How Much Does It Cost To Live In Batumi (City In Georgia)?

Once I heard the phrase that next to the sea it cannot be boring, and since then I have always dreamed of living near the big water.

In the summer of 2016, I left Moscow without a return ticket. At first I spent several months on the Russian coast of the Black Sea, and then decided to go to Georgia. I spent the winter in the main seaside city of this country - Batumi. I liked it so much that I decided to stay in this place permanently. I’ll tell you how everything works here.

What Is Special About Batumi City?

Batumi is the capital of the Georgian region of Adjara and one of the largest cities in Georgia. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of Georgia , in 2019, only about 166 thousand people lived here. But due to the fact that the city is coastal, it is the main tourist center of Georgia and it is always full of tourists. At the same time, even in the “hottest” months - in July and August - Batumi does not seem crowded. And the rest of the time it is very quiet and calm in it - some locals think that it is even boring.

Tourists like Batumi because the weather is very comfortable, the sea is warm and there are many entertainments: the sights of the Old City, the quarter of skyscrapers, delicious food and rich cultural life. There are also many casinos in the city - some even call it the Las Vegas of the Black Sea. Casinos are especially popular among tourists from Turkey, where gambling is strictly prohibited by law and religion.

Batumi has a mild and pleasant climate. The coldest month is January with an average temperature of +7 °C. At the same time, there is no sizzling heat here in summer: the hottest month is August, usually at this time the average temperature is +25 °C. Humidity is high - 70-80% , but because of the abundance of greenery, it is very easy to breathe in the city.

Batumi View from Hilton Hotel

View of Batumi from the veranda of the bar on one of the upper floors of the Hilton Hotel. I work from here sometimes when I get tired of staying at home.

View from Porta Batumi

View of Batumi from the new building Porta Batumi

Shota Rustaveli Street, Batumi Center

The center of Batumi is Shota Rustaveli Street. It stretches along the sea and in many places is lined with ancient paving stones, which gives the impression of antiquity and even some kind of comfort.

Visa in Batumi

Georgia has a very liberal visa regime. Surprisingly, even after the 2008 war and decades of very tense relations between Russia and Georgia, Russians do not need a visa to enter here. You can simply show a regular passport and stay in the country for a whole year.

Georgians are not so lucky: in order to get to Russia, they need to obtain a visa at the Russian visa center, which operates under the auspices of - now read carefully - the Section of Interests of the Russian Federation at the Swiss Embassy in Georgia. In 2008, due to the armed conflict, our countries broke off diplomatic relations, so there is no Georgian embassy in Moscow, and no Russian embassy in Tbilisi. At least some diplomatic contacts are maintained through the Swiss Embassy. That’s how we live.

At the same time, once in Georgia, Russians can live, study and work in peace without the need to obtain a long-term residence permit. All you need to do is just leave the country and re-enter: then the countdown of 365 days will start over again. Usually for this, people go to neighboring Turkey: from Batumi to the Turkish border is only 30 minutes. You can get there by intercity bus, the ticket costs 0.3 GEL? ( 7 R ), taxi drivers take about 20 GEL? ( 448 R ). The nearest Turkish city is Hopa, but more often people go to Trabzon where you can buy clothes and everyday goods at a low price.

I have never had to leave the country on purpose to extend my stay. It so happened that every six months I still go somewhere to travel. And when I return to Georgia, they put a new stamp in my passport.

I have been living in Georgia for three years now and do not experience any inconvenience with documents, so I do not plan to get a residence permit yet.

Money And Banks In Batumi

The national currency of Georgia is lari. One lari is about 24 rubles. But the locals respect American dollars very much, so some financial transactions, such as long-term rentals, are usually carried out in US currency.

I receive a salary in rubles, as I work remotely on the Russian project: I am engaged in monitoring and analyzing the media and social media. For convenience, I opened an additional account in lari at Tinkoff Bank. This allows me to immediately change rubles to lari at the exchange rate and withdraw lari from Georgian ATMs without commission.

Any person can open an account in a Georgian bank. To do this, you just need to go to the branch. It’s free. Foreigners need to have a passport with them. The map is made within a few days - no paperwork.

I have accounts in two large banks in Georgia: Bank of Georgia and TBC. I mainly use the services of the Bank of Georgia, but it just happened that way. Previously, I received a salary on the card of this bank, but now I use it for settlements with local organizations, for example, when paying for utility bills.

In general, the banking system in Georgia is quite modern: each bank has its own Internet banking and mobile application - they are called applications here. In large departments, there is mainly an electronic queue.

