Few traditions are as rooted to the Finnish way of life as the sauna experience. This means that while the same swimming hall or sauna is open to both genders, they will not be in the sauna at the same time. Public saunas by the lake tend to be mixed, but everyone wears swimming suits. There is, however, one exception, which you can learn more about here. Thus if you were hoping to find something like in the picture above, keep dreaming.
Naked in Helsinki: Baring it All in a Public Sauna
A Naked Asian In Finland - Taking Things Beyond Finnish Sauna - The More I Travel
Steam hisses from hot coals in the corner of the sauna, almost in chorus with the deep exhales of 10 nude women lounging around me. I've never met these women before, and I can't even talk to them in their native tongue, but here we are without even a towel to cover ourselves, laughing, panting, and chatting in broken English in a 19th-century locally run sauna in Helsinki, Finland. If I'd completely understood what the night would entail when I agreed on a whim to visit Kaurilan Sauna with a fellow travel writer, I probably wouldn't have gone. After all, the prospect of getting completely naked with strangers in a small, remote cabin in Finland sounds more like the makings of a horror story than a memorable travel tale. But to unbeknownst to me at the time, that random night would teach me more about nudity, female friendship, and body confidence than any experience I've had since puberty. So how did I get there? When our taxi driver turned off the highway and onto a dirt road that wound erratically through dense forest, I should've known this wasn't a typical tourist experience.
10 Sauna Tips for Beginners
One of the most notable Finnish tradition is the sauna experience. It is the norm to have one in every household, almost mandatory. Finnish people hop in the sauna before work, after work and whenever; like a ritual. Typically, you are seated butt to butt next to someone else usually of the same gender and in a completely non-sexual way and do not utter a single word throughout the sauna session. I think it makes sense that this is a large part of their culture due to the long cold winters, especially in the Finnish Lapland.
There is nothing more Finnish than sauna, and many Finns think you can not grasp Finland or its culture without bathing in a sauna. However, Finns understand that foreigners have certain inhibitions and concerns when it comes to stepping in a heated box with no clothes on. Have a look at our tips below and you need to worry no more.