Everything you need to plan your visit to Batumi Botanical Garden – including how to get there from Batumi, the best walking trails, and the top things to see and do inside the gardens.
One of the best things to do in Batumi is spend a few hours hiking in the Botanical Garden. An Eden of sorts, it’s the ideal reprieve from the city and the beach and a very convenient short excursion.
Batumi’s garden is of the oldest, biggest and more important plant research facilities in the region. There are close to 2,000 different species from across the globe represented in 9 different zones, all connected by a dozen different walking paths and off-road hiking trails. It’s also one of the best places in Batumi to catch a view of the Black Sea and the city skyline.
The Botanical Garden is located at Mtsvane Kontskhi (the ‘Green Cape’), roughly 10km north of downtown. In this guide, I’ll show you exactly how to get to the garden from the city, how to prepare for you visit, and what to see inside the garden.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.
Watch my short Batumi Botanical Garden video
History of Batumi Botanical Garden
Batumi Botanical Garden was established in 1912 by Russian botanist Andrei Krasnov. Spread over an area of more than 100 hectares, it was one of the largest gardens in the Soviet Union.
The history of the area dates back even further to the 1890s, when a parcel of land (now the Upper and Lower Park) was purchased by a local botanist to build his country house. At the time, the area was covered in endemic Colchis forest (similar to what you see in Machakhela Planned National Park south-east of Batumi today).
The warm, wet, subtropical climate was deemed perfect for cultivating tropical and subtropical plants collected from all four corners of the globe. As Batumi grew as a popular summer holiday destination, its garden emerged as one of the top attractions.
Different plant species were gradually introduced: Canary date palms, Australian gums, Japanese sakura, North American redwoods. Today, there are an estimated 1,900 different taxonomies (and 5,000 individual plants) represented. More are added every year.
Unlike some other gardens I’ve visited, Batumi Botanical Garden is less about the flowers and more about the established trees. The pièce de résistance is a 125-year-old flowering magnolia.
Apart from welcoming day visitors, the garden also plays an important role in research and species preservation through its scientific library, herbarium and seed foundation.
Planning a visit to Batumi Botanical Garden
If you want to walk the full length of the garden, you should budget at least 3-4 hours for your visit. Add 1 hour travel time (return) if you’re taking the bus, slightly less if you’re going by taxi.
A note on accessibility: Because the Botanical Garden is on a slope, the paths and trails are quite steep in parts. If you have mobility issues, you can hire an electric car at the entrance to take you around. There’s also the option to walk up and get a lift back, or vice versa.
Batumi Botanical Garden is open 7 days a week (including public holidays) from 9am until 6pm. Plan to arrive in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the hottest part of the day.
Entrance to the Botanical Garden costs 15 GEL for visitors (8 GEL for Georgian citizens). Entrance is free on certain holidays, including New Years Eve and January 1, Georgian Independence Day (May 26), and during special events organised by the garden (see a list of dates here).
What to bring with you
- A refillable water bottle. There are spring water fountains all along the paths where you can fill up.
- Snacks. There are a couple of snack stands/cafe inside the garden, but I recommend bringing your own food.
- Walking shoes. Whether you’re sticking to the paved paths or exploring the hiking tracks, you’ll need good, comfortable shoes. Sneakers will do.
- Wet weather gear. Batumi weather turns on a dime and when it rains, it pours. I suggest carrying a fold-up travel umbrella and a raincoat with you at all times, especially to the gardens where there aren’t many places to seek shelter.
Getting to the Botanical Garden from Batumi
Several of Batumi’s city microbuses (marshrutka buses) stop outside the Botanical Garden. This is by far the cheapest and easiest way to travel, costing just 50 tetri one-way and taking around 30 minutes.
There are a number of different entrance points to the garden serviced by different bus routes. I recommend taking microbus 31, a marshrutka that leaves from the centre of Batumi every 15 minutes and terminates at the Green Cape ticket booth. This is the superior entrance – you do the initial uphill climb in the van, eliminating the need to walk up a steep, exposed hill. And you don’t have to worry about where to get off the bus because the garden is the final stop.
We tried to follow the instructions on the Botanical Garden website but the route maps are outdated. We discovered there are two convenient places to hail the bus – either on Rustaveli Avenue just behind the Dolphinarium (see the exact location here), or at the intersection outside the cathedral (see the exact location here).
Microbuses stop anywhere, so just hail one when you see it. The number is clearly displayed in the window (see photo below). The 50 tetri fare should be paid directly to the driver when you exit the bus (not when you board).
Another option is city bus 10, which runs along Rustaveli Avenue and also stops near the Dolphinarium. You can’t pay with cash on this bus so you’ll need a MetroMoney card for this one (your Tbilisi transport card will also work in Batumi).
When you arrive, the driver will let you out near the Mtsvane Kontskhi Railway Station. Walk through the little cluster of shops, cross the railway tracks, and you’ll see a ticket booth for the gardens. Once you enter, follow the path on the right to head towards the Upper Gardens.
