My Favorite 14 Things to do Batumi - Understand
Batumi is Georgia's foremost seaside resort that enjoys a Hawaii-like climate in summer (with constantly changing weather), with sunny beaches and green hills shrouded in fog. Batumi is touristy but manages to convince visitors with its charm. Most tourists are Russian; the city is just 100 miles south of the Russian border.
Batumi is a success story (as is most of Georgia) and has a distinct old charm feel to it, combined with a lot of modern architecture along the beach boulevard.
Georgia is exceptionally good value
for transport and food, though hotel rates are high during the main season.
The Black Sea is technically a big lake but is connected with the Mediterranean along the Bosporus in Istanbul
. The water is just slightly salty and is the perfect temperature in summer. The beaches usually have pebbles (it seems that the Black Sea is retreating as much as the Caspian Sea) but the water is clear and there is decent surf on a stormy day.
Since most buyers in town are tourists, there is a lot of emphasis on scamming instead of delivering great products and service. You will still find Georgian hospitality here but it's much more jaded than in Tbilisi
or smaller towns with fewer tourists.
There are few English speakers in town, so a few words of Russian will go a long way here (almost everyone understood my Russian).
Warning! Like in Tbilisi
, smokers are everywhere in Batumi, including inside cafes, restaurants and other public places. Secondhand smoke is a real problem here. You can find the odd place that is non-smoking but it's a rarity.
My Favorite 14 Things to do Batumi - Get Around
There is plenty of taxi drama along the hotels and at the train station in Batumi, with hyper-aggressive drivers 'stealing your luggage' to guarantee a ride. Taxi prices are extremely low, with rides under $1 everywhere in town.
The only way to get these rates is to download the 'Maxim
' taxi app and navigate its needlessly complicated interface. The app worked rather reliably for me, though.
My Favorite 14 Things to do Batumi - Safety
While it may not look like it in certain industrial parts of the city, Batumi is much safer than I assumed. There seems to just be very little (if any) opportunity crime.
The biggest risk is the manic traffic and aggressive drivers in town. There seem to be no traffic rules that are being adhered to; sidewalks, traffic lights, etc all just seem to be mere suggestions.
My Favorite 14 Things to do Batumi - Sights
Europe Square is home to some magnificent old buildings dating back to Batumi's great history over the centuries.
Batumi's Old Town is not as grand as Tbilisi's but still makes for pleasant exploration.
From almost anywhere in Batumi you can just go straight to the beach. It's a pebble beach but it is still great fun to enjoy the waves in the rather warm and just slightly salty waters of the Black Sea.
Radisson Blu Hotel
The Radisson Blu is a surprisingly great example of contemporary architecture in Batumi.
Clouds Bar & Restaurant
The Radisson Blu has a bar and restaurant on the 19th floor which has great views over the Batumi landscape.
This Italian-style piazza makes you feel like you just transported yourself to Italy. The restaurants around are decidedly average but the area has a great vibe.
This dolphinarium gets great reviews and tickets can be had for just 15 GEL for the one-hour show.
ბათუმის ბოტანიკური ბაღი
(Batumi Botanical Garden)
A few miles north of the city, you'll find Batumi's Botanical Gardens. The reviews are great and it's a nice escape on a cloudy day.
საბაგირო გზა არგო
(Argo Cable Car)
The cable car ride goes nowhere interesting but it offers seemingly great views, especially at sunset.
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Picture courtesy of Sara E
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Picture courtesy of Hanieh S
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Picture courtesy of Karina A
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Picture courtesy of Anastasiya Yu
Nephele Sky Bar
at the Hilton Batumi
The Hilton Batumi is a cool-looking building that you can see from anywhere on Batumi Beach. On the top floor, the hotel's Nephele Sky Bar has an open area with glorious views of the city and the beach.
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Picture courtesy of Leisan K
My Favorite 14 Things to do Batumi - Eat & Drink
If you come to Georgia you likely come here for Georgian cuisine; at least that is the Russian fixation with the local food. Most people in Russian towns feast on Georgian cuisine as if it were the only one in the world. I really like Georgian food but it gets tiring, like any other cuisine.
Tavaduri is a local favorite and attracts mostly locals as well as tourists for dinner. The staff serve Georgian cuisine with a smile. The huge outdoor grill allows for lots of fresh barbecue dishes and even grilled khachapuri. It is also extraordinarily cheap and delicious. Likely some of the best value Georgian food I ever had.
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Picture courtesy of Abramov A
BQ Wine Bar
This small wine bar offers tastings of a wide selection of Georgian wines for GEL 10 and GEL 25. The owners are friendly and knowledgeable about their wines.
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Picture courtesy of Nina
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Picture courtesy of Batumi Today
Coffeetopia likely serves the best coffee in Batumi (though I admit that this does not mean much). I felt this place could easily be great but when I visited it was haunted by big, noisy tour groups and there was a lack of breakfast food that 'sold out' that day.
Cafe Adjara provides solid Georgian food in Batumi's Old Town. I liked the food but fell sick the next day; I can't say if Cafe Adjara was to blame, though.
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Picture courtesy of Julia K