Since we didn’t go home this summer to the PHL, the family decided to visit the beach. Specifically, the Black Sea Beach in Batumi, Adjara region in the Republic of Georgia.
I find the city to be chaotic and trying really hard to be a tourist destination. Hotels are very pricey around July and August. These months are considered peak season for beach tourism in the Caucasus region. Since we did not want to splurge (and we cannot afford to), we booked at Batumi Plaza or the Plaza Hotel in Chavchavadze Avenue. It’s not the greatest hotel, but we were very close to the Argo Ropeway and we can walk easily to the Black Beach Boulevard. Breakfast was so-so, and they do not do refills. They only have air-conditioning, which I think would be difficult if you book during colder months. I did not see radiators anywhere.
If you have the money, book at the Radisson as they have a shuttle to and from the beach, plus their own area. They provide towels, too. I almost had a heart attack from the cost of accommodation as I needed to book two rooms for my family.
To get here, we rode a train from Tbilisi Central Station. We bought our tickets from the station itself. To know more about the train system in Georgia, please click here. We paid 40 lari per person (first class). If you have minors with you, make sure you bring their passport so they can get a discount. We were lucky as we rode the new trains from Europe. It was quiet, cool, clean and the ride was very smooth. The train stopped at Ureki and Kobuleti (another beach town) before its final destination of Batumi. Train ride was about five hours long. Make sure you have food and water with you (one personal bottled water is provided per passenger, if you book first class tickets).
Where did we go?
- Black Sea Beach – The beach did not have powdery sand. It had a lot of smooth rocks, usually rounded from being pounded by the sea. It was crazy hot, even when under an umbrella. Our family rented an umbrella and a beach monobloc (plastic) chair for about 10 lari. Just make sure you have a plastic bag to keep your trash, then throw in the garbage can near you.
- Batumi Boulevard – It is a long, wide boulevard for people to walk, bike, or basically hang out. Nothing special. Just a wide sidewalk facing the beach. Many people walk late afternoon or early evening to avoid the heat.
- Ali and Nino Monument – A moving sculpture inspired by the book of the same name, they pass through each other as if they were kissing/embracing for a just a few moments. Ali is a Muslim who fell in love with Nino, a Christian. The monument is actually quite small. Close to the Ferris Wheel, it’s great to view at night.
- Iveria Beach Club – The use of beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas are exclusive for those who are checked in at the Radisson. However, you can eat and drink in the restaurant and the bar. It’s a bit expensive, but my children and the hubby really enjoyed the food. Mussels with cream and penne bolognese are must-try!
- Piazza Square – The square is surrounded by three hotels under one management: The Piazza Hotels. There are many cafes and restaurants. We didn’t eat here as we were just passing by and we were too early for lunch.You might fancy to eat here for lunch (too hot) or dinner (too crowded).
- Dolphinarium – They have three dolphin shows: 16:00, 19:00, and 21:00 (subject to change). It’s about 45 minutes long. If you haven’t watched one or you’re a child-at-heart, then surely you will enjoy the show. Since I have been to similar shows, it was okay. The area, though, was very small and it was jampacked with people when we got there. It was very hot and humid. Make sure you bring a fan and your camera with you.
- Argo Cable Car – It’s a 10-lari ride to one of the mountains surrounding the beach. There’s not a lot to do once you get up, but if you’re a photographer then you’ll enjoy the sweeping views of the Black Sea and Batumi itself.
- Batumi Botanical Gardens – I cannot give justice to this site as we weren’t able to go around the whole area. It is actually made up of many gardens with different themes. If you are active and enjoy hiking or just being around nature itself, then this is a trip for you. It is outside of Batumi, but you can ride a taxi or a marshrutka to the gardens.
- Art Cafe – Heart of Batumi – This small non-smoking cafe offers Georgian cuisine. The food was fresh and cooked really well. My children loved the chicken kiev, I ordered shkmeruli, fried chicken with garlic and milk sauce, and husband ordered ojakhuri, pork with onions and potatoes. Another friend suggested to order Heart of Batumi. It is their specialty (which we forgot to order).
The food and drinks are affordable in Batumi, but accommodations can be very pricey. Just make sure you research well before going here or anywhere for that matter.
Though I was not as thrilled to visit this place, all that mattered was my children enjoyed it and had so much fun swimming in the sea. And that’s all there is really.
Thanks to TripAdvisor for the links. I use this site for honest reviews about places I want to visit.
Happy travels everyone!