- Located on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, with a population of about 180,000.
- An important port, Batumi has always been a Georgian centre of commerce and investment.
- Allegedly the site of the Legend of the Golden Fleece (aka Quest of Jason and Argonauts).
- Famous for its parties, Batumi is Georgia’s most popular beach and vacation destination.
- Currency: Georgian Lari (GEL).
- Spoken languages: Georgian (the majority of locals also speak Russian).
- Best time to visit: from July to September.
- Arriving via airport: Batumi International Airport is located just 2 km south of the city – taxis and minibuses are readily available.
- Getting there from Tbilisi (the capital): buses and minibuses run regularly between Tbilisi and Batumi (travel times is 5-6 hours, and a one-way fare is 20 Lari). Georgian Railways operates trains to/from Batumi and Tbilisi. The night train leaves Tbilisi at 10:35 PM (22:35) and arrives in Batumi’s Makhinjauri Station at 6:40 AM the next day. The day train leaves Tbilisi at 8:50 AM and arrives in Batumi at 4:00 PM (16:00). The train costs 25 Lari and up (depending on class). Be sure to reserve the ticket in advance, especially if you wish to travel on the weekend.
WHERE TO STAY
If you’re up for spending money, try Batumi’s branches of internationally renowned hotels (e.g. Sheraton, Radisson Blu or Intourist). Budget traveler? Go for numerous hostels and guesthouses, also scattered around the city (generally more expensive as you get closer to the city’s main attraction – the beach).
- Batumi is not a big or complicated city, so it’s best (and most pleasant) to explore on foot.
- A bike rental system (BatumVelo) allows you to rent a bicycle and ride along the coast.
- Note: taxi rides in Batumi are quite expensive (even more so than in Tbilisi).
- Drinking age is 18, and last call is never.
- The parties in Batumi are legendary, and typically last until the break of down.
- Check out the various beach-front clubs and bars along Batumi Boulevard.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Visit Batumi Piazza to see Europe, then swing around to the Old Mosque and remember that Asia is still very near! Other elaborately decorated churches (Armenian, Catholic, Orthodox) are also to be enjoyed.
- Take a ride to Batumi Botanical Garden, a marvellous green spot located on a high cliff. Cool and quiet, this is a great place to relax and recuperate.
- Discover the remains of Gonio Fortress (a 20 minute ride from Batumi city), while taking in the splendid views and ancient architecture.
- Check out one of the performances at Batumi Delphinarium (open every day except Monday). Shows take place daily at 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM, and 10:00 PM and are well worth the price of admission (12 Lari).
- Stroll along the Batumi Boulevard, stretched next to the beach line, while watching the waves of the Black Sea and enjoying the breeze. If you find yourself tired, just sit down and order a cup of coffee from any of the numerous beach-front restaurants.
- Stroll through May Park – if you’re up for it, you can rent a boat and row around on the lake.
- Visit Batumi Harbour and check out the moving statue dedicated to romantic love between intercultural couple (based on a novel of Ali and Nino, a story about Azerbaijani youth who falls in love with a Georgian princess). Take a ride on the Ferris Wheel in the nearby Miracle Park.
- Georgia is widely recognized as one of the friendliest countries to visit (especially in the region). If you are having trouble with anything – just ask a local for help.
- In the summers, Batumi fills up with Armenian, Azerbaijan and Turkish tourists. Don’t be surprised if you hear Russian on every corner!
- Where to find good cheap eats: at almost any family restaurant in the city. While in town, make sure you try the local version of khachapuri (called “acharuli”).
- Dangerous areas: Batumi is generally safe. Remember that it’s a very popular tourist destination – watch out for pickpockets!
RECOMMENDED BATUMI GUIDE BOOKS
Recommended trip duration: 1-2 days