Batumi is the capital city of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara in the country of Georgia. Its coastal location and sub-tropical climate make it a popular city for vacationers across the Caucasus. It's the party capital of the region with a night life to match which increasingly includes big name international DJs on the beach-front clubs. Expect to party on the beaches with Russians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Iranians, Turks, Dutch, and, of course, Georgians.
Batumi and its vicinity is one of the important tourism and resort zones on the Georgian Black Sea littoral. The climate is humid subtropical. The low annual range of temperature, with a mild winter and warm summer is a characteristic of the city and of the Georgian coast as well. The average annual temperature is 14.5°C. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is 7.1°C and in August, the warmest month, 23.2°C. The annual precipitation is 2560 mm. Showers are frequent. It rarely snows but when it does, the snow melts easily. The average annual temperature of the sea is 16.7°C at the shore.
While the official, and majority language is Georgian, English, Russian, and Turkish, are also commonly spoken. Russian is spoken by most older Georgians, while English is spoken by many (though hardly most) younger ones. In addition, because of the large number of Turkish tourists, it's not uncommon for locals to speak Turkish, or at least simple Turkish phrases.
The following airlines operate service to/from Batumi International Airport:
- Anda Air (Kiev-Zhuliany, Kryvyi Rih)
- ATA Airlines (Tehran)
- Belavia (Minsk)
- Georgian Airways (Donetsk, Kharkiv, Kiev-Boryspil, Moscow-Domodedovo, Odessa, Tbilisi, Ben Gurion International Airport / Tel Aviv)
- Small Planet Airlines (Warsaw)
- Turkish Airlines (Istanbul Atatürk)
- Wings of Lebanon (Beirut)
Buses and minibuses (marshrutkas) operate regularly between Batumi and Tbilisi. Travel time is 6 hours and the minibuses are more comfortable than the local marshrutkas in the city. The fare is 18 lari. The scenery along the way is breathtaking.
There are two Marshrutka stations. One has long distance minibuses to Kutaisi, Tbilisi, Poti, etc. This station is close to the northern end of the promenade, just go east across the railway tracks. There is one marshrutka to Borjomi (10:00, 17 lari, 4.5 hours). The other, on Tbilisi Square, has marshutkas to Sarpi (2 lari, 20 minutes).
Batumi is on the E70 and S2 roads, which stretch north to Poti, and south into Turkey and along the Turkish coast to Samsun. The E97 road connects Batumi with Abkhazia, Russia and Crimea to the north, and also to Trabzon, Rize and Aşkale in Turkey to the south.
- 2 Batumi Central Station (about two kilometres north of the centre). 06:00–01:00. Several local buses (No.2, No.15, No.8, etc.) go by the station – check out the live traffic here.
Georgian Railways operates several daily (+one night) fast trains between Batumi and Tbilisi. During the summer, an extra train Batumi-Tbilisi-Yerevan also operates. There are also slow trains to Kutaisi and Ozgureti, one pair each. Daily trains are typical by western standards. For the night trains, there are 3 classes: In first class, there are two people per cabin, the berths are a little short, narrow and hard but rather comfortable, and linen is provided. First class costs 40 lari, second class costs 23 lari, seats cost 13 lari. Since the schedule changes quite often, you can check before hand on the Georgian Railways Web site - be careful with the simplified version of the timetable - the Georgian version tends to be updated more often than the foreign ones (check the last update timestamp on both to be sure). However, the ticket booking system always has correct times.
Train tickets can be bought online, which is the easiest as trains tend to feel up fast (except local ones). You can do it at the station or from an office in the old town at 5 General Mazniashvili St (between Melashvili and Abashidze). This office is very plain and nondescript with no signs in English. The door and window frames are green and some metal chairs are visible inside. Hours are 09:00 to 18:00.
Unless taking the slow train to/from Kutaisi or Ozgureti, reserve your seats in advance on the weekends, as many Georgians flock to the seaside.
Ferries run from Sochi, Russia and from Ilyichevsk, near Odessa, Ukraine ($145, 42 hours, irregular service). More boats are operated from Poti (5 lari with marshrutka and take one hour). It's a kind of Freighter travel. Probably best to call first to make inquiries, to avoid coming back from Poti empty-handed. The booking office is on Kutaisi 34, but the staff only speaks Russian and is not very helpful.
A boat operates between Sochi, Russia to Batumi, Georgia. It is a high speed hydrofoil which operates three times a week, Wednesdays at 10:30, Fridays at 09:30, Sundays at 10:30. In 2010, the cost was 3500 rubles for adults, 1750 rubles for children. The number is +7-8622-609-622 or +7-918-409-12-96. Sochi port schedule [dead link]
An automatic bike sharing scheme, called BatumVelo is available to rent bicycles and ride along the beaches.
