During my month-long study abroad program in Madrid, Spain, I have fallen in love with the Spanish capital. I love the trees along the narrow streets. I love the old, classic-European buildings. I love the modern skyscrapers. I love the concept of the afternoon siesta -a midday break when all of the stores close and everyone takes a nap. I love the friendly “Hola, Buenos” greeting I receive every morning as I leave the residence on the way to class. After class I love going to the local café to grab a coffee and snack. In fact, it might have become an everyday routine this past month. Another day, another coffee shop to explore. I know most students at UA go to the “Ferg-bucks” (ok, or Dunkin…) but where should you go when you find yourself in Madrid without a “Ferg-bucks?” Check out an original coffee shop for good brews, cool vibes, and friendly locals! Here’s a list of the best coffee shops I discovered during my time here in Madrid.


Where to go when there’s no “Ferg-bucks” in Madrid:


#1 Toma Café Olavide

Located at Calle Sta. Feliciana, 5, 28010, Madrid, Spain

This is the original location of Toma Café. I visited one Thursday afternoon and enjoyed an affogato. This first of two locations has larger tables and chairs to sit and work at while listening to chill music from their record player and enjoying one of their toasts. I ate the fresas toast – strawberries, goat cheese, honey, pumpkin seeds, and rosemary on sourdough. So good and the coffee is amazing!


I can smell the espresso beans from here!


I could eat this everyday!


#2 La Colectiva Café

Located at Calle Francisco de Rojas, 9, 28010, Madrid, Spain

La Colectiva is a great place to grab coffee and work. It appears small when you walk inside, but there is additional seating and work space downstairs. If you enjoy modern, trendy settings, you will like this place. I drank a latte and ate one of their pastries – it was delicious but I can’t remember what it was called.


#3 Toma Café 2

Located at Calle de la Palma, 49, 28004, Madrid, Spain

My favorite café in the entire city was this second location of Tomá Café. It was very small but felt like a European dream destination – small tables, tile walls, industrial espresso machines, and their motto “Warriors Love Coffee” hung on the wall, giving everyone that extra motivation to win the day, after you’ve had your coffee of course. If I lived in Madrid, this would definitely be my go to spot for coffee and more of the “fresa toast!”


Just waiting for you to arrive!


I spy a cafe con leche in the making.


#4 Hola Coffee

Located at Calle del Fourquet, 33, 28012, Madrid, Spain

A super minimalistic café in Madrid’s lavapiés district. Friendly staff, friendly customers, and a limited menu offering high quality coffee and simple ingredient food (oh, and menus in both English and Spanish!). I tried a chai tea latte and the granola and fruit bowl on a quiet Sunday afternoon. The best part of my visit to Hola was meeting three madrileños (madrid locals) who helped me practice my Spanish and were happy to share their favorite recommendations for rooftop bars with me (Definitely visit “The Hat” terrace near Plaza Mayor).


#5 La Bicicleta Café

Located at Plaza de San Ildefonso, 9, 28004, Madrid, Spain

“Life’s too short to work in an office,” says this café’s stickers. So grab a drink and settle down at one of their tables to read a book, work on a project, send some emails, type away, and be productive in their industrial space. La Bicicleta is a popular spot in Madrid’s Malasaña district not only because of their coffeehouse/workspace environment but also due to their amazing menu – I tried the chai latte, chocolate cake, and egg sandwich!


“Life’s too short to work in an office.”