If you are heading to choose between Tbilisi and Batumi, let us tell you that it would be the most difficult choice. Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia. Its population is approximately 1.5 million people. As Tbilisi is close to the Silk Road, it is an important transit route for various energy and trade projects.
The third-largest city of Georgia is Batumi. It is also nicknamed “The Las Vegas of the Black Sea”. Its population is around 150,000 people. Batumi is located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country’s southwest. The city is an important seaport and includes industries like shipbuilding, food processing, and light manufacturing.
Although it is difficult to choose between Tbilisi and Batumi, we are going to compare these two cities in this article. We are intending to inform you about the differences between various aspects. But before starting the comparison, let us tell you of our point of view. we tend to think that capitals always offer more varied and better services. Tbilisi has tourists and the benefits of tourism throughout the year. Its real estate is cheap and the rental yield is incredible because it covers 365 days a year. Most people are able to speak English and doing business is easy there. (Check out why invest in Tbilisi).
On the other hand, Batumi is the city which you can enjoy visiting. It has a lot of walking areas, long boulevards, and picturesque squares. There are many restaurants and hotels and also numerous casinos and nightclubs there.
So let’s decide which city is better for our next destination.
In this article we are considering these aspects:
- Fun activities in two cities
- Cost of living
- Unique Experiences
Are you looking for some fun activities in Georgia? For sure Tbilisi and Batumi would be the best choices for you. You can go sightseeing. You can enjoy the touristic and pleasant atmosphere of both cities and make your stay memorable there.
To start the comparisonو let’s consider Batumi first. This Black Sea resort is an attractive summer destination for many locals and tourists. There are a lot of international hotels, restaurants and other city attractions there. The nightlife is also great. Five most popular things that you can do in Batumi are listed below:
- Statue of Ali and Nino
Ali and Nino is a tragic tale of two doomed lovers which now stands by the seashore of Batumi. Georgian artist Tamara Kvesitadze created this monumental moving sculpture in 2010. Every ten minutes these two metal figures slide towards and pass each other without true connection. This statue is a must-see in Batumi. You should go and keep it in your memory by taking pictures.
- Botanical Garden
Wandering by foot or renting carts in Batumi Botanical Garden would be the best experience of all tourists. There is a big variety of flora from nine different areas. The garden is 111 hectares and was established in 1912.
- Gonio Fortress
12 km south of Batumi, there is a fortress with a museum inside that is named Gonio-Apsaros. There is an ancient town around the fort. This fort was a support first for the Romans and then to the Byzantines and Ottomans along the eastern Black Sea coastline. Hence, it has three layers from the three eras. The grave of Saint Matthias, one of the twelve prophets, is believed to be inside the Gonio fortress. These days, this fort is surrounded by a surge of tourists. In summer months, many Georgians come from Tbilisi and enjoy the clean and elegant beaches.
If you are keen on animals and playing with them, Dolphinarium is a great place to make a new experience for you. You can even swim with them on special days. Splashing water to you when they jump too high is great and funny. This interactive dolphin show would be the most memorable visit for your kids.
- The Batumi Piazza
A picture-covered square in the center of old Batumi where you can rest, have fun, drink, eat and listen to live music. After a long day tour of Batumi, it would be a great place. The central mosaic of 106 sq. m. is a great feature of the piazza square. It is the largest figurative marble mosaic in Europe.
Now it’s time to take into consideration fun activities in Tbilisi. One of the most fascinating cities in the world. Five activities you can do in Tbilisi to make your stay there unforgettable are as below:
- Old Tbilisi (Altstadt)
In the old Tbilisi district, you can find a lot of restaurants, café bars, nightclubs, and art galleries. Strolling around old houses, mosques, and churches would be an enjoyable experience. There is a castle in the old town that is the only privately owned castle in Tbilisi. Moving freely without any cars has made the old town a safe place for pedestrians. If you are into local old bathes, there are nice ones in this area as well.
“Anyone visiting Georgia should never miss this” is again another sentence that we mostly hear from travelers. This famous railroad opened in 1905. It is built at the top of the Mtatsminda Plateau. You can get a spectacular and breathtaking view of the main station. After the opening of Mtatsminda park, this railroad became a trusted and true way of transit. At the top of Mtatsminda, there are a lot of traditional restaurants. They are highly recommended by travelers for their local cuisines.
- Mtatsminda Park
This park is almost visible from many parts of Tbilisi. There is an amusement park with a famous Ferris wheel inside. So if you are staying in Tbilisi with kids, don’t miss this place. You can enjoy the amazing view of the cityscape and the amazing sunset from there. Funicular railway is the best way to reach this park. Besides, the fresh air and great view, this place has excellent restaurants and snack stores you will love.
