Helsinki is the third Scandinavian city I visited, after Copenhagen and Stockholm. They have a very similar feeling with grey skies and the sea, but I had a different experience in Helsinki because I took a sauna bath there.
The last time I had sauna was in elementary school, there was a small sauna room at the swimming pool we used to go to. I didn’t expect I will go to sauna in Finland, but Sauna is actually a very important part of the Finnish culture. It’s a tradition to take hot sauna and jump into the snow to finish, as I learned it in the National Museum of Finland in Helsinki.
I booked a cool-looking sauna place called Löyly. It is a very modern architecture designed with clear lines and is made of wooden slates. It’s just off the city centre and facing the Baltic Sea, so you can have a dip there after the steamy sauna.
One of the two sauna rooms here is made of dark smoky wood. As soon as you walk in, you can smell the smoky air. The Finnish people are all pros and were constantly adding water to make it hotter and more steamy, but I had to close my eyes to protect my eyeballs from the heat.
After a few rounds of sauna bath, I was ready to soak in the Baltic Sea. Although it was only end of August, the water felt very icy and I only ended up dipping my feet.