Hugging the Black Sea Coast in southwestern Georgia is the city of Batumi. This lively, bustling seaport is Georgia’s second-largest city and the capital of the Adjara region. The city may be known as “The Las Vegas of the Black Sea,” but there’s a lot more to do there than gambling. From its pulse-pounding nightlife to its gorgeous sites and sumptuous Adjarian cuisine, the list of things to do in Batumi, Georgia is seemingly endless.
Long before the city became a tourism hotspot, it arose from the site of a former Hellenic colony called Bathys. What was a small, charming fortified town during the Middle Ages grew exponentially after the Russian Empire wrenched control of the town from the Ottomans in 1878. Since then, it has also become an essential seaport linking Europe and Asia, as well as an important hub for food processing and ship building.
It’s no wonder Batumi is a popular destination among foreign and domestic tourists. Between its magnificent shoreline, its regal palm trees, and its subtropical climate, it’s a dream for vacationing families. Also, as a seaside city, it has an entirely different feel from the towns and cities further inland. Adjarian cuisine is a must-try, especially the regional version of khachapuri, a traditional cheese-filled bread with many variations throughout the country.
My friend and guide Tim from Friendly GE and I spent 48 incredible hours eating our way through Batumi. It’s one of my favorite cities in the Caucasus, and I’m sure it’ll be one of yours, too. These are my favorite things to do in Batumi, Georgia.
Outside of being one of Batumi’s most popular attractions, Batumi Fish Market is also the largest fish market in Georgia. The market is located on the waterfront and opens at 10 a.m. every day. It offers a variety of fresh seafood, including salmon, oysters, octopus, prawns, dorado, sea bass, and sturgeon. from the Black Sea, nearby rivers, and fish farms.
Visitors can purchase fish to take home or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in the area. It’s something you must do in Batumi when you visit. If you arrive early enough, you can watch the vendors set up their booths for the day. If it swims in the Black Sea, you’ll find it there!
Buy up some of your favorites—or get adventurous and try something new—and then take it to one of the nearby restaurants to have them cook it up for you!
After you’ve bought your seafood of choice at the fish market, the next step is to either take it home or have them cook it for you at a nearby restaurant. My restaurant of choice was Blue Wave Restaurant. Their prices are reasonable; they only charge GEL 6/$2 USD per kilo that you’d like them to cook.
There, they grilled up our salmon with paprika, oregano, and oil, as well as our octopus, shrimp, and oysters. The oysters were briny and fresh, and adding a splash of lemon gives them a nice tanginess. They also cooked our shrimp and octopus to perfection! The grilled salmon was also fantastic.
Enjoy it with a nice MaNavi dry white wine. And if you’d rather eat something in-house, Blue Wave Restaurant offers a unique blend of Georgian and Adjarian seafood dishes. I heard their salmon khachapuri is a must-try. Their oysters are also a popular choice.
Blue Wave Restaurant offers stunning views of the Black Sea coastline, so be sure to dine al fresco if the weather permits!
Blue Wave Restaurant
Gogebashvili St. 33
Batumi 6010 Georgia
If you’re a beach bum visiting Georgia, Batumi Beach has your name written all over it. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak up the sun with friends and family. The beach is located on the Black Sea coastline and is one of the best recreation spots in Batumi.
Visitors can go swimming, sunbathing, or simply enjoy the stunning views. Nearby, you’ll also find a number of restaurants selling delicious food, including local seafood. It’s also just a hop, skip, and a jump from several local attractions, including Batumi Boardwalk.
Next to Batumi Beach, you’ll find another popular hangout among locals and tourists: Batumi Boulevard. The boulevard is a pedestrian-only street that runs along the seafront. It is lined with palm trees, fountains, and various shops and restaurants.
Within just a few minutes’ walk of one another, you’ll find a large Ferris wheel, the unique Alphabetic Tower, and the Statue of Love. The statue is a large, metal sculpture of a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and a Christian Georgian girl known as Ali and Nino. The statue represents love between two cultures!
