This European Town Turned Their Town Square Into a Beach for the Summer

Vilnius, Lithuania has come up with some creative ways to keep residents happy and healthy during the pandemic.

Beach sign at fake public beach in Vilnius
Photo: GoVilnius

Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania, sits a solid three hours away from any coast. But, that isn’t stopping city officials from bringing the seaside to its residents.

On June 23, officials turned Lukiškės Square, the largest square in the city, into an "Open Beach," complete with sand, wooden paths, sun loungers, a lifeguard tower, and changing booths. All this so residents of the city could experience the coastal life without having to travel during the pandemic.

People sitting on bench at Vilnius' fake public beach

"If people of Vilnius cannot go to the sea, then the sea will come to Vilnius," Remigijus Šimašius, the city’s mayor, said in a statement.

Truly, the city of Vilnius is having a moment during the pandemic. Not only did it launch this new “coastal” retreat, but it’s also put in the work to ensure people can still have fun while remaining socially distant by opening side streets to cafes and restaurant seating and hosting its very own “mask fashion week.”

But the beach may really take the cake.

Created by the local authorities in collaboration with "Telia Lithuania," one of the largest telecommunications, IT, and TV services providers in the country, the beach allows people to play and have fun without ever leaving the city limits.

"We could not ignore the fact that many people had to drastically change their already planned vacation due to quarantine," Šimašius said. "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 beach will be open for sunbathing, beach volleyball, and family fun for all. And, to make it even more realistic, the beach will include a large screen provided by "Telia" that will broadcast the waves and relaxing sounds of the Baltic Sea all day long. At night, the screen will switch over to play movies and concerts.

"We are glad that Vilnius has gained global visibility during quarantine thanks to its creative solutions,” Birutė Eimontaitė, communications manager of Telia Lithuania, said. “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.”

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