Botanical Garden of Batumi – from snail to sequoia
For the sake of this park by the sea alone, it is worth coming to Georgia! We will tell you about our experiences and discoveries at the Batumi Botanical Garden. Find out how to get there, if you can swim, and how much the tickets cost.
My husband and I have traveled to different countries and seen real gardening wonders in Europe and Asia, so at first we did not expect anything special from the Botanical Garden of Batumi. The wonders began as soon as we got off the bus. It was 200 m to the entrance and we were walking and couldn’t get enough of it.
Thanks to the sea breezes and proximity to the mountains, the air in Batumi is clean enough, but on the Green Cape, where the botanical garden is located, it’s just magical. The smell of fresh grass is mixed with the aroma of pine and flowers. You breathe in, close your eyes and feel happy!
Azalea in Batumi Botanical Garden.
The territory of Batumi Botanical Garden is large, hilly, you can’t go around in a day. If you come here for the first time, stick to the Main Road signs. Across the park are fairly wide asphalt paths, on which from time to time pass electric cars with tourists. The side paths and stairs are narrower, steeper, and sometimes overgrown.
The old staircase in the garden.
We liked that Batumi Botanical Garden has information boards about each part of the park and signs on the trees and shrubs in Latin, English, Georgian and Russian. And if you want to look into the distance – use binoculars!
Binoculars for tourists.
Each corner of Batumi Botanical Garden has plants from a certain part of the world. From North America you can easily get to Australia and New Zealand, and from there to East Asia, the Himalayas, and the Mediterranean.
The lantern maple.
It is only 9 km to Batumi, so the slopes here and there are beautiful views of the port part of the city and the bay.
The view of Batumi from the Botanical Garden.
We saw so many new plants that we felt like real botanical nerds. In the Botanical Garden of Batumi, my dream to touch a sequoia came true! Of course, such giant trees do not grow on the shores of the Black Sea as in North America, but the Georgian sequoias are impressive. We counted a dozen trees between 100 and 150 years old.
A special feature of the Botanical Garden in Batumi is the Black Sea. Walking along the paths, you will constantly hear the sound of the surf and you can admire the shore from the viewing platforms.
It is convenient to swim at the “Green Cape” beach to the south of the garden and at the beach, which is located at the northern end of the park, near Chakvi. There is also a small secluded beach in the center of the park, but you have to walk down a steep path to it! We didn’t risk it.
Black sea near Botanical garden.
The history of the Botanical Garden began in 1881. Many people participated in the creation of luxurious plantations – patrons, experienced gardeners, biologists and students. Several old buildings and greenhouses have been preserved on the grounds. The house of the geographer and traveler Pavel Tatarnikov, which was built at the beginning of the last century, looks the best. Now the two-story mansion is occupied by the garden administration.
Georgians are religious people, so there is a cross in honor of St. Andrew in the Botanical Garden. Nearby is a tiny wooden house, where the head of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Elijah II, stayed. We learned about it when we read the text on a small plaque. The small house resembles an unsightly dacha, without any conveniences. I guess the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia didn’t care where to live in the Garden of Eden!
A cross in honor of St. Andrew.
There are plenty of animals and birds in the Botanical Garden, but they try to stay away from tourists. Once a swift weasel ran across the road in front of us, and in the dense grass of the ravine we spotted a black snake. Park rangers say that sometimes deer come into the park from the mountains.
If you like to watch birds, take a side path and get away from the main path. The birds are more peaceful and trusting in the thicket of the woods. We saw thrushes, goldfinches, redstarts, blue tits, hoopoes, and wagtails in the treetops and on paths.
There are goldfish in the small ponds of the mirrored Japanese Garden, and beautiful lizards basking on sunny glades and rocks.
We suggest checking out the stylishly landscaped grounds near the New Zealand section. Here, beautiful frogs sit dignified on nymph leaves in a small pond.
The Botanical Garden has several places where bamboo grows, and there is a large collection of different species of bamboo from China. Walking through the exotic bamboo forest is very pleasant! The narrow leaves create lots of shade and gently rustle in the wind.
It was amazing to see different cones and fruits on the branches. Some of them are inedible – like the berry yew.
To the joy of tourists, on the slopes grows a lot of tasty and useful fruits and berries. From early summer to late autumn you can enjoy kiwis, hazelnuts, blackberries, tangerines, figs, tkemali, apples, persimmons and pears. There are no fences or forbidding signs in Batumi Botanical Garden. Pick whatever you like and taste Georgia!
Be sure to check out the local rose garden! The elderly gardener Mikhail will take you through his fragrant plantation and show you the rarest kinds of roses. The kind Georgian treated us to sweet slices of the candy tree.
