Caucasus Georgia

Things to Do in Batumi: A Guide to Georgia’s Black Sea City

A comprehensive guide to Batumi, Georgia’s Black Sea capital – including the best things to do in Batumi, where to eat and drink, and essential tips for planning your visit.

As our marshrutka rounded the last wooded hill and we commenced the downward crawl to the coast, we caught our first glimpse of the Black Sea, laid out like a blue satin tablecloth over the tops of the poplar trees.

The approach to Georgia’s Black Sea coast from Kutaisi is pretty impressive. Coming in from the east at a higher elevation, the heavy forest of Kolkheti National Park suddenly gives way to a vast landscape of still, shimmering water.

On a clear day, you can see the contours of rock and snow on the mountains that line the opposite shore – Abkhazia and Russia. After a pit stop in the coastal town of Poti, the bus continues to trace the arc of the coast into Batumi, the Black Sea’s biggest port and resort city, and the capital of Georgia’s autonomous Adjara region.

Your complete guide to Batumi, including the best things to do in Batumi, the best Batumi restaurants, plus accommodation and transport advice.
The Black Sea.

Our arrival in Batumi on that sparkling afternoon in May was special for another reason: it meant we had successfully crossed the Trans-Caucasus overland.

A few months prior we had been standing on a different shore, the Caspian coast in Baku, Azerbaijan, dreaming of the journey through Armenia and Georgia that lay ahead. 20-odd bus rides and a few detours later, we had finally made it to the other side.

We hadn’t originally planned to stay long in Batumi, but at this point in the trip my work was piling up and we both felt like we needed a break from the road. So we rented an Airbnb, unloaded our backpacks, bought a few bottles of wine, and settled into Batumi life for the week.

I didn’t have very high expectations for Batumi, a city whose reputation for attracting scantily clad Russian tourists, high rollers, and gaudy, Disneyland-esque architecture precedes it. While we certainly encountered all of these things, we also found a peaceful, romantic side of Batumi.

This Batumi guide covers the top things to do in Batumi, including Batumi tourist attractions and not-so-obvious places to go in Batumi.

I hope my Batumi travel blog helps you plan your own trip to Georgia’s Black Sea city!


Skip ahead:

1/ Why visit Batumi? 2/ Things to do in Batumi 3/ Where to eat in Batumi
4/ Planning your visit to Batumi

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.

Is Batumi worth visiting?

There are three big reasons people go to Batumi: to gamble, to sunworship, and to transit to Turkey. (I’m sure a few people come just to eat at the world-famous McDonalds, too.)

So, should you include Batumi on your Caucasus itinerary? I’m personally not into any of the above (I am into Turkey, but not on this trip), but I still think Batumi is well worth a visit.

Having said that, I wouldn’t necessarily put Batumi at the top of my wish list if I was on a tight schedule. As you can see on the map below, Batumi is a long way from Tbilisi, so you need to be strategic about where you fit it in. After Batumi, you can resume your travels up the coast to Mestia.

If you’re arriving to Georgia from Turkey overland (or perhaps from Ukraine or Bulgaria by ship), Batumi is likely to be your first port of call. In that case it’s a no brainer to make a short stopover in Batumi before you travel onward into Georgia.

Adjara’s coastline and climate sets it apart from other parts of Georgia, and the cultural and religious composition of Batumi is very unique. Adjara is an autonomous region with its own flag, its own dialect (which borrows some words from Turkish), and its own cuisine.

A lot of people think of Batumi as just a beach town and end up bumping it from their itinerary if it’s not the right season. We almost did the same thing. The seaside is definitely Batumi’s main drawcard, but I would also recommend it to anyone who loves offbeat architecture, local markets or botanical gardens.

A pink and cream apartment building viewed from below, looking up towards the balconies.
The large number of apartment blocks in Batumi makes Airbnb an ideal choice for short-term accommodation.

Where to stay in Batumi

The best area to stay in Batumi is the city centre. Choose a hotel close to the beach if you plan on spending time outdoors.

