Best Workspaces in Madrid

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[This post originally appeared on the CIEE Teach In Spain blog.]

If you’re like me, you can have trouble getting work done in the comfort of your own home. Writing a blog post turns into scrolling through Pinterest, and scrolling through Pinterest turns into trying to make “The Ultimate Fudgy Brownies” at 2:00 in the afternoon on your only day off. So, I’ve learned that I need to get myself out of the house in order to be productive. This has become a really great way to get to know Madrid and I’ve found several cafés and workspaces that I frequently convert into my office for a day. Here are my favorite places to set up shop to get work done, or meet up with friends to research destinations for our next weekend trip.


Café de La Luz

A relaxed atmosphere with the scent of burning incense flowing through the air makes this cafe a great space for whipping out your laptop while sipping on a coffee. I suggest ordering their chocolate milkshake—it comes with a little side of popcorn! Make sure to get there earlier in the afternoon because it tends to fill up by 5pm.

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Espíritu 23

This adorable coworking space features a quiet work atmosphere and a full-service café where you can order a coffee or tea to keep you company while you work. They also have an outdoor space with artistic murals where you can work during warmer weather.

La Bicicleta Café

This café/bike shop hybrid is a great place to meet with friends or work on group projects. Laptops are only allowed at certain tables, but there has always been open space when I’ve arrived. The large tables and café atmosphere makes it easy to talk with friends or colleagues while sipping on a coffee. You don’t have to be as quiet as in a coworking space. I should mention that they also have AMAZING chocolate cake.


The Shed Coworking

The tranquil atmosphere at this coworking space makes it a perfect place to get work done. I almost didn’t even notice time passing. They also have a gorgeous terrace, and free coffee and tea in their self-service kitchen!

Lolina Vintage Café

The vintage vibes of this café make me feel like I’ve traveled back in time. The comfortable seating area on the basement floor with couches and antique chairs is a great place to get work done and then enjoy a cocktail after business hours.


Scenic Madrid Views You Haven’t Heard Of


[This post originally appeared on the CIEE Teach In Spain blog.]

Whenever I travel to a new place I like to get high. That is, I like to find high ground or a tall building from which I can view the surrounding area. It always helps me orient myself in a new place and, of course, it’s a great opportunity for photos. Oftentimes, sites with great views can be hard to get to, crowded, or expensive. So to help, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite views in Madrid that are cheap (or free) and easy to get to. Whether you’re looking for the perfect photo op or just a lovely place to watch the sunset, these sites are ideal.


1. El Parque del Oeste

Wander through the rose garden in El Parque del Oeste and then take a gondola ride up to catch a view of the palace and Madrid disappearing beneath you. The ride totals 5€ for transport to the top and back and it was worth it for how unique these views are.


2. El Corte Inglés (Plaza de Callao, 2)

At the top floor of El Corte Inglés right off of Gran Vía, there is high-end food court style dining with stunning views. Enjoy your lunch while looking out over the Madrid city center. Many rooftop bars offer views of Gran Vía but some require an entry fee and are only open in the evenings. El Corte Inglés offers the same great views, but in a more relaxed environment with a delicious variety of food and drink.


3. Cerro del Tío Pío

El Parque del Cerro del Tío Pío (also known as “Parque de Las Siete Tetas” by locals) is known for its seven rolling hills and beautiful view of the sunset over the city and mountains. Located in Puente de Vallecas, a fifteen minute ride from the city center via metro line 1, this park is popular but never overly crowded. You’ll never be fighting for space to see the view which makes it a favorite spot for a sunset picnic with friends or a date night.


4. El Templo de Debod

Though the Egyptian ruins of El Templo de Debod are a beautiful sight during the day, the sun setting over the hill behind them is even more stunning. You may have to deal with crowds at this time of the evening, but if you arrive early, you can enjoy a gorgeous sunset. Groups of people enjoying drinks and music on the grass only add to the lively atmosphere. What’s really amazing about this site is the uniqueness of the view. Don’t forget your camera and a picnic blanket!


Wintertime in Copenhagen: A Story of Hygge and Gløgg

DSC04488October is upon us and, as the fall weather sets in, you may be dreaming of planning a winter vacation to the beach in order to thaw out and catch a break from the cold. However, I’m here to try to convince you to reconsider. You may think I’m crazy for suggesting a trip north for the winter months, but there’s a reason that the Danes have a specific word for the feeling of coziness and contentment created during winter.

My friends and I heard that the Christmas markets in Copenhagen were some of the best, but we really didn’t know what to expect when leaving temperate Spain and traveling north in the middle of December. I usually try to avoid the cold, so I was a little apprehensive while planning this trip. But immediately when we stepped off the train and arrived to the city center of Copenhagen, I understood why this city is the perfect December destination.

