In the previous text about activities in Tampere I dealt with activities in and around nature. As Tampere is—at least in the Finnish scale—a city, I think it is a correct thing to write something about more urban, but really Finnish, experiences. In this article, I will tell you something about public saunas in Tampere.
Tampere has quite an extensive network of public saunas. Even on such a scale that the city declared itself as the Sauna Capital of the World. I am not sure, how many international recognitions this unilateral declaration has received, but that doesn’t make it any less of a brave declaration.
This public sauna is one of my favourites and Rauhaniemi area serves as an excellent swimming place during summer. Before, I used to visit Rauhaniemi mainly in the winter, as I was a dedicated winter swimming enthusiast (which is something very nice to try, by the way). Nowadays summer has become my favourite time to visit Rauhaniemi. The swimming place is build on a rocky surroundings and I have never been very fond of beaches, so Rauhaniemi feels like home for me.
These days Rauhaniemi is sometimes so popular (a lot of Erasmus students, too) that the saunas have are working on a limit of their capacity. Luckily there are two saunas to choose from and the peak hours don’t last long.
Tullin Sauna (edit. 2019: no longer active)
Other sauna that I would take my visitors to, is a newcomer in the scene. Tullin Sauna is situated at Tulli area, very close to the University and Tampere Hall. The venue has also an excellent restaurant and you can take the drinks from the bar to sauna as well. Sauna fee includes everything you need: a towel, a seat cover and a mug for drinking (tap water). And if you don’t have your swimming suit with you, you can borrow one here.
The manager of this sauna, Ville Virkki, has also an accommodation business just across the street: Dream Hotel & Hostel has been awarded numerous prizes so it could also provide you with place to sleep. But back to sauna: the design of the venue is a combination of urban industrial style and Nordic minimalism. It takes into account the industrial history of the building it is situated in. And even grey concrete can be quite stylish!
Quite close to Rauhaniemen kansankylpylä, there is also other public sauna: Kaupinoja. This one is heated in the traditional way, by wood. In the sauna culture of Tampere there are those that tell you that Kaupinoja is the only proper sauna to visit while others are great fans of Rauhaniemi (Could there be a correlation on which of the two main ice hockey teams people are supporting…). I like them both, so I would advice to choose either of these saunas or then visit both and develop your own opinion.
Last time I visited Kaupinoja (January 2019) I made an observation that the winter swimming has become popular with young people, too. Of course, this could have something to do with Friday night, but even the Finnish news have been telling that new generations have found the joys of winter swimming. And for traditional public saunas, this is a great thing to hear!
If I am writing about public saunas in Tampere, there’s one that I cannot pass in this article. Rajaportin sauna is the oldest public sauna in Finland that is still in business. The sauna is also different from the others described above as it has separate sections for men and women. The history of the sauna explains this as being a result of new rules in the 1920s and 1930s that forbade men and women bathing at the same saunas. Therefore, they first built a curtain and then, after a while, a wall between the sauna departments. Rajaportti is really a sight, so don’t miss this on your sauna tour.
One of the more special saunas—a bit outside the city—is Peronsaari sauna. It is a city owned sauna situated in the island of Peronsaari in the middle of lake Näsijärvi. So to visit this sauna you will either need a boat or a steamboat lift (we have done a couple of charter cruises here with steamboat Näsijärvi II).
Visit Tampere has done a great work in drafting an extensive list of public and rented saunas in the region, so if you’re fond of Finnish sauna, be sure to check their list.