Now a bustling summer destination for many locals, Batumi has undergone a drastic change in recent years. Today, visitors to this modern city can enjoy many attractions, international hotels, a great dining scene and busy nightlife. Even though Batumi has more modern buildings these days, it has still managed to keep its charm, elegance and relaxed atmosphere. Here are the best things for you to see and do in this Black Sea resort.
Statue of Ali and Nino
Located at Batumi Bay, this statue of eternal love is an iconic landmark in Batumi. Made by Georgian artist Tamara Kvesitadze, the figures move towards each other, merge into one piece and then move away from each other every 10 minutes.
The idea to create this magnificent statue came from the book of the same name by Kurban Said. The book is about a romantic relationship between Azerbaijani Muslim Ali and a Georgian Christian daughter of a nobleman in Baku in 1918.
Batumi is full of skyscrapers, and the Alphabetic Tower is one such example. It expresses the uniqueness of the Georgian alphabet and people. Situated near the Ali and Nino statue, the tower is another main landmark of the city. The 130-meter-tall (426.5 feet) building combines the design of a DNA strand holding 33 letters of the Georgian alphabet, with each aluminum letter being four meters (13.1 feet) tall. The elevator shaft leads to the very top of the structure, which provides panoramic views.
In the vicinity of Alphabetic Tower and Ali and Nino, there’s an impressive landmark called the Chacha Tower, originally built to have a chacha fountain, the Georgian national spirit, instead of a water one. Supposedly, the chacha still flows for 15 minutes once a week.
Built in 2012, the Argo Cable Car has become a must-do activity once in Batumi. It will take you on a 2.5-kilometer (1.5-mile) ride at a maximum elevation of 252 meters (826.7 feet). At the end of the journey, there’s a viewing platform for sweeping views over the city.
Additionally, there is a small church next to the viewpoint and a café in the upper station if you’d like to grab something and enjoy the splendid views.
Piazza Square, which features boutique hotels, cafés, and unique architecture, is a go-to destination for many locals to grab a drink or something to eat. Designed by Georgian architect Vazha Orbeladze, the Piazza perfectly mixes different styles and trends.
Besides its new buildings, Batumi reserved the best buildings from the 19th century; the time when it used to be a free port on the Caspian oil route to Europe. During Batumi’s restoration period, these old buildings were also renovated, while new ones constructed in the old style were built next to them.
Head to Europe Square and check out the astronomical clock and Medea monument in the middle of it. Medea is a Georgian woman from the Argonauts myth, who helped Jason steal the Golden Fleece from the Georgian state of Colchis to take to ancient Greece.
The Boulevard was originally laid out in 1884, but it has changed over time, with new attractions emerging each year. A seven-kilometer (4.3-mile) boulevard starts at Batumi Bay, which offers many exciting attractions to visitors. Besides the landmarks mentioned above, there are plenty of viewpoints, spots to take pictures, the old Boulevard featuring various fountains, and plenty of cafés, to name but a few.
Unique to this region of Georgia, this type of khachapuri (a pizza-like meal made from cheese and dough) is in the shape of a boat and is baked in a brick oven. Once the chef removes the dish from the oven, he or she adds a raw egg and a knob of butter before serving. To eat it, you need to mix everything together, take a piece of the dough and dip it into the cheese-egg-butter mixture.
It comes in different sizes and is quite filling. Most locals can’t even eat a whole one, so some cafés now offer “tsom gamotslili,”which means that the extra dough on the sides of the “boat” is taken out. However, this doesn’t mean you’ll get less cheese in the middle of the dish.
The Batumi Botanical Garden, founded by a Russian botanist and opened in 1912, lies in Mtsvane Kontskhi, a small town 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) away from the city. It’s one of the largest botanical gardens in the former Soviet Union, a time when it was further expanded and developed. The garden offers some great views over the coastline along with beautiful flora and fauna.
Visiting the Dolphinarium is an excellent way to end your trip to Batumi. One of the most popular attractions in Georgia, the venue offers an exciting show—in Georgian, Russian and English—where the cute species sing, dance, kiss, and hug. And for an additional cost, you can play with the dolphins after the performance.