Intrigued by Finland’s sauna culture? Sauna bathing is a long-standing tradition among Finns. Their sauna culture is rich, and saunas are an essential part of the Finnish way of life. For many Finns, going to the sauna is about more than just relaxing and getting physically clean; it’s also about enjoying a few moments of silence and stillness. Many Finns believe that a sauna is a special place where spiritual aspects of life can be felt, observed and pondered. A sauna is also an egalitarian environment, free of titles and hierarchies. For many decades, business and politics have also been conducted in Finnish saunas. Here is our list of Finland’s best sauna experiences.
The Pistohiekka Resort is two square buildings that house a restaurant and two saunas, and it is tucked away in a rocky cove on lake Saimaa surrounded by trees. Both structures, designed by Helsinki’s Studio Puisto, have an oculus-like void in the middle, intended to let in more natural light. The Pistohiekka Resort, where visitors can stay in one of ten cottages, is a part of a larger initiative to increase tourism and revitalise the southeast Finland region, which was once a well-liked sauna and recreation destination in the 1980s.
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Photography courtesy of Marc Goodwin and Pistohiekka Resort
The hot steam that rises from the sauna stove is referred to as ‘löyly’ in Finnish. It is also the name of the hottest restaurant and public sauna in Helsinki, which can be found in the Hernesaari neighbourhood at the southernmost point of the city. The sauna was created by Avanto Architects and interior designer Joanna Laajisto. It features a restaurant, a year-round terrace, and two other wood-heated saunas in addition to the traditional Finnish smoke sauna. All year long, one can take a refreshing swim in the sea right from the sauna, which has direct access to the outdoor seating area. Although there are separate showers and changing rooms for men and women, since the saunas and other public areas are mixed, patrons are kindly requested to wear swimming costumes at all times.
Photography courtesy of Löyly
The Satuman Viilu sauna-cum-restaurant is housed in a brand-new landmark building by Koan Architecture in the Jyväskylä harbour. The building’s exterior is made of charred wood. It has a restaurant, three saunas, and meeting and banquet facilities where guests can enjoy the scenery of Jyväsjärvi lake. In both the summer and winter, you can take a dip in the lake or jacuzzi during your sauna session.
Photography courtesy of Sataman Viilu
The Art Sauna, designed by Mendoza Partida and BAX Studio, is a continuation of the emotional journey offered by Finland’s Gösta Serlachius museum of contemporary art, which is located on the shores of Lake Melasjärvi. The 2022 sauna building incorporates the Finnish sauna tradition into an art, nature and architecture experience. You can also visit the Art Sauna on a public sauna day or as part of a pre-arranged group experience. The sauna experience at Gösta Serlachius would be incomplete without a grill feast: freshly caught fish is prepared directly in a smoke oven on-site, as are beef steaks on a grill.
Photography courtesy of Gösta Serlachius
Photography courtesy of Lonna Sauna
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