10.01.2015


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Batumi Students' Guide
Everything to know about staying awhile

 
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Table of Contents (jump to)

  1. Maps
  2. Packing for the Weather
  3. Restaurants
  4. Shopping
  5. Internet, Phones, Computers, Post
  6. Health and Fitness
  7. Transport
  8. Religious Services
  9. Museums and Things to Do 

 

1. Maps          (back to top)

  1. Google Maps offers a fairly detailed look at Batumi with streets listed in English and Georgian.
  2. Yandex Maps covers Batumi in Russian.

 

2. Packing for the Weather          (back to top)
Batumi, which sits on the Black Sea, has a semi-subtropical, humid climate. Nearby hills and mountains help keep moisture in and help create relaxing evening temperatures. The city experiences significant rainfall during the majority of the year and is regarded as one of the wettest cities in Georgia and the Caucasus region. 

Students should bring an umbrella and comfortable, waterproof walking shoes. Those with hay fever may want to bring a supply of decongestants. For more on packing for stuidy abroad trips to the former USSR, click here.


 
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3. Restaurants         (back to top)
*Note on Smoking: Georgia does not enforce a smoking ban in most public places. Most establishments allow smoking indoors. If smoke bothers you, look for outdoor seating or another venue.

  1. Local and Cheap: Retro Restaurant (Takaishvili 10) is recommended by locals as the best place for Adjarian Khachapuri – which you can get for just 5 lari (~$2.5)! It might somewhat hard to find – head through the bush path between the Zoo on Takaishvili Str, and the playground alongside the lake. Cafe Tabla (74 Z. Gorgiladze; +995 577 53 70 54/27 72 12) is another affordable option for great local food – and is very convenient to the Batumi State Maritime Academy. For a bit more atmosphere, try Cafe Literaturuli (18 K. Gamsakhurdia St), a "book cafe" featuring delicious coffees, cakes, and traditional Georgian sandwiches (in addition to khachapuri and lobiani).
  2. Traditional Gone Pop: Shemoikhede (8 Noe Zhordania Street; +995 422 27 87 10) is an affordable chain with locations across all of Georgia that shimmers with Georgian traditions and satisfying cuisine – plus, it’s open late. For something a bit more moody, try Bremen (61 Parnavaz Mepe; +995 422 27 76 36), with its classic dark wooden tables and chairs in what looks to be a castle motif that is popular with tourists. The house specialty is Khinkali, a large meat dumpling.
  3. Local and a bit more Upscale: Finally, try Mimino (Mazniashvili 27, tel. +995 577 51 01 50.), a Soviet-comedy inspired restaurant for its delicious Sulguni cheese rolls with cottage cheese and mint, or the mouth-watering chicken in blackberry sauce. Plus, they have outside seating that takes advantage of the live music that plays in Piazza Square every evening.
  4. Explore and Eat: The Piazza (Old Town) (30, Tavdadebuli Street) is a modest central location with numerous restaurants and cafes surrounding a stage for live performers. It also features shops for souvenirs, hotels, and bars, though one should be cautious amongst prices in this area as it is often seen as a tourist-hub. Tip: The bars and restaurants located on the second floor are much cheaper! Kutaisi Street is a "Chinatown" of sorts - a small, cozy street dotted with Turkish, Armenian, and Lebannese restaurants and shops.
  5. Music: Vinyl (12/14 Dumbadze;  +995 593 33 14 99) is a small bar/cafe decorated with painted vinyl discs. While not very large, it has a consistent following among younger Georgians and expats looking for a place to have a pint or two. Art-Boulevard (26 Maisi; +995 555 95 66 85) serves BBQ and seafood in an atmosphere of glass, metal, and a fairly laid-back evening night club. Club Mandarin (Bicycle Lane, Batumi) is a brand new shore-side club featuring a stage for local and international acts, and a relaxing style that appeals to many younger Georgians.
  6. Fast Food: Try Turkish fast food at Arhavi (2 Khulo). We recommend the lahmacun, kofte, and kebabs – or go for one of the excellent hamburgers – all at decent prices. Grab and Go! (6 Mazniashvili) is a very small restaurant specializing in pitas (veggie options available!). There is no seating, but delivery is available by phone, (+995 568-68-21; 11am-11pm). Doner (5 Gorki St.) serves the best quality shwarma in Batumi – and for only 3 lari ($1.5)! Open till late (or till the doner runs out!)
  7. Seafood: For a truly unique experience, try Batumi's Fish Market for good, cheap, fresh-caught fish. ( Take Bus #10 from the city center towards Makhinajauri and exit at the stop after the Revenue Service. The market is located on the left side of the road and is open from 8am - 8pm.) This is actually a market, but you can have your purchases cooked there for you in just a matter of minutes. They also have a selection of bread, beer, and vodka! Don't leave without trying its famed Barabulka! For a classy but affordable experience, try The Gold Fish Cafe (Located on Tamari 5 Highway; a 10 minute ride from the city center by Mashrutka Numbers 21/31 or Bus #10). It’s known for its beautiful views overlooking the Black Sea and its very, very fresh catches. Black Buddha (Baratashvili 17, tel. (+995) 422 27 69 51; first floor of the President Palace Hotel) is one of the only known places to get sushi in Batumi. They also do sandwiches and salads.
  8. More Former USSR: While waiting time can be lengthy, Kozachok (7-9 Rustaveli Av.) is a recommended experience for meticulously prepared and delicious Ukrainian cuisine. Make sure to try the Kiev Cutlet and Ukha – a Ukrainian fish soup. Privet iz Batumi (39 Abashidze) is a cozy Russian cafe with a Colonial Russian vibe known for its excellent blinis.
  9. European Nationalities: For anything from Swedish meatballs to Italian pastas, try Clouds (on the 38th floor of the Radisson Blue at 1 Ninoshvili). Its glass walls offer striking views and DJ’s and live bands often offer entertainment. Rennes (6 K. Gamsakhurdia) offers many French foods including a legendary take on Rennes Salad and many French desserts. Munich (Kutaisi Street / Kusova 8/5) is a German pub with a great selection of fish, bratwurst, knuckle, and, of course, German beers. Try the outside beer garden terrace where televisions show soccer and other sports.

