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Batumi Gay Travel

Planning Batumi gay travel? Follow this guide’s LGBT safety tips, plus find top Batumi hotels, beaches & restaurants.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Batumi, Georgia

Russian tourists flood the glowing city of Batumi each summer to relax. The city is heavily influenced by Russian culture and is now experiencing immense real estate investment. Batumi is in the process of developing into a mega-vacation spot, especially for the Russians and local Georgians.

gay travelers in Batumi
While visiting the beach-city of Batumi, I had the pleasure of meeting up with a local gay Georgian who was born in Tbilisi, as well as his Dutch boyfriend. My friend Hassan and I found them on Grindr in an effort to connect with any gay life we could find in Batumi.
gay travelers in Batumi
batumi skyline
batumi skyline

The reality is that gay-oriented phone applications come to the rescue in cities such as Batumi where being LGBT is frowned upon. These boys joined us for a glorious day at the beach. They shared their experiences of what it is like being gay in Georgia

LGBT individuals in Batumi are few and far between. The few there are usually local gays who are visiting from Tbilisi or world travelers who have the courage to plop themselves in such an unfamiliar culture! Continue reading below for my overall opinion of Batumi. I’ll also explain more on safety in Georgia.

My Opinion of Batumi

In my honest opinion, I think that travel to Batumi will be best in a few years’ time. There are dozens of hotels and apartment buildings still under construction (as of May 2019) along Batumi’s coastline. I love the glowing skyline most about Batumi. Some buildings have electrifying light shows on their facades!

batumi gay nightlife

Batumi will have much more to offer as the rapid development continues. The new hotels will establish themselves and the city will grow. Nevertheless, I certainly enjoyed the wonderful beaches and walking the promenade along the coast

Check out Batumi views in this awesome video made by the Georgian Real Estate Company Orbi.

Is Batumi Gay Travel Safe?

There are a few things you should know before embarking on a journey to Batumi as a gay traveler. Although Georgia is not the most accepting place in the world for gays, it is not the most dangerous place either. 

Georgia does not criminalize homosexuality. Gay travel to Georgia is quite easy. Keep reading to understand how to stay safe and comfortable.

Batumi gay travel
Batumi gay travel
batumi skyline

Many citizens of Georgia possess anti-LGBT sentiment. This sentiment has persisted from Soviet influence, being gay was illegal under the old regime. Furthermore, the population is heavily Orthodox Christian, which does not mix well with homosexuality. An overwhelming majority of Georgians are unfortunately fiercely against homosexuality.

batumi skyline

With this in mind, it is important to keep any public displays of affection to private spaces or places that you know are LGBT-friendly. Public affection can draw negative attention and lewd comments from individuals in the streets. 

Head to the end of this Batumi travel guide for more on the subject of LGBT rights in Georgia and public opinion of being gay.

Batumi Hotels & Where to Stay

Location is of high importance to get the best Batumi experience. Since car-sharing apps are only available between the Batumi train station and the city center area, I recommend staying  in one of the larger hotels near the city center.

cabana restaurant Batumi Pier
It will be easier to move around and walk the city. It is best to stay along the beachfront as well. If you go too far south of the main promenade/city center area, you will be a bit secluded.
batumi hotels
batumi hotels with pools

I stayed at the Colosseum Marina Hotel in Batumi for the amazing views and high-quality amenities. Even with the amazing pools, large gym and beach views, my favorite part was the bountiful breakfast buffet. It was by far the best hotel meal I had while visiting Georgia.

batumi hotels
My gay friend Hassan and I booked a single hotel room in Batumi. There was no issue with two men sharing a single bed. I wouldn’t be concerned about the bed situation if traveling with your partner. Again, being gay is not illegal in Georgia. At the end of this Batumi gay travel guide there is more on LGBT rights in Georgia.

Batumi Hotel Booking Precautions

Be very careful when booking your hotel in Batumi. Before I checked into the wonderful Colosseum Marina Hotel, I had two bad experiences. One with an Airbnb apartment and another with a self-proclaimed hotel.

batumi hotels with pools

Firstly, Batumi is a seasonal destination. If you are not visiting during the “high season,” then most resort amenities will be closed during your stay. Check with the hotel to see what exactly is available for your dates.

