Saunas: Feeling the heat in Finland

Thursday, 2nd August 2018

Mark Champagne

finland generic sauna adstk

A traditional sauna is an integral part of any holiday in Scandinavia, but Finland especially. Our Travel Specialist Mark tells us more…

Sauna: pronounced Sow-na (saʊna:). Meaning ‘a small building for bathing’ in the Finnish language, is the only Finnish word to have made it into everyday English.

Part of my recent visit to Finland included strict instructions to take a sauna and report back to HQ. Needless to say this was no hardship and we duly stripped down to swimming shorts (we’re British you know) and stepped into the heat of the saunas on offer at Muotka Wilderness Lodge. It is normal practice to take a sauna with friends ‘sans swimwear’, but my colleague Bruno and I were not ready to get that relaxed!

A sauna at the end of a day’s winter activities is the best way to get some heat into cold flesh and bones. It’s not unusual for Finns to aid the process of detoxing their skins by gently flailing themselves with bundles of birch twigs and leaves in order to stimulate the lymph glands and pores. Due to the debris that this creates in a communal facility, we didn’t get the chance to try this out, but will have to believe those who say that it’s a pleasurable experience.

As a result of living at a northerly latitude, the tradition of taking a sauna is ingrained in Finnish culture. Steeped in history, the sauna was not only a place for relaxation, cleansing and reflection, but also the holiest and most spiritual part of the home. Women commonly gave birth in the sauna, the sick came to heal, and the dead were brought here for their final cleanse.

It is estimated that there are up to 3.2 million saunas in Finnish homes, offices, hotels and factories – an average of one per household in a country of around 5.3 million people. There is even a sauna inside the parliament in Helsinki. Saunas can be heated by electricity, but are more traditionally powered by wood (logs) or smoke – each time the water is thrown onto the stove, the heat and the steam increase.

All of the accommodation featured by Discover the World in Finland has sauna facilities. They often have allocated times for male and female users, but can sometimes be booked for private use. Many saunas will have somewhere to cool off afterwards, whether that’s rolling in the snow or plunging into a river through a hole in the ice.

Sauna like a local in Lapland

A way of life in Lapland, the sauna is one of the most iconic elements of any visit to Lapland. Rejuvenating, invigorating and the ideal compliment to a day’s adventure in the crisp winter air, find out how to make the most of this must-do experience with our top tips, which you could try for yourself many of our holidays in Lapland.

how to sauna like a local infographic

Ready to feel the heat?

If you like the idea of escaping to a log cabin hideaway in Finnish Lapland, we offer a wide choice of holiday options – all with saunas. To discuss your options further send an enquiry to our team of Travel Specialists.

Popular blog posts

UPDATED Aurora Prediction Alert – December 2018!

In October our northern lights experts predicted the chances of seeing the northern lights would be extremely high from the 2-7 November 2018 due to a strong auroral storm occurring. It happened and looks likely to occur again in early December...
  • Northern Lights

Friday, 9th November 2018

Jess Weatherson

Cathy Harlow: Hiking in East Greenland Tour Highlights

In summer 2019, Wanderlust award-winning guide Cathy Harlow is travelling again to the wild and remote East Greenland coast to guide our nine-day ‘Hiking in East Greenland’ adventure. There’s so much about East Greenland that inspires Cathy but there are a few truly special experiences that make this trip stand out, read on to find out more…
  • Adventure
  • Inspire Me

Wednesday, 24th October 2018

Cathy Harlow

Icehotel 2018/19 Designs Unveiled!

With every new year comes a brand new edition of Sweden’s iconic Icehotel and after months of deliberation, the designs for the 29th Icehotel have finally been revealed (we heard one was even designed on the back of a napkin!). Let us give you a sneak peak of what is to come!
  • Icehotel

Tuesday, 21st August 2018

Becky Masih

Holidays to consider