 

 
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4. Shopping          (back to top)

  1. Groceries: Willmart (14 Inasaridze Street, nearby McDonalds) is a 24-hour local super market known for having an affordable range of goods and products. Goodwill Super Market (3 Chavchavadze) offers a huge variety and a great deli.
  2. A Bit of Everything: The Batumi Shopping Mall is located alongside Alexandre Kazbegi Street, about a 10 minute walk from the Batumi Lake by the Delfinarium.
  3. Clothing: Brend Hausi / Brand House are outlet stores with loads of cheap shoes, clothing, and accessories for very low prices. Brand name shirts may run you about $17 and a pair of shoes can be found for as low as $25. Plus, it’s only a five minute walk from Batumi State Maritime Academy. Take a left out of the Academy and another left on the corner and turn right on Gorgiladze Street. Another Brand House is located on Rustaveli street just a block away from the May Park.
  4. Books: Books in Batumi (60 Abashidze Av.) is a modern bookstore with a large selection of Georgian books and a fair selection of English and Russian books. Coffee and tea are served outdoors on its terrace and you can even rent a book while you are there! This is also a good place to find postcards.
  5. Souvenirs: Georgia House on Gorgasali St. (at Piazza Square) offers distinctly Georgian souvenirs including wines in souvenir bottles.
  6. Sporting Goods: There is a lot to do in Batumi. Elite Sports (168 Z. Gamsakhurdia St.) can sell you swimsuits, goggles, beach and sports gear to take advantage of it all.

 

5. Internet, Phones, Computers, Post        (back to top)
For more information on bringing and using electronics in the former USSR, please see our Packing Guide and our Post and Phones Guide.

