A brief traveler's guide to a Finnish sauna

Every camping site has a sauna. Most camping sites have several saunas. There's an official estimate that there are over 3 million saunas in Finland. It's our way of life. Here's a brief guide how to take a sauna at a camping site.

Sauna at Camping site Härmälä

Sauna has a temperature between 60 to 100 degrees of Celcius

First you go to the shower and take your towel and put it on to a bench and sit down. People are throwing as they call it "löyly" to get more steam into the sauna.

Yes, the stove often runs on electricity. Yes, it's still perfectly normal to throw water on the stove. It's built for that purpose, so it's completely safe thing to do.

The purpose of the sauna is to feel good. It's up to you how long you stay in the sauna.

Birch switch

A wet bird switch is called "vihta" and it is used to kind of a brush yourself. It will increase blood circulation and it also gives a nice and fresh fragrance into the sauna.

Cooling off

When you want to cool off you may jump into a lake or just go outside. Most Finnish people repeat the "first sauna then cooling off" cycle several times.

Final stage is food and drinks

Finns are usually more talkative in the sauna and especially after the sauna. It's important to drink after sauna and that's often a social event to hang out with old and new friends.


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