Bank of Georgia Mobile App.

Maintenance of my card costs an average of 2 GEL? ( 45 R ) per month. Each bank has its own loyalty systems, that is, special bonuses that are awarded for paying with bank cards rather than cash. In my Bank of Georgia, such a program is called Plus points - these are bonuses with which you can pay for housing and communal services, communications, and even replenish your transport card with them. For example, 1800 of these points can be exchanged for a phone payment in the amount of 4.5 GEL? ( 101 R ).

Cards are accepted almost everywhere, even small shops have payment terminals, most of them work contactless, including payment via smartphone or smart watch. This is due to the fact that in Georgia they monitor financial flows very strictly, trying to make them as transparent as possible. Trading past the cash register is strictly prohibited here. Sometimes, upon arrival in Moscow, I have to withdraw cash even more often than in Georgia.

Bank Of Georgia in Batumi

Bank of Georgia is one of the popular banks in Batumi, Its terminals can be found everywhere. The TBC bank is also widespread. By the way, there is no commission charged when withdrawing the cash.

Georgia Money

This is what Georgia Money looks like.

Work And Salary In Batumi

Locals believe that the country has a high unemployment rate of 11.6%. This is constantly spoken of as a serious state problem. At the same time, I see from my own experience that everyone who really wants to find a job can easily do it in Batumi, and even more so in Tbilisi. Although, perhaps, such a situation is only in large cities, and in the villages with work tension.

On the other hand, I often came across the fact that locals do not agree to go to work with a low salary at the start, but want to be paid a lot right away, without thinking that they need to grow in any professional field. As a result, many simply do not work anywhere. At the same time, there are many banks and international companies in the country, the tourism sector is actively developing, that is, the number of jobs is constantly growing.

The cost of living in Georgia is 190 GEL? ( 4252 R ) per person per month. Of course, it is impossible to live normally on this amount. For example, on average, only 50?—?100 GEL? (1119?—?2397 R) per month are spent on paying for housing and communal services in winter . Bread and milk cost about 2 GEL? ( 48 ? ) and 4 GEL? ( 96 ? ) respectively. For low-income families, the state allocates benefits - an average of up to 60 GEL? ( 1438 R ) per month per family member. Usually, families in Georgia are quite large - 5-6 people or more, so government assistance becomes a good help in the family budget.

From my own experience, I know that for a comfortable life in Batumi, you need at least 3000 GEL? ( 71,911 R ) per month to buy good food and quality clothes, go to a fitness club, study, travel and go to cultural events. And that’s not even taking into account rent. 

In Batumi, the most popular professions are related to tourism, for example, most young people work as waiters or bartenders. In the summer, in one month, such an employee can receive more than 1000 GEL? ( 23,970 R ) due to tips and a large number of hours of work. 

According to my Georgian friends, the most popular way for locals to find a job is jobs.ge.

In general, in my opinion, salaries in Batumi are quite low. For example, here are the average salaries offered by different areas:

  1. Finance and banking - 1666 GEL? (39,935 R ) . 
  2. Construction - 1512 GEL? ( 36,507 R ). 
  3. State administration - 1162 GEL? ( 27 854 ? ). 
  4. Transport - 1133 GEL? ( 27,159 R ). 
  5. Extraction of mineral resources - 1031 GEL? ( 24,714 R ). 
  6. Healthcare - 968 GEL? ( 23,203 R ). 
  7. Industrial production - 852 GEL? (20,423 R ) . 
  8. Trade - 781 GEL? ( 18,721 R ). 
  9. Housing and communal services - 765 GEL? ( 18,337 R ). 
  10. Education - 608 GEL? (14,574 R ) . 
  11. Agriculture - 496 GEL? (11,889 R ) . 

Entrepreneurial activity is gaining popularity among the locals, and the state is actively supporting this trend by setting gentle tax rates and simplifying the procedures for registering and doing business.

I work remotely in Georgia on projects of Russian companies. My main activity is analytics and monitoring of mass media and social media. In parallel with this, I collaborated with companies as a videographer: I make promotional videos as well as video posters for the events. For a while , I even worked in this club on face control. I also participated in the organization of the international festival of electronic music GEM Fest as an expert on media in the CIS countries.

On average, my earnings from each of these “side” projects were about 1000 GEL? ( 23,970 R ) per month. I did not purposefully look for work in Georgia - usually these projects turn up by themselves. I just find something interesting and immediately write to the organizers with a proposal for cooperation. By the way, almost all of my professional activities in Russia began just like that. 

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