Batumi

View of Batumi

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.

Understand

Climate

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 14.5C. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is 7.1C 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.

Language

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.

Get in

By plane

Batumi International Airport (IATA: BUS) is located 2 km south of the city.

The following airlines operate service to/from Batumi International Airport:

By bus

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 GEL. The scenery along the way is breathtaking.

Daily buses also operate between Batumi and Trabzon, Turkey, with stops in Rize and the border crossing at Sarpi. Make sure you meet all visa requirements before crossing the border into Georgia.

There are two Marshrutka stations. One has long distance minibuses to Kutaisi, Tbilisi, Poti, etc. The other, on Tbilisi Square, has marshutkas to Sarpi (2 GEL, 20 minutes).

By train

Georgian Railways operates trains between Batumi and Tbilisi. Night train leaves Tbilisi at 22:55 and arrives in Batumi's Makhinjauri Station at 7:05 the next morning. Day train #30 leaves Tbilisi at 8:50 and arrives in Batumi at 4PM. First class costs 40 GEL, second class costs 23 GEL, seats cost 13 GEL. 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. Night train #621 returns from Batumi's Makhinjauri Station to Tbilisi at 22:10, arriving around 7am (as of 2014). Since the schedule changes quite often, you can check before hand on the Georgian Railways Web site - you shouldn't trust the English version, though: if they do update the website, they will probably update only the version in Georgian.

Makhinjauri Station is 5 km north of Batumi, and taxis and buses await incoming passengers. A taxi from Batumi's city center costs 3 to 5 GEL.

Train tickets can be bought 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.

Reserve your seats in advance on the weekends, as many Georgians flock to the seaside.

By boat

Ferries run from Sochi, Russia and from Ilyichevsk, near Odessa, Ukraine ($145, 42 hours, irregular service). More boats are operated from Poti (5 GEL 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 10:30AM, Fridays at 9:30AM, Sundays at 10:30AM In 2010, the cost is 3500 rubles for adults, 1750 rubles for children. The number is +7-8622-609-622 or +7-918-409-12-96. Sochi port schedule

Get around

By bicycle

BatumVelo on the beach promenade.

An automatic bike sharing scheme, called BatumVelo is available to rent bicycles and ride along the beaches.

See

Places of Worship

Museums

Further afield

Do

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.

Theatres

Events

Buy

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%.

Eat

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.

Drink

Learn

Sleep

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 GEL for a double room incl breakfast.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Go next

Armenia

Turkey

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 07, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.