For the Finns the sauna has always had a special significance. The first saunas were smoke saunas and they are still in use today. Heating them using wood takes several hours and the smoke is kept inside the sauna. The world’s biggest smoke sauna can be found at Tupasvilla, just over half an hour’s drive from Jyväskylä. Further information can be found here.
Nowadays the majority of saunas are heated by electricity and sauna is something enjoyed by the whole family. The steamy heat is normally taken several times with breaks to cool off and relax in an adjoining room or outside. In summers, going to sauna at a holiday cottage is generally followed by a refreshing swim in the lake, and in winter those who are brave enough roll in the snow or take a quick dip in an ice hole. Today the vast majority of Finnish homes are equipped with a sauna, and according to the Finnish Sauna Society, there are about 3,2 million saunas in Finland - more than cars!
If you would like to go to a sauna during your visit, in Jyväskylä this can be easily arranged. There are saunas in every hotel and spa. Smoke saunas and sauna facilities for groups, which have to be booked in advance, are often located close to water. In the city you’ll even find a few floating saunas, which is the perfect way to enjoy both a relaxing sauna and a glorious summer evening while drifting across Lake Jyväsjärvi.
Sauna, photo: Savutuvan Apaja
Relaxing after sauna, photo: Hanna-Kaisa Hämäläinen