Day 14. Sauna at the Finnish Summer Cottage

No visit to a Finnish summer cottage is complete without a visit to the sauna.  Finland has approximately five million inhabitants and around three million saunas.  It’s a way of life here, to relax, spend time with friends and warm up in mid-winter.  The majority of homes have their own sauna and, if not, there is usually a shared sauna in apartment blocks where families have their own private use periods.

Finnish sauna
Finnish sauna

Life at a summer cottage is no exception, where we stay there is a wood fired sauna which is lit even on balmy summer evenings.  Whilst the sauna is heating up, thick ‘sauna’ sausages are wrapped in foil and placed on a cast iron tray suspended from the ceiling, hanging just above the wooden stove.

Sausages cooking on the sauna oven
Sausages cooking on the sauna oven

It takes about an hour for this wood burning sauna to reach a high temperature and be ready for use.  I find sitting in a sauna, in the dimmed light a very relaxing experience and afterwards my entire body feels deep cleansed and invigorated.

Swimming platform, Finnish summer cottage, Kongosaari
Swimming platform at the summer cottage

After the sauna you can take a swim in the lake if you wish as the effect of hot and cold on the body is supposedly beneficial.  Outside the sauna house there are steps down to its very own swimming platform.  I have to say that I didn’t take a swim in the lake but instead enjoyed a shower after my sauna.

Terrace beside Lake Saimaa, Kongosaari Island
Idyllic views from the summer cottage terrace

It was then time to enjoy our tasty snack of the sauna cooked sausages with beer or wine.  Life at a Finnish summer cottage is most definitely an idyllic experience.

Old station cafe, Savonlinna, Finland
Old station cafe, Savonlinna

Packing up, it was then time to return to Savonlinna to catch the Onnibus back to Helsinki.  As we arrived a little early, our friend took us to a quaint cafe that only opened this year in the old railway station.  All the cakes and pastries are home baked on the premises and our cinnamon buns tasted really fresh with a strong spiced flavour.

Inside the old station cafe, Savonlinna, Finland
Old station cafe, Savonlinna

We then returned to our holiday apartment near Helsinki which overlooks a sheltered bay so we hadn’t left the countryside behind in Savonlinna, but merely exchanged it for another lovely view of Finnish nature!


If you have enjoyed reading this post you may also be interested in the following:

Savonlinna in the Finnish Lake District

A day in Uppsala, Sweden



46 thoughts on “Day 14. Sauna at the Finnish Summer Cottage

  1. Pingback: Day 13.  Kongosaari Island ferry – Love Travelling Blog

  2. Pingback: Day 11.  Savonlinna in the Finnish Lake District – Love Travelling Blog

  3. Pingback: Day 16.  Lovely Luukki, Espoo – Love Travelling Blog

  4. Wifeofandtravels

    I know I’m a little late to the party here, I just stumbled upon your beautiful post. I’ve embraced the sauna and wellness concept since living in Germany but your post inspires me to want to strike out for an authentic Finnish experience also!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for checking out my blog and liking my article on my trip to Italy. I love that you have traveled all over the world and shared some amazing photographs. You are living life to the fullest and experiencing all the beauty of this world. You are one lucky lady. Please share how you can travel so often.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to live in Helsinki for three years and I would really love to go back nexr summer for a roadtrip. Do you know where I can get this sauna and summer cottage experience cheap and nice?


  7. Debby Waite

    Wow that looks amazing! I remember as a child we would run back a forth from the sauna to the lake at the cottage but I didn’t know that it was good for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly Joy, it really is beautiful, very spacious and complete with all mod cons. It’s so peaceful, accessed by a gravel track (no wonder Finland have so many top Rally drivers!) we are totally cut off from the world, the only exception being the occasional boat we see glide past the terrace. I wouldn’t be confident to drive the ferry either but my husband and son can operate it competently now. Do you know that in winter when the lake is frozen, my friend drives across the ice road to get to her cottage. It’s very safe as the ice is drilled to ensure it is thick enough before vehicles can use it with their winter tyres.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Great and enjoyable post presenting Finnish culture and tradition – Sauna! Wooden stove looks quite similar which we had in our countryside home (1993-2012). I think that, if You once more visit Helsinki, then visit public Sauna called Kotiharjun Sauna. It is experience, which You’ll never forget. I used to visit to it with my late father, when being child. One question: Have You ever visited to Kerimäki wooden church, which is world’s biggest wooden church? It is quite near to Savonlinna.

    Happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would definitely like to visit that old sauna in Helsinki, I have walked past it but not been in, hopefully something for me to experience next year! We have, in fact visited that old church, not this summer but in the past. It’s amazing with its wooden figures and the sheer size of the church compared to the size of the local community. Thank you for your kind words and interesting observations, I always look forward to reading them.


      1. It was very nice to read that You have visited to the Kerimäki church. In Finland, we have gorgeous wooden churches, which wait for explorers. I can say this with full heart after shooting photos from 440 churches and they are situated mainly on countryside. Matti.

        Liked by 1 person

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