"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 23rd, 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. The 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.