An Afternoon at el Mercado de Motores

A vintage stand at El Mercado de Motores.

A vintage stand at El Mercado de Motores.

You probably don’t know this about me because it’s nerdy and I keep it to myself, but I like transportation. No, I don’t have elaborate model train sets in my basement or hundreds of hand-painted balsa wood airplanes. But I get a kick out of efficient transport systems, especially public transportation or high-speed trains.

So, imagine my happiness when I discovered that there’s a market in Madrid’s Museo del Ferrocarril. Trains and a market? Is this heaven?

On the first weekend of the month, artists and antiquarians set up their stands alongside centenarian steam trains and art deco train cars. They peddle their artisan, vintage and gourmet goods while live music plays on the terrace outside.

I wasn’t sure what to expect — I was picturing something more akin to El Rastro, which is fun, but in the same way junk-filled rummage sales are fun. Upon arrival to the Mercado de Motores, however, I was immediately impressed by all the beautiful things for sale. The museum’s main depot area hosts the hand-made and artisan goods, while the space outside the museum is filled with antique and vintage finds. You can even hop on a miniature steam train, but only if you’re accompanying a child. We learned that the hard way.

Mercado de Motores Madrid

Entrance to the Mercado de Motores.


Me and Jen enjoying the sun.


Shoppers near a 1920s-era train car.

Just look at that tiny train!

Just look at that tiny train!

Unfortunately I didn’t have my camera with me, but I managed to take a few photos with my iPhone. Christina bought some wine and Paige bought a new dress. I didn’t find anything I had to have, although I spent a long time wishing I had an apartment to furnish. All the artesan home décor items were incredible. I seriously considered a set of pastel-painted wooden pennant flags, but I managed to walk away. And I’m a sucker for pennant flags.

Because the market is set up right alongside the trains, you can take a break or two from shopping and step up to see the interior of the old trains. The old train cars have been restored, and it’s easy to see the tiny bedrooms and bathrooms were luxurious in their day. The trains on display ranged from small steam engines from the mid-1800s to the space-age Talgo II of the 1950s. Together, they provide a fascinating glimpse at the history of trains in Spain.



1940s-era Talgo II train.


An old RENFE (Red Nacional de Ferrocarriles Españoles) logo stamped on an engine.


A tiny kitchen inside a 1920s-era train car.



The outdoor part of the market.


I found a gorgeous vintage Spanish keyboard. (Ñ key included!)


The party…I mean outdoor terrace.

After we visited all the stands, we headed to the terrace for some lunch. Before you eat you have to exchange your euros for tokens, presumably so the vendors don’t have to handle cash. I bought a cheeseburger and a large cup of tinto de verano, then we sat for awhile and enjoyed the music and atmosphere. The market was a really wonderful way to spend a sunny Saturday. Check it out if you’re around next month! You’ll probably see me there.

Getting There:

Museo del Ferrocarril
Paseo de las Delicias 61
Metro: Delicias, use exit for Museo del Ferrocarril
Phone: 902 22 88 22

More information:

Mercado de Motores Facebook Page
Madrid Cool Blog (Spanish): Post about the market, complete with beautiful photos.

Have you ever been to El Mercado de Motores? What did you think?


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