- Black Sea. enjoy the waves and admire the beach, the port, and the Ottoman-era clock tower
- 1 Dolphinarium. Tu-Su shows start at 16:00, 19:00, 21:00. 15-20 lari.
- 2 Batumi Botanical Garden, (Take minibus 31 across the cablecar station in the direction to the coast on the north. It costs 60 cents and finishes at the parking of the botanical garden.). 08:00 to 21:00. Georgia has a remarkable tradition of (royal) botanical gardens. It is a quiet spot, next to the Black Sea on a high cliff and it both green and cool. Plan on a visit here to take a half day to nearly a full day as it is very large. 8 lari.
- 3 Medea statue, (in the center of the city). Statue of Medea and the Golden Fleece in the center of the city, near the Iranian/Azerbaijani joint consulate.
Places of worship
- Cathedral of the Mother of God. Georgian Orthodox
- Church of the Holy Spirit. Roman Catholic
- Armenian church.
- Old Mosque.
- Archaeological Museum, 77, Ilia Chavchavadze str., ☎ , . Tu-Su 10:00 – 18:00. Georgian and foreign coins, bronze vessels, glassware, ceramic, etc 2 lari.
- 4 [dead link]State Museum of Art, 8, Gorgiladze str. Tu-Su 10:00 – 18:00. Paintings of famous Georgian and foreign artists, sculptures and some samples of decorative art. 1 lari.
- The Nobel Brothers Batumi Technological Museum, 3, Leselidze str, ☎ . Tu-Su 10:00 – 18:00. Exhibits inventions introduced to Batumi at the end of 19th - beginning of 20th centuries by Nobel Brothers, Rotschilds and Mantashev. 2 lari.
- [dead link]Khariton Akhvlediani Museum. Tu-Su 10:00 – 17:00. Houses archaeological materials of XII-IX c.c. B.C 1 lari.
- 5 Remains of Gonio Fortress, village Tsikhisdziti (Catch a bus from Tbilisi Square to Sarpi (1 lari) and tell the driver you want to get out at Gonio.), ☎ . Tu-Su 10:00 – 17:00. Located at the sea shore the ruins host stunning views and interesting architecture. 3 lari.
- Castle of Petra, village Tsikhisdziti, ☎ . Early medieval complex.
Walk along the 'Bulvar' and watch the beach. During daytime families and youngsters play, during nighttime it is the favourite place for couples and party-goers. There are a number of restaurants and bars both on the beach and a little inland. The area is generally safe, but watch out for pick-pocketing.
- 1 Panoramic Wheel (At the end of the seaside Blv and beginning of the port.). Attraction total time : 7min 3 lari.
- 2 Cable car. 09:00 - 02:00. Goes directly to the small (about 250 m height) nearby hill with a nice restaurant on top of it. Stunning views, especially at night. 5 lari.
- Aqua Park, 12, Khimshiashvili St. (3 km from the city centre), ☎ .
- Olympic Swimming Pool, Batumi Plaza Hotel, 50 Chavchavadze str. Mo-Fr 07:00-23:00; Sa-Su 09:00-21:00.
- Boat tour (in front of Panoramic Wheel). Lots of boats offering boat tours. Yacht can also be chartered. from 15 lari.
- 3 6 May Park. Nice park with Nurigeli Lake in the middle of it. There is also a zoo corner in the northern part of it, but some animals (monkeys in particular) are kept in quite a tiny cages, so animal lovers might not enjoy it.
- Black Sea Jazz Festival. Annual Jazz festival held on 24-27 of July.
Note that as per usual in Georgia, prices are almost always slightly higher in the supermarkets than in the small family-run shops. This is counter to what most westerners will be used to. The difference is about 5% to 10%.
- Goodwill Supermarket, Chavchavadze Avenue. Many goods not available in smaller shops. Many of the products come from Germany.
Western Georgia has plenty of local flavors, but in Batumi the dish you must try is a special kind of khachapuri named acharuli khachapuri (Ajarian khachapuri) that resembles a Viking boat, with the cheese all mixed up with an egg in the center. Avoid this one if you have high cholesterol, but you'll be missing out — it's absolutely delicious.
- Adjara, Kutaisi street 11 (close to HB restaurant - a german style place (it's the only blue building in this area). A wide variety of different kinds of local and international food (khachapuris, pkhalis, pakhlava etc.) If you crave for something sweet then their brownie is something for you. They have free WiFi and a friendly English-speaking staff.
