Public sauna in Helsinki: face to face with Finnish culture

Public sauna in Helsinki: face to face with Finnish culture

During my week in Helsinki I got to try a real public sauna. As you well know, the sauna culture is deeply rooted in Finnish customs and most people have a private or semi-private sauna. There are only 3 public saunas left in Helsinki, including the one I went to, there Hermanni sauna. Trying a public sauna is a must. If you go to visit Helsinki, you can't miss it.

The Finnish public sauna

Obviously the words "public sauna”Lead you to think that you will share it with people who do not know each other, and indeed it is. However, do not expect a sort of Finnish SPA similar to those we are now used to "at home". There Hermanni sauna it is practically located in a basement and there is a sauna for women and one for men.

I try to help you understand the situation: close your eyes and imagine the changing rooms of an old gym from the 70s / 80s… wooden lockers, a central table with two benches, the most complete disinhibition towards nudity and .. the smell of sausages! Here this is the public sauna experience.

Public sauna in Helsinki: face to face with Finnish culture
Public sauna changing rooms

What do sausages have to do with the changing rooms of a sauna you will ask me ...

It is simply a different basic concept from ours. For the Finns the sauna is both a moment of well-being and of interaction with the people who share those moments with them. The changing room, although a bit spartan, is very welcoming and people tend to talk, discuss, discuss almost as if they were at the bar. Indeed, as I told you in the previous post, we are close to having an aperitif.

To replace the local biscuits and purifying herbal teas, you have the opportunity to have beer and sandwich with sausage. This shows how different the meaning of the sauna is.

Usually, if you happen to go to the sauna in Spain, the main focus is relaxation. We certainly don't go to the sauna to make new friends.

This is not the case in Helsinki.

While I was changing, a gentleman in a bathrobe was slowly enjoying his steaming plate on the central table, while reading the newspaper and talking to a completely naked man behind me. Nudity does not affect me in the least, for those who are more modest, know that in a Finnish public sauna modesty takes a back seat.

The latest public saunas in Helsinki

If you are passing through the Finnish capital even for just a couple of days, you must necessarily have this experience which surely turns out to be one of the most rooted.

Le last 3 public saunas I'm:

  • Hermanni sauna: in operation in 1950 it has two separate saunas, one for men and one for women.
  • Arla: active since 1929
  • Kotiharju

Useful information:

Towel and slippers can be rented on site.

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