Verdant, misty hills, snowy peaks and sunny shingled beaches, it’s not hard to see why Batumi is known as the Pearl of the Black Sea. This charming coastal settlement is Georgia’s second city and busiest seaside resort, located on the coast of the country’s Ajara region and one of the most beautiful and fascinating ports in the Caucasus. During the summer months, once sleepy streets – most notably the Batumi Bulvari – lined by trees and fading art nouveau buildings come alive with parties, concerts, exhibitions, pop-ups and sun seekers.
Batumi has a long and fascinating history dating back 2,000 years, ruled by the Ancient Greeks, Ottomans, Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union before Georgia gained independence. Relics of each rule are still present in the city. The city is a colourful jumble of ancient sites, Belle Époque grandeur, modern hotels, and tower blocks – the latter only cropping up in recent years. This diversity has made Batumi such a welcoming and tolerant destination, and travellers will find mosques, churches and synagogues lying in perfect harmony. Cultural monuments are a plenty, along with medieval arched bridges, beautiful lakes and nearby traditional villages – all transporting visitors back in time. Of course, Batumi is also a modern metropolis, and swanky new boutique hotels, art galleries, trendy coffee shops, and speakeasies are rapidly growing across the city as part of a newfound construction boom.
Batumi benefits from a year-round sub-tropic climate, and as a result, the city is peppered with remarkable green spaces. UNESCO even recognises three National Parks as World’s Natural Heritage sites. With a direct 3.5-hour flight from Dubai on Emirates and Flydubai, and just a four-hour train journey from Tbilisi, it’s never been easier to visit Georgia’s charming resort city from the Middle East. Here’s what to do in Batumi this summer.
Where to stay in Batumi, Georgia
As the first international hotel brand to set up in Batumi, Sheraton Batumi’s state-of-the-art design leaves passers in awe, drawing inspiration from its white lighthouse tower exterior from the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria. The hotel lies just 1,000 feet away from the leafy Batumi Boulevard and is home to the largest outdoor and indoor pool in Batumi, the poolside filled with modish travellers lolling and frolicking. The hotel also offers hand-crafted cocktails and premium Georgian grape alongside trays of grills to be enjoyed at the 360-sky bar and restaurant – offering views across the whole city. book now
Colosseum Marina Hotel
The Colosseum Marina is a five-star luxury hotel nestled on a private beachfront strip in the west of Batumi, built to resemble the grand Colosseum of ancient Rome. Ten stories house 101 guest rooms and suites, most with gorgeous sea views and plush, spacious interiors. Guests can relax after a day exploring in the hotel’s five-star wellness club with indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, training room and spa or dine in its European-Georgian restaurant, complete with outdoor terrace. book now
Le Meridien Batumi
Located just moments from the twinkling Black Sea, Le Meridien Batumi is the perfect stay for families and romantic couples. The hotel is known for its five-star spa facility specialising in massages (and massage lessons) along with several unique treatments and children’s services, and its sprawling outdoor pool is one of the best in the city. Guests are encouraged to try local Batumi cuisine offered alongside contemporary French dishes at the Brasserie restaurant or channel the spirit of the 1950s at the stylish Latitude Bar. book now
Best restaurants in Batumi, Georgia
Italiphiles will feel right at home at Ambassadori, the city’s most revered Italian eatery dubbed the “most authentic Italian food in all of Georgia”. Just a short walk from the old dancing fountain, its menu offers everything from classic Margarita pizza to baked peppers marinated in caramelised wine vinegar, with a bolstered wine menu to match.
Best known for its house wine collection and club extension, the Terrassa Askaneli impresses with its exquisite combination of Caucasian and Asian dishes. A must-try remains the Sadj Kaurma, a chicken dish prepared on an iron plate.
Located in the heart of Europe Square, chic European eatery offers a stripped-back industrial chic experience with al fresco seating for dining under the stars. Top dishes include some of the best adjarian khachapuri (fluffy bread stuffed with cheese and egg) and beef and veal khinkali (Georgian dumplings).
Adjarian Wine House
Just a short journey inland, and guests will find one of the most charming establishments on the Black Sea Coast; the 18th-century ruined manor house-turned-winery that is Adjarian Wine House. Against a backdrop of lush greenery, the winery restaurant serves locally produced wine paired with delights like Kari, a local chicken dish plated on diced pineapples.
What to see in Batumi, Georgia
At 130 meters high and adorned with 33 letters of the Georgian alphabet, The Alphabet Tower stands tall above the city as a beacon of Georgian Identity. At the top is a rotating panoramic restaurant offering some of the most impressive views of the Black Sea.
South of Batumi at the mouth of the Chorokhi River, travellers will find the remains of an Ancient Roman fortification, the 1st-century Gonio Fortress. A remarkable example of Roman-Byzantine military architecture, the fortress spans 47,000 sq metres and is protected by high stone walls and 18 towers. A fascinating museum also lies at the heart of the site.
Petra Castle (Fortress)
Built in the year 535 by John Stathegos in the territory of the village Tsikhisdziri, supposedly considered an inaccessible fortress, its location and nostalgic structure itself make it worth the trip; if not the possibility of getting a glimpse of what remains from the preserved antique baths, soldiers’ residents as well as the basilica of the 6th-7th century.
Batumi Botanical Garden
Nowhere is this lush climate’s benefits more apparent than at the Batumi Botanical Garden, a subtropical oasis of plants, trees and flowers overlooking the sparkling blue sea. As one of the oldest and most important plant research facilities of the region today, the Garden is home to over 2,000 different species, spread through the different walking and off-road hiking trails; it makes for a peaceful morning stroll. Popular amongst visitors for the Canary date palms and Australian Gums, the heart and soul remains the 125-year-old flowering magnolia that cannot be missed.
One of the most popular sights, the Makhutseti waterfall is accessed easiest through a short trail from the main road; on the opposite side of the road stands the Makhutseti Bridge laced in hemispheric store; there are lots of options surrounding it for a quick bite.
A favourite gathering spot amongst the locals is the Batumi Piazza, surrounded by popular cafes and eateries. Inspired by the Italian piazza, with mosaic floors and stained-glass patterns making, it a landmark for visitors to dine at.