Batumi, Georgia is known as the seaside resort, one of the most popular on the Black Sea, and a must-visit place in Georgia and the Caucasus region. But the city has so much more to offer than just the beach holidays and is so much better than it seems at first.
I’ve been to Batumi three times so far and I know I will be back there again, it is such a great destination.
I put together this guide to the best things to do in Batumi so you can get to know the city better and see more than just the seaside. Read on and find out what to do in Batumi!
Table of contents
- 1 Where is Batumi
- 2 Why visit Batumi
- 3 Best time to visit Batumi
- 4 How to get to Batumi
- 5 Where to stay in Batumi
- 6 Things to do in Batumi
- 6.1 Wander around the Old Town
- 6.2 Admire the art nouveau architecture
- 6.3 Enjoy Batumi street art scene
- 6.4 Compare how Batumi used to look like and how it is now
- 6.5 Drink from the chacha fountain
- 6.6 Find Soviet mosaics
- 6.7 Enjoy the local cafe scene
- 6.8 See the iconic Ali and Nino Statue
- 6.9 Admire the landscape of Ajara
- 6.10 Visit the incredible Botanical Garden
- 6.11 Take the cable car to see Batumi from above
- 6.12 Visit the local farmers market
- 6.13 See one of the prettiest McDonald’s in the world
- 6.14 Enjoy the interesting architecture of Batumi
- 6.15 Relax at the beach
- 6.16 Enjoy the seaside vibe
- 6.17 Enjoy Georgian food
- 6.18 Walk along the seaside promenade
- 6.19 Find picturesque laundry
- 6.20 Take the day trip from Batumi
- 7 Final thoughts on visiting Batumi
- 8 Further reading
- 9 Travel Resources
Where is Batumi
Batumi is located on the Georgian part of the Black Sea coast, not far from the border with Turkey (20 km). Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia is 380 km away.
Why visit Batumi
The majority of tourists visiting Batumi come here for the seaside holidays but there are more reasons to visit Batumi.
There is a really lovely old town with some impressive old buildings, but also modern architecture is very interesting. You can eat here some delicious and fresh seafood. Batumi is such a vibrant place with so many great things to do.
The surrounding area is stunning with lush vegetation, beautiful views, and a national park only a short ride away from the city.
Best time to visit Batumi
In the summer months, Batumi is a busy holiday destination, attracting not only local tourists but many more, especially from Armenia, Russia or Gulf countries. If you don’t like crowds on the beach and especially on the seaside promenade you should avoid visiting Batumi in July and August.
I’ve been to Batumi twice in autumn (October and November) and I really enjoyed it. There were not that many tourists around but the weather was good enough to spend some time at the beach.
I believe spring must be a good time for a trip to Batumi, with all the amazing vegetation blossoming.
How to get to Batumi
Getting to Batumi is rather easy. The city has its own airport but it is used mostly by the charter flights.
The nearest popular airport is Kutaisi, served by low-cost airlines from numerous European destinations. There are direct buses from/to Kutaisi airport, connected with the flights so you don’t need to worry about your transportation to Batumi. You can get the tickets at the airport, you will find the Georgian Bus booth right in front of the exit from the customs.
From the city of Kutaisi there are marshrutkas (minibusses) every hour from 7 am to 7 pm. The journey takes around 2,5 hours.
The best way to get from Tbilisi to Batumi is by train (you don’t want to spend 6 hours or more in the cramped marshrutka). There are both day and night connections and the travel time is around 5 hours (a bit more in the overnight trains). Trains are comfortable and it should be a pleasant journey. You can find the current trains schedule here.
There are also regular buses connection Tbilisi and Batumi as well as a flight but I still believe a train is the best option.
Where to stay in Batumi
Batumi offers a variety of accommodation and everyone can a suitable place to stay in. If you visit Batumi in the summertime I advise looking for the accommodation ahead of time so you can score the best options. Outside of the season, you can get very good deals on Batumi accommodation.
