The travel cafes in India are what makes travelling to the mountains even more special. Whether you are a solo traveller or like travelling with company, grabbing a delicious bite at a hillside cafe will always be a part of your travel itinerary. By Sreetama Basu
Here’s a complete guidebook on how to chill in the mountains!
15 best travel cafes in India to soothe your wanderlust soul
This Kasol cafe is a legend in its own capacity. Nestled at a mountain top, one of the best parts about this cafe is getting there. It’s a little trek uphill and once you reach there, you will know it was all worth it. This wooden house is a paradise for solo travellers from around the world and is a great place to meet individuals from all over the world. With breathtaking views, live music and amazing food, it’s high on the list of must-do things when in Kasol.
Address: Jim Morrison lane, Manikaran Road Opposite Hotel Sandhya, behind Sun n wind hotel
Contact: +91 88945 85895
Snuggled at the edge of a cliff amongst pine trees — this cafe and bakery will take you to a bygone era. If you are in the mood to sit back and relax in the mountains, this quaint cafe laced with the smell of caffeine is where you should be. The rustic interiors, antique portraits, and the old world vibe of one of the best travel cafes in India will make you feel like it has always been around. With its scones, freshly baked croissants, peanut brittle, cinnamon rolls, crepes, and so much more, this place is a foodie’s paradise as well!
Address: Sisters Bazaar, Landour, Mussoorie
Contact: +91 135 263 5605
Whether or not you are a Beatles fan, this cafe should be on your list when in Rishikesh. Tucked in a busy alley in Rishikesh, the insides will take you to the peace you are looking for in the mountains. The cafe is dedicated to the 60s band, with vinyl records up on the wall, books and pictures of the band. And there’s even a guitar for all music lovers and enthusiasts. Even the gluten-free and vegan menu has items dedicated to the Fantastic Four. Set against the backdrop of the Ganges, this cafe is everything you need to unwind from life.
Address: Paidal Marg, Tapovan Sarai, Badrinath Road, Laxman Jhula, near Hanuman Mandir, near Divine Resort, Tapovan, Rishikesh
Contact: +91 89795 82527
Shiva Cafe, Dharamshala
The question is, who hasn’t heard of this cafe, right? Getting there will need you to embark upon a short trek, and you already know the feel of this place will be so worth it. To call it beautiful would be an understatement, with the scenic mountains and the waterfall. Nature’s melody and the overall quiet all around is like music to the ears. If you have visited Dharamshala and McLeodganj, chances are zilch that you haven’t been to this one.
Address: Water Fall, near Bhagsunag, Dharamshala
Contact: +91 97362 16430
This cafe situated in the busy Mall Road of Shimla is one of the iconic cafes of the city. Overlooking the valley, it offers some breathtaking views of the city. Spend an evening here by yourself or with your loved ones, and good times are guaranteed. Also, their coffee, sandwiches and pancakes are to die for, so you have a cherry on your cake.
Address: The Mall, 34/1, Mall Rd, Middle Bazar, The Mall, Shimla
Contact: +91 177 281 3146
One of the best cafes in India, this is a landmark — it is synonymous with the town of Darjeeling. Since the days of the British Raj, this cafe has witnessed history and culture unfolding over the years. Head over to the rooftop restaurant of this bakery and be prepared to have your breath taken away! The view, the food, the ambience, everything is spot on down to the wire. This is pretty much a Darjeeling staple, and you might find yourself paying multiple visits to this cafe while you are there.
Address: Nehru Road Near Clock Tower, Chauk Bazaar, Darjeeling
Contact: +91 96351 62005
Old Manali is an entire world of its own, where nothing seems out of place. Dotted with plenty of cafes and pretty souvenir shops, old Manali has always been a favourite. Cafe 1947 is at the edge of the Beas river and perfectly sums up the magic this place bestows. If you want to run away from the crowd of Mall Road and bask in the serene sound of the river flowing by while delving into amazing Italian food, Cafe 1947 is the place for you.