Further into the city, you’ll reach the Old Town. This popular area is known for its 19th-century architecture and beautiful fountains. You’ll find the Dancing Fountains and the beautiful Neptune Fountain, as well as the Statue of Medea, the Astronomical Clock, and even a wedding palace shaped like a UFO!
One of the most popular attractions in Batumi is the Titanic khachapuri at Retro Restaurant. This massive cheese-filled bread dish is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. The Titanic khachapuri at Retro Restaurant, lives up to its name. They say it’s big enough to feed a family of four, but after trying it myself, I’d say bring a party of no less than six!
Size-wise, the Titanic khachapuri is easily four or five times the size of your average Adjarian khachapuri. The wives of Batumi’s sailors invented these cute little boat-shaped bread bowls in the hopes that their husbands would return home safely. They’re typically filled with a decent amount of cheese and butter, and one egg. But the Titanic ups that to a whopping three kilos of cheese, six eggs, and two decadent mounds of butter!
My buddy Tim and I attacked our khachapuri hard and fast, but we barely made a dent in it even though we’re two big, grown men with massive appetites. My advice is to not focus on finishing it, and just enjoy the fluffy, crispy dough and the rich mix of velvety cheese, egg, and butter.
Wash it down with a tarragon soda or some local wine! Best of all, although the khachapuri is massive, it won’t set you back too much. One khachapuri only costs GEL 40, or about $13 USD. It’s a steal for the amount of food you’re getting!
12 Gogebashvili St,
Batumi 6000, Georgia
No visit to Batumi would be complete without riding the Argo Cable Car. The Argo Cable Car offers stunning views of the city and the Black Sea coastline. The cable car ride is a roughly 25-minute round trip and is a great way to see the city from above. From the gondola, you can enjoy stunning views of skyscrapers, the distant mountains, the entire city, and the Black Sea.
The Argo Cable Car is located in the center of Batumi on Gogebashvili Street and is easily accessible from the Boulevard. Tickets can be purchased at the cable car station. The cable car runs every 30 minutes from 9:00am to 9:00pm. At the top, you’ll find a gift shop, a café, a church, and a lookout point!
Argo Cable Car
If you’re looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Batumi, Mirveti Village is the perfect place to go. This quaint village is located just outside of Batumi and is a great place to relax and enjoy the Georgian countryside.
One of the top attractions in the area is Mirveti Arch Bridge, a medieval stone bridge that connected villages during the Middle Ages. There are similar bridges throughout Upper Adjara. Also in the area, you’ll find local homes, farms, and raised barns called nalia, where locals dry their corn and produce!
Not far from the bridge is Mirveti Waterfall, which trickles down a rock face into a pool below. It’s a swimming hole of sorts for locals! Speaking of locals, I highly recommend checking out the stands nearby.
One of them is run by a woman who sells eight types of jam, including a nutty loquat jam and a delightful walnut jam. She was so kind to us and even gave us some jars of jam to take with us!
Any traveler who finds themselves in Upper Adjara should take the time to explore Makhunseti Village. This picturesque village outside of Batumi is home to several attractions, including Makhunseti Bridge. It’s one of the largest stone arch bridges in Georgia and is 20 meters in length!
Elsewhere in town are Makhunseti Museum and Mtirala National Park. I recommend checking them if you have the time! But please keep in mind that Makhunseti can be very touristy, so if you prefer quiet, laid-back travel experiences, you may not get that here.
You can’t leave without checking out Makhunseti Waterfall, a 30-meter-high waterfall that will be packed with tourists during the day. Don’t forget to visit the local vendors, who sell fruit and handmade crafts. I bought a few beaded necklaces for my daughters from them!
If you’re a foodie looking to try traditional Adjarian cuisine, look no further than Adjarian Wine House in Adjaristskali Village near Batumi. Adjarian Wine House offers stunning views of the Georgian countryside, including a magnificent vineyard. This gorgeous, rustic-style restaurant serves several Adjarian dishes, which are heavy on the carbs, meat, and dairy. They’re the perfect comfort foods!