- Boulangerie (ბულანჟერი), M. Abashidze Street 11 (near the corner of Mazniashvili Street). A French-style bakery/cafe which looks quite posh but has much lower prices than similar places in Tbilisi. A very nice cappuccino or latte is 3 lari. There are many cakes, croissants, etc.
- Cafe La Vita Batumi (on Rustaveli Avenue, across the park from the Theater.).
- Cafe Literaturuli, K. Gamsakhurdia St 18 (near Europe Square (formerly Era Square)). This upscale bookstore-cafe has a number of branches in Tbilisi (in Kala, Vake, Vera, and Saburtalo), but the Batumi location is all the more attractive given the relative dearth of good and service-oriented restaurants in Batumi. Coffees, cakes, and basic Georgian sandwiches (plus khachapuri and lobiani) all available, although the menu seems more like a guideline to what might be available on any given day rather than a list of what's actually in the kitchen.
- 1 Press Cafe, 1 Akhmed Melashvili Street, Batumi (on the coastal road right next to the Ukrainian restaurant), ☎ . Mon - Sun: 10:00-01:00. It has fast Wifi (for Batumi) and cheap food and drinks, but beware at some point you will be kicked out suddenly for a school group!
- Privet iz Batumi, 39 Abashidze (near Europe Square (formerly Era Square)). This charming "colonial Russia" theme cafe is a Batumi institution, with Georgians as well as foreigners peopling its picturesque outdoor tables. The menu is short on hot dishes, but the many kinds of blinis are delicious.
- San Remo Restaurant (on the seaside, at the south end of the Batumi Boulevard walking path). Elegant, with good Georgian and international food.
- 2 Munich (მიუნჰენი), Kutaisi/Kostava str.8/5, 6000, ☎ . 10:00-2:00. Restaurant with German traditional cuisine. Pizza, Seafood and Vegan dishes are also served. Paying: Visa, American Express, Mastercard and Cash. Restaurant has open-air seats also. A bit overpriced. US$15 for one course meal per person.
- Eredeli's Bar (ერედელის ბარი), N. Baratashvili St. 1 (Down the stairs to a door with no sign and no name on the diagonal street just next to Europe Square (formerly Era Square) where the monument to Medea and the Golden Fleece is.). A very cool bar that attracts the cool locals and expat English teachers. There are no signs and you might have to ring the doorbell on nights with live music, but it's not a private club. Very nice and friendly staff and they have the best cha cha I've tasted. The Caesar salad is also excellent. It's also a gallery and it has Wifi.
- Metro Bar, Melashvili st. 11, ☎ . A nice but small bar that often has live music and attracts the cool locals as well as expat English teachers.
- 1 Vinyl Bar, Dumbadze str. (on Europe Square (formerly Era Square), near the Iranian and Azerbaijani consulates), ☎ . Small, cozy place to hang out for beer, pizza and live music. Great staff, great service. A sweet bar ran by sweet people.
- R. Shanin Lyceum. a prestigious private school for primary and secondary pupils
- Batumi International University (across the road from Marina Complex.).
Batumi increasingly attracts investors and well heeled visitors from Russia, Iran and Central Asia. The emphasis is on casinos and luxury hotels. Some of the ambitious hotel projects are currently (March 2012) stalled. Prices vary depending on proximity to the beach and level of service provided. Cheapest option are from 40 lari for a double room incl. breakfast.
- 1 Batumi Hostel (email@example.com), 13 Mazniashvili Street (At the corner of Kostava Street), ☎ . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Comfortable hostel in a nice house in the middle of the old town. Entrance is camouflaged. Discounts available in and from Friends Hostel in the old town of Tbilisi. Free Wifi. Laundry. Private room also available. Two showers and bathroom, kitchen, view on piazza and sea from balcony. Seasonal property (opened for 2012 season in May). Dorm 20 lari.
- [dead link]Bbeach Hostel Batumi, 32 Kldiashvili st. (walk on the main Rustaveli avenue till you reach Tourism information center (just after Sheraton Hotel), take left turn at the traffic lights along the park on your right. Take the first left and you are 5 steps away from the yard), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 1PM. In the centre 2 min from the sea with huge open terrace and BBQ area; air conditioning; free Wi-fi; security lockers; 24h security tours desk. Seasonal Property (open from 15 Jul to 5 Sept). Dorm from €6.5, Privates from €14 p.p..