Budget: Batumi Surf Hostel. This budget-friendly hostel offers bunks in mixed dorms plus private family rooms with shared bathrooms. There is a well-appointed kitchen, and several shared lounging spaces. The hostel is conveniently positioned, just a 5-minute walk from the sea. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.

Mid-range: Rock Hotel First Line. 100m back from the beach and with sea views from the 9th-floor balconies, this hotel is extremely unique – every self-contained suite is themed around a different rock band (Linkin Park, Green Day, Coldplay, etc.). Check prices and availability on Booking.com.

Boutique: Kartuli Hotel. My top choice for Batumi, this gorgeous boutique hotel is located on the 37th and 38th floors of the Orbi Beach Tower. The design is flawless (think street art murals and indoor hammocks), and every room has spectacular sea views. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.

Luxury: Wyndham Batumi. An indoor pool and opulent suites make the Wyndham one of Batumi’s finest hotels. If you want old-school glamour, this is it. The hotel is nestled with a gorgeous historic facade in the centre of town, moments from Iveria Beach. Check prices and availability on Booking.com.

Airbnb: This luxe apartment sleeps 4 people and features floor-to-ceiling windows for panoramic sea views. New to Airbnb? Sign up here for a discount.

For more options, check out my recommendations for the best guesthouses in Batumi and around Georgia.


Things to do in Batumi

There’s more to Batumi than just the beach! Here are my recommended things to do in Batumi.

A classic building facade.
A stunning facade in Batumi’s old town.

Batumi Old Town & Europe Square

Downtown Batumi has some really exquisite facades (and facades they are – the building pictured above looked completely different from all other aspects). The Belle Époque-style architecture on Europe Square is one of the Batumi highlights and a welcome antidote to the ostentatious modern buildings along the waterfront.

A number of the buildings are relics of Batumi’s past, when the city was a prosperous harbour along the Caspian oil route.

For a great overview of the city centre and its most important landmarks, try this guided walking tour of downtown Batumi.

A pink apartment block in Batumi, Georgia with an unusual high rise building in the background.
Blue skies and pretty architecture in Batumi.

Unusual architecture

Batumi has a reputation for it’s off-beat architecture. Alphabetic Tower and the clock tower with a mini golden Ferris Wheel set in its side (pictured above) are among the weirder examples of civic architecture and have both become top Batumi attractions in their own right.

Even the local McDonalds is a display of architectural prowess—the restaurant-cum-fuel-station was designed by Georgian architect Giorgi Khmaladze, and is well regarded for its unusual shape and use of space. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend eating there, it is considered one of the top places to visit in Batumi. It’s worth dropped by to walk around the perimeter and take a few photos.

With so much flashy architecture and unabashed displays of wealth, it’s no wonder why Batumi has been likened by many to Las Vegas.

A man prays inside a colourful mosque in Georgia.
A quiet moment at the Orta Jame Mosque in Batumi.

Orta Jame Mosque

Around 30% of Adjarians are Muslim, and Batumi is one of the only places in Georgia where you can hear the call to prayer ring out over the city.

The white minaret of the city’s last remaining mosque, the Orta Jame, stands out on the Batumi skyline.

The mosque is open to visitors and locals will happily sit down for a chat on the benches outside the prayer hall. Inside, the beautiful woodcarvings are painted in vibrant pastels.

An ornate mosque ceiling with patterns and Arabic script.
Stunning details on the roof of the Orta Jame Mosque in Batumi.

The mosque is quite small and locals have been petitioning to erect a second place of worship for many years.

Men pour out from the Orta Jame onto Batumi’s streets every Friday.

A red shack on the beach in Batumi, Georgia.
Vivid colours on the beachfront in Batumi.

Batumi beach and Batumi Boulevard

Try as you might, you can’t escape Batumi’s waterfront which wraps around the city centre. The beach itself is rocky. Swimming in Batumi.

There are many points of interest dotted along the wide boulevard, including a statue of the Caucasus’ favourite literary couple, Ali & Nino.


Hire a bicycle and cycle around Batumi

The best way to get around the boulevard is by bike. A few freelancers offer rentals along the beach – we were quoted 6 Lari for one hour when we enquired. It’s much cheaper to use the Batumi city bikes which you’ll see docked at parking stations throughout the city.

