Telavi is the capital of Georgia's Kakheti province, the main wine producing region. As a result, it is the base for most tourists interested in exploring the vineyards and monasteries of Georgia.
A shared minibus from Ortochala Bus station cost 7 lari each and takes around 4 hours. The driving is appalling.
A taxi back from Telavi to the bus station cost 40 lari when organised by a local guest house contact but we were quoted 70 lari when we approached a taxi driver. It took around 2 hours as they take a more direct route than the minibuses. In our opinion, the extra few lari to have a much safer drive and quicker journey was well worth it!
The sights of Telavi are fairly spread out. Most guidebooks recommend a taxi tour around the region to see everything.
We were staying at Tamari Guest House and Tamari's next door neighbour drove tourists around. He quoted us 60 lari for a 5 hour "small tour" and and 95 lari for a 7 hour large tour. We negotiated our own rate for a one day tour and a half day tour encompassing: Shumi wine factory and wine tasting, Ikalto monastery and Allaverdi cathedral on the first day, then Gremi fortress and Nekresi cathedral on the other side of the valley for 60 lari and 40 lari respectively.
Hike to Lagodekhi park into the subtropical forests to find one of most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia. there are some hostel available in the park. can see bears, deer, leopards if you hike in the early morning.
Different sorts of wine in the small wineries as well at manufactures, handmade crafts are very beautiful, take some picture in the local gallery. Best to buy in Signagi town.