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Your Guide to Saunas in Norway

There’s a famous scene in the movie Frozen where Anna, on her quest to save her sister, stops at a store for some supplies and help, only to be met by a shopkeeper almost incessantly advertising his sauna (which his entire family was already sitting in).


While this might just be a funny scene concocted by Disney, to us here in the Nordics, it’s incredibly relatable (not the incessant advertising part, but the sauna). That’s because saunas are entrenched in our culture here in Norway. In this article, we look at the cultural relevance of the sauna in Norway, how one is expected to behave when visiting one, and give you a few pointers to go and visit some of the best saunas in Norway.


Saunas in Norway

What is a Norwegian Sauna?


Our saunas are places where friends come together, where people can go to relax (almost like a version of meditation), and where we can take advantage of the myriad of health benefits saunas have. In a sense, this is where one can cleanse both body and mind. Our Norwegian saunas are also known as badstue and are usually wooden rooms (that look a little bit like sheds) that are heated to about 93 degrees Celsius.


Here, we will sit for anything between 5 to 20 minutes at a time, chatting to friends and family, or just sit and relax as the seat flushes out any built-up toxins in our body, improves circulation, and helps soothe any aches and pains and muscle stiffness. But not only do we enjoy a good sauna sesh.


One of our favorite ways to sauna is by alternating between the extreme heat and the cold. Whether that means jumping into a cold lake nearby or rolling around in the snow before going back into the sauna to repeat the cycle. Even this age-old practice, which started out as just something fun to do in Norway, turned out to be quite beneficial to one’s health.


Norwegian Sauna

Some of the Best Saunas in Norway


If you would like to try out some of our saunas during your trip, the following saunas in Norway come highly recommended:


The Floating Saunas at Preikestolen Basecamp, Jorpeland


The Floating Saunas at Preikestolen Basecamp, floating peacefully on the water, make for the ultimate tranquility and are especially welcomed by those who hike the trail to Preikestolen. Here, you can book a sauna for up to 7 people for 2 hours with the option of buying extra hours. These saunas are also a pretty luxurious experience, with the rental including staff who can assist throughout and even bring drinks.


Heit Sorfjorden Sauna, Hovland


The Heit Sorfjorden Sauna is the cutest little cube sauna you’ll ever find, with breathtaking views over the fjord. It has room for roughly six people, and a sauna master is on standby to provide help and support. Because it is such a popular experience, pre-booking is essential.


Soria Moria Sauna, Dalen


The Soria Moria Sauna looks more like a modern architectural gem that needs to be admired than a sauna. Here, you can quite literally relax in a piece of art situated in the most breathtaking Norwegian landscape next to Lake Bandak with its majestic mountains surrounding you. This is definitely where you would go if you’re a big group since the sauna can take up to 15 people.


Fjord Sauna Aurland, Aurland Dock


“Sleek” and “modern” are the words we’d use to describe the Fjord Sauna Aurland. As the name suggests, it offers absolutely spectacular views of the fjord and the surrounding mountains. This floating sauna also offers a variety of rental options, catering to every need.


You’ll have the option of buying a ticket to a public sauna session (perfect for those traveling the country and looking to meet new people) or booking a private sauna session (ideal for outings with friends and family or those who want to have a steamy romantic moment (in all the appropriate ways!)


The Floating Saunas at Gausta, Telemark


At the Floating Saunas at Gausta, you will find two saunas floating on Lake Kvitavatn. The peaceful countryside view is all around you, with Mount Gausta as a focal point in the distance. One of these saunas can take up to 10 people. Once again, we highly recommend that you pre-book your session here.  

 

Fjord Sauna, Oslo


Even if your time in the country is limited and you’ll just be sticking to the boundaries of the capital city, you’ll still be able to visit a sauna. The Fjord Sauna or Oslo badstuforening consists of four fascinating, almost triangular floating saunas on the Oslo fjord, where you can take a cold plunge off its “deck” in between sauna sessions. It's definitely one of the top Oslo sauna experiences available.


Fjord Sauna in Oslo

 

What to Pack for a Sauna Outing in Norway


A sauna outing requires a few essential items:


  • Swimwear

  • A bathrobe (optional for your own comfort, so don’t stress if you don’t have one)

  • Two towels (one to sit on and another to dry off with)

  • Flip flops

  • A bag to carry all your wet stuff in

  • Plenty of drinking water

  • A flashlight or headlamp (if your trip is during our fall or winter seasons when it gets dark fairly early)


* Take note that some saunas will have some of the items mentioned above included in their rental fee, so just double-check ahead of time.


Sauna Etiquette in Norway


If this is your first time visiting a sauna in Norway, the following tips on how to behave and what rules to adhere to will come in handy:


  • Ensure that you adhere to the rules of the specific sauna since these may differ between them. You’re likely to find the rules on boards or signs in and around the sauna if not on their website or booking confirmation.

  • Take special note of age restrictions. Most saunas won’t allow anyone younger than 18, so double-check before having to turn back with your teens.

  • This is a sauna and not a picnic. It’s considered very rude, not to mention unhygienic, to bring in food and drinks into the sauna. Some saunas will, however, offer their own drink services, so, once again, double check with the sauna you’ve booked with.

  • Double-check the dress code and what you’re comfortable with when it comes to the public saunas. Generally, we sauna in the nude, and genders aren’t always kept divided, although you will have the option of donning swimwear at certain saunas.

  • Be considerate of others while in the sauna. Don’t be loud and disruptive and respect others personal space.


Turn Up the Heat During Your Trip to Norway


The only thing that can get hotter on your trip to Norway is partaking in this much-loved activity of “chilling” in a steamy, hot Norwegian sauna. Rent a motorhome in Norway so you can explore the country properly and experience the unique experiences and views our various saunas have to offer. 


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