Getting back to Batumi: For the return trip, you can pick up a bus from the same place you got dropped off. It’s a depot of sorts, so there will always be a few drivers waiting around. They will direct you to the next departing van.
Drivers leave at least every 15 minutes and the fare is the same, 50 tetri per person.
If you prefer not to use the bus, you can travel to the gardens by taxi. I highly recommend buying a local sim card in Georgia so you can use a ride hailing app. My favourite is Bolt.
A Bolt car to the Botanical Garden from the centre of Batumi costs around 15 GEL one-way. Expect to pay significantly more if you hail a taxi on the street.
What to see & do inside the Botanical Garden
When you buy your tickets you’ll be issued with a paper map. At first glance, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to figure out how to navigate the garden, what to see and what to skip.
The area is divided into 3 gardens and 9 geographic departments: East Asian, Himalayan, Australian, New Zealand, North American, Mexican, South American, European, and Transcaucasian. There are a number of different routes you can take, ranging from paved paths to hiking trails.
Here are my favourite trails, plus a couple of highlights you can’t miss when visiting the garden.
Main Route A
Walking Route A is one of the main paths that bisects the garden from south to north. If you follow Route A from the ticket booth to its end point at Chakvi, you’ll see a good cross-section of the garden along the way.
The first part of the path follows an incline, but it’s not uphill the whole way. It flattens out around the middle then takes a downward turn at the end. The entire path is paved and well-maintained. It’s very easy to manage.
The route starts by taking you through the Upper Park. One of the more manicured sections, with European-style flower plots, fountains and sculptures. There are various Black Sea viewpoints all along the western shoulder of the path, and smaller brake-away trails you can take to delve into denser pockets of forest. Benches and gazebos appear every 100m or so.
A highlight of this route is passing through the Australian and New Zealand departments, two of the most distinct areas. The path terminates at the Seaside Park where there’s a small cafe.
Route A is marked on the map in red. The total distance is 2.7km.
Black Sea viewpoint
The most iconic viewpoints within the garden are from the marked lookouts at the start of Route A. This is where you get the best vantages over the Black Sea. It’s clear to see why the area is called the Green Cape!
If you time it right, you can watch a passenger train emerge from the covered tunnel right on the sea shore. The Tbilisi to Batumi train passes through at around 1pm, and there are other local trains throughout the day.
The most-photographed corner of Batumi Botanical Garden is without a doubt the Liriodendron Bridge.
In 1913, 20 liriodendron (tulip) trees were introduced to the garden. One distinctive double-trunked specimen, 72 years old at the time, collapsed during a storm in 1985, forming a ‘living bridge’ across a shallow stream.
You can find the Liriodendron Bridge within the North American department towards the end of the garden on Route A.
The trunk is mossy and quite slippery in parts, so take care when climbing.
The Japanese Garden
My favourite department within the botanical garden is the East Asia zone. I love the delicate, detailed leaves of Japanese Maple trees. There are at least a dozen different colour varieties layered to form a kaleidoscopic canopy.
Within the department there’s a small Japanese Garden. It’s located in a lower valley just off Route A. It features fountains, frog ponds and a couple of bonsai with a lovely covered gazebo at the centre.
Hiking trails K & J
On our most recent visit to the Batumi Botanical Garden, we took Route A to the end of the park where it joins up with several inland hiking trails through the eastern part of the garden. Don’t let the label ‘hiking trail’ put you off – for the most part these are gently graded, well-kept trails. They lead through the denser, shadier part of the garden and are much nicer than walking along the concrete paths.
From the end of Route A, you easily connect to Hiking Trail J. It starts by taking you through the lower part of the East Asia department, past the Japanese Garden, then through the particularly verdant, wet fringe of the Humid Subtropics Department.
At the end of the path there’s a spring water fountain and a large gazebo. From there, you can join up with Trail K, which leads to the highest part of the garden on the far-eastern side.
Trail J is admittedly a little tougher because it’s mostly uphill. Once you reach the ridge, you’ll be rewarded with awesome views of the Black Sea off in the distance. This trail also runs through the Subtropics zone then the Exotic Plants area, so it’s mostly shaded apart from the very end.
At the top of Trail K there is an apiary on the western side of the path. We were lucky enough to meet some of the beekeepers who gave us a big slab of fresh honeycomb to taste!
The bees were introduced to the garden from Goderdzi in the southern part of Adjara. Every year in August, there’s a Honey Festival in Batumi where you can buy jars of the gardens’ honey. I’d love to know if it’s sold anywhere else in the city – it’s absolutely delicious!
Next time I visit the botanical garden, I will probably do the route in reverse, starting with Trails K and J and walking back along Route A. That way, you can skip the steepest part of Trail K while still seeing all the highlights.
Camping in Batumi Botanical Garden
If you really want to escape the buzz of Batumi, it’s possible to stay overnight in the garden. Camping is permitted between 6pm and 10am, and pitching a tent inside the garden costs 20 GEL (inclusive of the entry price).
Camping is only permitted in designated areas. There are picnic tables and gazebos, fresh water springs and of course bathrooms available.