Batumi is the main city of Adjara region and a jewel of the Black Sea coast. The city has undergone major development in the past decade or so, resulting in a bustling seaside resort full old and new architecture, luxury hotels, dining venues, and plenty of attractions. Due to the high number of international hotel chains and casinos, many call it the ‘Las Vegas of the Black Sea’. It’s the go-to summer destination for many locals and foreigners coming from neighboring countries. Here’s my travel guide with some of the best and free things to do in Batumi and Adjara in general.
Adjara is an autonomous republic within the country. It is distinguished by the unique combination of mountains and sea. Upper Adjara, or Zemo Adjara as we locals call it, is a completely different world compared to modern Batumi and the lowlands of the region. It’s a perfect place for those looking for rural escape in nature.
How to Get to Batumi
Batumi is located 386 km away from Tbilisi, and due to the not fully finished highway, the trip takes around 4-5 hours by car. There are different means of public transport available from Tbilisi to Batumi, and I’ll briefly explain each one.
Tbilisi Batumi Train
Tbilisi Batumi train is probably one of the most comfortable and frequently used public transportation for locals and tourists. A couple of years ago, Georgia got a relatively fast, two-story Stadler Train that runs at least twice a day and takes around 5 hours to get from Tbilisi to Batumi. The price per ticket for the second class is 25₾ and for the first class – 61₾, they also have business class for 100₾. Yes, I know it’s not as fast as you could have imagined, however, do note that you’ll have a free wi-fi to keep you busy and entertained! Same goes to Batumi Tbilisi train. You can check the timetable and prices here.
Tbilisi to Batumi Bus
My second favorite means of transportation from Tbilisi to Batumi is bus. Operated by Turkish company Metro Georgia, those buses are very comfortable and run several times a day. Similar to trains, they have free wi-fi and hot beverages offered a couple of times during the journey. The price for one way ticket is 25₾. You can see the timetable and prices here.
Tbilisi to Batumi Marshrutka
This is my least favorite transport as its very uncomfortable and drivers drive even crazier than average Georgian. Marshrutkas leave from Didube Bus Station near Didube Metro every hour from early in the morning till late in the evening. The price for one way is around 18-20₾. You don’t need to buy the ticket in advance, you can simply show up and pay to the driver.
Tbilisi to Batumi Plane
There’s a small airplane operating from Tbilisi to Batumi every day except Tuesdays. The price for one way ticket is 125₾ and it extremely shortens the journey time, taking around 1 hour. You can see the schedule and buy the ticket here.
Best Time to Visit Batumi
If you want to avoid crowds and visit the city on the budget, the best time to visit Batumi is in spring (April-May) and autumn (October-November). Summers here see lots of local and international tourists, therefore the prices for the accommodation triples, while the beaches and streets are extremely crowded. Additionally, it’s quite hot in summer and tends to rain pretty often. Winters are often warm, with light snow.
Top 10 Free Things to Do in Batumi
Batumi is a very charming city, full of new and old architecture, gorgeous street art, fancy hotels and restaurants, and quirky buildings. The city itself might not seem big, but exploring everything by foot will exhaust you. There are modern buses that goes to main streets of Batumi, so you can easily hop on and off to the desired spot. Though, it goes without saying that you’ll find more interesting and unique places while wandering the streets on foot.
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Batumi Boulevard
Batumi Boulevard is one of the main attractions of the city, whose history dates back to the 1880s. What you see today is the expended boulevard and at first, there was only two strips. The boulevard used to start from todays Seaside Park of Batumi Boulevard and ended at the corner of today’s Japaridze Street.
Now it’s a 7km long walking and cycling trail that features many interesting statues, sculptures, and modern art. Walking in the boulevard in late afternoon or evening is one of the best ways to unwind and relax in the city.
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Batumi Beach
Batumi beach follows the coastline and Batumi Boulevard, making it quite long. The beach itself is a pebble one, however, there are umbrellas and sunbathing chairs for rental at every corner. The price for whole day ranges from 3-5₾. Most parts of the Batumi beach has showers and changing cabins as well. There are small kiosks that sell cold drinks, snacks, and ice-cream on the side of the boulevard.
