Batumi Gay Travel
Planning Batumi gay travel? Follow this guide’s LGBT safety tips, plus find top Batumi hotels, beaches & restaurants.
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 experiencing immense real estate investment.
Batumi is in the process of developing into a mega-vacation spot, especially for the Russians and local Georgians.
While visiting 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 while searching to connect with any gay life we could find in Batumi.
The reality is that gay-oriented phone applications come to the rescue in cities like 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, as well as safety in Georgia.
My Opinion of Batumi
Batumi was an incredibly interesting city to visit, and if you have the chance now, I’d say go! However, I also think that travel to Batumi will be even better a couple of years from now.
When I visited in May 2019, there were dozens of oceanfront hotels and apartment buildings still under construction, and there are still so many more glitzy new real estate developments to be completed.
As development continues, new hotels will establish themselves and the city will feel more complete. Nevertheless, I still loved the views of Batumi’s glowing skyline. Some buildings have electrifying light shows on their facades! Plus, the beaches are wonderful, too.
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.
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.
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, it’s best to stay central.
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.
My 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.
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.
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 the high season. The high season in Batumi is from June 1 through mid-September.
Secondly, many listings contain misleading information, especially on apartment rentals 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!
Many Batumi hotels 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.
Batumi Gay Travel Experiences
Batumi is all about the beach! Similar to beaches you would find in destinations in southern France like Nice, 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.
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.
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 out.
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 to the beach promenade. The fish here was delicious and the wine is cheap!
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.
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.
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 Georgians for its high alcohol content. It is more like liquor!
You’re probably interested in what Batumi nightlife is like, as well as what the best nightclubs are. Unfortunately, there is usually only trouble to be found in Batumi clubs.
I heeded the advice of a local Georgian as well as the cautionary reviews on several websites. As you may similarly discover, travelers recommend avoiding club-like establishments in this city. In all honesty, you’re much better off going to Tbilisi for nightlife.
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 can be some activities found in Batumi bars. In short, I don’t think Batumi is the destination for large parties, especially for LGBT travelers! If you do explore the city’s nightlife, follow these safety recommendations.
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.
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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.
I suggest comparing airlines with Expedia if you’re checking out flights to Georgia. You can filter not only by airline but also according to how much luggage you’ll bring, as well as if the airline charges change fees.
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.
How to Get to Batumi
Coming from Tbilisi, you can get to Batumi easily by car, bus or train. The most convenient option is to book a Tbilisi-Batumi private transfer, especially if you’re short on time.
Batumi is easily reached by train from Tbilisi. However, you might 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. There should be no need to buy any tickets online beforehand. Read the Tbilisi gay guide for more info.
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.
If you need to get to Kutaisi, there are many buses daily to and from the Kutaisi International Airport. Alternatively, you can book a Kutaisi to Batumi private transfer.
Check out Georgian Bus 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.
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.
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.
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.
Along with your Georgia travels, consider adding the luxurious city of Baku in neighboring Azerbaijan.