Behind the beach is a well-kept park with a seafront promenade, where most of the action takes place during the day. in between the trees are many cafes serving Batumi-style Turkish coffee and snacks such as kebabs (mtsvadi) and Acharuli Khachapuri. The latter is famous in Batumi...an eye-shaped loaf of bread filled with cheese, fried eggs and butter, not really the healthiest option or the easiest thing to eat, but it is very good washed down with Kazbegi beer!
In the evening, holidaymakers, amorous couples and groups of youths with attitude loiter round the park eating popcorn, kicking balls, and, erm...other things! Once the sun has set, it might not be 100% safe to walk round here on your own...stick to the square and the roads!
Hidden away in a leafy square, not far from the huge cathedral, is Batumi's art museum. Before I write more, I ought to state that I am not really into paintings, and my main motivation for going inside was to escape an untimely downpour of rain. The paintings were nice, and my guidebook told me to look out for the Pirosmani classic of a woman milking a cow (on the second floor for those who must know)...but what impressed me more than the artworks was the building and its staff. Having had some let's say unusual experiences with surly Georgians (mostly in cafes and restaurants), it was a pleasure to meet some staff who actually tried to volunteer information about their museum with that Georgian rarity, enormous smiles on their faces...a shame my Georgian was limited to asking the admission price, but they did turn the lights on and gave me a free postcard on leaving.
You might mistake some of the comments above for being a bit offensive towards the Georgian people...so I'd like to explain. Most Georgians I met in the street were friendly and generous, despite the language barrier. But something seems to happen when you put a Georgian in a shop or an information office...suddenly they become tongue-tied, unhelpful and even downright rude. Maybe it is deep suspicion of foreigners, maybe they are just having a bad day, or maybe it is completely normal to wait over an hour before a waiter comes to take your order...I don't know. What I do know is that it seems only work-related...one shop owner was about as unhelpful as she could possibly be when I was trying to buy some biscuits, but then on meeting her by chance in the street the following day, she was all smiles and wanted to know if I needed any help!
Anyway, getting off-topic a bit here...the art museum, yes, definitely pay a visit if you find yourself in Batumi, as I feel visitors are a rarity. And entry is even free, so you have no excuse!
The term "old towm" might conjure up images of a tight web of narrow streets, mediaeval houses, hidden churches and bustling bazaars. Batumi's old town is more, shall we say, subtle. Although Batumi's history goes back many a century, most of the buildings you will see in the city centre are only around a hundred years old. That said, it is a pretty town, with low-rise, brightly painted houses lining the potholed streets. A sleepy sort of place, a completely different atmosphere than the ugly towns over the border in Turkey (if you've spent more than an hour in Hopa, you'll know what I mean!). There are no sights per se, but some things to look out for: a tiny church hidden away in someone's backyard; Batumi's one remaining synagogue, a newly-painted white pile; the Ajaran Government buildings (take no photos...or at least, don't get caught!); Batumi's one remaining mosque, surrounded by Turkish eateries; a yellow barrel from which a gold-toothed old lady serves up glasses of Kvas; basement cafes where great khachapuri can be eaten; the Batumi Museum (I never found it, so hunt hard!); the remains of Batumi's old station building.
Getting lost isn't a problem, as the streets form a grid pattern, the sea to the west, the port to the north, a busy road along the east, and a park in the south.
While you can't take a stroll around the docks, Batumi's port is easily seen from a number of quayside cafes near to Batumi's single mosque. If you visit out of season (i.e. NOT july or august), you might be wandering what I'm talking about, as there appears to be only one permanent cafe, and a snobby one at that...but in the summer months, the cafes multiply , and these are great places to spend an evening watching cargo ships come in and out while draining a few glasses of Kazbegi beer. Or at least they would be if the majority of the waiters and waitresses actually bothered to serve foreign customers...I waited an hour in one cafe before someone came to see if I wanted anything, and by the time one of them did respond to my hand gestures and shouts of "excuse me" in georgian, I'd had enough and moved off to another cafe down the road...oooh, the killer stares when I did that!
Beyond the cafes is Batumi's customs' house, a giant of a building which seems empty and under-used. Outside in the water, you can sometimes see a sorry-looking boat which apparently speeds over to Sochi in Russia a few times a week. There is supposed to be a similar boat to Trabzon from here, but I think that may be a state secret as nobody wanted to answer my questions about it. Whether you're catching a boat or not, walk past the customs area to watch the fishermen on the pier with a backdrop of the green Ajaran hills behind.