If you are looking for alternative beaches in Georgia, here’s the top five recommended by Georgia Starts Here
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Batumi Port
Batumi is also a very important port city from the standpoint of trade among other ports of the Black Sea. The port is part of oil transportation and serves as a mediatory spot for European and Asian oil transport.
While walking along the port, you can admire the everyday life of the locals who work at the boats or fish.
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Miracle Park
Miracle Park is right next to the Batumi Port and features all the quirky and unusual buildings you can find in Batumi. Chacha Tower, a 25-meter tall fountain with a clock. It was built to have chacha, local high alcoholic beverage pouring from its taps like a water fountain. Unfortunately, it’s not functioning today.
Ali and Nino is another cool statue that symbolizes eternal love. Created by a Georgian sculptor, the statue was inspired by a novel of the same name by Kurban Said and tells the story of a forbidden love of a daughter of a Georgian Christian nobleman and a Muslim Azeri boy set in Baku. The two 8-meter tall statues move towards each other, becomes one piece, and moves away. And then, it all starts again.
Once you get a good look at the statue, walk towards the Alphabetic Tower, a 135-meter tall structure resembles a DNA molecule and is encircled by all the letters of Georgian alphabet (33 in total). There’s a lift to go up for panoramic views of Batumi and the Black Sea. The cost of the ride is 8₾.
You can also take a ride at Ferris Wheel for panoramic views of the town and the sea. However, do note that the ride costs 5₾.
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Batumi City Itself
Beyond the Miracle Park and the boulevard, the city offers marvelous architectural landmarks that shouldn’t be missed. One of them is the Europe Square, located in Old Town Batumi. The central piece of the square is the statue of Medea, symbolizing the tight relationship between Georgia and Europe. Medea was the daughter of Aieti, a mythical king of Colchis who helped Jason and Argonauts to steal the famous Golden Fleece.
Another significant site of this area is the Astronomical Clock located at the intersection of Gamsakhurdia and M. Abashidze streets. It looks something like the one in Old Town of Prague, but it’s much smaller and newly made. Similarly, besides the time of the day, it shows the position of the moon, the sun, the meridian, and the horizon.
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Treck Down the Street Art
If you are like me and love finding good street art, then you are definitely in the right place. Batumi is home to some of the most gorgeous murals I have seen in Georgia, admittedly they are much better to what we have in Tbilisi.
Here are some of the best pieces of Batumi Street Art with locations:
Free Things to Do in Batumi: 6 May Park
For getting away from crowds and relaxing in nature, taking a stroll on 6 May Park is the best way to go. Located in the city center, the park is laid out around the lake and features benches, a small zoo, dophinarium, and boat rentals.
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Piazza Square
Piazza Square is one of the most popular sights of Batumi. It features mosaic floor and stained glass art on its surrounding buildings. Here you’ll find hotels, restaurants, and cafes serving both local and international cuisine. The square is about 5,700 sq.meters, which during the high season is full of tables and chairs, making it a great spot to have a cup of coffee or a lunch. You can easily wander around to admire the modern architecture and take pictures. No one will say anything if you don’t want to sit down and order something.
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Dancing Fountains
At almost end of the Batumi Boulevard, you’ll find so-called Dancing Fountains. Every day from 8:30 p.m till 12:30 a.m, the fountain turns into a theatrical show with music and laser lighting.
Free Things to Do in Batumi: Fish Market
If you are a fish and seafood lover, visiting the fish market a bit outside of Batumi is a must. You can not only buy freshly caught local fish here but also find imported seafood. There’s a restaurant next door, so you can ask the seller you’d like it to be prepared on the spot. Otherwise, you can, of course, take it home and cook it yourself. The prices are moderately cheap.
Top 7 Day Trips From Batumi
The geographical location of Batumi makes it a perfect spot to explore Adjara region and its neighboring Guria. There is a good public transportation system taking you from Batumi to its surrounding areas, with the ticket price ranging from 1-3₾, depending on where you are going.
