The Best Things to See and Do in Adjara, Georgia

Batumi Botanical Garden | © Seif Sallam / Flickr
Batumi Botanical Garden | © Seif Sallam / Flickr
Photo of Baia Dzagnidze
Writer12 February 2018

Adjara, a historical region in Georgia, is located on the Black Sea Coast. Most of its territory is filled with mountains and ravines. The region stands out from the others with its mild, warm climate. Here you can enjoy mountains, lowlands, and a great diversity of fauna, along with centuries-old architectural, archeological, and historical sites. Here are the best things you can see and do in the region.

Visit the most bustling city in the region

Batumi is the administrative center of the Adjara Autonomous Republic and is an important international port city. It’s a modern European city where, similar to Tbilisi, you are charmed by the harmonious blend of old and new. Wander down a long boulevard, admire the statue of eternal love – Ali and Nino – watch the sunset, and admire both modern and ancient architectural landmarks.

Batumi, Georgia

Admire the World's Best Building of 2013

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Batumi McDonald's
Batumi McDonald's | © Alexander Uvarov / Flickr
You would not think that the world-famous McDonald’s fast food chain would be situated in the World’s Best Commercial Building of 2013. Designed by Georgian architect Giorgi Khmaladze, the architecture website ArchDaily recognized it as the best building of the year based on readers’ votes. The building combines a fuel station and a recreational area, surrounded by a reflective pool on three sides. The entrance to the station is on the opposite side, while the “ecological shield” made from plants keeps the fumes of the station out of the dining area.

Wander through nature and overlook the Black Sea coast

The Batumi Botanical Garden, located in Mtsvane Kontskhi village spans across 108 hectares of land, just nine kilometers from Batumi. The garden is special due to its diverse and very specific physical and geographical conditions. It has three arboretums, the famous Colchis forest reserve, and nine floristic sections representing different climatic and geographical zones. Aside from the Transcaucasian humid subtropics, these include Australian, New Zealand, Himalayan, East Asian, North American, South American, Mexican, and Mediterranean climates. There are more than 5,000 different plant species.

Batumi Botanical Garden, Batumi, Georgia

batumi Botanical garden

Batumi Botanical Garden | © Seif Sallam / Flickr

Indulge in a boat-shaped cheese pie

The Adjarian meals add very important traits to the diversity of Georgian cuisine. The highlands of Adjara are characterized by long winters and thus the necessity of long-term food storage. This is the reason why dairy is the main ingredient of many local meals.

Adjaruli Khachapuri | © Baia Dzagnidze

The cuisine varies from vegetable to meat and fish dishes. Sweet treats also occupy a large niche. One of the staples and must-try dishes once here is the Adjarian khachapuri. If most types of khachapuri are eaten as a side dish, this one is consumed as a main course, either during breakfast or lunch due to it being very nutritious. There are many theories how the shape of this dish came to be. One widespread version is that the boat-like shape comes from the fact that the Laz people, a sub-group of Georgians, were skilled seafarers. And the egg in the middle symbolized the sun.

Go on a small hike in the national parks

Mtirala National Park offers two different hiking opportunities that can last one or two days. The routes are well marked and arranged, with a picnic area, fire pits and camping areas along the way. The best season to visit are is early autumn, spring, and summer.

Another national park you can visit here is the Machakhela National Park, located in Khelvachauri municipality. The area boasts cultural and historical monuments, such as arch bridges of various periods, wine presses, and fortresses. While hiking here, you can have breathtaking views of Batumi, the river delta and the Black Sea, and Machakhela Gorge.

Mtirala National Park | © MIKHEIL / WikiCommons``

Wander through the ruins of Roman fortresses

What locals now call Gonio Fortress used to be called Apsarunt and is believed to date back to the first century AD. The name Gonio came much later, in the 12th century.

Gonio Fortress | © DDohler / WikiCommons

In the 2nd century AD, it was a well-fortified Roman city within the Colchis Kingdom. It was well-known for its theatre and Hippodrome. It later came under Byzantine, Ottoman, and Russian influence. Today, only ruins are left from his magnificent city.

Another fortress that you can visit while in Adjara is Petra Fortress. Similar to Gonio, only ruins remain today, but it was a well-developed walled town in ancient Georgia. It’s believed that Byzantine Emperor Justinian I ordered the town built here in the 6th century AD because the area had a favorable military-strategic and commercial-economic location.

Petra Fortress in Tsikhsidziri | © Rusudan Beridze / WikiCommons

Try an alternative ski resort to the mainstream Gudauri

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Gudauri is one of the popular ski destinations in Georgia due to its proximity to the capital. Thus, the resort gets overcrowded very easily. And if you are a skiing aficionado, why not try some of the other resorts in the country? Goderdzi, situated in Khulo Municipality at 2,025 meters (6,644 ft.) above sea level, has steep and partitioned slopes surrounded by subalpine fields.

Walk on a wooden bridge that is three centuries old

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Shuakhevi municipality’s Khabelashvili village is home to a 25-meter-long wooden bridge that is three centuries old and possesses cultural heritage status. According to locals, the bridge was built by a man with the surname of Beridze, who wanted to connect three villages – Baratauli, Brili, and Mokhevi – with each other. Built with box-tree, chestnut, and lime, the bridge was covered with shingles. However, due to sustainable damage in the 1970s, the shingles were replaced with tin.