As a traveller in Batumi you'll be holidaying with Georgians who flock from all over the country for summer by the sea. The carefully restored old town has the regal elegance of the 19th-century port, while the seafront boulevard has ultra-modern architecture and neon lights. Since the break-up of the Soviet Union, Batumi has built a reputation for sunshine and parties. The distant snow-capped peaks remind you that Georgia's rugged interior isn't so far away.
Several hostels in Batumi are run by families who have converted their homes, giving guests the chance to experience Georgian hospitality. You can linger over a home-cooked meal in the courtyard or opt for dorms with quirky decor. You'll find communal kitchens in most Batumi hostels, as well as free Wi-Fi in social areas. If you're here for the city's nightlife, gather your dorm mates for a few drinks on the balcony as the boulevard lights up below.
Batumi has contrasting areas, both modern and historic. The focus of most travellers is the seafront boulevard (originally laid down in 1884) which runs for 7km. Unusual modern towers perch between beach bars and cafés, ending with the Dancing Fountains at New Boulevard to the south. The old town sits inland from the boulevard. Piazza Square and Europe Square are the social centres, linked by pastel-coloured streets of 19th-century town houses.
The activities in this seaside town are varied. For typical Batumi entertainment head to the Dancing Fountains after dark for the laser show. Another favourite is Argo Cable Car, which takes you 250m to a viewing platform with views over the city. During the day, Batumi's pebble beaches are popular, but just a 20-minute drive to the south is the quieter Kvariati Beach. Batumi Botanical Garden is a good place to stretch your legs and admire the clifftop views.
The number 10 bus will get you into the city centre from Alexander Kartveli Batumi International Airport. If you're arriving from Tbilisi or Yerevan by train you'll need to catch a bus or taxi from Batumi Central Station (15 minutes north east of town). Marshrutka are minibuses that run throughout the cities and villages of Georgia. Hop on board to reach the seaside towns along the coast. While you're in Batumi, walking or cycling is the best way to get around.