Day Trips From Batumi: Batumi Botanical Garden
Batumi Botanical Garden, located in Mtsvane Kontskhi, or Green Cape in English, is around 9km from Batumi. The botanical garden covers around 108 hectares of land and was laid out in 1912 featuring a great collection of more than 5,000 species. The garden is divided into 9 floristic zones, therefore, if you want to see it all, you’ll need to spend at least one whole day here.
On our visit, we managed to see one-third of the garden and followed the map we were given at the box office and chose the areas we thought would be interesting. The botanical garden is well marked with information desks and maps. Moreover, I liked that each plant had its own plate informing us what was its name.
- Opening Hours: Everyday 9 a.m – 9 p.m
- Entrance Fee: 8₾ for Georgian citizens, 15₾ for foreigners, 1₾ for pupils up to 16 years old.
- Electric car ride: 5₾ per person, which is not included in the entrance ticket
How to get to Batumi Botanical Garden: There are several options to get to the botanical garden. You can take direct marshrutka number 31 from the center, just stand anywhere on Parnavaz Mepe Street and it will come by. There is also a minibus standing at Argo Cable car, a bus number 15 from Rustaveli Street, and a minibus number 40 that drives through Chavchavadze Street.
Day Trips From Batumi: Gonio Fortress
Gonio Fortress is one of the main historical landmarks of Adjara, which dates back to ancient times. Back in the day, it was a home of five Roman military cohosts, which was a well-consolidated town. Later, it was one of the strongholds of the Ottomans and Byzantine.
- Opening hours: every day, except Mondays from 10 a.m to 6 p.m
- Entrance fee: 3₾
How to get to Gonio Fortress: Similar to the botanical garden, there’s a good connection of public transport from Batumi to the fortress.You can take bus number 16, any minibus that goes to Sarpi or Gonio from Chavchavadze or Abuseridze streets.
Day Trips From Batumi: Petra Fortress
Petra is another important archeological and historical complex in Adjara located in Tsikhisdziri. Built in the 6th century by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian, the fortress was an important strategic spot of the route which linked Georgia to Iran and Armenia. Wander the ruins of the fortress and admire the beautiful view of the Black Sea from here. Half of its ruins are covered in green, making it more charming and spectacular from both inside and outside.
- Opening Hours: Always
- Entrance Fee: Free
How to Get to Petra Fortress: You need to take marshrutka towards Kobuleti which leaves from Batumi Catholic Church of Holy Spirit. The ride costs 1,50-2₾ and ask the driver to drop you off at the entrance. In order to go back to Batumi, stand at the highway and wait for the transport towards Batumi.
Day Trips From Batumi: Shekvetili
Shekvetili is a small village and a sea resort of Guria region, located 47km from Batumi. You can come here for the magnetic sand beach and visit the Musicians Park next to the Black Sea Arena.
The park features statues of local and international artists scattered along the area. Here, you’ll see 23 statues of such international artists as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Bob Marley, Elton Jone, and Whitney Huston to name just a few. Once you go closer, you’ll hear their most famous and all-time favorite hits. It should be noted, that some of those statues look nothing like the original person, however, we had fun trying to identify an artist without looking at the plate or listening to their music.
- Opening Hours: Always
- Entrance Fee: Free
And once you are here, there’s another attraction you might want to explore. A theme-park Tsitsinatela, or Fire-fly in English, features around 40 different attractions to keep you and those traveling with kids entertained for a day.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 6 p.m till 12 a.m
- Entrance Fee: Free unless you want to ride any attractions. You’ll need to buy the card for 1₾ and top it up with additional money to use on attractions.
