How to Travel from Kars to Batumi by Bus

Georgia, Turkey

Published on 6 March 2024

Travelling from Kars to Batumi is a whole day affair, starting early and finishing late. It is not a difficult journey, but is definitely only a journey that I would recommend for the more intrepid and flexible traveller who is comfortable with not being too comfortable.

Kars (also recognised as little Siberia) is the stop-off point for exploring the abandoned ancient capital city of medieval Armenia, Ani. And if you are heading out to north east Turkey, this is a must! This contrasts hugely with the built up, modern and wacky city of Batumi.

So you’ve donned your winter gear and braved the bitter temperatures in Kars to explore Ani, now you’re ready to venture into Georgia? Find out how to make the journey from Kars to Batumi in this detailed guide.

Ani, kars to batumi by bus

Buying Your Ticket

Head to Eski Otogar (the bus station) in Kars, and go into Yesil Artvin Ekspres. This is THE only company that services this route heading east across the country to Hopa, just south of the Turkey/Georgia border. One bus makes this journey each day, so I would recommend buying your ticket at least a day before you make your journey from Kars to Batumi, rather than on the day. Only cash is accepted as payment, and you must bring your passport.

On the Day

At the Bus Station

The bus leaves at 10:00, so get to the bus station a little early to stow your luggage underneath the bus and get yourself on the bus. The bus is not modern like all the other buses that we caught around the country. There are two seats on either side of the aisle, a small amount of overhead storage for maybe a handbag and little space under the seat for extra storage. The journey will be six to seven hours, so get yourself comfortable and make sure you have plenty of snacks and water. Also, our driver was smoking the whole way, so prepare yourself for that too!

kars to batumi

Leg 1: The Journey across Turkey, Kars to Hopa

The route is really scenic, journeying through newly built tunnels cut into the mountains. You’ll drive alongside glacial blue rivers and huge mountains, so try to get a window seat. The roads are well maintained and the mountain passes are not treacherous.

There will be one main stop by a river that has seating, a restaurant, shop and toilets. We were given half an hour here for lunch in the middle of the journey – around 14:00 ish.

Along the way, the bus stopped to pick up more people. There were no seats available so people were standing or sitting in the aisle. Be prepared to get quite cosy.

The bus will stop in Hopa at the side of the road at about 16:30.

Leg 2: Hopa to Sarp Border Crossing

Cross the road to where the shuttle buses and huts are, and ask for the bus to Sarp or Georgia (pronounced ‘Gurjistan’ in Turkish).

Check the price before getting into the shuttle bus. We were quoted 20 TL each to pay when getting off the bus. However, the bus stopped half way and we were told to get off. We did, and were then requoted 20 TL each plus 20 TL for each backpack.

‘No, ta’, was what we said. And along with another backpacker taking this same route, we said we would flag down a taxi for the rest of the journey. 40 TL for each of us, meant that the total would be 120 TL and we could definitely get a taxi for cheaper than that.

We walked over to the main road, and they came and chased up saying that we didn’t need to pay extra for the bags. So we jumped back on to the shuttle bus, and off we went to the border.

When we got off the bus, we paid our 20 TL each, but the driver obviously had not been informed that we were not paying for the bags. We stood our ground, translated the info into Turkish as he didn’t speak English, and he waved us through, no problems.

Leg 3: Crossing the Border

This border crossing felt like an airport. It has travelators because the place is so huge. Scan your bags and get your passport stamped on the Turkish side, scoot through all the duty free shops, and then scan your bags and get your passport stamped on the Georgian side.

Welcome to Georgia! You will love it here in this beautiful country.

On the Georgian side of the border, there are ATMs, toilets and even free tourist information brochures. Get some cash out to pay for the next leg of the journey.

kars to batumi

Leg 4: Marshrutka from Sarpi to Batumi

A marshrutka is a term used to describe a minibus across the Caucasus. Marshrutkas will be parked up outside the border. Find one that says Batumi (ბათუმი) and jump on. There will likely be no luggage space so squeeze your bag on as best you can. The journey will take 20/30 minutes in to the town centre and cost 2 GEL, payable when leaving the marshrutka. Keep track of your location and your accommodation location on Google Maps/, and then say to the driver when you want to get off along the route.

When we took this journey, we arrived into our accommodation in Batumi at 19:00, having left our Kars accommodation at about 09:00.

the octopus cafe, kars to batumi
adjarian khachapuri, kars to batumi

Top Tips

  • Download a map of Georgia on and Google Maps so that you can track your location offline.
  • Mark the location of your accommodation in Batumi on Google Maps so you can work out when is best to get off the marshrutka on the Georgian side.
  • Have a small amount of Turkish lira to pay for leg 2 to the border.
  • Maybe have a small amount of Georgian lari to pay for the final leg into Batumi (but there is an ATM at the border).
  • Bring snacks and water – this is a long old journey.
  • Don’t let the shuttle driver for the last leg to the Turkish side of the border play silly buggers and charge you extra for bags. Stand your ground and/or threaten to get a taxi.
batumi beach

Have you travelled from Kars to Batumi by bus? Or are you planning on travelling this route?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, recommendations or questions.

Thanks for reading!

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