Thursday, 3 October 2019

A True Finnish Sauna Experience at Löyly Helsinki.

Before Aftab and I left London we did plenty of research into saunas in Helsinki, and decided that the Löyly Sauna (pronounced sow-na) would be the best one for us to visit during our weekend in Finland's capital. This was mainly due it being one of the only unisex saunas in Helsinki, but also because it was the only one that specified you had to wear bathers, and being the true Brits that we are, Aftab and I both agreed we were too modest to go fully nude in-front of a load of Finnish people! Haha.

Löyly Helsinki Sauna in Finland

We booked our lockers about a week in advance on the website, and chose 1pm on the Sunday as that was the earliest slot available. You have to choose a 2-hour time slot, so make sure you check the opening times before you go as each day has different opening hours and time slots! 

Löyly Helsinki Sauna in Finland

Because the sauna doesn't open until 1pm on Sundays, we got there slightly early so had a little wander around the waterfront restaurant that is adjoined with the sauna. Despite the drizzle it was beautiful, with views over to the main city area from the restaurant's outside terrace.

Löyly Helsinki Sauna in Finland
Löyly Helsinki Sauna in Finland

When the sauna opened we collected our locker keys and towels from the reception desk, and went into the male and female changing rooms to get changed. There are two saunas at Löyly, a normal dry sauna, and a traditional Finnish smoke sauna. We tried the normal one first, and met a lovely Finnish man in there who told us that the steps on the end of the deck into the water are so you can swim inbetween sauna sessions! He said it's normal for them to go to the sauna every weekend and jump in the water each time to build up their immune system. I felt a cold coming on, so thought I may as well give it a try!!

Aftab and I watched the Finnish man jump in, then made our way down and gingerly dipped our toes into the water. IT WAS FREEZING. But I decided I needed the full experience, so I went all the way in and had a little swim around in the Baltic Sea before realising I couldn't really feel my legs...

Definitely not the most flattering photo or angle in the world - I honestly never thought I would ever publicly post a photo of me with no make-up on, hair scraped back, and in a swimsuit 5kg heavier than my usual size - but life is too short to not take a photo of you swimming in the freezing Baltic Sea! Also I had THE biggest panic after seeing these photos and noticing MY HAIR LINE. But upon further inspection in the mirror, the panic subsided when I realised the 'receding' corners are actually just my baby hairs.

Löyly Helsinki Sauna in Finland
Löyly Helsinki Sauna in Finland

My numb legs somehow got me back into the warmth of the sauna (although I couldn't walk properly so I did look rather strange), and we decided to try out the smoke sauna. Apparently the smoke sauna is better for you because you breathe in the Charcoal that lines the walls. Traditionally it was the very poor communities and families in Finland that had smoke saunas, but they were actually the healthiest people because of their smoke saunas. 

Löyly Helsinki Smoke Charcoal Sauna in Finland
Photo taken by the lovely Aftab!

After an hour or so of jumping into the sauna, jumping into the sea, back to the sauna, into the sea, we decided to get showered and changed and warm up in the restaurant. We enjoyed a glass of bubbles by the roaring fire, and ogled at the food being brought out to the tables around us! Sadly we didn't have time to eat, but if I had one tip, it would be to make sure you go there for lunch as well as the sauna. The food looked absolutely amazing and the restaurant was full of locals!

Löyly Helsinki Sauna in Finland

With over 2 million saunas in Finland (for a population of just 5.3 million), you really can't go to Helsinki without experiencing a sauna!  Many of them are single-sex only because you go in the nude, but Löyly was ideal for us as you have to wear bathers and it was mixed so Aftab and I could go in together. We thoroughly enjoyed our Löyly experience, and at just 18 Euros each, we thought the cost wasn't too bad either (although we're from London, so we have a slightly skewed view of how expensive/cheap things are).

And keep an eye out for my blog post on our weekend in Helsinki - it will be live very soon!

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