- The Bridge of Peace
The design of this bridge reminds you of a marine animal. It is a steel and glass construction pedestrian bridge. A lot of LEDs illuminate it. So it is perfect to take pictures of it at night. The designer of this bridge is an Italian architect Michele De Lucchi. It is located in the beautiful old town next to the Rike park and Metekis church. You can take the boat ride below as well.
If you are into forts, as well as Batumi, there is an amazing one here in Tbilisi. You can see it from any point within old Tbilisi. You can enjoy the great view of the old city at the top of the Narikala and go down to a Botanical garden that is also there. If you like, you can take a zip-line to the garden. Climbing is possible as well as the cable car. The statue of Mother of Georgia made of steel sheets is also there. So don’t miss the fabulous view at the top of this fortress.
The onshore flow from the Black Sea has affected the climate of Batumi more. The nearby hills and mountains are causing significant rainfall throughout most of the year. Because of that Batumi is the wettest city of Georgia. Batumi generally does not receive significant amounts of snow and the number of days with snow cover for the year is around 12 days.
Best months to visit Batumi:
There are a few months when you can travel to Batumi and enjoy the ideal weather:
mid-April to mid-July
Late August to mid-November
However, to be on the safe side, you may consider traveling in May, June, September, and October when the average temperature is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius (68 – 77°F).
On the other hand, continental influences affect the climate of Tbilisi. It receives significant rainfall throughout the year with no distinct dry period. Dry (Central Asian/Siberian) air masses from the east and oceanic (Atlantic/Black Sea) air masses from the west influence the city’s climate. The city is surrounded by mountain ranges. The Greater Caucasus Mountains Range blocks the intrusion of cold air masses from Russia. All of these have caused a mild microclimate for Tbilisi compared to other cities that possess a similar climate along the same latitudes.
The temperature in May, June, and September is said to be mild by many tourists. Those are the best months for traveling to Tbilisi. However, in May and June, there’s always a chance of rain so don’t forget your umbrellas!
The table below will give you more details about the two cities’ climate:
|1||Average Annual Temperature||14 °C (57 °F)||13.3 °C (55.9 °F)|
|4||Absolute Minimum recorded temperature||6 °C (21 °F)||24.4 °C (−11.9 °F)|
|5||Absolute Maximum Recorded Temperature||40 °C (104 °F)||42.0 °C (107.6 °F)|
Temperature Comparison between Batumi and Tbilisi
As we mentioned before, the two cities are full of fun activities and tourist attractions. A large number of sights of interest in both cities has caused an increasing number of tourists. If someone asks which city is more touristic, there is no answer to this question which will fit everyone. Both cities are different with some similarities.
Depending on what you want, you may choose Tbilisi or Batumi. If you want the seaside, the beach, and you prefer a resort atmosphere, then Batumi would be the better choice. If you’re keen on culture, museums, old architecture, and you like to have urban experience, then Tbilisi is a good destination for you. During summer, Tbilisi is quite empty and most activities are happening near the seaside. Please note that Batumi is a great destination only in warm seasons. So, your choice also depends on the time you are heading to stay in Georgia.
Sightseeing in Batumi
Fortunately, there are many different historical places, museums, and landmarks that you can visit in Batumi. Here is a list:
- Batumi Archeological Museum
- Khariton Akhvlediani Adjara State Museum
- Adjara Museum of Art
- David Komakhidze Religious Museum
- Memed Abashidze Museum
- Museum of Education and Culture
- Ilia Chavchavadze Museum
2- Churches and cathedrals:
- Holy Mother Virgins Nativity Cathedral
- Church of St. Nicholas
- Church of the Holy Christ of All Savior
- Holy Trinity Church
- Armenian Apostolic Church
- Catholic Church of the Holy Spirit
- Batumi Holy Spirit Basilica
- Europe Square
- Monument Ali &Nino
- Astronomical Clock
- Piazza Square
- Argo Cable Car
- Batumi Tower Ferris Wheel
- Chacha Tower
- Mosque Batumi
- Batumi Sea Port
- Alphabetic Tower
- Fountain Of Neptun
Sightseeing in Tbilisi
- The National Museum of Georgia
- MOMA Tbilisi (Museum Of Modern Art of Tbilisi)
- Georgian Museum Of Fine Art (The entrance: from Lado Gudiashvili St)
- Open Air Museum of Ethnography: Located up the hills above Vake Park. You can, of course, hike the hills if you are a hiking type of person, take a taxi or take bus #59 from Rustaveli metro station in the Vake direction. After getting off at the last stop you can either walk for 30 minutes or call a cab. Don’t forget to arrive before 4 pm so you will have enough time to visit it by 18:00 when it closes. As the name suggests it is an outdoor museum with over 70 buildings and thousands of artifacts used in traditional Georgian life.