Address: Old Manali, Beside the bridge
Contact: +91 94184 61969, +91 94187 11947
Situated right in the lap of the mountains, this quaint little cafe with its al fresco dining offers a wide range of cuisines. You can sit and dine under the stars quite literally at this quiet cafe tucked in a beautiful property in Nainital. Don’t forget to try their lava cakes, homemade pasta, and fried fish for a gastronomic fest.
Address: Prasada Bhawan, Oak Park, Above Academy Traning Institute Mallital
Contact: +91 5942 236 188
Breathtaking views, check. Outdoor seating, check. Relaxed, laid back ambience, check. As if ticking all the right boxes wasn’t enough, this cafe is also the Holy Grail for all bibliophiles with its huge collection of books. Regale yourself in a corner with your favourite book, sip on the warm coffee that feels like a warm hug on a cold day and soak in the endless view of the mountains. If this isn’t your holy trifecta, we don’t know what is!
Address: Anubhav Apartments, Jogibara Road, Jogibara Village, Mcleodganj, Dharamshala
Contact: +91 85880 46102
This cafe is everything you want an ideal hillside cafe to be. No wonder, it is one of the best travel cafes in India for your tired soul. An arty-crafty vibe, wooden flooring, an unusual menu that offers a range of lip-smacking dishes and desserts — you cannot miss being at Sakley’s when you’re in Nainital. Their Banoffee Pie and the Hot Molten Truffle are reason enough for you to keep going back to this place.
Address: Poplar Estate Alps Hotel Compound, Mallital, Nainital
Contact: +91 98999 96737
How does a rooftop cafe with a glass ceiling with a panoramic view of the hills and the beautiful city sound like? We would say, magnificent! One of the most Insta-worthy travel cafes in India, Cafe Shimla Times has become a favourite in no time! You can grab a meal under the clear sky with stars giving you company. Or you can just grab a book and a cup of coffee and curl up in a corner and spend lazy afternoons for the days you are not feeling touristy!
Address: Within Hotel Willow Banks Premises, Mall Road, Shimla
Contact: +91 177 265 8125
Mountains and the aroma of freshly baked stuff are made for each other. This cafe in Mussoorie is all that, and more. Head over for a cup of their bestselling hibiscus tea if you are in the mood for something warm. From Naga-style pork ribs to pulled pork burgers to million-dollar mountain views, this one is a notch higher than your regular hillside cafe menu!
Address: 1, London House, Near Union Church, Picture Palace, Kulri, Mussoorie
Contact: +91 81263 83273
This crowd favourite tucked away in the misty mountains of Kodaikanal is perfect for a day out or evening out. Featuring an indoor fireplace, a collection of books and live music nights, this cafe adds to the charm of the quiet town in Kodaikanal. Step in to soak in some of the mountain-y goodness.
Address: 1st Floor, Opposite Govt. Tourist Office, P.T. Road, Sunday Market Road, Kodaikanal
Contact: +91 4542 246 425
Rinchen Cafeteria, Ladakh
We will give you one reason to be here: The highest eatery in the world. If you are expecting a quaint and cutesy cafe, this is not the place. But if you believe that mountains and Maggi are soulmates, you have got to drop by. Sitting atop the rugged mountains of Ladakh, this place is for your soul. Hot teas, soupy Maggi and steaming hot momos! Wait, are we describing euphoria?
Address: Himachal Pradesh- 194101
Contact details not found
With unexplored territory comes new surprises. One of the prettiest and absolute best cafes in India, this pays homage to the musical legend Bob Dylan in the rock music capital of India. The menu serves up delectable dishes like Bob’s Burger, American pancakes, fiery hot chicken wings, and so much more. If you want to relish the true spirit of Shillong while making your tastebuds happy, spend an evening here.
Address: Tripura Castle Rd, Dhankheti, Malki, Shillong
Contact: +91 70850 56522
All Images: Courtesy Facebook and Instagram
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India