  1. Mobile Phones: SRAS students on regular SRAS programs in Batumi will be given a mobile phone for use during their time in Moscow. Anyone else can easily purchase a cheap phone and a pay-as-you-go SIM card in any cellphone or electronics store (or Beeline office) and get going for a minimum investment of about $100. A simple Beeline simcard will run you about 1.5 lari (less than $1), and topping up your phone can be done simply at any streetside kiosk.
  2. WiFi: The Batumi State Maritime Academy has a quiet and calm library with free WiFi for all students. Have a seat at their beautifully furnished wooden tables and enjoy some peace and quiet. You'll also find that many cafes and public places around the city also offer free WiFi.
  3. Electonics: If you find yourself in need of a Staples or Circuit City, try Elite Electronics (93 Z. Gorgiladze St.). They have televisions, video cameras, cooking appliances, computer supplies, memory cards, and batteries.
  4. Post Offices: You can by stamps at the post offices. You'll find the main post office at 4 Melashvili. Open 09:00 - 17:00, Sat 09:00 - 15:00. Closed Sun. The Georgian Post has an official website with English available. 

 

6. Health and Fitness          (back to top)

  1. Water Quality: The water in Batumi is drinkable without problems.
  2. Allergies: Those with allergies, such as hay fever may spend some time adjusting as Batumi is a humid environment with many plant species. It is suggested those with hayfever may bring some decongestants.
  3. Doctors: Those with SRAS insurance should check Republic Clinical Hospital of Batumi (2 Tbel Abuseridze Street) first.
  4. Gyms: Free, outdoor public gym areas as well as lots of places from jogging can be spotted along bike paths, in parks, and around the beaches. Centaur (91 Gorgiladze St), at a 10 minute walk from Batumi State Maritime Academy, is a popular destination among students. It has old fashioned weights, bars, kettle bells, and machines but no cardio equipment. It is, however, cheap a three-days-a-week membership costs about $25 a month. Unlimited access costs about $32.

 

7. Transport         (back to top)

  1. BatumVelo Bicycle Service offers, for about 20 Lari ($10), a BatumVelo card (look for the tourist centers – they are sold there). With these, you can use their city bike service. Their locations are spread throughout the city, and allow for convenient commuting opportunities, in addition to beautiful oceanside rides.
  2. Buses are a great way of getting around Batumi cheaply and quickly, and bus fares begin around 40 tetri (~20 cents). 
  3. Marshrutki (minvans that run bus routes) are a very popular means of transportation. In Batumi, these are highly recommended by locals as being one of the most cost effective means for transportation, with an average trip running 70 tetri (~35 cents) but being generally more convenient than busses.

 

8. Religious Services         (back to top)

Russian Orthodox
Saint Barbara Church is located at C-2, Rustaveli Avenue.
This is a modest sized Eastern Orthodox church built on the site of what used to be a military hospital. It was built in 1888 under the authority of Emeror Alexander III, though closed in the Soviet period. Like many religious sites in Batumi, it was reopened in the late 90’s.

Jewish
Batumi Synagogue is located on C-3, Vazha Pshavela 33.

 

9. Museums and Things to Do         (back to top)

Ride on the Funicular to the Mountains
Located alongside the Port.

Zoo Corner
This zoo contains unique species of Georgia and the Caucasus: Caucasian brown bears, wolves, foxes, deer and other animals. Some exotic animals such as monkeys, birds, peacocks and others have been added recently. The site is quite large and located just alongside the May Park lake near Batumi State Maritime Academy. It’s open 10am-7pm and will cost you 2 Lari.  It's located just a 5 minute walk from Batumi State Maritime Academy behind the Delfinarium, on Rustaveli Avenue, 1 (+995) 22 17 30.

Gonio Fortress
With a stone perimeter that stands five meters tall, it is located in a strategically important area south of Batumi. This citadel was used by Romans and later the Byzantine Empire and still later, the Ottoman Empire and Russian Empire. It also is a significant Christian site, as one of the 12 Apostles is believed to have been buried here. It is only a 15km drive south of Batumi and is open between 10am-6pm. It costs 2 Lari to enter.

Batumi Archaeological Museum
One of the oldest museums in all of Georgia, the Batumi Archeological Museum opened in 1994. It is known as one of the best museums in both Batumi and the Republic of Georgia. It has a large exhibit despite its modest size, holding nearly 23,000 items. It features materials from numerous periods of Georgian and Adjarian history.

 



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