The famous Finnish sauna culture may have been born deep in the countryside, but nowadays, Helsinki is where it thrives! This is particularly true of public saunas -- sauna lovers are guaranteed to find something for themselves in the city. The oldest saunas can be over a hundred years old, while the newest are architectural masterpieces. The sizes vary, too: the largest saunas can host as many as 40 people, the smaller and cosier ones fewer than ten. Almost all of them have separate sections or shifts for women and men, and some of them can also be booked for special events. The oldest saunas are located primarily in Kallio, where public saunas were the only option for bathing for a long time. Newer saunas have been opened all around the city. They are located in the islands, the core of the city, and even in the unused lands of Sompasaari. The oldest saunas are built in traditional styles, but the only thing newer ones have in common is benches and a sauna stove. Below, we present 10 interesting and memorable options. Read about them, love them, get bathing!

    1

    Kotiharju Sauna

    The oldest public sauna in Helsinki

    • Couples
    • Group

    Looking for a true classic sauna? Here’s a sauna to get acquainted with. The public sauna of Kotiharju has operated continuously in Torkkelinmäki in the Kallio District since 1928 -- a record, even for the whole of Finland. Through the years, it has become a fixture of Helsinki city culture. For instance, in 1999, its restoration was supported by the public purse. The basic idea of the sauna has been maintained since the beginning. The bottom floor hosts a large sauna for men, while on the second floor, there’s a similarly sized women’s section. It’s altogether a vast space. The upper benches of the sauna fit 20 to 30 bathers at a time. And nowadays, there’s also a special sauna section, bookable by businesses, stag nights and hen night parties, and other small groups. Every Saturday, the sauna is visited by a traditional Finnish washer. If you wish, you can buy a traditional whole-body washing experience. Kotiharju Sauna is located next to Sörnäinen subway station, at Harjutorinkatu 1.

    Location: Harjutorinkatu 1, 00500 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Opening hours vary.

    Phone: +358 9 753 1535

    Map

    photo by Fileri (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Löyly Helsinki

    A modern sauna complex by the shores of Hernesaari Island

    • Couples

    Löyly Helsinki, opened in 2016, has it all: modern saunas, a place to swim and a magnificent terrace restaurant. The award-winning wooden building of the sauna complex has received accolades everywhere, even in Asia and America – so there’s guaranteed to be a plenty of visitors. The statuesque wooden surfaces are made of FSC certified, heat-treated pinewood. Inside the building, you can find a restaurant, a dressing room, washing spaces and three saunas – two for public use and a third one bookable for parties and occasions. The public saunas are mixed-use -- wear a swimsuit to access them. It’s best to book a sauna shift in advance online. After enjoying a hot bath, you can continue your day or evening at the Löyly terrace or inside the restaurant. The saunas are open from morning to evening, with the restaurant offering lunch, brunch or dinner.

    Location: Hernesaarenranta 4, 00150 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Opening hours vary.

    Phone: +358 9 6128 6550

    Map

    photo by Vadelmavene (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    3

    Lonna Sauna

    A magnificent public sauna on Lonna Island

    • Couples

    The small island of Lonna, between Katajanokka and Suomenlinna Fortress, has a sauna that shares the island’s name – one of the most magnificent saunas in the city. This traditionally-built logwood sauna was opened to the public in 2017. It has separate 12-person sauna lofts for women and men. Both allow easy access to the beautiful seaside terrace, or an opportunity to go for a swim. The saunas are always available for public use. However, particularly during the holiday season, you should still always book a sauna shift in advance through the sauna’s website. The idyllic small island of Lonna is accessible from spring to autumn by a water bus leaving from Market Square. The island itself is worth seeing, as well. It was only opened to the public in 2014; earlier, it contained a sea mine demagnetization station, among other uses. Nowadays, in addition to sauna, the island hosts a stylish restaurant/café.

    Location: Lonnan saari, 00190, Finland

    Open: Opening hours vary.

    Phone: +358 44 7199410

    Map
    4

    Finnish Sauna Association

    Seven saunas at Vaskiniemi in Lauttasaari

    • Couples

    The Finnish Sauna Association’s Sauna House at Lauttasaari is truly grand in scope. The association itself dates from 1937. It was established to maintain, advance and support the famous Finnish sauna culture, both in Finland and internationally. The Sauna House of the association heats up as many as seven different saunas for its members every day. All in all, these saunas can simultaneously host approximately 70 people. The Sauna House is located in Vaskiniemi, by the ocean shore. Its saunas also allow access for swimming through the entire year. In addition to saunas and washrooms, the building itself has a large fireplace room for relaxing between the baths or after them. You can also purchase washing or backrub services separately. The exceptional thing about this sauna is that its spaces are only accessible by Sauna Association members and the guests they’ve invited. You can find more information on the association’s website.

    Location: Vaskiniementie 10, 00200 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Opening hours vary.

