Planning my summer trip this year to the Caucasus region, I knew that I had to tick off at least two items off my bucket list: visiting the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea. Water excites me, so there was no way I’d leave the place without paying a visit to these two water bodies.
Caspian Sea experience
Being in Azerbaijan first, I was looking for ways to see the Caspian Sea. But, the beach was far away from the main city. And public access was little. And dirty. So, after recommendations from the locals there, I found out going either to Dalga beach club or Amboran Beach club would get me to see the clean, well-maintained part of the Caspian Sea.
I paid 20 AZN for entry into the Amboran Beach club for a towel and rental beach chair included in the price. More on my Amboran Beach club experience can be found here.
I hurried to check out the Caspian sea and swim in it but it was so dirty. It looked like any other beach but when I put my feet into it to go into the water, a lot of seaweed looking algae and slimy sand hooked on to me. I hoped that it would get better once I get deeper, but it just got worse. In less than a minute, I called it quits and went swimming in the pool instead. I was told that the water would get cleaner in a month or two but I doubt that it would be the case.
Public Access 1/5
Other activities 3/5
Value for money 1/5
Black Sea Experience
Disappointed, I decided to postpone swimming in the sea for another country. When I moved on to Georgia after exploring Azerbaijan, I had to have Batumi in my list of places to visit within the country. Why? It’s famous for its black sea. Trabzon, part of Turkey also shares the black sea along with Batumi. So, I finally visited the Georgia part of the black sea which is located in Batumi, the second largest city in the country.
In contrast to the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea is such a beautiful beach to spend your time relaxing; whatever relaxation means to you be it swimming, sunbathing, staring at the blues of the sky and the sea, or just listening to the sound of the soothing waves. You can rent beach chairs for 3 GEL per chair and 1 GEL for the umbrella.
It isn’t a sandy beach. It’s rocky. Really rocky. Expect a natural, painful pedicure if you wish to walk around without slippers. The sand underneath the rocks is dark grey giving it the name, Black Sea. The best part about this beach Is that it stretches for 6-7 kms which means even on the most crowded days, you’d still find a place to unwind without feeling as if the entire population is at the beach.
There were many ongoing projects of upcoming restaurants, boulevards and entertainment options being undertaken around this beach area at the time when I visited (June 2018). Investing here is a good choice if you have some money to spare. In fact, the place is already well developed with a lot of rides for kids and adults, biking and cycling paths two ways, many benches to chill out on and a lot of rental stalls. There’s a lot in the making. I might have to go back to see what Batumi would look like in a few years.
There is a beautiful musical fountain. The scooters are of different kinds, some able to accommodate up to 4 passengers, priced at 40 GEL for an hour and 20 GEL for 30 minutes. The scooters are usually chosen by large families or Arab women who wanted to have some fun. I chose to opt for a bicycle (bike) instead. The bikes are priced at 5 GEL for an hour and have models suitable for both women and men. You can rent it directly from the vendors and negotiate the price if you need it for more than an hour. Alternatively, you can go to the tourist information centre close to the Batumi seaport and purchase a bike card there. This would help you self-return the bike any time you wish to, even if it is past midnight. Self-return machines are available all around the boulevard area.
If you’re travelling with kids, there are a lot of rides for them (and for you) to try. The Ferris wheel, the go-round cup, the 360 degree bus, boxing machine, shoot and win, are just some of the entertainment options.
I ate at one of the Indian restaurants on the beach. The food was a bit on the high side if compared to the Georgian standard, thanks to the premium location. 70-80 GEL for two. Butter chicken and Chana masala with Naan. It was so spicy that I went on gulping water as though there was no end, haha.
Besides this, the boulevard is surrounded with so many restaurants and cafés that you’d be lost in choice. Often, street Georgian dancing is going on. Others are playing different kinds of music on their instruments. There’s a lot to do and you won’t get bored. And if nothing works, just walk.
Public Access 5/5
Other activities 5/5
Value for money 5/5
I’d choose the Black Beach any day over the Caspian Beach.
What about you? Been to any of these beaches before? Which is your favourite?
Log onto www.yallachaloska.wordpress.com to follow the travel blog