Finns are fanatical about the sauna; there are 1.6 million saunas for a population of 5 million. Electrical stoves are often used to heat the stones, but more traditional varieties heat them with wood stoves, filling the sauna with smoke over a long period. The smoke is then released through a chimney before the sauna is used – connoisseurs claim this to be the best experience, and we highly recommend you try this if you get the chance.
Aki Käräjäoja, of our supplier Routa Travel, explains one of his favourite things to do in Finland: "Sauna is really important in our culture. Some tourists think it’s weird, especially when it’s -20, -30 outside. You can roll in the snow afterwards, or – if you’re on a lake – make a hole in the ice for a small refreshing swim! But there is no one way to do this – if you just want to sprinkle cold water on yourself then that’s already enough. Sauna is a place where everyone is equal and you lose your titles. It is said that it washes both your body and your soul, and I really believe this."