Here are some recommended places to stay in Batumi
- Hotel Bloom (9,6/10) on Booking – I stayed there the last time and I can wholeheartedly recommend the place!
- Back2ME Hostel (9,4/10 on Booking)
- Mariinsky ApartHotel (9,3/10 on Booking)
- Wyndham Batumi (9,1/10 on Booking)
- and many more!
Things to do in Batumi
And now let’s talk about Batumi attractions that you can’t miss when visiting the city.
Wander around the Old Town
The Old Town in Batumi isn’t very big but it surely is a charming place to wander around. Originally it was built in the 19th century when Batumi was an important port along the route from the Caspian Sea to Europe and many of the impressive buildings still date back to that time. The Batumi Old Town was recently restored and can enchant you easily.
The streets are long, straight, and very picturesque. The center of the Old Town is Piazza – the hidden square built in the Italian style with outdoor cafes, shops, and the beautiful mosaic in the center (it is considered the largest marble mosaic in Europe!). Another place you can’t miss, a bit on the side from the old Town, is Europe Square with the statue of Medea and some impressive buildings around.
The best way to discover the Old Town in Batumi is to wander around aimlessly – you won’t get lost but you might find some real gems here.
Admire the art nouveau architecture
One of the things that have surprised me the most in Batumi was the incredible art nouveau architecture. I’m a big fan of this style so finding more and more amazing buildings was pure joy for me.
Some of the buildings (like Cinema Apollo) were already renovated, while others wait for their turn but nevertheless you can admire what masterpiece the art nouveau architecture in Batumi is.
The most beautiful buildings I found were Cinema Apollo (Memed Abashidze Ave 17), building on the corner of Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Merab Kostava streets and building at 25 Memed Abashidze Ave, near Europe Square but there are many more of them.
Enjoy Batumi street art scene
Another thing you might not expect from Batumi is the thriving street art scene. You can find some great works all over the city but most of them are around the Old Town. There are big impressive murals (like the one on the sidewall of the university building at Rustaveli Avenue), cool stencils, and even a well-known lamb known from the Tbilisi street art scene.
For a few years now the annual street art festival takes place in Batumi, bringing local and international artists who create amazing works on the walls all over the city. I bet you will find many of them when discovering Batumi.
Compare how Batumi used to look like and how it is now
When wandering around the Old town and Europe Square you will find old pictures showing how Batumi used to look like in the past, at the beginning of the 20th century. Comparing them with the current look will show you perfectly that Batumi is more than just a seaside resort, the city actually has a big historical value.
Drink from the chacha fountain
A couple of years ago Batumi was in the news all over the world announcing the opening of the fountain with chacha, a strong local brandy made from grapes.
At first, each day at 7 in the evening you could try free chacha pouring from the fountain. Then it was changed to once a week and during my last trip to Batumi, the fountain seemed to be not working at all (but it was in November so that could have been the reason).
But even if you can’t drink from the fountain you should try chacha anyway – it’s strong but good and one shoot of it won’t hurt you. You can find chacha bars in the Old Town of Batumi.
The fountain itself is interesting anyway – it’s the replica of the clock tower that used to stand in the very same spot near the harbor at the beginning of the 20th century.
Find Soviet mosaics
If you like Soviet architecture (I do!) you will find some great remnants of it in Batumi. Unlike the great Soviet buildings in Tbilisi, Batumi has some really amazing old mosaics that will impress everyone.
They are often with the marine theme (we are at the seaside after all) – you can find the prettiest Neptunes at the entrance to the block of flats at Akhmeteli Street (behind the Batumi Theater) or near the Dolphinarium.
The biggest mosaic masterpiece I’ve ever seen is the giant octopus that serves as the cafe. It’s located between the university and the sea and it’s impossible to miss it – it will bring your attention right away with its gaudy colors and funky shape.
Enjoy the local cafe scene
Fans of coffee will be pleased to know there are some decent cafes in Batumi. The local scene isn’t as exceptional as Tbilisi cafes but has some good moments. There are also plenty of outdoor cafes where you can hang out on a sunny day.