This is most important if you are near the beginning or end of high season. The high season in Batumi is from June 1 through mid-September.

gay beach batumi
gay beach batumi
batumi beach sunset

Secondly, many listings contain misleading information, especially on Airbnb in Batumi. Ask hosts specific and detailed questions before you book anything. This way you will know exactly what to expect. 

For example, the resort may state there is a gym, but that gym may be closed for repairs, in an adjacent hotel or even nonexistent! Check out local Batumi Airbnb Listings, but just be careful to ask any questions needed.

Many Batumi hotels listed on websites such as Booking are actually “apart-hotels,” so they do not come with standard hotel services. It is extremely common to reserve a “hotel” in Batumi and wind up staying in a privately-owned apartment that is set up like a hotel room. 

Perhaps this is fine for you, but still be cautious. To help you out, I’ve created this list of  strictly four & five-star Batumi hotels with the highest ratings.

Batumi Gay Travel Experiences

Batumi is all about the beach! Similar to beaches you would find in the South of France, the shoreline is cobblestone. There are plenty of chairs for rent for a few Lari, so you don’t have to camp out on the rocks. If you prefer more comfort, pack a pair of lace-up water shoes, or some chic Birkenstock sandals.
batumi beach sunset
The Black Sea will be quite cold at the beginning of June, but it’s still tolerable if you can get past the chill! It should warm up toward the middle of summer.
You will surely pass through the large park area while strolling the beachside promenade. Make sure you head over to the Batumi fountains in an area called Batumi Boulevard. You can find many locals hanging out in this relaxing part of town.
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Best Restaurants in Batumi

There are only a handful of high-quality restaurants in Batumi in my opinion. Other than the few I will mention, I have noticed many places you may find are slightly run down or offer poor service. Online reviews reflect this. Restaurants inside of your hotel may be better than venturing too far.

Georgian food fish

Ajarian House was so delicious, that I had dinner there several times. The restaurant serves traditional Georgian food and has indoor-outdoor seating very close the beach promenade. The fish here was delicious and the wine is cheap!

Georgian food fish
Walnut Eggplant Georgian Dish

Gourmand is an excellent place for lunch or dinner. The interior is eloquent and the food is delicious. The ambiance is perfect for gay couples! Make sure to try the roasted chicken in Tkemali sauce. Here’s the Gourmand Website for more info.

Walnut Eggplant Georgian Dish
For lunch or a relaxing beachside snack, head to the Batumi Pier. There are a few restaurants clustered together to choose from. If it is not too busy, you can grab a private cabana table right near the beach. They even have live music sometimes.

Georgian Food You Must Try!

Every single meal I had while traveling Georgia included the amazing “walnut and eggplant dish.” It’s a walnut paste wrapped in eggplant with pomegranate seeds on top. You have to try it. It was my favorite starter.

Khachapuri is the mother of all traditional foods in Georgia. This stuff will make your brain light up. It is a cheese-bread topped with a slab of butter that is not fully melted and usually includes a raw egg.
Sulguni Georgian Food
Sulguni Georgian Food
Khachapuri Georgian Food

Fried Sulguni cheese is also a mainstay dish. It is simple, yet delicious. You can get this heap of cheese either plain or with any type of meat or mushrooms.

For those who like to drink, order a small portion of Chacha. This potent wine is popular with the Georgians for its high alcohol content. It is more like a liquor!

Batumi Nightlife

You’re probably interested in what Batumi nightlife is like, as well as what the best batumi nightclubs are. Unfortunately, there is usually only trouble to be found in Batumi clubs.

I heeded the advice of a local Georgian from Tbilisi as well as the cautionary reviews on several websites. As you may similarly discover, travelers recommend to avoid club-like establishments in this city.

Georgian Beer in Batumi

It seems many Batumi nightclubs or other party venues seek to charge you for things that were not actually ordered. Individuals with intentions other than enjoying a night out tend to occupy these establishments.

