"If people of Vilnius cannot go to the sea, then the sea will come to Vilnius," - says the city mayor Remigijus Šimašius. As of June 23, Lukiškės Square, the largest square in the city, will turn into an "Open Beach." White sand, wooden paths, sun loungers, lifeguard tower and changing booths will invite visitors to experience Vilnius as a summer holiday place.
Vilnius, which already offers a whole package of sights and activities enticing to spend warm summer days in the city, now proves it can also create a version of the only thing it doesn't physically have: the sea. The city has been showing its creativity during the pandemic - by opening restaurants and cafés in all the squares and side streets, launching a mask fashion week, turning empty seats in restaurants into fashion displays and so on.
A unique opportunity to enjoy beach life right in the heart of Vilnius was created by the local authorities together with "Telia Lithuania," one of the largest telecommunications, IT and TV services providers in the country. The project creatively deals with one of the hardest consequences of quarantine - restricted freedom to travel and strongly affected vacation plans.
"We could not ignore the fact that many people had to drastically change their already planned vacation due to quarantine," said Mr. Šimašius. As the city has already proved itself open for creative solutions in difficult times, the mayor says this idea was no exception: "The popular seaside resorts of Southern Europe are not easily accessible at the moment, and our Baltic Sea beaches will be overpacked this summer. That's why we needed a solution to help people recoup some of that vacation vibe on Vilnius' very own beach."
The "Open Beach" will be open for relaxation, sunbathing, beach volleyball and various other activities. Full beach experience is not possible without the sea, so during the daytime, a large screen provided by "Telia" will broadcast the waves and relaxing sounds of the Baltic Sea, while in the evening the program will include movies, popular series and concerts.
For those who want to mix beach atmosphere with work, the beach will offer tables with free WiFi and electrical outlets, inviting locals to take some "workation" time. On Sundays, the area will be dedicated to families - special programs for kids will be broadcasted on the screen while animators entertain the youngsters.
"We are glad that Vilnius has gained global visibility during quarantine thanks to its creative solutions. A summer beach in the capital is a part of the new reality that is positively influencing our lives. In this reality, your office can be at the seaside, and your beach is in the capital. Work and pleasure are not dependent on location anymore - we can create the environment we wish to have, no matter where we are physically," - says Birutė Eimontaitė, communications manager of "Telia Lithuania."
The capital of Lithuania has become a world-famous city, battling quarantine by turning into a vast open-air cafe, offering drive-in cinema on the runways of Vilnius Airport, and launching summer projects like "Vacation in Vilnius" weekends, which allow to experience other cultures without going abroad. At the beginning of July, the city will also turn into one giant art gallery under the open sky – the project will give local artists a hundred billboards free of charge to showcase and sell their art.