First you’ll need to visit the Tourism Office and purchase a re-loadable card. If you’re feeling adventurous, it’s possible to ride all the way down the coast to the Sardi immigration point at the Turkish border.

An orange facade with white windows.
The public library in downtown Batumi.

Wander around downtown Batumi

Batumi has a delightful city centre with a surplus of cafes and ice cream parlors lining every street. Sink into the suburbs, and you’ll find Soivet-era apartment buildings and beautiful public buildings like the library (pictured above), all painted in the same palette of pastels and coral colours that is instantly recognisable as Batumi.

Your complete guide to Batumi, including the best things to do in Batumi, the best Batumi restaurants, plus accommodation and transport advice.
Exploring Batumi Botanical Garden.

Go hiking in the Batumi Botanical Garden

Batumi’s real gem is the Botanical Garden. Located 12km north of the city, it’s a convenient and affordable alternative to Mtralia National Park. A 50 Tetri marshrutka ride gets you there; admission is 8 Lari per person.

Your complete guide to Batumi, including the best things to do in Batumi, the best Batumi restaurants, plus accommodation and transport advice.
Batumi Botanical Garden.

The gardens are set on a steep rise so be prepared for a lot of uphill walking – you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the Black Sea once you get to the top. (You can take a golf cart to the end of the Gardens and walk back down if you choose.)

If you are walking, take the off-road paths marked as ‘hiking routes’ unless you want to walk on bitumen.

A woman stands behind a table stacked with fresh-caught fish at a market in Batumi.
The fish market in Batumi.

Visit Batumi Fish Market & Central Market

The coastal fish market and fresh Batumi Central Market are both worth a visit. At the fish market, you can purchase the catch of the day and get it fried up to order.

A floral tablecloth with a single rose in a vase.
Fanfan Batumi.

Where to eat in Batumi

Aside from serving up Adjarian cuisine and fresh seafood, Batumi is also home to Georgia’s best array of international eateries outside of Tbilisi.

Here are the best restaurants in Batumi.

Your complete guide to Batumi, including the best things to do in Batumi, the best Batumi restaurants, plus accommodation and transport advice.
Adjarian khachapuri at Retro.

Retro

10 Takaishvili St

One of the essential things to do in Batumi is try Adjarian khachapuri, a regional variation of Georgia’s famous ‘cheese boat’. Retro is a popular choice among locals. Served with an egg yolk, butter and lots of molten cheese, it’s not for the faint of heart but worth trying at least once. They also have restaurants in Tbilisi.

Reviews + more info here.

Privet iz Batuma

39 Memed Abashidze Ave

The wood-clad dining room at Privet iz Batuma (literally ‘Hi from Batumi’) harks back to a time when Batumi was the seaside resort capital of Imperial Russia. The food is a total contrast – there are plenty of modern, fresh lunch options (including sandwiches), and the best iced coffees in town. Save room for something sweet from the revolving cake cabinet.

Reviews + more info here.

BatuMarani

111 Vakhtang Gorgasali St

A light-filled dining room, affordable carafes of wine and exclusively Georgian menu that highlights fresh ingredients made BatuMarani one of our favourite restaurants in Batumi. The lobio comes with all the trimmings and the khinkali are excellent. Try the share plates.

Reviews + more info here.

A round dish containing six different local foods.
Adjaran delicacies at Cafe Adjara.

Cafe Adjara

11 Kutaisi St

You’re in Adjara, so you have to sample some regional Adjarian specialties. The lunch set at Cafe Adjara is great for this – it features small portions of six different dishes, including lobio, Adjarian dolma, veal stew, marinated cheese and sinori, thin lavash bread that’s pleated and cooked in butter and matsoni yoghurt. Perfect for sharing.

One of the best places to eat in Batumi.

Reviews + more info here.

Heart of Batumi

Cnr Merab Kostava & Giorgi Mazniashvili Sts

Taking out the number one spot on TripAdvisor at the time of our visit, this family style cafe serves up simple but delicious Georgian and Ukrainian dishes. Portions are a little smaller than we had grown accustomed to, making it another good option for a light lunch.

