It took us a while to find our way around Batumi. For that reason we had created this “Batumi Travel Tips” post for you, to make your stay in Batumi as enjoyable as possible.
Food and drinks in Batumi
Just off the main square (see map, number 4), there’s a small fast food place that makes tasty and very cheap Georgian snacks. You can buy them from as cheap as 60 tetry. It’s busy all day, so the snacks are always fresh and usually still warm. The one filled with cabbage is our favourite (ask for “composti” to get that one) but you can try many different ones, with red bean paste (lobiani), meat, cheese, potato, chicken & dill, etc. The ladies who work in this place are friendly and patient.
Kiziki Restaurant was recommended by locals and we think it’s the best places to eat in Batumi. It’s not fine dining, but the food here is always fresh and tasty, the prices are very good in comparison with other places, and the staff are always friendly. In most places in Georgia it’s common to have a minimum of 5 khinkali (Georgian dumplings), but here you can order as few, or as many, as you like. For directions see map, number 9.
In Batumi most places allow smoking. We managed to find a nice smoke-free café (Boulangerie) that makes a very good coffee and some other snacks at reasonable prices (e.g. 3GEL for a cappuccino, cakes from 80 tetry). It also has free Wi-Fi. Boulangerie is located just off the main square (see map, number 2).
If you like to try different beer when travelling, this place is a must. It offers 3 varieties, of which dark stout called Black Velvet is our favourite. It costs 2.20 GEL for a glass (0.4L). Bring your own large plastic bottle for a takeaway. For directions see map, number 10.
The fish market
If you fancy eating fish, you should go to the fish market. They have a good selection of fresh fish for a good price. You can also have it prepared for you for an additional 3 GEL just next door. When we tried this option, it took more than 1.5h before our fish was cooked. When you go there, don’t take locals recommendation to buy sturgeon (beluga) as it’s endangered! For directions see map, number 8. It’s about 20 minute walk from the centre.
In Georgia there are not so many supermarkets, as most produce can be bought fresh and at a better price at local bazaars. Centrally located (see map, number 5) Goodwill is one of few supermarkets, but if you’re looking for fruit and veg or eggs, go just 500 meters further along on the right, and you will find a good selection of small market stalls and locals selling pretty much everything.
If you are looking for an authentic experience of a Georgian bazaar, ask for “Boni Bazaar”, it’s about a 30-minute walk from Goodwill. It’s a 2 storey building. Locals there are very friendly and will often let you taste before you buy and if you’re lucky you’ll get some chacha (local vodka) to try for free.
Usually local people advise to buy the wine in plastic bottles. It’s mostly good quality and the price is much better. For example you can buy a 3.5L bottle of semi sweet for less than 20 GEL. White is very much hit-and-miss. Available in most shops in Batumi.
If you’re lucky, you will be able to spot dolphins near Batumi beach. They sometimes come as close as 50 metres off the shore and swim in large groups. There are times when you can see them each day for a week. The best viewing point is just left of the Nino and Ali moving statue when you’re facing it. For directions see map, number 1.
For a rainy day, you could treat yourself and book a spa day in the Sheraton hotel (see map, number 6). They have a 20 metre swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym, Turkish hammam and wet and dry saunas. It costs 50 GEL per couple and you can stay there for as long as you like.
Other useful places
In the local library you can find free internet 7 days a week. They have a very good selection of English language books in the American Corner. Membership costs 3 GEL per year. You need a passport to sign up. For directions see map, number 7.
We discovered that the ATM at TBC bank offers better exchange rates than other banks in Batumi when withdrawing money. With TBC bank we saved about 5% on each withdrawal.
From what we’ve seen, it’s pretty easy to get an Iranian visa in Batumi in the consulate. For most European Union citizens, the cost is 50 Euros to get it in one week, and 75 for next day service. Opposite Goodwill there’s a little photo shop where you can have a picture done for your visa application.
Post Office is situated on Baratashvili street (see map, number 3) and costs 3 GEL to send a postcard to Europe.
Transport and accommodation
It‘s possible to take a morning train from Batumi to Kutaisi for as little as 2 GEL per person. The train is pretty comfortable, but you need to rush in to get a seat as it gets pretty busy. Also it takes between 3 to 4 hours, whereas by car you get there in less than two, but for that price you can’t complain.
In our experience the most convenient option to travel from Kutaisi airport to Batumi is to use the bus service that will be offered after you come through security (marshrutka). There’s a sales desk near the exit doors. It costs 16-18 GEL and is very reliable. Also you need to remember that there’s no ATM in the airport, but you can buy tickets with a bank card. The airport is situated just next to the road to Batumi and it seems pretty easy and common to hitch-hike.
When it comes to accommodation, we stayed in TJ Hostel for over a week. Run by a very friendly family, this small budget hostel is a place to meet other travellers. The price is 10 GEL per person or 20 GEL for a double room. TJ’s is located in Makhinjauri (train station area) about 20 minutes from the centre but very easily accessible by marshrutkas (1 GEL each way). You can book a place at this hostel through Facebook. Just send a message to Teona.
Let us know if our Batumi Travel Tips were useful.