- State Museum of Georgian Folk Songs and Musical Instruments is located on Samghebro Street (near Liberty Square). For music lovers, visiting this museum can be very interesting as you can see the finest collection of musical instruments from Georgian and South Caucasian people. As well as that the museum is a store for manuscripts of Georgian folk music and audio and video recordings.
- Tbilisi History Museum (Located in Sioni Street.8).The museum is at the heart of the Old Town in a restored caravanserai. In this museum, you can see many artifacts including ceramics, coins, textiles, household items and many other items dating back to Bronze Age.
2- Churches and cathedrals:
Roughly 80 % of Georgia’s population is Christian. Therefore, there are many churches in the country as well as in the capital city, Tbilisi. We just want to take a look at the most famous ones.
- The Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi located in Elia Hill
Also known as Sameba and is the main Orthodox Cathedral in Georgia.
- St. Mikheil Tvereli Church in Zaldastanishvili Street is a Russian church. You can easily spot the church by its white color. It is located on the foot of Mtatsminda mountain.
- Anchiskhati Basilica is the oldest church in Tbilisi. It is on Shavteli Street.
- Kashveti in Rustaveli Avenue
- Sioni Cathedral is located in Sioni Street originally built in 6th and 7th century. Throughout history, it has been destroyed and then rebuilt for a couple of times.
If you are wondering which Georgian city is better for investment, look at the comparison between Batumi and Tbilisi here.
According to the World Tourism Organization, recently Georgia has been a touristic pole in the world. A lot of international travelers come to Georgia during a year. So the potential of developing hotel & leisure, residential, retail and office premises is significant.
We tend to think Tbilisi’s potential for investment is higher than Batumi.
Supply and Demand are very important in any kind of investment, especially in real estate. In recent years, Batumi has witnessed a surge in construction as well, but the rate of demand has not increased noticeably. Lower demand and increasing supply has made Batumi a weak choice for investment. Also, there is another barrier to the investment in Batumi and it is the Black Sea season. Sadly, the pleasant weather only lasts for about 6 months per year. In contrast, Tbilisi with its great history behind would be the better choice for investment as the city is active 365 days a year.
The other reason why it is better to invest in Tbilisi is the length of touristic seasons. Tourists come to Tbilisi all around the year. Even in winter, you can see a lot of tourists coming for ski resorts. There are other reasons why you should invest in Tbilisi. Finally, if you are heading to buy a holiday home by the sea, Batumi is your choice. But if you are looking for better rental yields, clearly Tbilisi would be your best destination.
Firstly, comparing the cost of living in Tbilisi and Batumi highly depends on the time of the year. In boom times, when Batumi is full of tourists, all prices are more expensive than other seasons. For instance, a typical meal in Tbilisi is around $6.5 but for Batumi it is around $7.5 . In winters where Batumi is not as touristic as in summers, the price for three courses in a mid-range restaurant is around $17 whereas for Tbilisi it is $20.
Secondly, to take transportation into consideration, taxi for 1 mile for Batumi is $0.33 and for Tbilisi is $0.38. Renting per month for a 3-bedroom apartment in the city center of Batumi is cheaper than Tbilisi (Not touristic time). For example, for Batumi, it is around $200 while for Tbilisi it is $320. As a matter of buying prices, to buy an apartment in the City Centre of Batumi, you have to pay $60 per square feet in comparison to$95 in Tbilisi. (Ref: numbeo.com)
Shopping in Batumi:
Depending on what you want to buy, Batumi has different shopping malls or local stores that can satisfy your taste.
1- If you want to buy trendy things and looking for a big shopping mall then
- Batumi Mall
- Metro City
are the best places for you.
2- Buy Georgian design clothes from Yuliko&Friends.
3- Seafood Market is a special place for you If preparing seafood at your Airbnb is what you want to do.
4- If you’re on to buying local beverages, Chacha Station -located on Chavchavadze Avenue- is one of the best choices for you. You can buy wine of all colors and taste, Chacha as well as some souvenirs.
