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 costs 7 lari each and takes around 2.5 hours. You may be asked to pay for luggage, they may relent if you refuse to pay.
A taxi back from Telavi to the bus station costs 40 lari when organised by a local guest house contact, but some travelers report that they were quoted 70 lari when they 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.
- Tamari Guest House and Tamari's next door neighbour drove tourists around. Quotes: 60 lari for a 5 hour "small tour" and and 95 lari for a 7 hour large tour. You can try to negotiate your 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.
- Alaverdi Cathedral - Built in the 11th century this is the second highest cathedral in Georgia.
- Church of St. George
- Nekresi Monastery
- Gremi fortress
- Ikalto monastery
- Tsinandali Gardens - The residential palace of the Chavchavadzes family.
Hike to Lagodekhi park in the subtropical forests to find one of most beautiful waterfalls in Georgia. There are some hostels in the park. You can see bears, deer and 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.
Bravo restaurant just off Rustaveli Avenue serves excellent Georgian and Azerbaijani dishes at reasonable prices. English and Russian spoken.