Reviews + more info here.

Radio Cafe Batumi

9 Noe Zhordania St

This petite restaurant/bar serves Czech beer alongside a refined menu of European and Middle Eastern dishes. Steak is a popular choice; I can personally vouch for the exceptional house-made pasta.

Reviews + more info here.

A plate of salmon and egg salad.
Eating a delicious salad of fresh salmon at Fanfan Batumi.

Fanfan Batumi

27 Ninoshvili St

If you like your bistros pretty with a bit of a French flair, you’ll love Fanfan. The restaurant’s mismatched vintage decor complements a menu that pairs local seafood with Georgian flavours (e.g. walnut-stuffed trout). Fanfan is the priciest restaurant on this list.

Reviews + more info here.

Restaurant Bravo

5/7 Kazbegi St

If you’re looking for an easy menu of can’t-go-wrong Georgian classics, Bravo is a good choice. Don’t let the faux-fancy decor put you off – prices here are very reasonable.

Reviews + more info here.

Uncle Feng’s Batumi

3 Noe Zhordania St

By the time we got to Batumi we had a serious craving for Asian food. We were very happy to stumble on Uncle Feng’s one night, the only place we found in Georgia that serves decent Chinese food. The fried rice comes in huge portions and the fish dishes are delicious. There’s also a bar and an excellent cocktail list.

Reviews + more info here.

Washing strung across lines between apartment blocks in Batumi, Georgia.
Laundry day in Batumi.

Plan your visit to Batumi: Batumi tips

My advice on accommodation, transport, and other logistics.

When is the best time to visit Batumi?

Batumi is notorious for its bad weather – rather unfortunate for a city that prides itself on its beachfront and outdoor activities. Rain is an inescapable reality, but it’s also what makes Adjara so beautiful and green.

The climate is warmer than in other parts of the country, especially up north, which is why many people flock to Batumi for their spring holidays. The summer months (June, July, August) would be unbearably busy.

We visited during should season in mid-May and the weather was overcast most days. Late September/October is known as the ‘Velvet Season’ in Batumi, and usually has ideal weather conditions.

How many days in Batumi?

If you’re making the effort to get all the way to Batumi, it’s worth staying a few nights at least. We were in town for seven days and had I not been behind my laptop for a good chunk of that time, we may have run out of things to do.

As I mentioned, the weather in Batumi is often far from ideal, so if you’re travelling for the beach and the Gardens, it might be an idea to incorporate a buffer day in case of cloudy skies. Add an extra day to your itinerary if you plan to take a day trip to the nearby Mtirala National Park.

Is Batumi expensive?

We found Batumi slightly more expensive than Kutaisi. As always, it depends on your choice of accommodation and where you choose to eat. Airbnb rates in Batumi are very reasonable, whereas the cost of eating out was slightly more than even Tbilisi.

Transport within Batumi itself is cheap (as is standard across Georgia), but you’ll need to budget for entrance fees to some attractions, including 8 Lari for the Botanical Gardens.

Is Batumi safe?

Like elsewhere in Georgia, Batumi is generally very safe for tourists. Exercise the same common sense and caution as you would in any other big city.


How to get to Batumi

How to travel from Tbilisi to Batumi

Batumi is connected to Kutaisi and Tbilisi by train and marshrutka, with mini buses departing both cities at regular intervals throughout the day.

It’s also possible to travel down to Batumi from Svaneti, typically with a connection in Zugdidi. Batumi’s new marshrutka station is located close to the railway, which is quite central.


Onward travel from Batumi

Batumi to Svaneti

Svaneti (Mestia and Ushguli) lies directly north of Batumi and is an obvious choice for your next stop. We did this journey by marshrutka via Zugdid. Staff at the tourist information office in Batumi are very helpful with explaining bus connections.

Batumi is well networked, so it should be possible to travel by bus to almost anywhere in Georgia within the space of a day, as long as you’re willing to wake up early.

