Prepare to be blown away by these 7 epic Finnish saunas that kick steam up a notch!

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Sauna is a Finnish national pastime, and location can make a sauna exceptional – but so can design. We peek inside seven styles of saunas in various corners of Finland.

“Sauna culture in Finland” is on Unesco’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the country is known as the sauna nation – English and many other languages have adopted the Finnish word sauna, making it part of the global lexicon. Nowhere else is the sauna woven as closely into the fabric of daily life as it is in Finland.

It’s only natural that people in Finland don’t overlook any aspect of the quintessential Finnish steam bath, and that includes interior design.

A sauna’s interior is as important as its setting – preferably in or near nature – and as significant as the quality of its löyly, the gentle steam that emerges when you pour water over the rocks on top of the sauna stove.

With 3.3 million saunas in a country of 5.6 million people, the whole population of Finland could, in theory, enjoy its national treasure at the same time, says Carita Harju, founder and director of the international organisation Sauna from Finland.

She chose seven different types of saunas based on their unique interiors and experiences. They all tap into the ancient ritual that soothes mind, body and soul.

Circular design

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

The Serlachius Art Sauna has a unique circular shape. Photo: Serlachius Museums

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

The round shape of the Serlachius Art Sauna encourages sauna-goers to share thoughts and comments. Photo: Serlachius Museums

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Artworks adorn the walls outside the sauna. (Shown here is part of Satu Rautiainen’s painting Watering Place for Birds.) Photo: Serlachius Museums

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Serlachius Museums

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Serlachius Museums

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

The Art Sauna’s lounge area includes Red Banana and Spring, paintings by Jussi Goman. Photo: Serlachius Museums

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Care to cool off in the lake between sessions in the sauna? Photo: Serlachius Museums

The Art Sauna at Serlachius (Mänttä-Vilppula)
The stunning and highly original round sauna represents a circular first. Most saunas in Finland are rectangular or square-shaped. An international trio of celebrated Barcelona-based architects – Héctor Mendoza, Mara Partida and Boris Bežan – designed it, with Pekka Pakkanen as the Finnish architectural project partner.

“The round shapes emerged as an idea of ‘gathering’ and ‘embracing,’ where the architecture becomes an integral part of the visitor’s experience,” says Mendoza. “Having everyone facing one another sets the place for sharing thoughts, comments and coexperiences of sauna culture.”

High-end art adds to the unique milieu in the foyer and outdoors en route to the dock for a quick dip – part of the Finnish sauna tradition of cooling off in a natural body water after basking in the hot steam. The Art Sauna is adjacent to one of Finland’s leading private art collections, the Serlachius Museums, housed in two grand buildings in the countryside between the central Finnish cities of Tampere and Jyväskylä.

Instagram favourite

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Furuvik Seaside Sauna

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Furuvik Seaside Sauna

Furuvik Seaside Sauna (Helsinki)
At a yellow seaside villa built in the late 1800s, Furuvik has two picturesque saunas, one inside the house and another in a charming red wooden cottage on the water.

The seaside sauna’s large window looks out over the water and brings natural light into the steam room. The changing area is furnished like a cosy family cottage, complete with wooden tables and benches and colourful traditional rag rugs made from old clothing and textiles.

“History and traces of everyday life are not hidden here,” says owner Tea Lindberg, who runs Furuvik and lives there with her two young children. “In fact, we want to emphasise them.”

Eco-style wilderness getaway

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Hawkhill

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Hawkhill

Cottage saunas at Hawkhill Cottage Resort (Nuuksio)
Nestled next to Nuuksio National Park, this collection of upscale log cabins, each with its own private sauna, has been created with a strong focus on peace, quiet and the restorative qualities of pure nature. You can enjoy the authentic Finnish experience of alternating hot and cold by going for a post-steam dip in the freshwater pond.

Located just 45 kilometres (30 miles) from Helsinki city centre, Hawkhill is a family-owned, family-run business with a strong commitment to the planet. Every element has been carefully considered, from the low-emission heating solutions to low-impact catering options that include local food.

Sweet sauna suites

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

This sauna has a view of the hotel room and the rooftops of Helsinki. Photo: Lapland Hotels

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Lapland Hotels

Hotel room saunas at Lapland Hotels Bulevardi (Helsinki)
This modern hotel in downtown Helsinki includes an original feature in 100 of its guest rooms – chic, easy-to-use ensuite saunas that offer a view directly into the hotel room. All rooms are decorated in a style that calls to mind Lapland, Finland’s northernmost region.

Special sauna packages can be customised to include ways to relax, stretch and practice mindfulness, along with an informative intro to Finnish sauna culture for newbies. A mystical Nordic twist rounds out the experience: Guests can listen to music in the sauna while enjoying the soft steam.

Smoke sauna with a view

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Seven Star Smoke Sauna

Seven Star smoke sauna (Ruka-Kuusamo)
On the shores of Heikinjärvi, a lake in the breathtaking wilderness of northern Finland, the Seven Star smoke sauna offers a unique experience.

As a Finnish smoke sauna heats up, the smoke fills the room. Later the smoke is released and the sauna-goers can enter. The steam is especially soothing, and you leave with a sweet, smoky aroma on your skin.

“Our traditional smoke sauna has a big window that offers a lake view that’s like a changing work of art, different every day and every season,” says Katja Vira, who runs the family-owned sauna with her sisters.

Unlike many smoke saunas, which are almost dark inside, Seven Star is tastefully furnished with soft lights and lanterns – a nice touch that first-timers and others may appreciate.

