Distance from Tbilisi: 430 km
Hours to drive: 7 hrs
Flight: 40 min
Best time to visit: spring, summer, autumn
Adjara is an Autonomous Republic within Georgia and the country's premier summer holiday destination. There's nowhere quite like it on a luxuriously warm evening, the coastal cliffs topped by swaying bamboo forests, tea farms and the sun hanging, ablaze over the Black Sea.
The port city of Batumi is the capital of Adjara, an exotic bustling resort town full of energy and self-confidence.
The Autonomous Republic of Adjara was one of Georgia's secessionist provinces. Colonised by Greeks in the 5th century BC, the region fell under Roman rule in the 2nd century BC before being incorporated into the unified Georgian Kingdom and then falling under Ottoman control - neoclassical mini-palaces still line the waterfront. The expanding Russian Empire took over Adjara in the late 19th century before it was ultimately ceded to Georgia.
It was around this time that Adjara became renowned as a seaside jewel, the Black Sea Riviera that families like the Rothschilds and Nobels chose as their elegant summer retreat.
Geography and climate
Adjara is situated in the southwest corner of Georgia, washed by the salty breath of the Black Sea. It's bordered by Turkey to the south and the Georgian region of Guria and the Meskheti Range of hills to the north.
Running from mountains to sea, the region has a wealth of diverse plant and animal species.
Subtropical and temperate in climate, winters are mild and summers are hot. January is Batumi's coldest month, with an average of 7 °C. Summer temperatures hover between 19 °C and 26 °C.
Batumi is the third largest city of Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country's southwest. Situated in a subtropical zone near the foot of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, Batumi is a popular tourist destination known for its varying weather–it is a bustling seaside resort during warm seasons, but can get entirely covered in snow during winter. Much of Batumi's economy revolves around tourism and gambling, but the city is also an important sea port and includes industries like shipbuilding, food processing and light manufacturing. Since 2010, Batumi has been transformed by the construction of modern high-rise buildings, as well as the restoration of classical 19th-century edifices lining its historic Old Town.
Petra (Greek: Πέτρα) was a fortified town on the eastern Black Sea coast, in Lazica in what is now western Georgia. In the 6th century, under the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, it served as an important Eastern Roman outpost in the Caucasus and, due to its strategic location, became a battleground of the 541–562 Lazic War between Rome and Sasanian Persia (Iran). Mainstream scholarly opinion identifies Petra with a ruined settlement of Late Antiquity at the village of Tsikhisdziri in Adjara, southwestern Georgia.
Europe square - located in the center of the city and surrounded by unique and exquisite buildings, Europe Square is one of the most beautiful sites in the center of Batumi. The square is a popular area for relaxation among both tourists and locals. The square’s exquisite pairing of restored facades and modern architecture make it a beautiful location to visit during an evening stroll. The square has hosted a myriad of international concerts and has become a central location for New Year’s celebrations due to its festive mood and numerous concert events.
The St Nicholas Church is located in the very center of Batumi. This Church is more than 150 years old and it is one of the oldest churches in the city. An initiator of construction of the Church was the Greek community of Batumi headed by mayor of the city Ilya Efremidi, Greek by nationality.
Batumi boulevard is probably the oldest attraction in Batumi, construction of it began in 1881, when the Governor of the Batumi District assigned the German gardener, Reseller, to create a park alongside the sea shore of Batumi Old Town. Nowadays, Batumi Boulevard has reached a length of around 7 kilometres and is approximately divided into ‘new’ and ‘old’ boulevards. The original and beautiful park is still here, with the addition of modern sculptures, benches and fountains. During the height of the summer season the seashore is busy with cafés, restaurants, beach bars and clubs. In the off-season it’s simply a beautiful sea-side boulevard. Stroll along at any time of the day, a quiet morning or hot afternoon, but you must come here just before sunset. Seeing the sun sink into the sea is sublime and unforgettable.
Dancing Fountains Installed back in 2009, in Ardagani Lake, these French musical fountains are worth long walk here. The daily show usually starts after sunset. The fountains ‘dance’ to the musical soundtrack of modern pop, rock and classical music. We were treated to the particular pleasure of the fountains dancing to AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell”! There is a laser show, telling the history of Batumi and Georgia. Take a seat either on the sea side of the Lake or on the special places set out along the opposite lake shore.
The Alphabetic tower s a 130-meter-high structure in Batumi, Georgia. The tower symbolizes the uniqueness of the Georgian alphabet and people. The structure combines the design of DNA, in its familiar double helix pattern. Two helix bands rise up the tower holding 33 letters of the Georgian alphabet, each 4 meters tall and made of aluminum.
In the middle of the building is an exposed elevator shaft leading to the very top of the building, in the crown of the structure, where a colossal silver ball is located.
Piazza Square It is one of the most beautiful places in Batumi, yet as its name suggests, it is distinctly Italian and so a little incongruous for Georgia, but in Batumi, when it comes to architecture, it seems anything goes! The Square covers about 5700 square metres and is surrounded by the Piazza complex, which includes a hotel, a couple of restaurants, a café and a pub. The architecture is distinguished by mosaics and stained glass art. Live music is performed here daily in café La Brioche and the square usually hosts concerts of world famous musicians visiting Batumi.
Adjara is Georgia's sunshine coast. The region has a wealth of religious monuments and relics as well as fascinating local traditions and exquisite local dishes.
The ruins of the ancient Petra city-fortress and Gonio-Apsaros Fortress are a real paradise for the lovers of historical and cultural antiquities. The Adjaran highlands also reveal some intriguing sights – the churches and fortresses of Skhalta, Khikhani and Khino in particular.
There are great opportunities in the region for horse-riding with popular routes in the dramatic Kintrishi and Skhalta gorges. Many visitors also come for some of the best birdwatching in Georgia - over 800 000 birds of prey twitter over Batumi during the autumn migration.
But the reason most visitors are drawn to Adjara is for the sun and the sea. An overnight train ride from Tbilisi, the capital of Batumi has numerous restaurants, cafés, pebble beaches, and interesting Roman-Byzantine sites to explore. The seaside park is one of the charms of the city, a green line stretching along the seashore.
Drive up into the hills behind the city to Mtsvane Kontskhi (Green Cape) and wander through the lush, century-old botanical gardens with sweeping views of the city.
There are numerous seaside resorts festooning the coast for swimmers, sun-bleached sunbathers and boating enthusiasts from Kobuleti with its long beach the colour of lightly toasted almonds and the green slopes of Tsikhisdziri. The resort of Chakvi is the historical homeland of Georgian tea.