Georgia, nestled in the Caucasus Mountains, is well known for its strong traditions and the vintage appeal of its capital, Tbilisi. Until recently the country was mostly frequented by tourists from neighbouring Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Increasingly the country is becoming popular with tourists from Western Europe too. While many people head to Tbilisi – the charming Black Sea resort of Batumi is worth exploring too. Batumi, nicknamed the Las Vegas of Eurasia, offers a mix of fading grandeur and modern amenities. With almost every 5* chain hotel sporting a casino, it’s little wonder how the resort gained its reputation as the gambling capital of the Near East. Here are our top things to do in Batumi, Georgia and why the city should definitely be on your Georgia itinerary.
Stop by the 130-metre high Alphabetic Tower, built in 2012 to celebrate the uniqueness of the Georgian alphabet. The 33 letters of the Georgian alphabet scroll around the outside. There's a revolving restaurant and viewing platform built into a dome at the top of the tower.
It’s impossible to miss the Ferris Wheel on the harbour, especially as it’s gaudily lit at night – thus confirming Batumi the Las Vegas comparison. Take a ride if you fancy, but make sure you check out the nearby Statue of Love. The moving 8-metre steel structure by Georgian sculptor Tamara Kvesitadze Ali and Nino from the famous 1937 novel of the same name by Azerbaijani author Kurban Said.
For trips to Batumi and the rest of Georgia – get in touch. Rough Guides can connect you with experienced local travel experts to plan and book a fully customised trip
In Makhuntseti village you'll find locals peddling their wares, such as Churchkhela – a Georgian sweet made of a long string of nuts repeatedly dipped in various juices such as pomegranate or grape and then dried. A healthier version of a Snickers bar, it's delicious!
The 29km car journey to Makhuntseti will take you through gorgeous Georgian scenery and past the Adjarian Wine House where you can stop to learn how the centuries-old Georgian wine is produced.