to furniture, fashion, soap and food. There are also stalls selling quirky second-hand lamps, luggage, hats, jewellery and more.

A stall selling quirky bikes beside the old levers of the railway station
If you’re looking for vintage hats in Madrid, the Mercado de Motores is the place to be

At the front of the station are a couple of desks where you can buy tokens to buy food and drink – and you don’t want to miss the food and drink here! As well as the cafes inside the station, if you walk all the way through the building and out to the yard beyond, you’ll find pop-up bars selling beer, sangria and cocktails, and food trucks selling everything from Spanish specialities like churros, paella and Mallorcan potatoes to burgers, hot dogs and tacos.

The bar area outside the railway museum
Make sure you exchange your money for Mercado de Motores tokens to buy food and drink

There’s also plenty of entertainment. Inside the station we enjoyed a drink listening to an amazing jazz band, and then outside we relaxed on bean bags with a beer and free popcorn, watching a big-screen showing of Grease (in Spanish, of course).

The awesome live band
Watching Grease (in Spanish!) at the Mercado de Motores

Have you visited the Mercado de Motores? Are there any other quirky markets we should visit?

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