My favorite cafes in Batumi were Coffeetopia, Literaturuli Cafe, Cafe Privet iz Batuma, and Free Space.
See the iconic Ali and Nino Statue
Right in front of the Ferris wheel, you can find the super creative Ali and Nino statue. The name refers to the famous Caucasian book, “Ali and Nino” by Kurban Said – a tragic love story of the young Azeri guy and a Georgian princess from the times of First World War.
The statues are moving, changing their position every few minutes, and even going through each other. This is such a fascinating spectacle to see!
Admire the landscape of Ajara
While you are at Ali and Nino statue don’t miss the beautiful view of the Ajarian landscape with rolling hills going down into the Black Sea. This is such a mesmerizing view to observe, one of the best you will find in central Batumi. I spent there way too much time, simply staring at the beautiful landscape in front of me.
Visit the incredible Botanical Garden
The best place to get closer to the spectacular nature is the Batumi Botanical Garden. It is located a bit away from the center (around 9 km), but getting there isn’t too difficult and definitely worth the trouble. You can take bus no 31 or a taxi for some 15-20 lari to reach the botanical garden.
Since Batumi is located in the subtropical climate it’s very easy to grow all kinds of vegetation there. And you can find it all in the botanical garden.
It is divided into three parts and while you can discover the place using the small electric trains I recommend walking around so you can see all the wonders that grow there.
You can spend here a few hours and still that will not be enough to discover everything. This is such a perfect getaway to escape from the busy center of Batumi.
Take the cable car to see Batumi from above
For the best views of Batumi and surroundings that take Argo cable car to the nearby Anuria mountain. The journey takes some 15 minutes and already along the way you can admire some nice views.
From the upper station of the cable car, you can see the skyline of central Batumi, the hills of the Ajara region and the endless waters of the Black Sea.
I took the cable car just before the sunset and the whole city was covered in the soft orange color – what a spectacular view that was!
Visit the local farmers market
If you would like to get a glimpse into the local life I recommend visiting the local farmers market. It’s located a bit away from the center (less than 2 km) but it’s worth the trip since it’s such a unique place, so different from the downtown Batumi.
You can get here all the best Georgian goodies: fresh products, aromatic spices, juicy fruits and vegetables and more.
There is a railway line going right through the middle of the market so when the train is coming the sellers need to hide away their products quickly.
You can also find a seafood market in Batumi, near the harbor, where you can eat fresh fish right after purchasing it.
See one of the prettiest McDonald’s in the world
Did you know that Batumi has one of the prettiest McDonald’s restaurants in the world? Unlike McDonald’s located in the old, historical buildings (like in Porto, Portugal, or Subotica, Serbia), this one has a modern design created by the local Georgian architect Giorgi Khmaladze.
The building looks like a ship and was made from 460 glass panels. Inside, in the upper part, you can find the small green patio and the whole building is surrounded by the pond.
The building won numerous awards and got worldwide recognition so even if you are not a fan of McDonald’s it’s still worth seeing their restaurant in Batumi. It is located at 9 Sherif Khimshiashvili Street, not far from the seaside promenade.
Enjoy the interesting architecture of Batumi
One of the first things that come to everyone’s mind when thinking of Batumi is the interesting modern architecture you can find especially along the seaside promenade.
In recent years the city has been going through the major development and today you can see some really crazy architectural ideas here, such as the hotel in the shape of the Colosseum or the new ancient temple.
The most impressive, however, is the tower of the Technical University, with a little Ferris wheel incorporated up high. If you like modern architecture you will surely find some great buildings around Batumi.
Relax at the beach
While there are so many great things to do in Batumi let’s not forget about the beach. After all the city is a popular seaside destination with a long beach where you can relax after all the sightseeing (or simply relax with no reason at all).
Unfortunately, it’s a stony beach but you can rent a sunbed for an affordable price and spend the whole day relaxing (that’s what I did more than once in Batumi and I’m not much of the beach person).
