Planning a trip to the seaside is a very pleasant process. Though, if you decide to come to a new country, you really need a piece of advice. How to make your trip pleasant and stress free, how to possibly avoid tourist traps and see real Georgia? I will try to help you.
Starting with transportation issue, I should mention that getting to the main seaside town Batumi is possible by plane from Moscow, Odessa, Istanbul, Aktau, Minsk or even Tbilisi. If you arrive to Kutaisi airport, there are official buses (Georgian Bus), which will deliver you to Batumi or located nearby Kobuleti and Chakvi for the fixed price.
Still, the most popular choice that people make is to fly to Tbilisi (because there are much more flights – also from Dubai, Sharjah, Abu-Dhabi, Kyiv, Almaty, Munich, Baku etc), do a bit of sightseeing and then head to Batumi.
The most comfy ways to go there is to take a train from Central Station or so called Metro Bus from Ortachala bus station. For 20 – 26 lari you will have enough comfort and space. The cheapest way though is marshrutka – a minibus. A ride costs around 12 – 15 lari and the buses depart from Central Station and Didube metro station. They can be quite fast, but also really small in size.
These marshrutkas or big comfortable Metro buses can drop you in Kobuleti and Chakvi, which are very close to Batumi, but rents are cheaper. From Batumi you can also proceed to Kvariati and Gonio, which are also a bit cheaper and calmer. Minibus or a taxi is the best way to get there. Negotiation skills will help you deal with the prices. 10-12 lari is the best possible option.Talking about accommodation, there are many new apartments in Batumi, which you can rent. Hotels, hostels and guest houses are also available.
By the way, at the website with discounts like swoop.ge or hotsale.ge there can be cheap offers for renting flats, rooms in the guesthouses and hotels or also restaurant or swimming pools.
Another couple of real life recommendations would be: don’t buy souvenirs at the very seaside, because they are more expensive and don’t be afraid to bargain in the markets. There is an agricultural market in the town, not far from the bus station, and behind the freight sea port there is a fish market, where you can buy a lot of different local sea products for good price and get it fried on spot. It’s not fancy at all, but super delicious indeed.
There are several interesting places to eat, which I would recommend:
- Nice atmosphere and good wines in gastrobar “Gosti”
- Soviet kitsch in the restaurant “Chaynik”
- Delicious Georgian and international food in “Old Boulevard”
- One of the best Ajaruli khachapuri in town in “Cafe Laguna“
- Amazing baked aubergine and cheese with sweet sauce in “Heart of Batumi”
Talking about delicious things, please, don’t limit yourself with Ajaruli khachapuri only, even though it’s a pure magic. Sinori, achma and borano are some other cheese-based delicacies from the region. Wine tasting is another must do. In the old center of Batumi there are several good wine stores, and also some stores where Georgians sell their homemade wine. It’s up to you, what you will choose. In order to experience everything, taste both homemade and factory-made, if you can. My favourite is BQ, a cool wine bar with a huge choice of rare qvevri wines. There is also a bar “Chacha Time”, that is serving many kinds of chacha, Georgian strong grape-based drink, and even conducts chacha-storytelling sessions. I also loved their burgers 🙂
The best food and wine experience outside of Batumi is in Ajarian Wine House in Khelvachauri. Big collection of exquisite wines and so many Ajarian specialties! The best sinori of my life was born there.Another good countryside restaurant is located in Keda municipality. Its name is “Chala”, and you will see it from the road: a lot of wooden cabins near the river in a picturesque corner will attract you attention.
Speaking about entertainment, I could definitely recommend a yacht club “Neptune” (phone number to book the yacht is on the page), city cycling “Batumvelo” (20 lari/card, 0.5 lari for 30 minutes ride) and night clubs “Sector 26” and “Gate”. Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to the Botanical garden of Batumi (it’s actually in several kilometers from the city, located at Green Cape / Mtsvane Kontskhi. You can go there by minibus number 13 from Tbilisi Square). Another easy to get closer to the nature is taking a minibus at the same stop and head to Makhuntseti waterfall. Not super far and very picturesque!
Gonio and Petra fortresses are the options for culture seekers. It is also makeable in one day: Petra can be combined with the Botanical Garden, and Gonio – with Makhuntseti. The fuller is your day, the better, right?