Georgia—say it with us: the country, not the state—has buzz.

Its Mediterranean-meets-Middle East geography and culture, and its ancient-meets-Soviet past, gives Georgia a surprising and fresh flavor.  

While most tourists flock to the nightclub and museum-rich capital city of Tbilisi, just a train ride away is the “Las Vegas of the Black Sea,” Batumi.

Known for its casinos, luxury hotels, modern architecture, and thriving food scene, Batumi is a go-to for gamblers, spa-obsessives, and honeymooners alike. Just 20 miles from the Turkey border, it accounts for over 27 percent of annual tourism. But it’s on track to hit over 40 percent within the next decade, rivaling Tblisi and its surrounding wine country, according to the Georgia National Tourism Administration.

“We’re only seeing the start of Batumi’s growth,” said Dylan Price, a member of the WTA. “It’s catching the eye of visitors across the globe who are looking for a unique destination that’s unlike anywhere else in Europe. Its blend of unique heritage and culture, and a future-focused vision and investment plan for the environment, technologies, and hospitality, play a significant role in bringing Batumi into the hospitality forefront.”

So, while Tbilisi is never a bad option, here’s our guide to hitting the jackpot in Batumi.

Is It Safe?

Yes, Georgia boarders Russia, which is conducting a war directly across the Black Sea in Ukraine. But no, there is no fighting here. If you are willing to visit Istanbul, there’s no reason Batumi shouldn’t also be on the menu. 

Getting There

Public art in Batumi.
The city’s art scene is larger than life. PEXELS

It’s a bit of a journey and the best advice is to enjoy a few stop-overs on your way. Tbilisi’s Shota Rustaveli International Airport will be the easiest for travelers to get to from New York City or London, with a minimum travel time of roughly 10 hours. From there, you’re looking at a five-hour train ride from Tbilisi to Batumi. Alternatively, you can rent a car and enjoy a few pitstops at local wineries in the nearby Kakheti outside of the capital city, such as Château Buera.


When to Visit

Situated between the Black Sea and the Caucasus Mountains, Batumi has a prime location for near all-year-round travel. With a subtropical climate, the seaside breeze makes for a temperate summer while the Caucasus Mountains trap in moisture and offer a cooling effect to the region. The summer temperatures rarely exceed 85°F and winter temperatures hover around 40° with minimal risk of snowfall. 

What to Do

Batumi famous for its futuristic-meets-historic architecture.

Like many port cities, Batumi is an eclectic mix of old and new. With vibrant architecture and culture, it rivals Monte Carlo, Barcelona, and Tel Aviv in terms of personality.

So start simply and just walk around. 

Parks dot the city and their are 260 seaside acres of vegetation known as The Green Cape. Stop by the subtropical plant-stuff Batumi Botanical Garden, as well—you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a slice of Kauai. 

Visit the charming Old Town, which shows the characteristic architecture of 19th-century Georgia. For something a bit more modern, the 130-meter Alphabetic Tower is a double-helix structure that celebrates Georgian history and their unique writing system. For something a bit relaxing head to the Batumi Piazza, an Italian-style square designed to celebrate the cafe culture of the region. 

For dinner, eat like a local and focus on Georgian wines. Many restaurants will cater to tourists, so look for authentic khachapuri or a satisfying bowl of Iakhni. Tbilisi’s international fame has also bolstered Batumi’s food scene. Restaurants such as the House of Adjarian Khachapuri, G.Garden (which has a Michelin-recognized chef on staff), and Pirosmani are all worth visiting. 

For a nightcap, Chacha Time offers their own menu of a Georgian favorite, grape vodka.

When you’re feeling a bit courageous after your second glass of chacha, it may now be time to enjoy a few hands at a local casino. 

Eclipse Casino is open 24/7 and has two spacious floors in an elevated, almost Art Deco style. International Casino Batumi, inside the Hilton in the city’s center, is smaller and more intimate with a European feel that tourists and locals seem to enjoy.

Where to Stay

The Rooms Hotel in Batumi
The new Rooms Hotel is opening this year.

Batumi has a range of beautiful hotels. The Hilton is a marvel of architecture and hospitality. The Orbi Apart Hotel sits seaside with a rooftop pool and garden oasis. The most exciting newcomer is Rooms Hotel, a Georgia-based boutique brand that celebrates the cosmopolitan culture of the region. It will be fully operational this year.