Pickpocketing, prostitution and/or falsely charging patrons may be some activity found in Batumi bars. In short, I don’t think Batumi is the destination for large parties, especially for the LGBT travelers!

batumi nightlife
Georgian Beer in Batumi
batumi nightlife

Instead of a nightclub, I recommend choosing an outdoor shisha bar where you can enjoy some beer and smoke some delicious flavors. Although shisha originated from middle eastern cultures, the Russians and Georgians here subsequently adopted the popular flavored-smoking activity.

Are There Gay Bars in Batumi?

Georgia is quite a conservative nation as the country formed after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Gay culture does not really exist in Batumi as you might expect from the heavy Russian influence. If you are looking to meet some other travelers, dating apps may be of good use since it can be difficult to be openly gay in public in Georgia.

Batumi Gay Travel Tips

Keep in mind that Batumi is a seasonal destination. Georgians and Russians flock here to escape urban centers and to enjoy the clean, serene beaches. I would advise against visiting during colder months since there might not be much to do.

If you’re checking out flights to Georgia, I suggest comparing airlines with Skyscanner. They have an awesome interface and make it super easy to optimize your route. Plus, they offer flexible ticket options in light of the pandemic.

fabrika tbilisi travel
batumi gay nightlife
cabana restaurant Batumi Pier
The summer season in Batumi officially starts after the last week in May. Once June begins, everything will be in full swing. Don’t let other travel websites influence you to go to Batumi during “low season.” If you go outside of the peak season, you may find yourself in a cold and empty town!

Before heading to Batumi, it would be wise to work on some basic Russian skills! Many people do not speak English; however, English is spoken better by people in Batumi as compared to Kutaisi.

Gay Batumi: How to Get There

Batumi is easily reached by train from Tbilisi. However, you will not be able to find directions online. If you are coming from Tbilisi, you can get tickets in person at the Station Square Train Station. Read the Tbilisi Gay Travel Guide for more info. There should be no need to buy any tickets online beforehand.

batumi gay travel experiences

Trains arrive and depart at the Batumi Central Railway Station. The station is about a 15 to 20-minute drive from the city center. Upon arrival to Batumi, use a car-sharing app to reserve a vehicle. This will be cheaper than local taxi’s which may take advantage of you.

batumi gay travel experiences
batumi when to visit
batumi when to visit
If you need to get to Kutaisi, there are many busses daily to and from the Kutaisi International Airport. Check out Georgian Bus online to reserve a seat on a minivan. When you are close to the pickup time, have your hotel concierge confirm with the driver over the phone.
Make sure that they have the right hotel and location. Save yourself from any mishaps due to any language barrier or other confusion with the pickup time.

Gay Life in Georgia

Georgia is one of the few places in the post-Soviet realm of the world that has protections for LGBT citizens. Although anti-LGBT sentiment is high in Georgia, the LGBT community technically has support. The government enacted discrimination protections back in 2006. Those protections now include both orientation and gender expression.
gender equality tbilisi
Georgia has faced very recent battles regarding marriage equality. In 2016, there was a movement to redefine the current gender-neutral constitutional language to instead expressly state that marriage should exist between a man and a woman. This crisis received extreme backlash from the international community. However, the parliament went on to pass the proposal, a large defeat to the LGBT population.
gay travel to Tbilisi
gay travel to Tbilisi
gender equality tbilisi

Anti-LGBT sentiment is extremely high in Georgia. Polls from 2011 on social attitudes showed that more than 90% of Georgians think homosexuality is completely unacceptable.

Gay travelers must remain guarded in Georgia since these attitudes are so negative. Many individuals in the public eye have suffered negative repercussions, including physical violence, by making pro-LGBT statements in various ways.

gay travel safe Tbilisi Georgia

In my opinion, it is a bit unfortunate that the government only advances protections for the LGBT community because it is a prerequisite to aligning politically with the advanced states of Europe. 

Nevertheless, progress is progress. Let’s hope that the overall sentiment regarding LGBT lives will change as time progresses.

Batumi was quite a memorable travel experience for me. I definitely recommend that you visit. 

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