    Phone: +358 50 372 4167

    Map
    5

    Sompasauna

    A free, always-open sauna in Sompasaari

    • Budget
    • Unusual

    There’s no sauna in Helsinki quite like Sompasauna – a small sauna on the unused lands of Sompasaari Island, founded by volunteers and completely free of charge. It’s a story one simply couldn’t make up. In 2011, a group from Helsinki found an abandoned sauna stove at Sompasaari and built a small cottage sauna around it. This sauna saw heavy use – but the city didn’t like it and tore it down. Nevertheless, it kept getting rebuilt again and again. Little by little, its reputation and fame have also kept growing. The latest iteration of the sauna was built in 2019. While still quite minimalist, it’s no longer just a slapdash cottage. Sompasauna is always open for everyone. You might have to heat it yourself, though, and it’s up to you to bring everything except wood for the stove – including the sauna water (bathing happens in the sea). For many, Sompasauna is nevertheless a great experience. The landscape is guaranteed to be unique, and if you have any luck, you can hear the lion roar from Korkeasaari Zoo!

    Location: Sompasaarenlaituri, 00540 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Open 24/7.

    Map

    photo by Olimar (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    6

    Lähde Sauna

    An inexpensive sauna in a historic hospital area

    • Couples

    Lähde Sauna, located at the area of the former Lapinlahti Hospital, offers a great setting for relaxing baths. It was taken into public use at the end of 2010s, after the psychiatric hospital that had been previously located in the area finished its move elsewhere. Here’s a truly venerable sauna – in use since 1880, longer than any other sauna in Helsinki! The spaces have been maintained well, offering a completely unique atmosphere you simply can’t find elsewhere. Ten persons can bathe here simultaneously -- quite a small number for a public sauna. Compared to many other public saunas, Lähde Sauna is exceptionally inexpensive. There are shifts for both men and women, as well as mixed shifts. The sauna can also be rented for use for parties and special occasions. When the sea is free of ice, it’s also possible to swim to the beach, 100 metres away.

    Location: Lapinlahdenpolku 1, 00101 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Opening hours vary.

    Phone: +358 40 178 3454

    Map
    7

    New Sauna

    A new sort of block sauna at Jätkäsaari

    • Couples

    New Sauna at Välimerenkatu Street in Jätkäsaari is full of youthful atmosphere. There’s both a public sauna and a stylish restaurant/bar -- a guest can choose to pursue either one of these options, or both. There are separate saunas for women and men, each accommodating approximately 20 people at a time. The most unique thing about this place is that you can move from the sauna spaces directly to the restaurant or terrace in a bathrobe, which is often exactly what people end up doing. As one might expect, the restaurant’s atmosphere is extremely relaxed – it’s hard to be otherwise, when part of the clientele is only wearing a bathrobe and slippers! It’s hardly just a poolside café, though – there’s also live music and dining options to match. Here’s a great option for anyone in the vicinity of Jätkäsaari.

    Location: Välimerenkatu 10, 00220 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Opening hours vary.

    Phone: +358 44 758 3228

    Map
    8

    Sauna Arla

    An iconic bathing site at Kallio

    • Couples

    Sauna Arla is a true Kallio classic. It’s been operating since 1929 – and there have been many changes from the first baths to today. At first, this sauna existed out of sheer necessity – the apartments of the area often offered no alternatives for bathing. Now, it’s a nostalgic experience that has fans all the way from Finland to Japan willing to test its heat. In classic style, there are different saunas for women and men – and on order, a washer will serve the bathers. The sauna can also be rented for parties and such. At times, so-called days of well-being are organised at the sauna. These offer the bathers a chance to sample inexpensive treatments, such as head rubs, foot baths, facial masks and traditional Finnish cupping. The dates for these events, and the other information about the sauna, can easily be found online.

    Location: Kaarlenkatu 15, 00510 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Opening hours vary.

    Phone: +358 50 476 2184

    Map

    photo by Tappinen (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    9

    Sauna Hermanni

    Sauna in service from the 1950s on in Hermanni

    • Couples

    Sauna Hermanni, between Hämeentie and the Helsinki Prison, offers a nostalgic sauna experience in a stylishly maintained space. There are separate sides for men and women, as well as spacious dressing rooms for enjoying refreshments you’ve brought yourself or purchased on the spot. You can also reserve the spaces for private occasions, from Friday to Sunday. The sauna is located in the basement of a block of flats, with people entering via staircase in the interior yard. From further away, the sauna’s location might be a bit hard to spot – it’s only marked with a small sign. From the heart of Helsinki, the easiest way to Sauna Hermanni is by taking a city bike or Tram 6 and 8. The nearest metro station is Sörnäinen, approximately 500 metres away.

    Location: Vellamonkatu 1, 00550 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Opening hours vary.

    Phone: +358 9 701 2424

    Map

    photo by Tappinen (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    10

    Burger King Sauna

    A bookable sauna at a burger joint in the heart of Helsinki

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Group

    Burger King Sauna is a bookable sauna for order in the basement of a restaurant of its namesake chain at Mannerheimintie. It’s a remarkable concept, but it works. The sauna can host 15 people at a time, and you can also order a meal from the restaurant upstairs to enjoy. In addition to the sauna, the renting party gets to use a washing room, a dressing room and a media lounge, where they can find, among other things, a gaming console, sound equipment and a large flat-screen TV. The latter can also be found at the sauna, allowing you to watch ice hockey, football and other games there. You can book the Burger King Sauna through the Burger King website. The sauna is located at Mannerheimintie 12 and warms up every day from 10. The concept might feel strange – but it’s particularly suitable for visiting groups.

    Location: Mannerheimintie 12, 00100 Helsinki, Finland

    Open: Open on demand.

    Phone: +358 40 630 3890

    Map

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