Saunas play a significant cultural and social role across Scandinavia and are synonymous with Scandinavian life and national identity. In this part of the world saunas are not a luxury reserved only for gyms and spas but classed more as a necessity – Finland is a nation of around 5 million inhabitants and 2 million saunas!

Dating back over a thousand years, saunas have a long history, with their popularity no doubt having something to do with the long winters that its inhabitants experience every year in regions above the Arctic Circle. At the most basic level, saunas provide warmth and comfort for a short period of time, yet they are now regarded as an ideal place for mental relaxation and a place in which to socialise, famed for improving health and mood.

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The hot, wooden sauna room is usually kept warm with an electric or (traditionally) wood burning stove which heats stones, emitting heat to increase the room temperature.

Water can also usually be thrown onto the stones, generating steam and ensuring temperatures of 70 to 90°C. After you feel you have enjoyed the heat, it is customary to jump into a lake, sea or snow bank in order to cool down and feel fully invigorated (for the fully fit only!)

Scandinavians will typically enjoy their sauna clothing free, so should you really want the full experience then feel free to embrace this, if not, then towels or swimming gear are the usual alternatives.

When you are enjoying our Scandinavian trips, we would urge you to try to make use of a sauna at some point during your stay. As well as a chance to further appreciate the national identity, they are ideal for warming up in after a day's adventure in the snow and ease any tired and aching muscles.

Saunas can be found in practically all of the hotels we offer in Finland, Sweden and Norway, from private saunas in rooms to traditional wood burning saunas outside.

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