Kakheti – The place to go in Georgia

Georgians are famous for their viticulture, feasts (supra), hospitality, picturesque environment, and many other things. Thankfully, historical province of Kakheti is the best place to go in Georgia to discover all of these things. Kakheti is a true wine region and lies due east from Tbilisi – between the Greater Caucasus to the north and Azerbaijan to the south. Kakheti offers several marvelous places to stay as well as many great places of interest, and it is the place for meat and wine lovers or anyone who loves fine food.

How to get there


Photo Source: wingsforlifeworldrun.com

As it was mentioned, Kakheti – The place to go in Georgia, is in the top list of places which are easy to reach from the capital (45 miles distance). As there are no buses going to Kakheti if you do not hire the private one, the best option is getting a taxi at Isani Station from 2USD max. 5USD per person to any destination. Take into account that the drivers gather minimum 4 people to leave the station. If you ask the driver they drop you at the place you want. Another option is to hire a taxi from private taxi companies, which is way more expensive but you won’t need to wait for other passengers. Another option is Marshutka, which is cheaper than taxi but less comfortable. Prices are nearly same as the cabs. Marshutkas leave from Isani, Ortatchala and Navtlughi Railway Stations. They only stop at few bus stations, so you might want to plan the full route in advance. Hitchhiking is also an option but less favorite as in any parts of Georgia as well as there are not many people who hire a car for travelling to Kakheti as taxi option is once again, way cheaper.

WHERE TO STAY

There are many beautiful places to stay in Kakheti if you do not have anyone personally hosting you. We advise you to take a look at these resorts and hotels:

Kvareli resort
Photo Source: stampsy.com

Kvareli Lake ResortA hotel nestled between the Kvareli Lake and the Alazany Valley and offers a full spa and wellness center. It has 20 rooms and guests can relax by their outdoor pool. Alternatively, hiking and fishing are popular in the area as well and you can borrow the resort’s bikes for free. Rooms start from 125 USD.

Ambassador Kachreti – Free Wi-Fi and a good choice of wines are available at this hotel, located in Kachreti village, 40 miles from Tbilisi’s city center. The Ambasadori’s restaurant features exposed wooden beams and stone decorations and serves Georgian cuisine. The hotel also has a great golfing area. Rooms start from 95 USD.

Kvareli EdenThis hotel is located in the Kvareli village center, on the right bank of the Bursa River. Kvareli Central Station is a 5 minutes’ drive from the hotel and 88 km (55 miles) from Tbilisi. It is also quite famous for its restaurant and hospitality. Rooms start from 120 USD.

Royal Batoni This hotel is located in a picturesque area on the bank of Ilia Lake, between the Kvareli Mountains and the Duruji River. It’s 72 km (45 miles) away from Tbilisi city center. Rooms start from 90 USD.

Kabadoni A favorite among tourists in Sighnaghi for its mesmerizing view. It is 80 km (50 miles) away from Tbilisi and situated near the Alazani Valley vineyards and a 9th century Bodbe monastery. Rooms start from 85 USD.

Must See Places – Signaghi


Photo Source: wikimedia.org

Sighnaghi Another fortified town built in the 18th century during the the time of King Erekle. The fortress wall spans about 2 km (1.2 miles) and has 25 towers and 5 entrances. Sighnaghi was one of the first places to be developed for tourism in Georgia and for a while was the best place to visit. It sits in the heart of native Georgian vineyards, overlooking the Caucasus Mountains and the Alazani Valley and surrounded by historical fortifications. The town is a romantic getaway destination and and popular with wedding couples.

GREMI


Photo Source: National Geographic

This picturesque brick citadel stands beside the Telavi–Kvareli road, 11 miles from Telavi. Kvareli-bound marshrutka will stop here. From 1466 to 1672 Gremi was the capital of Kakheti, but the town down to the west of the citadel was totally devastated by Shah Abbas in 1616. There is a small roadside museum contains explanatory panels on old Gremi, plus artefacts discovered there.

TELAVI


Photo Credit: Shalva Lezhava

Telavi is the capital of the Kakheti district and is a town with great scenic beauty. It served as the capital of the Kakheti region from the ancient times. From most of Telavi, the Caucasian range that runs to Alazani valley can be seen. There are wonderful cafes and restaurants to visit and have a great dinner.