World’s largest smoke sauna

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Tupaswilla

Tupaswilla (Laukaa, near the central Finnish city of Jyväskylä)
Up to 160 people at a time can be accommodated in Tupaswilla’s smoke sauna. It is known for its traditional women’s smoke sauna evenings featuring an extra touch: skin treatment with peat, touted for its health-promoting effects. This popular event, held once a month, is often sold out.

The log beams of the sauna building, which includes a spacious changing area, date back to the 17th century. Much of the interior is made from recycled materials, and the shower water comes straight from a freshwater pond about 100 metres (110 yards) away.

Mobile steam

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Lapelland

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Lapelland

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Lapelland

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Lapelland

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Lapelland

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Lapelland

7 wow-worthy Finnish saunas: Where steam meets interior design

Photo: Lapelland

Lapelland sauna wagons (anywhere you put them)
Interest in portable saunas is growing. Lapelland sauna wagons can be towed from place to place, allowing aficionados to enjoy a good steam just about anywhere.

The wagon range serves as another testament to the national significance of saunas in Finland. It includes a tiny-house model complete with a kitchen and lounge area whose sofa converts into a bed, making it possible to live the sauna lifestyle around the clock.

The sauna wagons are designed and made in Finland and delivered ready-to-use. The idea is to provide an on-the-go sauna experience that is authentic in every detail, right down to the heat-treated aspen benches.

By Katja Pantzar, December 2023

Source: finland.fi

14 Comments
  1. Emily_Smith says

    As a design enthusiast, I find it fascinating how Finnish saunas combine traditional steam bathing with innovative interior design. The marriage of nature-inspired settings and exquisite details truly sets these saunas apart. I appreciate the attention to both ambiance and löyly quality in creating a holistic sauna experience.

  2. JennaSmith says

    These Finnish saunas truly redefine relaxation and tranquility. The intricate designs and attention to detail in each sauna create an unparalleled experience for the mind and body. It’s fascinating how integral saunas are to Finnish culture, reflecting a deep appreciation for well-being and nature.

  3. EmmaSmith369 says

    I am absolutely fascinated by Finnish sauna culture! The way they intertwine design with tradition is truly remarkable. It’s incredible how closely saunas are integrated into daily life in Finland. I would love to experience the gentle steam and unique interiors of these mind-blowing saunas myself someday!

  4. EmmaJohnson83 says

    Wow, these Finnish saunas look absolutely incredible! The intricate designs and attention to detail truly elevate the sauna experience to a whole new level. I can’t wait to visit one of these unique saunas and immerse myself in the Finnish sauna culture.

  5. Carita Harju says

    As the founder and director of Sauna from Finland, I must say that these 7 mind-blowing Finnish saunas truly showcase the exquisite design and cultural significance of this national treasure. Each sauna offers a unique experience that beautifully combines tradition with modernity, providing a space for relaxation and rejuvenation. The attention to detail in both interior design and löyly quality reflects the deep-rooted sauna culture in Finland, making it a truly exceptional experience for both locals and visitors alike.

  6. EmmaSmith23 says

    I find it fascinating how sauna culture is deeply rooted in Finnish daily life. The attention to detail in the interior design of these saunas truly enhances the overall experience, creating a serene environment that revitalizes both the body and mind.

  7. AnnaSmith says

    These Finnish saunas look absolutely stunning! The design truly enhances the sauna experience and adds a touch of luxury to the traditional steam bath ritual. I would love to visit one of these unique saunas for a relaxing and rejuvenating getaway.

  8. Kari Hakkarainen says

    Wow, these saunas are truly amazing! The Finnish know how to take relaxation to the next level with their stunning sauna designs. I can’t wait to experience the calming atmosphere and rejuvenating steam in one of these unique saunas. Circular design is such a genius touch!

  9. Lukas Johnson says

    This article beautifully captures the essence of Finnish sauna culture and how it integrates with everyday life in Finland. The focus on both the setting and interior design of the saunas truly enhances the experience of the gentle steam baths. It’s fascinating to see how the sauna is deeply rooted in Finnish tradition and continues to be a vital part of their culture. Looking forward to exploring these unique saunas!

  10. Carita Harju says

    As the founder and director of Sauna from Finland, I believe that the interior design of a sauna plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall experience. Each sauna I selected showcases a unique design that truly captures the essence of Finnish sauna culture, offering a soothing retreat for mind, body, and soul.

  11. RebeccaSmith says

    Wow, these Finnish saunas really are something else! The way they incorporate design into the sauna experience is truly remarkable. I can only imagine the sense of tranquility and relaxation one must feel in such beautifully crafted spaces. It’s no wonder sauna culture is so deeply rooted in Finnish daily life!

  12. CaritaHarju says

    As the founder and director of Sauna from Finland, I believe that the interior design of a sauna is just as crucial as its location. Each sauna I’ve chosen showcases a unique experience, tapping into the ancient ritual that soothes mind, body, and soul. The Finnish sauna culture truly is a national treasure, and it’s wonderful to see it embraced globally!

  13. EmilySmith says

    Could you provide more details on the specific features of each of the 7 epic Finnish saunas mentioned in the article?

    1. JohnDoe says

      Sure thing, EmilySmith! Each of the 7 epic Finnish saunas highlighted in the article offers a unique experience. From traditional log cabin saunas nestled in the forest to modern glass-walled saunas overlooking panoramic views, the diversity in design and setting is truly remarkable. Whether you prefer a rustic sauna with a wood-burning stove or a sleek, contemporary sauna with state-of-the-art facilities, Finland has a sauna to suit every taste. The article delves into the intricate details of each sauna, showcasing how Finnish sauna culture thrives on innovation while honoring tradition. It’s a journey through steam, wood, and tradition that promises to leave you rejuvenated and inspired.

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