Are you a diehard lover of saunas? If so, you should really head to the iconic world of sauna—Finland. Not only will it be a beautiful, picturesque getaway, it will also give you a chance to partake in the Finnish sauna culture.
If you do take that trip, you’ll need to be sure you’re ready to take a sauna just like the natives! Here are some notes & tips about enjoying a sauna like a Finn, straight from the source: The Official Travel Guide of Finland.
- The Finns consider the sauna a place for physical & mental cleansing. It’s a place of reverence. Relax, of course…but do so knowing that others will want an environment of peace, tranquility and hushed conversation—similar to a visit to church.
- If a local invites you to sauna, consider it an honor! It would appear disingenuous to decline such an invitation. The Finns consider sharing a sauna a time of bonding.
- Don’t expect anything fancy when you sauna. Aromatherapy, special lighting, music…? Well, those aren’t really part of the sauna experience in Finland. Expect the sauna to have dim lighting, and the smells of fresh birch and perhaps tar. Nothing more, nothing less!
- Finns sauna in the nude—even with strangers. It’s the time to leave your modesty behind—hard for us Americans to embrace to be sure! If you really can’t get over your American sensibility, Finns get that we might feel better in a swimsuit or towel. If you can brave it though, do it the Finnish way instead.
- Use a vasta during your sauna bathing. A vasta is a bundle of fresh birch twigs used to gently beat your skin with during a sauna session. It’s not punishment! It’s actually incredibly good for your skin. You’ll marvel at your skin’s vitality when you’re through bathing when you’ve used a vasta.
- We all know a good sauna produces a good sweat. That means you’ll need to be sure to hydrate well during and after your bathing. Many Finns do enjoy beer and cider in the sauna, although you may not have the tolerance for alcohol and sauna heat combined the way locals will. Juice and water is always a safe bet.
- Don’t be surprised if you find Finns roasting sausages on an open fire in the sauna, or in tin foil directly on the sauna heater. It’s part of the Finnish sauna experience!
If you do make the trek to Finland and experience your very first Finnish sauna, let us know about the experience! You’d be welcome to be a guest blogger and give us insight to what you thought of the whole event, and what you loved about it.
If you want more info on Finland and planning your very own trip, visit The Official Travel Guide of Finland’s website at www.visitfinland.com.