Today was the day we left for Batumi. I have read that it is very difficult to get train tickets to Batumi during the summer because it is a very popular tourist destination, so I bought tickets online as soon as they became available. I got train car #1 places 1 and 2, so I was pretty much the first one. 😀 The Georgian Railway website is a bit of a mess and you need to register in order to be able to buy tickets. In addition to that the printout you get is a measly two lines, so I wasn’t at all certain that we would actually be allowed on the train, so we showed up rather early. There were plenty of drivers offering their services as all the tickets were sold out and they were really surprised that two people, who were clearly tourists actually had train tickets. So if you’re left without tickets there is still chance to get to Batumi, but I don’t know how much that would cost.
Luckily there was a Georgian Railways customer service representative in the lobby, so we asked her whether our printout was enough or did we need to get the actual tickets from the teller, but she assured us that the printout was enough.
So the tickets for two people cost 50 GEL (15,50€) and the trip takes about five hours. The train was easy to find, but reserve enough time for boarding as it is a bit chaotic with people’s tickets being checked before they’re allowed to board the train and for example the group before us had an issue because they forgot one girl’s passport at home.
When boarding the train there were two people checking tickets and if you had bought tickets online, only one but not the other person could let you in. The staff member had a list of all the passenger names and passport numbers and she matched the name and code on your ticket to the one on their list and checked your passport.
The train ride was rather comfortable despite the train being completely full and luckily the people opposite from just read their books all the way.
We arrived to Batumi train station and the first thing we noticed that the Taxify app didn’t work in Batumi, so we needed to negotiate a taxi ride with a local taxi driver. Our general feeling is that everything is a bit more expensive in Batumi, so I think we agreed on 20 GEL (6€) for a short taxi ride to the hotel. We had booked The Admiral Hotel, which look fancier online than in real life, but was actually in a pretty good location. All the hotels in Batumi were super expensive and we paid 923 GEL (285€) for three nights.
All we really managed to do was to walk around a bit in the neighborhood and get something to eat.
We ended up eating at a restaurant called Heart of Batumi, which was quite good. Nothing fancy, but rather good Georgian homestyle cooking. We didn’t book a table, but showed up early, around five o’clock, and managed to get a table without any issues. There weren’t any tables available when we left an hour and some later.
We walked back to the hotel and enjoyed the view of the sunset from our French balcony. Some other rooms has a large balcony and the balconies are facing the road and the beach boulevard, so it’s not the quietest area during the day, but we didn’t have any issues during the night and even the road in front of the hotel quieted down.