Telavi Georgia Travel Guide
Lovely Telavi is a delightful town in the Khaketi region of Georgia. Perched on a hill at the foothills of the Tsiv-Gombori Mountain range with stunning views across the Alazani valley to the Caucuses Mountains.
Telavi dates back to the Bronze age with the town being mentioned as far back as the 10th century. The town was the capital of the Kingdom of Khaketi from 10th the 12th century. During the 12th and 13th centuries Telavi was one of the most important political and economic centres in Georgia.
Telavi declined from 15th to 17th centuries until King Erkle II bought reforms to the city and greater Georgia.
Today the statue of King Erkle II sits high on his horse in the front of Batonistsikhe Castle.
Telavi Georgia Table of Contents
Telavi Georgia Map
Travel Tips Telavi Georgia
The best way to get around Telavi is to walk. The town is relatively small and is easy to get around.
To visit local sites your guest house will be able to organise a driver or visit the Telavi Tourist office which is opposite the fort.
Getting There / Away: The mini bus station is directly behind the market with mini buses departing and arriving from all over Georgia.
Top Tip: All mini buses display their destinations on the dash board in Georgian only. Translate the name of the town you are going to before you go the the bus station and write it down. This way you can comapare this to the name on the bus or show it to a local who can direct you to the right bus.
May & October are the best time to travel to Telavi with warm days and mild nights.
July – August can be very hot with day time temps reaching in the mid 30’s celcius.
Winter in Telavi is cold with nigh time temps falling below zero.
Telavi Weather Map – Average Monthly Temperatures
- 2 pants, include one black pair that can double as ‘good’
- 1 shorts
- 1 x singlets – good for layering and sleeping in
- 4 short sleeve tee shirts or shirts.
- 1 x long sleeve sloppy joe or similar
- 1 x polar fleece jumper
- 1 x zip-up shell jacket
- 1 x lightweight windproof raincoat
- 3 x socks
- 5 x underpants
- 2 x bra
- 1 x Northface Dipsea
- I x warm hat (if there in winter)
- 1 x sun hat (if there in summer
- 1 x warm gloves (if there in winter
- 1 x pair walking shoes
- 1 x pair flip flops (great for showers)
- Travel Towel
- Lush Bar Shampoo
- Bar of Soap
- Brush / Comb
- Hair Ties
- 1 x Earbud headphones. Light and small,
- 1 x 6S iPhone loaded with music and podcasts
- 1 x power bank
- 1 x GoPro Hero 5
- 2 x Spare GoPro Batteries
- 1 x LUMIX TZ80
- Spare micro SD Card
- 1 x headlight or torch **essential
- 1 x Swiss knife
- 1 x medical kit
- Refillable water bottle
Georgian food is diverse and delicious and we did not have a bad meal while we were there.
What To Eat
My top 5 favourite ‘must try’ are:
Pkhali – a mixture of spices, walnuts, vinegar and herbs stuffed inside vegetables and served as an entree.
Khachapuri – essentially bread stuffed with cheese you will find Khachapuri everywhere in different shapes and sizes, sometimes it comes in a boat shape with an egg is set in the middle.
Mtsvadi – veal, lamb or pork cooked on a skewer. You will find different versions of this all through the region.
Khinkali – a popular dumpling that can be traced back to the tartars. Khinkali has multiple types of fillings with lamb being the most common.
Kharcho – there are lots of delicious stew type dishes in Georgia which is perfect in cooler months. Kharcho is a slow cooked dish with tomatoes, spices and herbs and either a grain like millet or rice.
Where to eat
Kapiloni – Set around a pretty courtyard Kapiloni serves delicious authentic Georgian food and has an excellent wine list.
Hours: 9am – Midnight daily
Malas Garden – A relaxed restaurant and bar set in a garden Malas serves up tasty Kebaps.
Nadikvari Terrace – Nadikvari Terrace really is all about the view. Enjoy your evening beer outside in the garden with stunning views across the valley to the mountains.
Address: Nadikvari Telavi Georgia
Things To See & Do In Telavi Georgia
Situated in the centre on Telavi high on the hill looking out to the Caucasus Mountains the Batonistsikhe Castle is a stunning intact fortress and was once the home of the Kakhetian kings in the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the walls of the fortress is a restored Persian palace that was the home of Erekle II, two small churches, the royal baths and an excellent museum / art gallery.
The Telavi bustling market is stocked full of local produce along with clothing and other nick knacks and it well worth a visit.
The mini bus station is directly behind the market.
Khaketi Wine Region
Georgia is the oldest wine producing country in the world dating back 8000 years. Visit vineyards and sample the excellent wines and explore the ancient cellars filled and see how the wine is still and in the traditional way using Kvevri clay jars. Kvevri are listed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.
The Khaketi Wine Region is in eastern Georgia and is dotted with wineries and vineyards.
The Schuchmann winery is an excellent option to visit producing wines in both local and European styles. Enjoy tasting or lunch on the wide verandah overlooking the grape vines toward the mountains.
Schuchmann Wines are 7km from Telavi.
Address: Schuchmann Wines Georgia Village Kisiskhevi 2200
Chavchavadze House was built by Prince Alexander Chavchavadze in the 19th century. The magnificent house is surrounded by English style gardens with large established trees and meandering paths. Inside the house the rooms tell the story of the family and its history including extensive cellars.
Prince Alexander Chavchavadze ((1786–1846) was a dashing and interesting person, born into elite Russian circles he spoke 7 languages and was a poet and translator. He entertained many famous writers including writers Dumas, Pushkin, Lermontov and Griboyedov. He was a pioneer of European wine making techniques in Georgia, helping to give Kakheti its current premier position in the Georgian wine world.
In 1854 the house was raided by Lezgin tribesmen from Dagestan and 23 women and children were kidnapped. To raise the ransom David, the son of Prince Alexander mortgaged the property and when he was unable to repay the debt the house went to Tsar Alexander III.
Chavchavadze House is 9 KM from Telavi
Price: Entry to Gardens 3 GEL
Entry to Museum & Gardens 5 GEL
Including tasting 1 glass wine 7 GEL and several different wines 20 GEL
Gremi Castle is a 16th century Royal Citadel and Church of the Archangels the sits high on a hill overlooking a plain toward the mountains.
The castle was the capital of the Kingdom Khaketi in the 16th and 17th century and was a busy trading town on the silk route. The town was destroyed by the Shah of Persia in 1615. The town never recovered form this devastation and the royal seat was moved to Telavi.
The Church of the Archangels was built by King Levan – who is buried there – in 1577 and showcases frescos from this period.
Climb to the top of the adjacent bell tower for great views across the valley.
Gremi Castle is 20 KM from Telavi
Open: 9am-6pm Tue-Sun
Price: Admission to Bell Tower 3 GEL
The Nekresi Monastery is at the base of the Caucasus Mountains with stunning views across the Alazani valley.
The complex consists of a 9th century church, a tiny ancient 4th century church next to the 9th century Bishops house complete with wine cellars and tower. The third church is the 6th century Church of Assumption with 17th century murals.
Getting there: 10 KM passed Gremi Castle is the turn off the Nekresi Monsatery. 4 KM from the turn off is a car park where all cars must stop. From the car park catch a mini bus to the monastery.
Price: Mini Bus 1 GEL
Open: 9AM – 5PM Mid April – Mid December
Nekresi Fortress is 35 km from Telavi