Georgia in Miniature
Next to Tsitsinatela, there’s a park called Georgia in Miniatures, where you can explore the main landmarks of the country. It’s a great way to see the iconic sights if you don’t have time to explore the whole country, or even get inspired to travel and see them in real life. Anything from Tbilisi to Svaneti’s medieval defense towers can be found here. Honestly, I found one or two sights that I didn’t know about and triggered my interest to see them in person
- Opening Hours: Every day from 10 a.m till 12 a.m, on Sundays from 12 p.m till 12 a.m
- Entrance Fee: 3₾ + 1 if you don’t have Tsitsinatela card.
How to Get to Musicians Park: You’ll need to take marshrutka towards Shekvetili from the Old Bus Station at Mayakovsky st and ask the driver to drop you off near the Black Sea Arena.
From here, you’ll need to walk on the highway and either walk 4.7km towards Tsitsinatela, hitchhike or stop any marshrutka going to Kobuleti or Batumi and ask the driver to drop you off near Tsitsinatela.
Day Trips From Batumi: Kobuleti Nature Reserve
This is the most underrated attraction of Adjara, which should be on everyone’s radar. Located in Kobuleti, this Nature Reserve is the most unique one not only in Georgia but in the whole world as well. What makes this place so unique? Maiden sphagnum moss peat bog! Its the rarest and only filtering sphagnum bog in the world and the most sensitive to the pollution of the environment. I was entirely blown away by this nature reserve that basically no one knows about. Even I had no clue until I accidentally came across it in one of the books.
Peat bog is never covered with water, while sphagnum acts like a cloud. When it rains in Kobuleti, the sphagnum absorbs water and exceeds its weight 25 times, i.e it’s like a sponge. If you rip it off and squeeze, the cleanest water will drip. And don’t worry about destroying the ecosystem, it regenerates when you put it back in. Thanks for such environment, Kobuleti never gets flooded during heavy rains. The territory covers around 770 hectares.
Rare peat bog of Ispani I and Ipsani II can be explored on foot and accompanied by a ranger. However, be prepared, you won’t walk in a well-laid-out trail, you’ll be walking in wild nature through bushes. Moreover, note that you’ll need to wear waterproof or rubber boots. This is something that I couldn’t find any information about and showed up wearing sneakers. You can rent special equipment called ‘mountain skies’ made from branch and thread, which was used in Upper Adjara back in the day in winter. This ‘skies’ are tied to your boots and helps you balance and not sink in the swamp. The price for the skies is only 2₾.
Depending on the time you visit, you can see various birds, turtles, swamp flowers, and another type of the sphagnum moss.
- Opening Hours of Kobuleti Nature Reserve: Always
- Opening Hours of Administration: Working days from 10 a.m to 6 p.m
- Entrance Fee of Kobuleti Nature Reserve: Free
How to Get to Kobuleti Nature Reserve: Similarly to going to Petra Fortress, you’ll need to take a marshrutka to Kobuleti and ask the driver to drop you off at Kobuleti Nature Reserve Administration, located on the main highway of the town. It’s better to get in touch with the administration in advance and notify them about your arrival. Check out this page for more details. Afterword, you’ll need to either take a taxi or walk 3km from administration to the entrance of the reserve.
Day Trips From Batumi: Makhuntseti Waterfall and Arched Bridge
Last but not least, this day trip from Batumi takes you to Upper Adjara to the village of Makhuntseti. Located only 40 minutes drive from Batumi, it’s one of the most popular destinations among many tourists visiting the city, therefore, it can get quite crowded during summer months.
The waterfall is hidden away from the main road and you’ll need to follow the directions. It truly is a beautiful sight to see a water falling down from a 36-meter tall rock. Another attraction here is the stone arched bridge, right near the highway. It is believed to be built in the 12th century to connect the banks of the river and is distinguished by its constuction.
How to Get to Makhuntseti Waterfall: Take a marshrutka from Old Bus Station at Mayakovsky st. 1 towards Makhuntseti, Shuakhevi or Khulo. The price of the ticket costs 2₾ and the buses depart every hour. As always, ask the driver to drop you off at the waterfall. To go back to Batumi, stand on the main road and wait for the next marshrutka going to Batumi.
As always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments down below, or connect with me on my social media channels. I will be happy to assist you as much as possible.