Read on to find out exactly how to cross the Turkish border and travel from Sarpi to Batumi, Georgia! And don’t worry, travelling from Turkey to Georgia is easy!

As far as international border crossings go, Sarpi is a strange one. The Georgians have constructed a huge, almost sci-fi-like superstructure to welcome you graciously into their country, while on either side of the demarcation line, holidaymakers and locals spend the day relaxing on the pebble beaches and swimming in the waters of the Black Sea.

It’s part beach resort, part international border. And it’s awesome!

Sarpi is a small village overlooking the Black Sea where the Turkish-Georgian border is. Sarp is the name of the village on the Turkish side and Sarpi is the name of the village on the Georgian side. The border can be reached from Hopa in Turkey.

Once you’ve crossed, you can travel onwards to Batumi, which is also located on the Black Sea on the Georgian side. I crossed this one way back in 2016 as part of an overland journey through Turkey and the Caucasus, but I’ve spoken to other travellers since and can confirm that very little has changed in the years since.

So, if you’re planning on travelling from Turkey to Georgia, here’s how to make the crossing between Sarpi and Batumi.

How to cross the border from Sarpi to Batumi

I travelled from Hopa, via Sarpi, to Batumi in March 2016. So this information will be in that particular order. Obviously, it’s a pretty similar situation in reverse if you are travelling from Georgia to Turkey.

Just so things are clear: the border between Turkey and Georgia is found at Sarpi. The larger Turkish ‘city’ of Hopa is around a 20-minute drive from the border. Hopa is where you’ll likely start your journey, as there are connections here from several major Turkish cities, including Rize and Erzurum.

Here are the details on how to make a successful crossing from Turkey to Georgia, from Sarpi to Batumi!

The border crossing from Sarpi to Batumi
The curious, futuristic border crossing at Sarpi.

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Step1: Travel to Hopa

Step one (if you’re coming from Turkey) is to get to the town of Hopa. This is the closest big town to the actual border.

Hopa is situated in the Artvin Province of Turkey’s northeastern region, close to the country’s border with Georgia. Specifically, it is located on the southeastern coast of the Black Sea. The town is part of a larger district also called Hopa and serves as both a port and a gateway for land-based travel between Turkey and Georgia. Given its proximity to the Black Sea, the area experiences a humid subtropical climate, perfect for a little beach break before you leave Turkey.

The nearest airports to Hopa are found in either Batumi (over the border) or in Trabzon. There are direct bus connections from Trabzon and Rize, both on the Black Sea, or you can work your way here using minibuses like I did from Kas and Erzurum to the south (although it’s quite a long way!).

From Hopa, you can catch a minibus down to Sarpi where the border crossing will take place.

Read more: Turkey Off The Beaten Track

Step 2: Find a minibus to ‘Sarp’

Once you’ve made it to Hopa, you now need to find a minibus (or Dolmus) to take you to the border. Specifically, you’re looking for one going to ‘Sarp’, on the Turkish side of the border.

Minibuses travel down the main coastal road, and they tend to accumulate by the bridge which spans the river, before heading through the city and along the road to Sarp, where they’ll drop you off within walking distance of the border crossing.

As with any Turkish minibus system, there is no schedule here. They simply leave when the driver feels like it, or more generally, when they are full. You shouldn’t pay any more than a few Turkish Lira for a ride which takes about 20 minutes (I paid 5 Lira back in 2016, but rampant hyperinflation will have nulled this amount a long time ago. Expect to pay more along the lines of 50 Lira these days).

The minibuses depart from along the road, towards the coast, from the main Otogar (bus station!) labelled on the map below. They don’t start at the actual bus station. Long-distance busses do start and end at the large Otogar, from where you can walk to the minibus depot under the bridge.

The border crossing from Sarpi to Batumi
The minibuses congregate to the left there, while the bridge is on the right of the picture!
The border crossing from Sarpi to Batumi
This is the transport you are looking for!

Read more: How To Take The Ferry From Turkey To Northern Cyprus!

Step 3: Cross the border to ‘Sarpi’

I loved how things slowly became more Georgian the closer I got to the border. You’ll know you’re in the right place because you can see the ridiculous sci-fi building constructed on the Georgian side, and giant Georgian flags waving at you.

The minibus will take you all the way to the end of the line, too, where it turns around to head back to Hopa, so there are really very few ways you can get lost. There will be a huge queue of trucks, cars and buses waiting to head through. Importantly, the minibus doesn’t take you through the border. It can take hours to cross in a vehicle, I’ve been told, so the minibuses drop you at the border. From here, you simply walk on through and catch another minibus onto Batumi on the other side.

