Helsinki is known for being one of the coldest cities in Europe during winter. It is for this reason a lot of people don’t visit during this time, however we visited in the depths of winter (January 2019) and fell in love with this beautiful, wintery city! One of the best things to do in Helsinki is experience Finnish sauna culture and we did just that at Löyly Helsinski.
Saunas are a massive part of Finnish culture. Finland has a population of 5 million people and over 3 million saunas, which is amazing! Helsinki has some incredible public saunas so visitors to the city can experience the culture for themselves.
Löyly means the steam that appears when you throw water on hot stones in a sauna. Löyly Helsinki is one of the most popular public sauna experiences in Finland for foreign visitors. Unlike many traditional saunas, you are required to wear swimwear at Löyly, which suited us as we aren’t used to being naked in public spaces, however it may surprise Scandinavian visitors who are used to saunas where you don’t wear swimwear.
Löyly Helsinki offers two sauna rooms, a lounge, terrace, bar, restaurant and outdoor access to the icy sea (for swimming)! It is a very social sauna experience and you need to book online in advance, when we visited it was €19 each for a 2 hour session. The building itself is also stunning from an architectural point of view and we highly recommend going up to the rooftop to enjoy the views and take some photos.
Löyly is located in a former industrial area on the waterfront in Helsinki which is being rejuvinated and redesigned by the city of Helsinki into a residential area complete with new attracttions. It was only a 10 minute uber ride from our hotel to Löyly.
During winter, the Baltic Sea freezes over and the whole city is covered in powdery white snow. The traditional Finnish way to end a sauna is by taking an icy dip in the sea! The team at Loyly always ensure that there is a decent hole in the Sea for those brave enough to take a dip after their sauna.
It was here that we did as the locals do and ticked ice swimming off our bucket list, brrrrrr! Löyly has an outdoor path to the sea and stairs down into the icy sea! To us, it was probably more painful than refreshing however it was a big tick off the bucket list and after a two second dip we ran back into the sauna to try and warm up. Dan said he wished that he’d had a mens wetsuits with him to take the sting out of the water!
At the time I thought I would never do it again, but now I’m wishing more than ever that I was back there in snowy Helsinki, sweating in the sauna and waiting to cool down in the icy sea. It’s an incredible experience you’ll never forget!
Even if you are afraid of or hate the cold, we definitely urge you to give this experience a go. It was honestly one of the most invigorating experiences of my life!
The only small issues that we had at Löyly Helsinski were that the changing rooms were really small and crowded which made getting changed and showering quite difficult, although not impossible. We also found that the saunas were quite busy and although we could always get a seat, they were probably a bit too crowded for a completely relaxing experience.
We loved visiting Helsinki in winter, everything looked so beautiful covered in snow and I’m so glad we got to tick ice swimming off our bucket list! Löyly Helsinski gave us the Finnish sauna experience we were hoping for and we would definitely recommend a visit to anyone travelling to Helsinki.
Do you love Saunas? Would you take a dip in the Baltic Sea?
This post was written in collaboration with Jet Pilot.