Enjoy the seaside vibe
There is no denying that the Black Sea plays an important role in Batumi. Here you can enjoy the seaside vibe to the fullest – you can observe fishermen at work, you can go for long walks along the sea and in the summertime, when Batumi turns into the busy seaside resort, you can enjoy its vibrant atmosphere until late night hours.
My favorite time to visit Batumi is in the autumn when the crowds are gone and the city turns into this calm place where you can smell the fresh salty air.
Enjoy Georgian food
Georgian cuisine has, hands down, some of the most delicious dishes you will ever eat and you can try them in Batumi.
The most popular one is Adjarian kchachapuri – the local variation of the famous Georgian bread with cheese, here served in the shape of a boat with the egg yolk and a bit of butter (you need to mix them together before eating). But you can get here all the other yummy Georgian dishes – my favorite are badrijani (fried eggplant with walnut sauce), lobio (mashed red beans with spices), ajapsandali (ragout made of eggplants, potatoes and tomatoes) and a simple salad made from tomatoes and cucumbers.
There are plenty of restaurants serving Georgian food in Batumi, some are fancier than others but I found the best food and prices at Shemoikhede Genatsvale (8 Noe Zhordania St). When I visited the last time it was packed with locals.
Walk along the seaside promenade
One of the best things to do in Batumi is to walk the seaside promenade. It’s long, at least a few kilometers (I’ve never walked all of it, the farthest I went was Lech and Maria Kaczyński Park which is some 4 km away from the Old Town) and it’s such a pleasant place.
The promenade is lined with trees, there are some funky sculptures along the way and you can see and hear the sea all the time. Every time I’m in Batumi I end up there at least a few times per day.
Find picturesque laundry
If you go a bit into the city, beyond the Old Town and the beach, you will see a normal part of Batumi with blocks of flats typical for Eastern Europe and former Soviet countries (after all this is the city with almost 170 thousand inhabitants).
On sunny days you can spot there picturesque laundry hanging between buildings. It’s such a random yet pretty sight, my second favorite laundry view after Yerevan, Armenia.
Take the day trip from Batumi
While Batumi itself is a great city to visit you can also use it as a base to some day trips around.
Ajara, the Georgian region Batumi is the capital of, is a marvelous area with some spectacular places you don’t want to miss. The nearby Mtirala National Park offers pristine mountains, lush forests, wild rivers, hidden waterfalls and stone bridges built centuries ago.
Even if it’s only a short ride away from Batumi it’s like a completely different world. Some parts of it as well as the area closer to the border with Turkey seem like the forgotten places where life goes slowly and views take your breath away.
Another easy day trip from Batumi is the fortress Gonio, located only 15 km away from the city, near the border with Turkey. The fortress was first mentioned in the 1st century AD and the legend says that Saint Matthias, one of the twelve apostles was buried there.
Many people visit Batumi as one of the day trips from Kutaisi (it’s around 2,5-hour drive) but you can go in the reverse direction and besides Kutaisi see also other amazing places near the city. There are old monasteries, former Soviet spa town Tskaltubo, caves and canyons.
Final thoughts on visiting Batumi
As you can see there are so many more Batumi attractions than just the seaside. You can easily spend a few days in the city, relaxing but also discovering the area – isn’t this the perfect combination of holidays?
I really enjoyed each of my trips to Batumi, even the one in July, and I’m looking forward to visiting the city again. Be sure to include Batumi in your Georgian itinerary, you don’t want to miss it!
Georgia and the Caucasus are very high on my list of favorite places and I travel there at least a few times per year for almost 10 years now. I wrote many more articles about the Caucasus, you might find them interesting too:
- Tbilisi guide – 21 Tbilisi travel tips to make your trip easier
- 15 reasons to visit Georgia – the amazing emerging destination
- Buying a SIM card in Georgia – all you need to know
- 18 Amazing Places to Visit in Armenia
- 31 Amazing Things to Do in Yerevan, Armenia
- 50 pictures that will inspire you to visit Baku, Azerbaijan
- and many more!
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