On the Turkish side, you’ll be dumped out by the beach. You can relax here as long as you want! Get some chai, and look out across the Black Sea towards Georgia. It’s rather beautiful. When you’ve had your fill of sunbathing on the international border, just walk on through, past all the waiting traffic, and follow the signs for pedestrians.

You will head through a few walkways and buildings, and will eventually reach Turkish immigration. Here they will stamp you out before you continue past the duty-free and towards the Georgian immigration. It’s a bit of a long walk, but just keep following the signs.

Once you’re through the Georgian section, you’ll put your bags through the scanners, and that’s it, you are in Georgia! There’s a small tourist information stand by the exit of the immigration hall. They can advise you on onward transport and hotels etc for Batumi. They can also give you maps! They are incredibly useful, so have a chat if you’re a bit lost.

The border crossing from Sarpi to Batumi
The Turkish side of the border.
The border crossing from Sarpi to Batumi
The author, posing in front of the border.
The border crossing from Sarpi to Batumi
Crossing the border!

Step 4: Travel onwards to Batumi!

You did. Once you’ve got your Georgian stamp, you’re officially in Georgia. there’s really not much in Sarpi, it’s just a border crossing and small village, so the next step is to take another minibus (Marshrutka) onwards to Batumi. They’ll be waiting outside for passengers.

If you need cash, the only ATM until Batumi is in the immigration hall. Take cash out here if you need it, as the money changers outside give a terrible rate, and the guards refused to let me back in to use the machine once I’d left! If you have to, just change up enough money to get to Batumi, as the rates there are MUCH better!

Luckily, the minibus to Batumi only costs 1 Georgian Lari per person! It’s cheap and takes about 20 minutes to get to the city centre. Jump out on the main road which runs along the top of the city, or you’ll end up at the bus station which is quite a walk away from the centre itself.

Once you’ve made it to Batumi, make straight for the Khachapuri or Khinkali, you’re going to love it.

Batumi Black Sea Georgia
The Black Sea coastline, looking towards Batumi.

Do I need a visa for Turkey or Georgia?

Always check for up-to-date information on government websites, as the visa situation can change rapidly. Currently, European Union and UK citizens, and much of the rest of the world, can get a one-year visa on arrival for free on entry to Georgia! That’s right, it’s simple and easy!

For Turkey, most nations can apply for the online e-visa before you arrive in the country. You can do that HERE. Increasingly, Turkey is waiving this e-visa, too, and citizens of the EU and the UK can simply get a stamp on arrival at the airport.

FAQ: Crossing the Border Between Georgia and Turkey at Sarpi

Here’s an FAQ to help you cross the border between Turkey and Georgia:

Q1: What is the Sarpi Border Crossing?

The Sarpi Border Crossing is one of the primary points for land travel between Georgia and Turkey. It is located near the Black Sea, with Sarpi on the Georgian side and Sarp on the Turkish side.

Q2: What are the operational hours of the Sarpi Border Crossing?

The Sarpi Border Crossing is open 24/7, allowing for continuous passage between the two countries.

Q3: What documents do I need to cross the border?

  • Passport: Must be valid for at least six months from your intended date of entry into Georgia.
  • Visa: Check Georgia’s visa requirements based on your nationality. Many countries are visa-exempt for short stays.

Q4: How do I get to the Sarpi Border Crossing?

  • From Turkey: You can reach Sarp via Hopa, by bus from cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Trabzon, or by car via the D010 road.
  • From Georgia: Batumi is the closest major city, and you can reach Sarpi by bus, taxi, or car.

Q5: What is the border crossing process like?

  1. Queue: There are separate queues for pedestrians, vehicles, and buses.
  2. Passport Control: Submit your passport and any necessary visa or entry documents.
  3. Customs: Declare any items required by law and complete a customs declaration form if carrying large amounts of currency.
  4. Health Checks: These are sometimes conducted, such as basic temperature scans.

Q6: Can I exchange currency at the border?

Yes, there are currency exchange offices on both sides of the border where you can exchange Turkish Lira and Georgian Lari.

Q7: What transport options are available after crossing into Georgia?

You can find taxis, buses, and minibuses (‘marshrutkas’) that will take you to nearby destinations like Batumi or further afield to Tbilisi.

Q8: Are there any duty-free shops?

Yes, there are duty-free shops on both sides where you can purchase a variety of goods. Be aware of the limitations on what you can carry across.

Q9: Can I cross the border with pets?

You will need to adhere to the specific pet import regulations of Georgia, including required vaccinations and potential quarantine. Check with official sources for the most current information.

There you go, that’s how to travel from Turkey to Georgia via Sarpi.

Richard Collett