Tsinandali


Photo Source: georgia.travel

Tsinandali is the manorial estate of the Georgian noble house of Chavchavadze. Located in Kakheti region of Georgia, 104 miles away from Tbilisi, Tsinandali is open for people of different interests and tastes. There you can walk in the 19th century cellar while drinking wine made in 21th century and enjoy their unique collection of approximately 16,500 wine bottles from different countries.

Gvirabi by Khareba


Photo Source: winery-khareba.com

Gvirabi Khareba – is situated in Kvareli, which is the center of the Kakhetian wine producing region and is home to the unique “Winery Khareba” wine cellar. Gvirabi (which means tunnel in English) is carved in the rock of the Caucasus Mountain Range. The tunnel was opened in 1962 for the World Wine Congress. Nowadays, it is the “Winery Khareba” cellar, used to age wine. The constant temperature – 53-55 ºF with around 70% humidity all the year round – creates the ideal, natural conditions for wine to age. The total length of the entire tunnel is 7.7 km.

In 2011, special tour facilities were created around the wine tunnel: a big recreational park, which includes the river and old Qvevries, as well as a Georgian water mill, traditional Georgian bakery “Tone”, a Chacha (grappa) distilling facility, a traditional Georgian marani (wine cellar) with the Satsnakheli (Georgian traditional wooden grape press) and other cultural sites. Gvirabi tourism complex also includes the “Khareba” formal restaurant, which is built into the rock 58 meters above the tunnel, and is connected to the complex by elevator.

Food & Wine

freshly baked bread (Shoti)
Photo Source: travel.georgia

As Georgia is well-known for its wine and food, Kakheti is the heart of it. If you love meat, you will find your paradise there – Barbeque – Mtsvadi – is must-taste food. But only eating Mtsvadi is not the main part of it, for complete picture, attend Mtsvadi making process which is usually accompanied with drinking and chatting alongside the scrumptious smoke. Georgian Mtsvadi usually comes with newly baked bread – Shoti, which is baked in special place, made with clay – Tone and the taste is unforgettable. The most traditional dish from Kakheti is Khashlama. It is served in every part of Georgia on every occasion but it never tastes as good as in Kakheti. Take into account that when the hosts suggest you Khashlama, they give you a huge, hot plate and you should take a piece of meat with your hands. Do not use hands!

Apart from meat dishes, travel in Kakheti in autumn and you will find out what Rtveli is with the process of Churchkhela-making. Believe it or not, you will never be able to see it anywhere else than Kakheti.

A weekend tour


Photo Source: easyvoyage.com

Fall is the best time of the year to visit Kakheti. It is the harvest period and probably see people picking grapes, hauling them for pressing, eating and sharing them because Kakheti is all about the grapes. Leaving Tbilisi in the morning to visit Gremi (a 2 hour trip) followed by Gvirabi by Khareba, where you can have a meal and wine tour giving you the opportunity to have a Saturday full of beautiful scenery, great food and wine, and an opportunity to have a relaxing spa session in Royal Batoni.

On day two, you can visit Tsinandali where you will see everything in a maximum of three hours (if you love walking in a beautiful parks, sitting on a bench and counting leaves, you will need more time) and afterward, head to Telavi, have a look at the Kakheti capital, have a meal, and travel to Sighnaghi where you can visit Sighnaghi Museum which often hosts interesting art exhibitions. Finally, wandering through Sighnaghi will take no longer than an hour and a half but will leave you speechless. Take as many photos as you as you will definitely miss this tiny fairyland.

TIPS


Photo Source: easyvoyage.com

  • People from Kakheti are very straightforward. Do not get upset if they say something blunt.
  • Food is offered only once. Do not be too shy to accept or else you will be left with nothing.
  • Be aware that these people are masters of drinking. Be prepared to be drank under the table if you dare to challenge them.
  • The older generation will likely only know Georgian and Russian, but they will speak your language after three glasses of wine and you will understand theirs. This is the magic of Kakheti… or wine.
2017-07-24T17:45:47+00:00 November 6th, 2016|