Kobuleti is the coastal resort that many Tbilisians now flock to in summer in order to escape the heat of the capital city. Those coming for Georgia Tours often visit the coastal part of Georgia. It can get very crowded.
What to do
The traditional thing to do is to lie on the beach. Unfortunately it’s stony rather than sandy, so it’s no good for making sandcastles.
Where to stay
Because of the large number of domestic tourists, home-stays can be difficult to find – when I went in summer it was impossible to find any home-stay with reasonable sleeping conditions. Even those with spare room were reluctant to let them out for periods of less than a week. Fortunately the huge Soviet-era hotel at 358 Aghmashenebeli Street (I forget its name – probably Intourist) had plenty of space, and right by the beach. The cost when I went was about 25 dollars a night for a double room, and Extra Service travel agents say it’s 25 Laris per person per night which is about the same. It has the standard Soviet-era features – lumpy bed, plywood fittings with peeling teak-effect veneer, spider in bath etc. But staying there seems preferable to renting a bed in an overcrowded dormitory in a private house.
Where to eat
There was a beach restaurant near the hotel, well located but with a rather limited stock of food and drink – especially disappointing considering the magnitude of Georgian appetites for both. A cafe, on the town side of the road that runs parallel to the beach, was better. As in most downmarket seaside resorts, there are quite a lot of cafes near the sea that serve cheap-and-cheerful food. Don’t expect to find anything sophisticated, though.
From the sound of it the Turinji may be a good place – friends say it’s difficult to find any decent restaurants. When I went we stopped at a cafe on the promenade, which was pleasant enough.
Stores on the road that runs parallel to the beach sell food, drinks and assorted inflatable objects to help you enhance your pleasure in the sea.
There was a major disco at the hotel the night I stayed, but I’m not sure that it is a regular event there – it seemed to have been specially laid on for hundreds of visiting schoolkids.
Getting to Kobuleti
The overnight trains from Tbilisi to Batumi stop at Kobuleti, about 12 hours after leaving Tbilisi.
Getting to Batumi
Batumi seems to be the second-best city in Georgia for shopping (after Tbilisi), but from what I saw that’s not saying a great deal!
For budget travellers the best way of getting from Tbilisi to Batumi is by the overnight train – you get a night’s accommodation in the process. However, if you have problems sleeping on trains you can go by marshroutka (about 8 hours including a stop for food), and the journey is quite picturesque. Batumi is also likely to be the first Georgian town for people arriving by land via Turkey.