The Highlands of Scotland are home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Europe. Home to areas of great natural beauty and skiing resorts, this region also happens to punch well above its weight when it comes to coffee shops. From Inverness to Aviemore, there are quality independent coffee houses that are doing things their way.
1. Cafe Eighty2
Just a stone’s throw from the World-famous Loch Ness, Cafe Eighty2 is a homely and welcoming coffee shop that does the basics well. Cosy and unassuming, this charming coffee house is a mishmash of old furniture, local art and domestic charm. But for some reason, this strange combination suits the surrounding areas of natural beauty perfectly.
Order a latte, and you’ll get it in a charming, bone china coffee cup with saucer. There are several speciality drinks on offer too, including an Angel Delight Hot Chocolate that comes coated in popping candy. As for the food, it is scrumptious and rustic. As well as a selection of homemade cakes and pastries, Cafe Eighty2 offers a range of sandwiches that are made with fresh bread that is baked on the premises every morning.
2. Glencoe Cafe
Located in the famous town of Glencoe, this cosy and welcoming coffee house is the perfect place to rest weary feet after a long hike in the mountains. There are both drip and espresso based coffees on offer, which are made with a surprising level of skill and knowledge for such a small, family-run business. There’s also a range of loose-leaf teas to choose from. And you can sip on your drink while gazing out the large windows at the most breaktaking views you’ll ever see.
As for the food, you’ll find all the usual sandwiches, cakes, pastries and nibbles you’d find in any quality coffee shop. Glencoe Cafe is also fully licensed, you can order a beer or a bottle of wine with your lunch or dinner. Absolutely everything is made from scratch on the premises, so freshness and quality are assured.
3. Cafe Artysans
Cafe Artysans is one of Inverness’ most popular eateries. Yes, this place is predominantly a quality bistro with an extensive menu of stylish, homemade dishes — but it also serves up some of the most impressive coffee in the Highlands.
Cafe Artysans takes delivery of fresh, green coffee beans from around the World every week. All of the coffee served on the premises is roasted on site, which is quite something when you consider this is a very busy restaurant. There is also a large selection of retail coffee you can take away. If you ask nicely, and the time is right, there’s a chance you’ll be allowed to watch the roasting process in action.
When Nanny’s first opened its doors in 2008, it was located inside a requisitioned metal outbuilding. Now, however, it is located inside a swanky, purpose-built building that is located in a stunning area of natural beauty that is popular with walkers and lovers of the great outdoors.
This cosy eatery is known for a number of great dishes, but its most popular creations feature the squat lobster and langoustine that are caught in Loch Torridon — which is just a few miles down the road. Oh… and there also happens to be a great selection of quality coffees and loose-leaf teas.
A word of warning, however. Nanny’s is only open for six months of the year, between March and October.
5. The Bealach Cafe
The Bealach Cafe in Strathcarron offers a quintessentially Scottish menu that features everything from local salmon to oatcakes. Named after the famous winding mountain pass Bealach na Ba, this homely eatery and coffee house offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, which can be enjoyed inside or from a large outdoor seating area. There’s also a small art gallery to enjoy.
Choose from an enticing range of fresh, locally produced cakes and pastries, or an ever-changing selection of sandwiches and paninis. The Bealach Cafe also offers a comprehensive choice of espresso coffees, loose-leaf teas and milkshakes. Make sure you check out the scones, which are famous in the area.
The Highlands is possibly the most stunning area of the British Isles, and it has coffee houses that truly do justice to the spectacular surroundings.