Sauna, sauna, sauna, that’s all you hear right, when you want to know what you should do while in Finland. These days you can find one even in ordinary flats of everyday people, but in the olden days only the fanciest apartments had a bathroom and the rest of the folks had to rely on public saunas, found on almost every block.
Not many of these communal saunas remain and of those that are still up and running in Helsinki, the Kotiharju Sauna is the only one heated with wood. Many say that is the only way to do it and I must say I agree. Kotiharju is also famous outside Finland, even Spiegel is impressed with them!
Kotiharju Sauna is located in Harjutori, near the busy Helsinginkatu in the Kallio district. It has 3 saunas: one for men, one for women and one smaller electric one that can be reserved for small parties. The public male and female saunas are open without reservation and favored by all sorts of locals: regulars who come every week, families with children, work mates relaxing after a hard week, bachelor and bachelorette party people getting clean before getting dirty in the night city, etc. Previously I’ve mainly been part of the latter group, but I’ll definitely be coming here with my family as well!
Note: the men’s sauna is very popular, especially on Saturday nights, so bigger groups might have to wait for a bit!