However, the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius is set to change this stereotype. Suggesting that exotic islands be saved for regular vacations, Vilnius is inviting workationing companies to discover its remote-friendly business infrastructure and diverse leisure activities. In fact, the city is so confident in the work/life balance professionals can benefit from that it’s offering companies a chance to win a free workation through its annual Workation Vilnius initiative, says "Go Vilnius".
Here are 5 reasons why Vilnius should be at the top of your list of workation destinations.
1. The capital of public wi-fi and open data
A fast and reliable internet connection is probably the top prerequisite for smooth remote work, and Vilnius is the place where wi-fi connections can be trusted. Vilnius is ranked first globally for public wi-fi speeds and there are numerous free wi-fi spots around the city. Moving forward, Vilnius is aiming to be among the first cities to roll out 5G, bringing the state of wi-fi in the city to the next level.
Another Vilnius selling point in terms of technology is its open data policy, where city data must be shared with the public unless it poses security threats or violates the GDPR. This policy is beneficial for innovative businesses that make use of raw real-time market data to develop or test their products.
“Open data is an important tool for tech startups. For example, Vilnius is home to the largest proptech sandbox in the world, where the data of office, residential and commercial buildings is available for proptech developers to use in the advancement of their products. A workation in Vilnius might be a good occasion to learn about and draw inspiration from examples like this one, or even use Vilnius’ open data to test their own products,” explains Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius.
2. Up-and-coming business community
Meeting and interacting with the local business community adds value to any workation. In Vilnius, a large part of the business community works in tech and innovation. The leading business fields in the city are laser technology, biotech, FinTech and ICT.
Vilnius is already one of the most important FinTech hubs in Europe, and is home to 136 FinTech companies operating globally, including the likes of InstaReM and Transfergo. In fact, the city is often referenced as a true FinTech success story.
According to Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Simasius, “The city supports innovative businesses and also provides tools, such as open data or sandbox regimes, to enable faster growth of new businesses. This has ultimately led to a more forward-focused business culture.”
3. Diverse leisure activities to meet every taste
From the UNESCO-listed Old Town to lively nightlife spots, there’s a long list of activities to make the most of leisure time during a workation to Vilnius.
The nearly 700-year-old city boasts the largest Baroque Old Town in Europe, and it’s compact, so exploring it on foot is easy. It’s also hard to resist the opportunity to observe the city from above: Vilnius is the only European capital where one can soar in a hot air balloon over the Old Town. For yet another perspective, kayaking along the Neris River, which winds through the city centre, is also a popular activity.
A collection of hip bars and clubs, as well as some unconventional spots to grab a drink and some snacks headline the nightlife in Vilnius. For example, Hales Market is lined with stalls selling local produce during the day and transforms into a concert and party venue at night. Meanwhile, the city’s railway station also doubles as a nightspot with several places offering food and drinks, and hosting cultural events.
4. Green, compact and walkable
Mixing work and vacation is easy in a city known for its enviable work/life balance. Vilnius is green, compact and walkable, which means professionals spend less time commuting to work and more time living. Most of the co-working spaces are located in the city centre, with a vast selection of restaurants, bars, galleries and tourist attractions nearby.
For longer trips in and around the city, there’s a wide selection of shared transport options to choose from. Vilnius prides itself on being the world’s capital of car-sharing, with the highest number of trips per capita. Lithuania’s capital is also one of the few cities where an electric car can be rented using a sharing platform. For shorter trips, bikes and electric scooters can be rented through a few clicks in an app.
5. Finally, you can try it all out for free
In the spirit of sharing and promoting all Vilnius has to offer, the city’s development agency Go Vilnius is relaunching its campaign where three companies can win a weeklong workation to Vilnius. Companies can register at workationvilnius.com and win an all-expenses paid workation to Vilnius for a team of up to 10 people. The professional guides from Go Vilnius will be on hand to make sure each team makes the most of their workation. Registration runs until 15 June, and the winning teams will embark on their workations to Vilnius in September.
“Vilnius is a relatively small city, but it packs all the essentials for a successful workation: a high-class business infrastructure, an inspiring local business community, hip leisure activities and the convenience to combine all of these elements into one trip. Our Workation Vilnius programme gives companies a chance to discover the potential of Vilnius and then spread the word about the city further,” says Inga Romanovskiene, General Manager of Go Vilnius.
The campaign is being launched for a second time following last year’s success. The British telecommunications giant BT Group, a team from the travel company Expedia’s British office, and the Danish start-up Order-Yoyo participated in the Vilnius Workation programme last year.