The D.I.Y. Sauna
I’m so grateful for the day I discovered Sompasauna. It was almost not happening. I was visiting Helsinki as a tourist and read about this public sauna after a quick online search. But getting there wasn’t as straightforward. If you are using public transport, you’ll get out at the Kalasatama metro station, and walk through a giant construction area for about 15 minutes, without any clear signs on your path. Being a foreigner, and feeling scared (for no reason!) I was almost discouraged and about to turn back. And I’m so glad I didn’t!
At the tip of the Sompasaari peninsula in north-east Helsinki, Sompasauna is a group of little sauna huts, run voluntarily by the people of Helsinki. It has a wood-burning stove, and the wood logs of wood to be chopped into smaller pieces and placed inside the stove by the visitors themselves. There is usually a local or two who will know their way around, so just follow them and do your part! After the sauna, you can cool off by dipping into the sea right in front of you.
You can decide whether you want to go in with a swimming suit or naked. And there aren’t separate slots or spaces for men and women. Since it’s not owned by anyone, there are no such house rules; except common sense and respect for the community.
What you need to remember coming here is to bring your own towel, and lots of water to drink. As there are no facilities, you won’t find any drinking water around you, and it would be a shame to leave this place early because of dehydration.
If you’ve been here, and you love the concept of a publicly owned community sauna like I do, please go and donate here for the maintenance of Sompasauna.
Good to know
- No rules on nudity/swimwear.
- Mixed gender.
- No food, drinks, showers and towels to rent on site. Bring what you think you’ll need with you.
- Be harmonious and respectful to everyone. This is a community-run sauna and everyone is responsible for their behavior.
- Walk-in, any time of day.
- Free but do your part in maintaining the place and donate!