When it comes to saunas, few countries can match Estonia’s passion for this steamy, relaxing tradition. In fact, Estonia has the highest number of saunas per capita in the world, with nearly every household owning one. But saunas in Estonia are more than just a place to get warm; they’re a central part of the country’s culture and history, dating back hundreds of years. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at saunas in Estonia, their cultural significance, and where to find the best ones.
What are Saunas in Estonia?
In Estonia, saunas are more than just a place to get warm. They’re a place for relaxation, contemplation, and socializing. Saunas in Estonia are typically made of wood and heated with stones that are heated to high temperatures. The sauna experience typically involves several rounds of sweating, followed by cooling off in a nearby body of water, like a lake or river. Many saunas also have a room for relaxation and socializing, where people can enjoy snacks and drinks while they cool down.
Saunas in Estonia have a long history, dating back hundreds of years. In fact, the first written record of saunas in Estonia dates back to the 13th century, when the Livonian Chronicle described the use of saunas by Estonian tribes. Over the centuries, saunas in Estonia have evolved to become a central part of the country’s culture and way of life.
Why are Saunas Important in Estonian Culture?
Saunas play an important role in Estonian culture for several reasons. Firstly, they’re a great way to combat the country’s cold, harsh climate. With temperatures that can dip well below freezing in the winter, saunas provide a welcome escape from the cold and a chance to warm up and relax.
But saunas in Estonia are also important for their cultural and social significance. They’re a place for friends and family to gather and socialize, and for communities to come together. In fact, many Estonians believe that the sauna is a place where people can be their true selves, free from the pressures and expectations of everyday life. Saunas are also seen as a place for healing and purification, with many people believing that the intense heat and sweating can help to rid the body of toxins and promote overall wellness.
Where to Find the Best Saunas in Estonia
If you’re interested in experiencing saunas in Estonia for yourself, there are plenty of places to do so. Many hotels and spas in Estonia have their own saunas, often with a range of amenities like pools, hot tubs, and relaxation rooms. Some of the best saunas in Estonia, however, are the traditional, wood-fired ones found in rural areas and on the coast.
One of the most famous saunas in Estonia is located on the island of Saaremaa. The Kuressaare Episcopal Castle sauna is a unique sauna experience, housed in a medieval castle that dates back to the 13th century. The sauna is heated with a traditional wood stove and features a range of amenities, including a relaxation room and a plunge pool.
Another great option for experiencing saunas in Estonia is to visit one of the many public saunas that can be found throughout the country. These saunas are typically owned by local communities and offer a more authentic, rustic sauna experience. Some popular public saunas in Estonia include the Pirita TOP Spa Sauna in Tallinn, the Pärnu Tervis Spa Sauna, and the Haapsalu Kuursaal Sauna.
Saunas in Estonia are more than just a place to get warm; they’re a central part of the country’s culture and history. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing sauna experience or a chance to socialize with friends and family, saunas in Estonia offer something for everyone. With their unique blend of tradition, relaxation, and socialization, saunas in Estonia are a must-try for anyone visiting the country.
If you’re planning a trip to Estonia, be sure to include a sauna experience in your itinerary. Whether you choose a modern, luxurious spa sauna or a rustic, traditional sauna in the countryside, you’re sure to leave feeling relaxed, refreshed, and rejuvenated.
And if you’re looking for the ultimate sauna experience in Estonia, consider attending one of the country’s many sauna festivals. These festivals celebrate all things sauna and offer a chance to experience the country’s sauna culture in a fun and festive atmosphere. Some popular sauna festivals in Estonia include the Estonian Sauna Marathon, the Võru Folk Festival, and the Seto Kingdom Culture Festival.
Saunas in Estonia are a unique and important part of the country’s culture and history. From their origins in ancient times to their continued popularity today, saunas in Estonia offer a chance to relax, socialize, and connect with the country’s rich cultural heritage. So whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned sauna enthusiast, be sure to add a sauna experience to your Estonian itinerary and discover the many benefits of this steamy tradition.
Anni and Adam from Estonia run a cool YouTube channel called “Estonian Saunas”.
Here, they show you one of the best saunas in the country they have come across.