Shopping in Tbilisi
1- If you prefer big shopping malls to buy clothing or other goods then visiting these shopping malls are highly recommended:
- Tbilisi Mall
- East Point
- Merani Mall
- City Mall
- Eurasia Shopping Mall
- Hauling Tbilisi Sea Plaza
2- Dry Bridge Market is a flea market where you can find plenty of different things. Ranging from original paintings to Soviet Union memorabilia. You can find daggers and silverware as well as handmade jewelry.
3- Station Square is also a flea market where you can buy organic vegetables and fruit.
Tbilisi is an old city with a mixture of architecture. Mixture of local Georgian, Middle Eastern and Soviet modern styles. There are a lot of historical buildings in the old town. They date back to the Russian imperial period (1801–1917). You can find a Western appearance in the downtown where buildings were developed according to the European-style. There are also a lot of Art Nouveau buildings in Tbilisi. According to Wikipedia, “Tbilisi’s postwar architecture is similar to the brand of midcentury modernism found across the Soviet Union”.
In contrast, the architecture of Batumi is more contemporary. Batumi’s architecture is divided into two parts: Contemporary architecture and Novelty architecture. There are a lot of contemporary buildings like Public Service Hall, Hilton Batumi, and Leogrand; whereas, Sheraton Hotel, Alphabetic Tower and Piazza are examples of novelty architecture in Batumi.
Here, we only focus on places and experiences you can have in Batumi and Tbilisi.
Experiences in Batumi
For those who are seeking a relaxing holiday, Batumi has a lot to offer.
- Like many other cities near the sea, you can get tanned or swim in the sandy beaches or just sit on pebble covered beaches and enjoy the tranquility of sunset.
- Swimming in the sea and having a sunbathing on the beach is one of the most relaxing things that you can do in Batumi.
- The amazing Nurigeli Lake located in the middle of The 6th May Park is a great relaxing spot where you can sit by and enjoy the sunset.
- For people who are fond of relaxation and watching people passing by, Batumi Boulevard is the best choice for you.
- Ardagani Lake is an artificial lake where you can enjoy relaxing while watching a dancing fountain and enjoying the view of the city or the sunset.
Walk in the Parks in Batumi
- Batumi Botanical Garden
- Mtirala National Park
- Mirveti arch bridge and Waterfall, which is outside Batumi but in the Ajara region.
- Khihani fortress, around 100 km from Batumi
- The 6th May Park
Experiences in Tbilisi:
Go for a stroll:
1- Rustaveli is one of the main streets of the capital city. Many important buildings are located on this street and a lot is happening there. When walking along Rustaveli as you enjoy listening to live music played by street musicians, you may discover many museums. On top of that, you can visit
- The National Gallery
- Opera and Ballet Theater of Tbilisi
- Shota Rustaveli Theater
when you’re walking in Rustaveli Avenue.
2- The Old Tbilisi: Exploring the Old Town is another delightful activity you can do in Tbilisi. You may end up spending hours strolling along narrow alleys in Old Town and get lost in culture, history, and architecture
Watching the sunset in Tbilisi can be the most enjoyable and relaxing activity as your day is about to end. You have many options for that.
- Taking the funicular and go to the top of Mtatsminda Hill
- Follow the trails on Vake Park and hike up the wood until you find your best spot.
- Take the cable cars from Rike Park and watch the sunset through the ruins of Narikala fortress.
Walk in the Parks in Tbilisi
It is one of the most beautiful places you can visit especially if you want to go on a picnic. There are several cafés, restaurants and ice-cream stalls where you can choose while enjoying the fresh air.
I Turtle Lake is a small lake on the northern slope of Mtatsminda Hill. There are many restaurants and cafés where you can eat while enjoying the view of nature.
It is located in Vake, on Chavchavadze Avenue. It has an open-air amphitheater, a playground for children and a café
Vake Park is the biggest public park in Tbilisi. There are bicycle lanes in the park and many social events happen there. There are also different bars, cafés, and restaurants in the park. Backstage is one of the most popular bars among the expats in the neighborhood where many events take place.
Rike park is one of the most recently-built parks in Tbilisi. It is located on the eastern side of the Mtkvari River. The main entrance to the park is through the Peace Bridge. There is a newly-built cable car which takes you to The Holy Mountain Mtatsminda. You can visit the Narikala fortress and Tbilisi Botanical Garden.
In summary, Georgia as a country with a European feeling is a very good choice for investment. Batumi or Tbilisi, it mostly depends on you and your desires. If you like to stay beside the sea and enjoy, go directly to Batumi. But consider this fact that Tbilisi has made investment easy and profitable for you. By taking smart steps, you won’t regret bringing your money into Tbilisi.