Next to the main path in several places a unique plant is planted especially for tourists. Do not miss the green inconspicuous miracle! Mimosa bashful – the most delicate inhabitant of Batumi Botanical Garden. It feels the touch of your hand. Touch the leaves and they instantly curl up.
- To make it easier to navigate, download a map of the Batumi Botanical Garden to your smartphone or pick up a color chart at the entrance.
- There’s nowhere to buy water or food on the grounds. Take everything you need for a snack with you.
- It is more comfortable to walk around the garden in athletic shoes.
- After rain, small paths and old stairs become slippery. Be careful!
Useful information for tourists
Entrance to the Botanical Garden costs 8 GEL for Georgians and 15 GEL for foreigners. Several times a year, for example on New Year’s Eve and Independence Day, visitors are admitted for free. If you plan to go to the Botanical Garden of Batumi several times, we advise you to buy a monthly pass: for one person – 30 GEL, for two – 50 GEL, for three – 60 GEL.
Staying overnight with a tent is not a problem. For bivouacs, the Botanical Garden in Batumi has a picturesque place near a stream, with good drinking water, a stone oven for cooking and a spacious gazebo in case it rains. Overnight accommodation for Georgian citizens costs 15 GEL, and 20 GEL for foreigners.
If you don’t like to walk for a long time, travel around the Botanical Garden in an electric car. The trip costs 5 GEL.
Learn about free visiting days, exhibitions and plant collections on the Batumi Botanical Garden’s official website.
How to get there . It’s 9 km from Batumi to the Botanical Garden. From the city to the south entrance is convenient by shuttle 31 or bus number 10. There is no public transportation to the north entrance. To get to the north entrance, take bus 40 to Chakvi, get off at the Botanical Garden. From there you will have to walk 1.1 km to the north entrance.
Botanical Garden of Batumi
In summer it can be unbearably stuffy in Adjara Batumi. And me, not being able to stay in the port city, which was literally melting before my eyes from the heat, I ran away to the Botanical Garden on the Black Sea shore. You could spend a whole day there, get lost, fall in love, and then finally come down to the sea and go swimming, seeing off the sun on its daily tour around the Earth.
Batumi Botanical Garden is not a garden at all, but a fairy-tale forest, where you can see emerald mosses and lilac hydrangeas underfoot, the sound of plane-trees and bird cries overhead, and somewhere in the distance Batumi is trembling in the heat of the fire.
How to Get There
The Botanical Garden is located just 8 kilometers from the center of Batumi. At first I selflessly tried to walk there (why not, if there’s the sea to my left the whole way?), but in the end of course I took a minibus. The #13 bus will do, it starts at Tbilisi Square every 10 minutes and you can also catch it at Chavchavadze Street, near the lower station of the cable car. Also there goes minibus 150 (departs from the same place every 15-20 minutes). The way from Batumi to the Botanical Garden takes only 15 minutes. The fare is 0,5 USD / 1 GEL.
The garden has two entrances and exits: upper and lower. The lower one is more official, that’s where the shuttles come from Batumi. The upper one is not very popular, but from there the views are immediately stunningly beautiful. To leave the garden, it is better to go back to the lower exit.
Another option to get to the Botanical Garden from Batumi. You can take a shuttle bus to the village of Chakvi (look for it at Tbilisi Square). Just don’t forget to ask the driver to stop near the road leading to the Botanical Garden. From there you will have to walk a bit to the lower (main) entrance to the park.
Particularly desperate and thrifty can get into the garden for free. To do this, you have to come to the railway station Green Cape (in Georgian it sounds like “Mtsvane kontskhi”) and go to the beach of the same name (here again, a shuttle bus to Chakvi will do). It is considered one of the best beaches in Batumi. During soviet times there was even a ropeway here. Then go right and walk around the cliffs by water and you will come to the quay near the tunnel. After you walk a little further forward, you will see a white Soviet-era pavilion on your right hand. This is the abandoned entrance to the botanical garden. I have not yet explored this route and cannot be held responsible for its effectiveness.
If you don’t want to ride the shuttles, you can take a cab. For example, a ride from downtown Batumi to the lower entrance of the Botanical Gardens will cost 5 USD/10 GEL.
It won’t be difficult to get back from the garden (from the lower entrance): there are usually parked shuttles. But leaving from the upper entrance will not be easy: there is no transport, so you will probably have to catch a hitchhiker or order a cab in advance by phone.
Prices and working hours
The Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm. The price of admission is 4 USD/8 GEL, the cost of the tour is 15 USD/30 GEL. Children under 10 years old are free. Conveniently, you can pay by card.