The sparkling lights, a warm cup of mulled wine in your hands, and quaint shops selling holiday sweets create the cozy sense of hygge that will make you forget about your dreams of sunbathing on a beach. The trip immediately got me in the spirit of the holidays, something I had been struggling to do without the snowfall I usually experience in the U.S. There were plenty of opportunities to warm our bones by ducking into a market stand for gløgg or hot cocoa and, when the sun went down around 3pm, we made our way to a pub to play cards and drink some Carlsberg.

Copenhagen is one of my favorite destinations to date because, though the city is unbelievably gorgeous, it was more about the mood and experience than anything else. It’s not the cheapest place to visit, but I have compiled a list of my favorite sites, experiences, and activities, that all fall on the more affordable side. That said, you’ll probably be fine money-wise as long as you don’t spend as much on gløgg as I did.



Predictably, Denmark in December is pretty cold. Layers, a coat, warm socks, gloves, and a hat were key. I also suggest making sure your outer layer is waterproof for any rain or snow you might encounter. We had some rain during our stay, but it was on and off and still allowed us to see everything we wanted to!


Stay: Copenhagen Downtown Hostel

Though slightly on the expensive side as far as hostels go, that seems to be the case with all lodging in the city. However, this hostel was great for the price. It was in the city center, had clean rooms and a cafe and bar downstairs with a cheap happy hour. This would be a great place to stay if traveling alone. We spent several evenings playing games and drinking mugs of Carlsberg in the bar, which was a great place to relax and meet other travelers from around the world!


Drink: Gløgg

I’ve mentioned it several times, so if you haven’t heard of it already, you’re probably wondering, “what is gløgg?” It’s basically Danish mulled wine. I drank far too much of it while hopping from market to market. It’s the perfect way to warm up while sightseeing.

Breakfast: Ebelskeivers

When I was a kid, my best friend had an Ebelskeiver pan and we would make the little Danish pastries every time we were together, filling them with various jams, fruits, and creative concoctions. We got pretty good at making them but the Danes of course do them the best. You can get them at restaurants or roadside stands. The fluffy little round pancakes are the perfect breakfast (or anytime) treat.


Cafe: Paludan Bog & Café

The quaint, intimate atmosphere of a bookshop paired with good coffee and a full breakfast. To me, this was the epitome of hygge.

Dinner: Eat Outside

Yes, you read that correctly. In Copenhagen it’s customary to eat outside, even in the winter months. Restaurants have outdoor seating outfitted with warm blankets and overhead heaters. It was a fun experience and a great way to take in the beauty of the city while enjoying a meal.


Christmas Market: Højbro Plads

This was my favorite Christmas market we visited. It had a great variety of stands for gifts and food, and the beautifully decorated buildings of the square were on display. We visited this market several times during our stay because it’s very central. I would suggest stopping by for a cup of gløgg and a bratwurst for dinner.

View: Rundetaarn

A  view from above the city is a must for me whenever I’m traveling. Not only is it beautiful, but it also helps me get my bearings. With the Rundetaarn, however, the real photo-op is inside the tower, along the winding ramp up to the top. The white walls, bright windows, and curved stone floors are like nowhere I’ve ever been before. Plus, it’s actually pretty cheap to get to the top: just 25 DKK which is a little less than $4.


Visit: Freetown Christiania

The historic alternative neighborhood created in an old military base is a must-see while in Copenhagen. Walking across the bridge to the town in the freezing wind and spitting rain was a low point of our trip. We surely didn’t pick the best day to make the trek. Reserve this sight for the day with the best weather forecast because it is a bit of a walk. The town is so different from the rest of Copenhagen with a hippie atmosphere and art around every corner. Just make sure not to take photos along Pusher Street and respect the community.

Extras: The Little Mermaid Statue & Tivoli Gardens

Though the Little Mermaid Statue is a very famous landmark honoring Danish author Hans Christian Andersen, it is also pretty out of the way and very small. In my opinion, it’s only worth seeing if you have the time because it’s a bit of a walk. However, the walk there and back is beautiful and will allow you to see different parts of the city!

The entry fee for Tivoli Gardens is a little expensive but if you’re into Christmas light displays or carnival rides, it may be worth the price. We were able to get in for free with a local friend who had a season pass. I’m not a fan of rides but the light displays were some of the best I’ve seen. It truly feels like a winter wonderland.

This amazing experience in Copenhagen has taught me not to shy away from traveling in the winter. If you pack and plan right, cold weather travel can have so much to offer. Now I’m just waiting for it to get cold enough in Cincinnati so I can make myself a cup of gløgg and cozy up by a fire.