Batumi is the biggest city on the Black Sea coast, and the capital of the Autonomous Repbublic of Adjara. It's one of the most popular vacation cities in the country, with its subtropical climate and pebble stone beaches. The area is much more touristic than Tbilisi, and the local government has tried to modernize the city with a whole bunch of construction projects, resulting in what some people might see as a lack of authenticity.
The main touristic part of the city is the Boulevard, stretching along the central part of the waterfront. The waterfront continues southwards, and turns more residential the further you go. If you fancy a swim, there's a pebble stone beach stretching along the entire distance.
Architecturally Batumi is a mixed bag, with old and cozy streets interspersed with kitschy high-rises and installations. Where some people will see beatuy, others are sure to have a good laugh - for better or worse, it will make you feel something.
The old city, situated between the Boulevard and Chavchavadze Street, is by far the prettiest part. Wander around, and peek into the colourful backyards, where a combination of vines and clothe lines form a natural sunshade between the buildings.
Batumi's climate is classified as humid subtropical, and the city sees much more rain than the rest of the country, throughout the year. The temperature is also consistently lower than in Tbilisi, making it a pleasant escape during the hottest summer months.
Batumi caters to a lot of tourists in the mid- and luxury segments from Russia, Iran and the Turkey. The beachfront is generally more expensive, but if you look around, you'll find options around 30-40 GEL for a double room with breakfast.
Batumi has ferry connections to Ukraine and Russia, and bus connections with Turkey. A train station connects it with other cities in Georgia.
There are plenty of bicycle routes around the city, but you need to take care in traffic, as cars claim priority on the road.
There are numerous private bike rental spots in the centre (near the Alphabetic Tower or along the waterfront), and the asking fare is around 5 GEL / hr, or 3 GEL / hr if you rent it for a whole day. You can definitely tro to bargain, but we were only able to get minor discounts.
Batumi also has a bike sharing system called BatumVelo, with stations along the waterfront and some parts of the old city. As of 2016, day-cards seem to be discontinued, and a one-year card will set you back 20 GEL. You'll need an ID or a passport, and the card can be obtained at the Tourist Office at Batumi Boulevard.
The average price for a car rental is 50-60 USD/day.
Parking in Batumi is on a fee basis. Rates are: 1 day - 1 GEL, 2 days - 5 GEL, 30 days - 10 GEL. You can pay at any bank, at pay boxes and at parking meters.
The majority of taxis are unmetered, so always agree on a price before you get in. A ride within the city should cost no more than 5-7 GEL. The few taxis that are metered have fixed rates: 0.5-0.6 GEL / km.
International / domestic
Marshrutkas to nearby villages and other destinations in Georgia, Russia and Turkey depart from the Batumi Bus Terminal.
METRO buses depart from Batumi METRO bus station, and serve such destinations as Tbilisi and Zugdidi in Georgia, and serveral Turkish cities.
Marshrutkas to the border with Turkey run from Tbilisi Square.
If you travel by local bus you can buy tickets directly from the driver, or purchase them in advance at newsstands. The fare is 40 tetri. There are bus stops throughout the city. The rate is the same for marshrutka rides within the city. You can stop marshrutkas anywhere on the street, by patting your hand in the air.
Food and drinks
There's a lot of local food to try in Western Georgia, and the most famous specialty is the Ajarian khachapuri, a boat-shaped bread with cheese, topped off with a raw egg.
You can also try chirbuli, a breakfast meal made of eggs and walnuts. If you want something sweet, try baklava, a syrup drenched candy made from layers of dough and nuts.
The most famous local wines are Tsolikouri and Chkhaveri.
There's not a lot of supermarkets in Batumi, but plenty of small grocery shops and fruit and vegetable stalls.