- 2 Eiffel Tower Hostel (email@example.com), M. Abashidze 39 (One block from Europe Square,Above Cafe: Privet iz Batumi), ☎ . Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00. Really awesome place run by a Welshman an American and a Georgian girl. This place is fun and relaxing and is in a great location. If you're adventurous sleep on the top level of the 3 story bunkbeds. Dorm 25 lari.
- [dead link]Globus Hostel Batumi, 54 Mazniashvili str. (Formerly Rover Hostel. In the centre of Old Batumi,2 blocks down from the Tbilisi square), ☎ (Call ahead or the door may be locked), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 12:00. Rooms are bright and clean.The hostel is completely new and fresh. Air conditioning, free laundry, free Wi-fi, free sheets and towels, free maps, free tea and coffee 24h. Discounts in local cafés and in Rover Hostel Tbilisi. lat:41°38'52.02"N long: 41°38'30.39"E Dorms: US$15.
- Gulnasi's Guesthouse, 24/A Lermontov Street (off Chavchavadze Street, minibus 25, 28, 45 from bus-station; minibus 20 or bus 101 from train station - get off at Lermontov), ☎ , e-mail: Homestay@mail.ru. It's possible to use the kitchen; hot showers, WIFI, free meals will be offered frequently. Outside the summer season the same place is also a school for small children but in the summer season the kids will be on vacation. This may be the best budget option with wheelchair access. From €10.
- Sky Hostel, Inarisidze St. 16/59 (Quite far out from the centre on the side of the city nearer Turkey upstairs in an old apartment building.), ☎ . A useful option if other places are full. Kitchen but no fridge. Wifi and laundry are available. Most staff don't know a lot of English. As of May 2012 the water supply was often cut off due to infrastructure improvements. Dorm 20 lari.
- Boombully Studio, M. Abashidze Ave 1 (Next to Batumi state Drama Theater and Radisson Hotel), ☎ , , e-mail: email@example.com. Spacious and clean studio type apartment. With all the necessary amenities. Room service available upon request. Location is perfectly adjusted to the Batumi's old town as well as connected to it's new part. Two minutes from Batumi's Boulevard main entrance. Five minutes to the beach. Please note advanced booking is necessary to check-in.
- Hotel EraPalace, 77 Z. Gorgiladze St (on the former 'Era' St), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. From 120 lari.
- Iliko(?), Vakhtang Gorgasali St., between K. Gamsakhurdia Str. and Gen. Mazniashvili, in the heart of town. Reasonably clean. Only Russian and Georgian spoken. Situated in a quiet spot. Owners run Pyramid as well, which has similar prices. 20-40 lari for two people.
- Lavro, Pushkin St., between Tbilisis Moedani and Stalin Museum. A room for with no bathroom costs 20 lari (summer 2005). Reasonably clean, hot water.
- Mercury, 10/12 Chavchavadze St., near Tbilisis Moedani, in the heart of town, ☎ . Check-out: 12:00. Reasonably clean. English spoken. Situated in a noisy spot, not worth the money 80 lari for two people.
- Hotel Ritsa, Z.Gamxakhurdia Street, no. 16, ☎ . Clean, smart and modern hotel located in the old town. 60-100 lari for two people, breakfast included.
- Sputnik Boutique Hotel, Shervashidze Aghmarti, No: 28, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Quiet environment, great view of Batumi. 70 lari for standard rooms with queen size beds.
- 3 Sheraton Batumi, Ninoshvili St. Direct beach access and friendly service. 203 rooms including 26 suites.
- 4 [dead link]Intourist Palace, Ninoshvili St., on the promenade. Grand, spacious with all amenities. From US$110.
- 5 Radisson Blu Hotel, Batumi, 1 Ninoshvili Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Designed by Italian architect Michele De Lucchi, located on the beachfront near business district.
- 6 Batumi Hilton, Ninoshvili St. Right between a park and the sea, in the middle of the city.
- Khulo — village in the mountains of Ajara, 3 hours drive east of Batumi
- Kobuleti — sleepy nearby coastal town
- Sarpi — border village with Turkey, 15 km south of Batumi
- Tbilisi — the capital of Georgia
- Kutaisi — The 'Marshrutka' will get you to the town centre, or drop you off at the airport on the way, for 15 lari. Usually it takes 2 -2½ hours, but give yourself about 3 or so, the bus will wait in Batumi until it is full, which could mean waiting on the bus for an extra 45 minutes. The buses leave from nearby to the entrance to the cable car, but the port. You will see them all parked there
- Direct trains to Yerevan run daily during summertime - the train leaves at 15:35 and you'll arrive to Yerevan around 07:30. Second class (coupe, 4 people) costs 93 lari.