8 Helsinki downtown saunas to add to your bucket list
Sauna is an integral part of the Finnish culture, and there are plenty of opportunities to experience it in Helsinki.
Finland has a population of 5.5 million and 3.3 million saunas. For Finns, there is nothing quite like going to sauna to relax and recharge. Helsinki has a vibrant sauna scene, and there are several public saunas scattered around the Finnish capital to fit any taste or requirement.
Many of these are conveniently located in the downtown area, where most visitors are staying. Below is a list of popular saunas in or near the city center to put on your bucket list for your next visit.
Allas Sea Pool
This urban spa is located in the heart of the city right next to the Market Square. It has a large outdoor pool area that is open throughout the year with both warm water and sea water pools. The warm water pool and children’s pool are both heated to 27°C, so the pools are nice and cosy even in freezing weather. Allas has separate saunas for male and female visitors. In the summer, Allas is a concert venue where you can enjoy live music from top Finnish artists. The venue also has three restaurants.
Admission fee: €18
The word löyly doesn’t have an English equivalent. It roughly means the intensity of the steam in sauna. This oasis is located on Helsinki’s southern waterfront and its stunning building was designed by architects Ville Hara and Anu Puustinen. One of the owners of Löyly is actor Jasper Pääkkönen, known from the Vikings and Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman. Löyly also has a restaurant and on a sunny day, its large outdoor seating area is the perfect place is to have drink or a bite to eat while admiring the views of the Baltic Sea. Löyly is a co-ed sauna, so you need to wear a bathing suit. There are separate dressing rooms for men and women.
Admission fee: €23
Located in Merihaka, Culture Sauna has a cool, minimalist vibe with a Japanese influence. The founders of this calm and serene space are Nene Tsuboi and Tuomas Toivonen. The sauna has a wood-heated single-fired mass stove, and you can cool off by swimming in the Baltic Sea.
Admission fee: €15
Uusi Sauna (The New Sauna) is one of the latest additions to Helsinki’s sauna scene. It brings the classic neighborhood sauna into the 21st century in the recently developed Jätkäsaari area. The space has wood pellet heated saunas for male and female visitors and there is also a restaurant.
Admission fee: €16
Yrjönkatu swimming hall
Built in 1928, Yrjönkatu Swimming Hall is the first and oldest public indoor swimming hall in Finland. It has a 25-metre indoor swimming pool and three saunas. The speciality of this swimming hall is that a bathing suit is not required (men and women visit at different times). The beautiful architecture represents Nordic Classicism. On the second floor there are large, private dressing booths where you can relax by lounging on daybeds. There’s also a cafe, where you can enjoy delicious snacks like salmon soup or toast skagen in your bathrobe. This place is really like no other!
Admission fee: €5.80
Also built in 1928, the famous Kotiharju Sauna in Kallio district is Finland’s oldest neighbourhood sauna. Back in the day small downtown apartments did not have bathrooms, so people relied on public saunas for bathing. You can enjoy the mellow heat of the traditional wood-burning stove in this sauna. Even on the coldest days you can see sauna goers cooling off outdoors in front of the sauna dressed in their towels. Kotiharju sauna is also popular with groups of friends who want to get together or relax in the sauna before heading off for a night out.
Admission fee: €15
A little bit further east from Kallio, Sauna Hermanni is another great traditional neighbourhood sauna frequented by locals. This quirky and cosy establishment has been raising steam since 1953. You can also book Sauna Hermanni for private events. Refreshments and snacks are available on site, or you can bring your own.
Admission fee: €15
If you want to experience something totally different and authentic, head off to Sompasauna in Verkkosaari. This establishment has no staff, and you need to fetch your own water and heat the stove. Sompasauna is run by a community association, and the chances are you’ll have really interesting conversations with the other sauna goers.