The employees there took me and Tim to the top of their stone tower, which they say is the best spot on the property to eat. We started with some sinori, a type of rolled Adjarian flatbread that contains a mix of cottage cheese, garlic, butter, and salt.
Their borano (a type of Adjarian cheese boiled in butter) is also phenomenal, as is the yakhni (an Adjarian beef curry made with marigold flowers). You should not miss the pkhalobio, which is a mouthwatering bean stew containing greens and other vegetables!
I advise enjoying your meal with some Chkhaveri red wine or Tsolikouri dry white wine. The Chkhaveri is semi-sweet, almost like a sherry! I also recommend visiting their cellar for a wine tasting. I loved the barrel-aged Kukuzani dry red, which had a unique, oaky flavor!
Adjarian Wine House
Acharistskali 6400, Georgia
Any beer enthusiast looking for craft beer in Batumi has to stop by Maximus Taproom. This unique family brewery and craft beer shop is located in the center of Batumi. It’s been a favorite since it opened in 1884 and offers a variety of Georgian craft beers and bar food.
The facility produces four beers: two lagers, an ale, and a witbier. If you go on a tour, you’ll be given a mug, which you’ll drink from throughout the tour. I loved their creamy dark lager and their non-alcoholic kvass, which contained a hint of cinnamon.
Cap off your tour with a spread of bar food, including sausages, chicken wings, pork legs, and more. They had an amazing jerky, as well as fritters with spicy mustard. But most drool-inducing of all was the pork, which they’d boiled in the dark lager and fried!
86, 6010 Zurab Gorgiladze St.
Adjaruli Sakhli is one of the best spots in town for Adjarian cuisine. There, Tim and I went to town on a massive spread that included sinori, borano, a beef stew with pomegranate seeds called chakondrili, and salads.
I adored the borano, which was like a soft, fluffy string cheese cooked in free-range cow butter. The sinori was creamy with a nice, herbal punch, while the tender chakondrili was a carnivore’s dream. The addition of pomegranate seeds added a nice sweetness and tartness! I also have to mention the nigvziani badrijani, or eggplant rolls stuffed with walnut paste. They’re extremely popular throughout Georgia and are always fantastic!
And if you like cornbread, the mchadi, or corn fritters, are fluffy and wonderful, with a crispy texture on the exterior. The restaurant is also a great place to try some local Adjarian wine. I recommend the Saperavi dry red!
With so many outstanding dishes, it’s no wonder Adjaruli Sakhli is a must when in Batumi. Pay them a visit the next time you’re in town. You won’t regret it!
Batumi is a great place to go bar hopping. There are a variety of bars located in the city, each with its own unique atmosphere. Popeye Craft Bar is is a craft beer bar with a cozy feel. They specialize in a drink called nastoika, which is vodka infused with botanicals and fruits. But beware…it tastes light and fruity, but contains 30% alcohol, so it’s deceptively strong!
If you’re looking for a creamy and crisp American pale ale, hit up Sami Ludi, a bar whose name translates to “Three Beers.” They also have a wonderful stout that contains notes of chocolate and espresso. Finish up your Batumi bar crawl with some potent chacha at Chacha Time!
Popeye Craft Bar
5 Noe Zhordania St.
5 Giorgi Mazniashvili St.
Batumi 6010, Georgia
5 Giorgi Mazniashvili St.
Batumi 6010, Georgia
It’s hard to pick a favorite city in Georgia, but I must say, Batumi is very close to the top of my list. The people are warm, friendly, fun, and incredibly hospitable. Between the amazing people, the outstanding cuisine, and the nightlife, it’s an exciting city that offers tons of diversity. And it’s an absolute must if you love to explore the world. Book a trip to the Caucasus today to experience the top things you must do in Batumi, Georgia!