in Lake Saimaa
The sauna is the pride and joy of the Finns. The Finnish summer holiday home has an entire culture built around it and almost every one of them has a sauna as standard. In fact, there are over two million saunas in Finland for only five million Finns; that’s around one for each household! But Lake Saimaa is special. The sauna is only half the story; the other half is the lake.
After all, what good is the heat of the sauna without your own private beach and a lake to cool off in? And where’s the sense in swimming if you have no sauna to warm you up, or to wash in? The sauna and Lake Saimaa go hand in hand together. To experience one without the other is to miss something special!
It’s true for whatever season you’re here. Whether you’ve been swimming under Lake Saimaa’s blue skies in summer or walking on its frozen surface in winter, the sauna is the perfect remedy. Following any number of adventures in the Finnish countryside, the sauna is relaxing and health-boosting, refreshing body and soul.
The sauna and Finland belong together; estimates suggest they already have been for at least 10,000 years. ‘Sauna’ is even a Finnish word, the strange, unfamiliar language’s main contribution to English and many other languages. Of course, it’s pronounced slightly differently here so if you’re an English speaker, you’ve probably been saying it wrong all this time!
Along with the sauna, the Finns love the “mökki,” or summer cabin. Usually in the woods and as close to the shoreline as possible, the Finnish summer cabin is an escape to the remote countryside but as a result, it often lacks electricity. While city apartments might typically have access to a modern electric sauna, many Finns will prefer their wood-heated stoves in the peace of the countryside. Fortunately Lake Saimaa, like the rest of rural Finland, has no shortage of forest or firewood!
A real treat almost unique to Finland is the smoke sauna. One step even above the wood heated sauna, the smoke sauna is the ancient forefather of the modern sauna. Highly regarded by connoisseurs, the smoke sauna has no chimney, instead filling the room with smoke before being opened to let the sauna-goers in and the smoke out.
Lake Saimaa and the sauna are intrinsically linked. On any trip you make to Lake Saimaa, make sure that you include a trip to the sauna; and any trip you make to the sauna should of course be in Saimaa!