The main attraction of Batumi has to be the beach, at least in the warmer months and when it isn't pouring with rain. Don't expect miles of golden sand though...grey boulders form Batumi's long beach which stretches from the port down towards the southern suburbs. Be warned that there are no beach umbrellas for hire, although a few shelters were being constructed for the summer season when I was there in June. Bring suncream too...maybe the rocks attract more UV light or something, because I have never seen so many sunburnt people in my life! Apparently it isn't the cleanest stretch of beach in the world, but it is clean enough to tempt many bathers to frolic in the waves...for cleaner beaches, head south to Sarpi (the border) or north to somewhere like Kobuleti. But for an afternoon of sunbathing and people watching, Batumi's beach is perfect.
Along the beach there is a long promenade with parks and cafes. It's a nice place for a walk. The beach is big and a pebble beach. A Monday in the end of June it was not many people on the beach but I can imagine there are more at weekends and in July - August.
Batumi is the first Georgian city that you reach after driving 20 kms from Turkish border. Rich and resplendent in its natural beauty, here are the top five things that you should not miss while you are at Batumi.
1) The Balmy Beaches: Batumi is beautifully surrounded by the Black Sea on one side and the green hills on the other side. The sunset at the Batumi beach is very special and if you enjoy long walks, it offers the perfect setting with a well-kept park behind the beach. The park has a sea facing promenade, where life is buzzing between the trees at its many cafes. So refresh yourself with Batumi-style Turkish coffee and traditional snacks such as kebabs (mtsvadi) and mouth watering Acharuli Khachapuri (a recommended Batumi delicacy of bread filled with cheese, fried eggs and butter).
2) Entertainment for Kids at Batumi: Located 3 km from the city centre is a fascinating collection of ocean life at Aquapark. is a favorite with children. Even closer from the city centre is the Dolphinarium. A big favorite among adults and kids both is the leisure centre “Tsitsnatela” which houses 40 kinds of attractions: “Kamikadze”, “Children’s Tower”, “Ferris Wheel” “American Slides” and many more. This one is situated in Ozurgeti region, Shekvetili village some 500 m from the sea.
3) Must See Tourist Spots: Among the many attractions within the city and in the region the most memorable ones are Gonio-Apsaros (a Byzantine castle Ten miles south of town with a crenelated wall which now guards a courtyard of citrus trees) and the detritus of stone Roman waterworks ( scattered under a magnolia tree). Also there is the unbeatable Water dance and Music show at night, A deep Botanical garden, Nurigeli Lake and some great religious structures like Catholic & Armenian churches and Old Mosque.
4) Events at Batumi: The events held during the tourist season practically meet the needs and tastes of all-age customers. The Festival of Folklore is annually held in Batumi. It takes place on the open-air stylized stage and captivates the viewers by grandeur of performance. Every summer Batumi hosts the festival of Symphonic music. This little town fills with divine sounds of music for several days. Georgia is a prominent country for its theatrical achievements. A beautiful and lively traditional festival held in August is the festival of Neptune on the beach. It is a picturesque show of suntanned happy and hilarious people enjoying the sun, the sea and life, which lasts until late midnight and involves various funny games and contests.
5) Best Georgian Hospitality at Batumi: Georgians believe and practice two facets of life- guests come from God and Friendship rules the roost-as a person’s worth is judged not by how much money he or she has in his pocket but how many friends he has. Tourists experience the true Batumi culture at the sparkling new Hotel EraPalace. It is an eight storied hotel in one of the main streets, which gives tourists possibility to move and reach any place of the town quickly. For families looking for a relaxed time with quality service, Hotel "EraPalace" offers a swanky restaurant where guests can taste delicious Georgian and European meals and a cool Cafe where professional bartender prepares fabulous summer drinks.
Seaside park tower showcasing the letters of the Georgian alphabet. May 2012 not quite finished but, upon completion will have a restaurant and cafe along with a viewing area at the top, until then a spectacular sight, moreso at night.
Close to the Alphabet Tower at one end of Seaside Park this large Ferris Wheel. Just 0.5 Lari (May 2012) for a slow ride around which takes around 15 minutes. Predictably good views of the surrounding area.
I guess it must stretch for the best part of 3 miles? Enjoyed walking along most of the length of it on our visit.
Plenty of shady or sunny benches to rest on or watch some of the building work currently going on (5/12) plus the choice of several bars and restaurants to stop at.
A top attraction in Batumi, enjoyed and really would love to revisit in 5 or so years time to see how things have evolved - we will see!
Don't miss to watch awter and dance show. It is usually starts at 21.00 and continues until midnight. I have 2 video about it.
If you start your trip from Turkey border you will see Gonio castle first near the main road. Before it you may see some beaches.
Batumi's longitude is special. It is possible to have many kind of plants, trees. So botanical garden is very good.
There is a Turkish quarter in Batumi with a lot of Turkish restaurants. Overthere you can find this mosque build in 1870 .
There is a nice park ( 6 May park) around a small lake (Nuri lake) in Batumi. In this park you can visit the small zoo for 2 Lari or go to the delphin show.