The original way to spread the word that Vilnius is finally opening after months of quarantine was expressed by dozens of hot air balloons flight over the city. Vilnius is one of the few capitals in Europe featuring hot air balloon flights over the city. It is also recognized as one of the safest destinations for a memorable post-pandemic visit.
Hospitality professionals together with the Mayor of Vilnius Remigijus Šimašius flew in a hot air balloon over the city, inviting the soon-to-come visitors to Vilnius. Their balloon carried an inviting message "Vilnius is calling." The flight coincided with the very first hot air balloon competition after the COVID-19 pandemic. Dozens of hot air balloons were a symbol of the perseverance of the tourism and meeting industry, which is starting up again with the help and support of the local people.
The balloon flight over the UNESCO-listed Old Town is one of the greatest incentives in Vilnius - something most cities simply don’t allow. Whether it’s a small company or a bigger group of up to 100 people, everyone will enjoy the wonders of quietly floating a kilometre above the city or drifting out over its breath-taking outskirts.
According to the Mayor of Vilnius, hot air balloons were chosen as a sign of hope and strength of Vilnius facing the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the strict health requirements, the city feels confident to open up for events.
Travellers from 26 countries are presently allowed to come to Lithuania without being subjected to 2 weeks of self-isolation. This “safe list” of countries includes Germany, Poland, France, Italy, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Malta, and Spain. The renewal of international flights and the end of the quarantine regime next week provide even more possibilities.
Having successfully contained the spread of COVID-19, Vilnius is also one of the safest destinations this summer. Compared to most European countries, Lithuania had 20 times fewer people infected by the COVID-19. The European Best Destinations (EBD) organization listed Vilnius among the 20 safest cities to travel, finding it "twice as safe as most European capitals."
Some safety measures are still in place. Face masks are no longer mandatory yet still highly recommended in indoor public spaces, personal hygiene and disinfection procedures are required in shops and restaurants and people are asked to keep a safe distance at all times.