When visiting the Finnish city of Tampere and its surrounding regions, one thing that everyone should try is an authentic Finnish sauna. Thankfully, there are many options throughout Tampere, offering the full range of sauna experiences from modern luxury saunas to rustic smoke saunas. Remember that most of these facilities need to be booked in advance, as they can take up to six hours to heat up properly.
A key stop for any sauna enthusiast, Rajaportti is the oldest public sauna in Finland that is still open. It has been operating since 1906, which technically makes the sauna older than the state of Finland. It still uses the original woodburning stove, making it an authentic traditional sauna with a relaxed atmosphere. There is also a café and a masseuse on site.
Rajaportti Sauna, Tampere, Finland, +358 503102611
This artificial lakeside beach, built in 1929, contains two saunas, and is only a few kilometres from Tampere’s central square. Both of the saunas require swimsuits and are open year-round. During the summer there is a café with wonderful views open on the beach, and in winter the same lake can be used for ice swimming.
Operated by volunteers from the winter swimming association, this sauna on Lake Näsijärvi has been operating since 1977 and was renovated after a fire in 2008. It is particularly popular in the winter, and typically has over 300 guests on Christmas Eve. Not only are drinks on sale for consumption in the sauna, but also sausages, so that visitors can enjoy the unique Finnish custom of cooking sausages over sauna coals.
Varala Sports Institute
A sauna is inviting after an intense workout, which is why the Varala Sports Institute has two lakeside saunas. These contain floor-to-ceiling glass windows, an outdoor fireplace and a staircase leading down to the lake for swimming.
About 25 kilometres (16 miles) outside Tampere city centre, this sauna and art and recreation centre has some historical importance, as it was the favourite country retreat of former Finnish president Urho Kekkonen. Visiting this sauna really does feel like an escape from the stress of modern life and it is a great place to relax.
Miina’s Smoke Sauna
A small but highly traditional smoke sauna, Miina’s offers not only a 100-year-old smoke sauna but also bloodletting, hot-stone therapy and peat treatments. If these sound a little too extreme for you, you can still enjoy the old sauna, take a dip in the lake afterwards and try some traditional Finnish food.
Visiting a sauna is all well and good, but have you ever thought of building one of your own? This Tampere-based company will arrive at the location of your choice (preferably beside a lake) and bring a tent sauna large enough for your group, for you to set up. Full materials and instructions are provided, and the company will disassemble it afterwards, too. It is a truly unique sauna experience.
Telttasauno, +358 400243559
Hämmin Roof Sauna
Located in Tampere city centre, this rooftop event space contains a sauna with gorgeous views over the city. Catering can also be provided. It may sound odd, but a sauna is an integral part of any Finnish party or social event. You can provide the perfect activity for your party at this stylish modern sauna.
A small sauna located at an island spa, Suomensaaren Sauna is a simple no-thrills venue, but one that is highly affordable, at only €6 for adult admission, and truly authentic. It is open year-round for both summer bathing and warming up after winter skiing. The lake is great for swimming in and offers beautiful views in both summer and winter.
Suomensaaren Sauna, Suomensaarenkatu 7, 33410 Tampere, Finland, +358 442721403
This business centre located in a beautiful repurposed former factory building also contains a sauna for relaxing after a long day of meetings. It is close to the city centre with picturesque views over the city, but still retains a cosy, rustic atmosphere to help you get rid of all that stress.