You’ve heard about Batumi before, haven’t you? Doesn’t matter what your answer is, you are very lucky, if you visited it or if you are about to head there. It’s an amazing refreshing experience for people who are tired of Europe but are at the same time scared by the Asian lifestyle. Georgia has always been on the crossroad, and Ajara region with Batumi in its heart is no exception.In the Soviet times that was the Nizza of USSR: people from the whole Soviet empire streamed to the Black Sea coast of republic of Georgia to catch some sun, swim, drink good wine and meet open warm locals. What has changed now? Well, except of the fact that that country doesn’t exist anymore and the infrastructure is more modern, Ajara region remained the main summer leisure hub. Or, even better: now it’s becoming a year-round destination after the winter resort Goderdzi has been opened. Palm trees, subtropical climate, Black Sea, vibrant night life and delicious local food – what else do you need to spend a great vacation?
The Georgians celebrate the New Year much more actively than Christmas. Again, it’s related to the Soviet past, because the religion was suppressed and neglected, but at the same time it was important to give people things to celebrate. So the New Year became the main winter holiday, and it’s definitely worth seeing and experiencing!This festive time is about the new starts, right? So you’d better find an unexplored place to embrace the upcoming changes, say good bye to the past and welcome the future. In Ajara you can taste the new cuisine, amazing wines you’ve never tried before, whisper your old secrets and throw your old burdens to the sea, have fun in the bars and clubs, become closer to the nature, try out your luck in the casino and make a wish on the main square of the city, as the clock is counting the last minutes of 2016.
Do you want more details about places to visit? Here we go!
The liveliest town of the Georgian Black Sea coast, Batumi is sometimes referred to as Las Vegas of Caucasus. Bars, clubs and casinos attract many tourists from neighbouring countries to this beautiful spot. Modern architecture, bike routes, street art and summer festivals are a magnet for young and hip audience too.
What about winter? Well, this subtropical port city looks amazing at any weather, be it sun, snow or rain. The cable car “Argo” will let you see the whole city and surrounding from above. It’s one of the most romantic places for observing the sunset… Another places for people in love is the monument to Ali and Nino, an Azeri-Georgian couple, whose love was eternalized in a book and a movie. The statues more towards each other every day, but don’t stay together for a long time. It’s a sad, but very touching story! Riding the Ferris wheel, bikes, motorbikes, going to the sea on a yacht under the good weather, visiting the modern art exhibition and little designer shops, eating fish and amazing local dishes based on cheese… Sounds like a proper holiday time, the time you spend for yourself, your relaxation and peace of mind. During the winter holidays it’s inevitable to visit Europe Square with the monument to Medea, the famous character of Greek (and world) mythology who was born and raised in the Western Georgia. There is a thematic market, various events, concerts and live sets of the Georgian and international DJs. If you want Georgian folk, international pop or techno, you will find it in Batumi. Bright fireworks, the glintwine (mulled wine) based on the local wines and spices, merry people, different traditions… Choose what you need and come experience it! You can get more information at www.garetkaia.ge.
This seaside village offers clean beaches for sun and sea lovers in summer and historical value for heritage seekers anytime. An old fortress with a nice museum is there for those who want to have a cultural program too. Not overcrowded yet, Gonio is a nice place for a family vacation. As for the entertainment – Batumi is in 15 minutes drive!
For beautiful waterfalls and mountains, for small private wineries and another portion of arch bridges made without any glue or concrete you should head to the Ajarian mountains. Municipalities of Keda and Khulo are your destinations in this case. Enjoying the variety of local dishes is also very pleasant there! My personal gastronomic favorites in that part of Ajara are the restaurants Chela, Ajarian Wine House and family winery of Shervashidze. That’s the way the locals tick here: they treat you, they tell you stories, and you are getting fascinated by the nature, air and spirit more and more!
Ajarian National Parks
In Ajara, there are two protected areas: Kintrishi and Mtirala. Both of them will make you feel like in an Indiana Jones movie: subtropical nature, old fortresses and typical Ajarian arch bridges look simply enchanting. You should check the weather forecast before planning a trip there: being very sincere, the subtropical rain might not be the best option in winter.In this case, I would recommend to go to the Botanical Garden of Batumi at the Green Cape (Mtsvane Kontskhi). So green, so lush, so fruitful at any season, it will enchant you and bring you closer to your own roots, to the mother nature. It’s just in half an hour drive from Batumi: the minibuses go there from the Pushkin square, or you should call the taxi (though, feel free to negotiate the price).
Newly opened ski resort is located in 2.5 hours drive from the sea. It is offering great views of mountains and forests. As it is still developing, the freeride lovers will find a lot of space for themselves there. I don’t ski myself (yet), but several friends have been there and said it was a nice place, even though apres ski opportunities are yet to be created.
So as you see, there are several quite fair reasons to travel to Ajara and Batumi this winter. I am doing it myself, because the wishes I made there on the New Year 2014 and 2015 somehow came true. The sea is listening, the nature is listening… I just need some real off time.
See you in 2017! Best wishes and warm hugs!