So, to the average Brit mention a European sauna and they fall about in fits of giggles, or are just totally shocked imagining god knows what…to us Saunas are maybe somewhere we would spend 10 minutes at the end of other exercise if we’re lucky enough to belong to some swanky health club, with swimmers on and towels wrapper tightly. What surprises me is I still read feedback in places like Tripadvisor from Brits or American commenting how such and such sauna in such and such foreign land was just great, except ‘WARNING’ the people are (gasp) naked!!!!
Many countries have a great sauna culture, it is an integral part of the activities for lots of people, although each country approaches it with slightly different practices. If you are visiting a country with a sauna culture, I urge you to spend 10 minutes googling the local practices, and go in with an open mind – it could be the most relaxing authentic thing you do on your trip, and a great way to meet locals.
Things to be aware of are:
– many countries split their saunas according to sex, males go in one area, females in another, or alternate days for males/females – check this out on the sauna website.
– look into what you may need/want at the sauna, just because you may have no clothes on, doesn’t mean you don’t need other things like towels (full length sauna towels), sandals or dressing gowns. If your going to a big touristy sauna you may be able to hire things.
– eating and drinking. For some, saunas are big day trip, with eating and drinking in between. The Russians are fond of vodka, the Swedes think pouring beer over the coals brings a nice aroma. In other countries this would be looked on with disgust.
– there are places within the sauna where you may need to cover up ,just because its naked in the sauna doesn’t mean you run around everywhere in the buff
Do a little bit of research and you’ll have a much less daunting time.