Jätkänkämppä Smoke Sauna
- tel, info: 017 473 473
- admission €10
- 17:00-22:00 Tue, also Thu from Jun-mid-Sep
Lonely Planet review for Jätkänkämppä Smoke Sauna
There are different types of saunas, but the smoke sauna is the original and, some say, the best. This, the largest in the world (although few other countries have made an attempt on the record), is a memorable and sociable experience that draws both locals and visitors.
The lakeside Jätkänkämppä sauna is at a former loggers' camp near the Rauhalahti Tourist Centre. The 60-person, mixed sauna (record capacity is 103 people) is heated a full 24 hours in advance with a big wood fire, hence the name 'smoke sauna'. Guests are given towels to wear but bring a swimsuit for a dip in the lake. The technique is to sweat it out for a while, cool off in the lake, then repeat the process several times - devoted sauna-goers do so even when the lake is covered with ice. Then buy a beer from the friendly attendant and relax, looking over the lake in a Nordic peace.
There is a restaurant in the loggers' cabin serving a traditional dinner with accordion entertainment when the sauna is fired up, as well as a lumberjacks' show on summer evenings. Bus 7 goes every half-hour from the market square direct to just near the Rauhalahti hotel complex, from where it's a 600m walk to the sauna, or take the lake ferry from the passenger harbour in summer.
This is one of Kuopio's highlights, but it is vital to ring ahead and check the opening hours to avoid disappointment.