Pick 6: Quirky capital city saunas for autumn

There's some unique and unusual sauna options in the Finnish capital - some are free, and some come with a hefty price tag, if you want to enjoy steam this autumn & winter.

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File picture showing exterior of Kotiharju Sauna, Helsinki / Credit: News Now Finland

November is arguably the most grim month of the year: the temperatures drop, the leaves are gone, clocks shift back an hour and many people in Finland struggle with the darkness.

So what better way to lift the spirits and warm up than a trip to the sauna!

Helsinki has some quirky sauna offerings – have you tried these yet?

File picture of Sompasauna Helsinki

Sompasauna

Sompasauna is free to visit, and “the most public sauna” in the world. It’s open to anyone, anytime, all year around. The original sauna burned down, so the Sompasauna community built a new one. There are currently two saunas in use: Temppeli (Temple) and Kappeli (Chapel). On their website it says “bring your own towel, drinks and bar-b-q food”. The Sauna itself is ascetic and full of personality. There are quite a few instructions and guidelines to take into account, because the sauna is maintained by the visitors themselves. So follow along, and be a responsible Sompasauna community member as you enjoy the steam – or a dip in the sea!

SkySauna Helsinki

This unique and exciting sauna is the first of its kind in the world, and offers a bird’s eye view of Helsinki on a ferris wheel! The custom-made gondola sauna takes you 40 metres above the rooftops of the city – imagine a hot sauna and the most amazing vistas!  The €240 per hour price tag comes with drinks and towels included, for one to four people. One drawback, you can’t take your own drinks on board. The SkySauna is only open from April to December, and closed in the coldest months of winter.

SkySauna on ferris wheel, Helsinki

Kotiharju sauna

This sauna is the only traditional wood-heated block sauna in Helsinki and dates back to the 1930s. The Kotiharju sauna is famous for its authentic interiors and soft steam. To visit the sauna you don’t need a reservation – just show up, and entry costs €14. There are drinks and snacks available, and cool off outside on the street with other sauna goers relaxing between steam trips and chatting.

Interior of Burger King sauna, Helsinki

Burger King sauna

Fast food and sauna – only in Finland! No wonder this sauna has got lot of attention. In the
heart of Helsinki at Burger King on Mannerheimintie you can book a sauna that’s really out of the ordinary. Inside you’ll find space for 10 people, and a huge 48” flat screen TV to watch sports or a movie while you throw water on the hot rocks. There’s also a media lounge with a 55″ screen, PlayStation and sound system for when you want to take a break from the heat. Sauna guests can order food from the Burger King menu, and there’s a range of drinks in the fridge. Towels and cleaning included in the price: €300 for three hours.

Hartwall Arena skybox sauna

Hartwall Arena Skybox Sauna

If you want to watch a live ice hockey game in a sauna, this is the ideal solution: but be prepared to pay up to €2500 for the experience! There are many different kinds of VIP skyboxes to book at Hartwall Arena, whether you want to see a concert, an ice hockey game and throw an event with full catering, bar and private cinema. But the sauna skyboxes are the most luxurious with a glass wall to watch the events below from the comfort and privacy of your own sauna – with space for 20 people.

Vartiovene 55

From war ship to cruise ship, this floating started life as a Finnish Navy mine sweeper and now takes to the high seas as a party ship with an amazing sauna on board.  The ship has a hot tub and sauna available both during the cruise or when it’s docked. The bravest sauna guests can jump overboard into the sea between sauna sessions. The ship was built in Turku and commissioned into the navy in October 1959 and served for more than 40 years before being bought by private owners and coverted to a party ship. To rent the boat and sauna on board, be prepared to hand over €2690 for a two hour curise. For sauna evenings docked at port in Helsinki the cost is €750 for three hours.

Vartiovene warship sauna