An electric bus ride through the garden (from the upper entrance to the lower entrance, or vice versa) costs 2 USD/4 GEL one way. The ticket can be purchased from the driver. For individual bus rentals (max 4 passengers) cost 20 USD/40 GEL per hour, go to the cashier at the garden’s entrance. Transportation can come in handy: the garden is located on a fairly high promontory above the Black Sea. If you go in through the main (lower) entrance, you can take a bus up and then go back down the hill and enjoy the ride. Although these electric cars run rather infrequently – about once an hour.
A bit of history
Batumi Botanical Garden is 100 years old in 2012 (and this only since its official opening). The age is certainly considerable, but most of all I was struck by the size of the garden – 113 hectares. So it is impossible to walk around the garden in one day. But to learn a few new facts and breathe the oily eucalyptus air – quite.
Founded in the late XIX century by traveler and biologist Andrei Krasnov, the garden was intended to test the acclimatization of subtropical plants on the Caucasian coast of the Black Sea. Plants were brought here from North America, Southeast Asia and even from the Tien Shan Mountains. Within a few years, Krasnov managed to create here, in the suburbs of Batumi, several subtropical zones (Australia, New Zealand, the Himalayas, Transcaucasia, North and South America, East Asia, the Mediterranean, Mexico). At the moment the collection includes about 5000 species of plants, with typical plants of the Caucasus making up only 10% of the garden’s flora.
Batumi’s climate, humid and warm, was perfect for many plants, but Krasnov faced constant difficulties. For example, he had to drain the local swamps with a complex drainage system. After that, Australian eucalyptus trees took root here. The same citrus trees, growing perfectly well in Abkhazia, were atypical of Adjara. However, Krasnov managed to start growing mandarins and oranges here, and on an industrial scale. There are even banana trees.
In 1914, when Andrei Krasnov died, he was buried here in the garden. In my opinion, it’s very beautiful and symbolic: to devote his life to his favorite cause and stay with it forever.
In fact, the history of Batumi Garden began much earlier, in 1881. Then a French aristocrat, a certain D’Alphonse, built a beautiful summer house near Batumi. And, of course, he built a beautiful garden around it. Years later, it became a beautiful part of today’s Botanical Garden.
During Soviet times, the Botanical Garden was a scientific base for the citrus and tea industry. Even now it is clear that the garden consists of two parts – scientific and, so to speak, artistic. In the second part there is a slight mess and only asphalt paths and neat flowerbeds remind us that we are in a civilized ennobled place. Everything else seems like a jungle.
Since 2006, the Batumi Botanical Garden is an independent institution, and does not receive assistance from the state.
The Botanical Garden of Batumi today
The Botanical Garden stretches along the Black Sea coast and its outline reminds me of a failed khachapuri in Sajarian style. From its northern end to the southern end is about three kilometers. The paths are in good condition and you can walk along the whole garden (not everywhere) or ride a bike (if you come here from Batumi on a rented bike). If you decide to deviate from the main route, be prepared to get lost for a couple of hours (I did it just fine).
Keep in mind that the road goes up and downhill, so good exercise is guaranteed. The garden has two entrances and exits: one upstairs and one downstairs. Usually everyone goes in from the lower entrance (there is also a shuttle bus from Batumi). After visiting the garden I would recommend going to Zelenyi Mys (Green Cape) beach, if you have time. It’s very clean and sparsely populated.
By the way about the beach: it is pebble like almost everywhere else on the Black Sea coast of Georgia. It is located 600 meters from the lower exit (you have to go a little to the left). The beach has a restaurant, bar and umbrellas for rent. Agree, it is very convenient to combine in one trip and the legendary garden and beach holiday away from the city.
The territory of the Botanical Garden is divided into 20 different sectors. Among them are such sweet names as the citrus sector, the rose garden, the Himalayan sector, and the bamboo plantation. Batumi bamboo even managed to make a movie appearance – in the movie “Love and Doves”. It’s not difficult to orientate in the garden as each sector (all of them are numbered) is equipped with modern stands with maps and signatures. In my opinion, the first and second sectors (Upper and Lower Parks) are the prettiest.
If you don’t have a lot of time to visit Batumi Garden, then for the first time at all it will be enough only them. By the way, the Lower Park is the former territory of Frenchman D’Alphonse’s garden. By the way, the dacha of the aristocrat has been preserved to this day. In the same part of the garden is an observation deck. And the Upper Park is the former garden of geographer and horticulturist Pavel Tatarinov, who created it in 1892.
Of the pleasant little things in the garden there is wi-fi (gets it almost everywhere) and binoculars for rent. These come in handy in case you want to admire the coast and Batumi from the heights of the Green Cape. Food and drinks are better to take with you – I’ve counted only two places in the garden where you can have khachapuri and buy lemonade. Both of them are at the entrances to the garden: at the upper and lower entrances.