Batumi Travel Guide
Sitting on the Black Sea, Batumi is Georgia’s second-largest city and its top tourist destination. With ocean, mountains, and a delightful subtropical climate, it has a long summer season.
There’s more to do than lounge by the seashore, though – its museums, churches, and public art will captivate you.
Come check out our Batumi travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Batumi, Georgia.
Soon after getting settled in Batumi, make the Borjgalo Ethnographic Museum your first stop. This institution is the work of Kemal Turmanidze – he built it with little in the way of government assistance.
Here, you’ll learn about the folklore of Georgia, its crafts, and its agricultural past. Kemal Turmanidze carved many of the wood pieces that you’ll see as you wander amid this museum’s exhibits. Each implement had either decorative or practical value during the pre-modern era.
As amazing as this place is, it can be a bit tricky to find. It is far from the centre of Batumi, so walking is out of the question. Take bus 39 or 132 from the city centre and tell the driver you want to go to the Ethnographic Museum.
Dig further into the past of this part of Georgia by exploring Batumi Archaeological Museum. It is one of the oldest museums in the entire country and focuses on local finds made by archaeologists. Despite its small size, curators have packed this building with artifacts. Over 22,000 items – from Stone Age tools to Roman-era dishes – await you here. For only a couple of Lari, this place represents excellent value for your travel dollar.
Georgia has hosted Christian churches dating back to the early days of the religion. If you’re looking for churches to explore in Batumi, start with the Batumi Cathedral of the Mother of God. Its constructors built it in the Gothic Revival Style in the 19th century.
By the 20th century, though, it was forcibly occupied by the Soviets. Not fond of religion, they converted this hall of worship into a high voltage laboratory. As the Communists lost their grip on Georgia in 1989, the Georgian Orthodox Church assumed control of the building.
Today, despite its beautiful stained glass windows, most visitors are the faithful. As you sightsee, show respect for those worshipping. Dress conservatively and refrain from taking pictures of people without their permission.
The Church of St. Nicholas is another noteworthy Christian point of interest in Batumi. At over 150 years old, it is the oldest church in the city. Ilya Efremidi, then mayor of Batumi, was Greek in ethnicity. Shortly after his election, he spearheaded its construction, much to the glee of Batumi’s Greek Orthodox community.
Despite being a Christian church, it lacks an essential component. When Turkish authorities granted Mr Efremidi permission to build, it came with the condition that they exclude the bells. This issue didn’t take long to fix, though. In 1878, Russian military members took up a collection, buying the church the bells it lacked. It closed when the Bolsheviks took over in Moscow. However, persistent petitioning by locals reopened it in 1946.
Today, locals and visitors alike admire this church for its attractive frescoes and unique architecture. Like the Batumi Cathedral of the Mother of God, the Church of St. Nicholas has a strict dress code. If you are wearing shorts, have exposed shoulders or chest, authorities will likely deny you entry.
Take in incredible views of Batumi and the Black Sea by taking the Argo Cable Car into the hills. It’s a long ride, but once you reach the top, the photo ops will make up for it. The older parts of the city, its rapidly modernizing parts, and the ocean will have you clicking away.
Once you have gotten your fill, take in the view as you linger over a coffee. Before taking the return trip down, also check out their wine shop – Georgian vino is surprisingly good!
In Batumi, the average January high is 7 degrees Celsius, making snow rare. Because of this, a wide range of subtropical plants can grow, as you’ll see at the Batumi Botanical Garden. Botanist Andrey Krasnov created this park during the Russian era and served as a research garden during the reign of the Soviets.
Today, it plays host to 2,000 different species, 104 of them endemic to the Caucasus. Do note that the park is on a steep slope – their paths will give infrequent walkers a workout. Golf carts are available for the motion-impaired, or for those who tire easily.
After a long day sightseeing in the region, spend an evening on Batumi Boulevard. Here, you’ll find dancing fountains, cafes, beach bars, and more. However, the Ali and Nino Monument stands out. This slick moving sculpture of metal captures a tale of two star-crossed lovers. Ali, a soldier and Azerbaijani Muslim, longed to be with Nino, a Georgian princess. Fate kept them apart multiple times, and eventually, Ali died in a battle.
Even if you don’t know its backstory, its mesmerizing movements of this artwork will impress you just the same.