If Batumi is your final stop in Georgia, it’s possible to travel onward to Ankara or Istanbul by bus via the border crossing at Sarpi.


Georgia essentials

Here are some of the websites and services I use when I’m planning a trip to Georgia and the Caucasus. Remember to check out my full list of travel resources for more tips.

– Find affordable flights to Tbilisi, Batumi or Kutaisi on Kiwi.com, a booking site that mixes and matches airlines to find the best route (there’s a money back guarantee if you miss a connection).

– Use iVisa to check if you need a tourist visa for Georgia and apply for an expedited visa online.

– Pre-book a private transfer from Tbilisi Airport to your hotel or from Kutaisi Airport to Tbilisi.

– Buy your tickets for the Tbilisi to Baku or Yerevan sleeper train online in advance through my partners at Geotrend (get a discount when you use the code in this post).

– Find the best Georgia hotel deals on Booking.com, book a Georgia hostel, or find a unique Airbnb (use this link to sign up and get $55 AUD off your first Airbnb booking).

– Find the best city tours and day excursions in Georgia.

– Compare mobile providers and pick up a local Georgian sim card.

– Pre-order the new Lonely Planet Caucasus guidebook (coming out in June 2020).

Have you been to Batumi? What are you favourite things to do in Batumi? Would you recommend Batumi to other travellers?

Things to do in Batumi: Pin in

11 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Carlos says:

    Hi there,

    I’m a newcomer, if job allows me. It will be a year to 3 years max.
    The main office will be in the city of Batumi. I’m an American Immigrant of Philippine descent.
    From one of your blogger it mentioned there’s only one Chinese restaurant in Batumi. Hope to find more in the city.
    Thanks

  2. Dagyum says:

    Hi 🙂 I’m planning to visit Batumi in this October, and couldn’t find any useful info from the web until I found your blog! Thank you so much for sharing these tips!!! You are the best :3

    1. Emily Lush says:

      Hi Dagyum! Thanks so much for the lovely comment. I’m glad to hear you found my blog helpful!

      Please don’t hesitate to comment or email me if there’s anything else I can help with.

      Have an awesome time in Batumi 😀

  3. kris says:

    emily hi thanks for the blogs am going to georgia (as well as armenia and azerbaijan) in sept and oct, your blogs have been excellent and really helpful keep on writing.

  4. Christa says:

    Hello! I’m a new reader for your blog and I’m really happy that I tumbled here. I’m going to Georgia and your posts have been already very helpful! I can call myself a foodie and I have noticed that there is still not that much information about restaurants in Georgia so your post has really helped me to create a list of places where I want to fill my tummy. I will be traveling now in July and it will be me and my husband and his big family from Turkey all together and they are actually assuming that I know where to take them to eat. So thank you very much! I will continue following your writings. 🙂

    1. Emily Lush says:

      Hi Christa! So glad to hear that. I’m in Armenia now, heading back to Tbilisi in a couple of weeks. Lots of new restaurants and cafes have opened since I was last in town, so I’ll be updating my posts in the coming weeks.

      Enjoy your travels!!

  5. Ruth says:

    Thank you for this. I have found your blog so useful for planning our trip to the Caucasus. It is beautiful to look at and a pleasure to read. We have just arrived in Batumi, in August so it is peak party season – busy but in the best way, very atmospheric, and proves a fabulous contrast to the mountains in Adjara where we have just come from. It’s only a few of hours drive away but we only met cows on our gorgeous hikes and no one spoke English in the only hotel in Goderji (Hotel Meteo – would recommend, not the cheapest but really lovely staff, peaceful, delicious plentiful food and breathtaking views, even if the beds could do with an upgrade!)

    1. Emily Lush says:

      Hello Ruth!

      Thank you so much for the kind words and for sharing this trip report! I’m really glad to hear that you’re enjoying Georgia so far!

      Thanks again for the note—I’m sure other travellers will find this very helpful. I hope I can spend more time in Adjara in the future, too!

      Best wishes and safe travels,
      Emily

  6. Pedro says:

    I love Batumi! I was there a couple of times and will be returning in a few days. Looking forward to it and great read!

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