Helsinki is the capital of Finland and one of the best places to visit in the country. There are tons of things to do in Helsinki and a favorite amongst many Finns is to go to the sauna. Sauna is a way of life for Finns and has been for the last 2000 years, ever since they invented it. There are 5.3 million people living in Finland and 3.3 million saunas. Saunas are everywhere including homes, offices, factories, hotels, and more. There are also public saunas that are open for anyone to enjoy along with saunas that are available for rent. Here is my list of the best saunas in Helsinki.
*This list was compiled by myself after many visits to Helsinki with the help of one of my good friends who is a Helsinki native.
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Best Saunas in Helsinki
Helsinki has many saunas located in the city that are both open to the public for a small fee. There are also saunas that are available for you to rent out and privately enjoy with a small group. Below are both lists for the best saunas Helsinki has to offer.
Have you heard of the famous Helsinki sauna, Löyly? Löyly is an urban oasis occupying a stretch of the Helsinki waterfront. It’s a newer public sauna which opened in 2016 and has a stylish, glass-walled restaurant and large deck for stunning views. Enjoy your time in the sauna then jump into the chilly sea to cool off. After, head to the restaurant for some food and drinks with a view. This Helsinki sauna by the sea in one of the best.
Allas Sea Pool is located in the heart of Helsinki. It has a heated pool, seawater pool, and a sauna. There are wellness classes and different events so check their calendar and sign up for what interests you. There’s also a café and restaurant and with large terraces with a view of the city center.
Lonna is located on the island of Lonna in the archipelago near the city center of Helsinki. There are both men and women’s saunas that are heated up with wood-burning stoves. The saunas were built solely with natural materials and have a beautiful handcrafted wooden logs design. The sauna is open from Tuesday to Saturday and there is a two-hour sauna pass. There are mixed sauna days every Tuesday and Friday where both saunas are used for all the genders. There are separate dressing rooms and swimsuits are optional.
Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall is a public sauna and swimming hall that dates back to 1928. The swimming hall will give you Wes Anderson vibes with its cool Art Deco design. It’s the oldest swimming hall in Finland and is owned by the city of Helsinki. The swimming pool is swimsuit-optional so don’t be surprised if you see people swimming in the nude. There are certain hours for men and women so be sure to check online before going.
TIP: Book the upstairs cabins so you have access to the traditional wood-burning sauna. The cabins on the ground level are less expensive but you are only able to access the electric-powered sauna.
White Sand Boat is a BYOB sauna/karaoke/hot tub experience located in the Jätkäsaari district in the West Harbor of Helsinki. Bring your friends, booze, food to grill, and a towel to enjoy a day on the water. It’s a fun and unique way to sauna with friends or meet new ones. Soak in the jacuzzi, then head to the wood oven sauna, play games or sing karaoke in the game room, then grill some food. Don’t forget to pick up some cider and Lonkero (Finnish Long Drink) and enjoy this Helsinki sauna by the sea.
Kotiharju Sauna is said to be the only remaining traditional wood-heated block sauna in Helsinki. It’s located in the Kallio neighborhood. There are three saunas, one for men, another for women, and an electrically heated custom sauna that is available for families and small groups. It can accommodate just over a dozen bathers. You can also get a full-body wash by one of the staff members for an additional fee. This is available on Saturdays only.
Private Saunas for Rent
Have you heard of the Helsinki sauna boat? The SaunaBoat is an experience like no other. It’s where you can relax in a wooden birch stove on the sea while passing by the beautiful archipelago of Helsinki. The sauna can accommodate up to 10 people.
The Original SkySauna is the Helsinki sauna Ferris wheel located in the heart of Helsinki. It’s an individual sauna cabin on the Helsinki SkyWheel that overlooks the city. You can book the cabin and have a one-of-a-kind sauna experience. The experience also includes access to their jacuzzi area which is on the ground, located by the SkyWheel. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks are available.
Uunisaari Sauna is located on the island of Uunisaari. There is a restaurant with sweeping views of the beach. The restaurant is open to the public however the sauna is currently only available to rent. During the summer you’ll take a small boat over to the island. And during the winter there is a bridge you can cross.
Pihlajasaari Island has saunas that you can rent. One is a wood-heated self-service sauna located right on the beach. It can accommodate seven people at a time. The other is an electrically heated sauna that can accommodate six people at a time. The island location makes this experience unique.
Things to Know
- shower or rinse off before going into the sauna
- use a pefletti (small towel-like item to sit on for hygienic purposes) or your own towel to sit on
- swimsuits are usually NOT allowed in same-sex saunas unless otherwise stated
- swimsuits may be optional or required in mixed saunas, check on the website of the sauna to be sure and do what is most comfortable for you
- the Finnish words löyly is the steam from the water that is thrown over the hot sauna rocks, “good löyly” is essential to the sauna experience
- vihtominen is to “slap” yourself or get “slapped” with birch branches which improves blood circulation
Book Your Stay in Helsinki
Helsinki is a second home to me and sauna is something that I’ve come to truly enjoy in Finland and wherever else I go. I hope this list of the best saunas Helsinki helps you with your next visit to Helsinki.
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