The 10 most scenic saunas to visit in Scandinavia

By Sophie Kitchen

Photo: Dag Jensen.

Escape to Sweden’s most luxurious remote getaways, hike to a sauna on the edge of a Norwegian waterfall or bathe in an Icelandic geothermal lagoon

With such an array of remarkable landscapes, it’s not surprising that Scandinavia is home to some of the world’s most scenic and breathtaking sauna locations. Time to pack your swimwear and prepare to relax in the serenity of Nordic nature with these ten stunning spots.


Soria Maria Sauna, Norway

Stood on the rocky shore of Norway’s Lake Bandak, the picturesque Soria Maria echoes the silhouette of the surrounding mountain ridge. A long stilted walkway props the sauna above the deeper waters, allowing visitors to slip into the cool lake between sessions. In a nod to local folklore, the wooden cladding incorporates shimmers of gold, a reference to the fairytale from where the sauna takes its name and which centres on a 'golden palace' tucked away in the mountains. The sauna is heated by an electric oven and can comfortably seat up to 15 people.

Photo: Ali Alsulaiman.


Eldmølla Sauna, Norway

Situated three and a half hours outside of Oslo and inspired by the structure of old Norwegian mill houses, Eldmølla presents breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Hovering over the Drøsja waterfall, the pale timber structure is built into a rocky cliff edge 922 metres above sea level. The sauna can be booked for up to four hour sessions, allowing guests to appreciate the rugged landscape and unwind after a hike to the top. Be sure to pack your own towels, but swimwear here is optional.

Photo: Jirka Pek.


Löyly, Finland

Stretched across Helsinki’s waterfront, Löyly is an urban sauna built to be shared. The sculptural building is situated less than 2km from the city centre, and despite what is currently pale wooden cladding, its exterior colour will gradually fade into the shoreline. With direct access to the sea you can cool off with an ocean swim, or during winter, a dip through a hole in the ice. On the rooftop, a 1600 square metre terrace boasts uninterrupted ocean views. The public saunas seat up to 20 bathers at a time, offering both traditional smoke and wood-fired saunas, but for a more private experience, a smaller sauna is available for hire.

Photo: Kuvio


Oslo Badstuforening, Norway

With a front-row view of the Oslo Opera House, Skarven is possibly one of the most spectacular city-based saunas in Scandinavia. Designed by Danish-Norwegian architects Zeuthen + Stjern, the floating structure was a candidate for the Oslo City Architecture Prize in 2019. For those who are feeling brave, a metal ladder leads the way to a rooftop diving tower, but for a more tranquil experience the harbour panoramas are enchanting enough. Book a sunset session to watch the sun disappear over the fjord. And if Skarven isn’t available, the Oslo Sauna Association (Oslo Badstuforening) offers more than 10 other architectural options across the city.

Photo: Becky Zeller.


Heit Sauna Søfjorden, Norway

Received by a sauna master upon arrival, guests who visit Heit Sauna Søfjorden come for an authentic Nordic experience. The cube-like Finnish wood sauna offers extraordinary views across the Norwegian Hardangerfjord and is a drivable two and a half hours from Bergen. With the space seating up to six people, a visit here is an intimate experience and can be enjoyed for up to 90 minutes. Take a refreshing bath in the fjord and head home via the famous rock formation of Trolltunga. Heit also offers five other locations in Norway, the only challenge is picking which one to visit first.


Loggers Lodge, Sweden

Originally built in the 1800s, Loggers Lodge provides guests a private wilderness with all the exclusive comforts of a luxury hotel. Adjacent to the sleeping cabin, at the end of a wooden pathway, the striking glass sauna makes no attempt to blend in to its pine tree surroundings. Floor-to-ceiling windows immerse guests in the unmarred beauty of Harads' nature and an open wood fire fuels the sauna. For the full spa ritual, locally made body scrubs are available and a Swedish massage can be organised in advance. For those who aren’t keen on a quick cool down, an outdoor hydrotherapy jacuzzi offers the promise of starry sky views. Talk about luxury.

Photo: Tanveer Badal.


Arctic Bath, Sweden

Step outside the ordinary and travel to where the winter sky is painted with aurora borealis. Designed by Bertil Harström and Johan Kauppi, the Arctic Bath Spa in Sweden’s Lapland is truly in a world of its own. Located south of the Arctic Circle on the snowy banks of the Lule River, the sauna floats during summer and freezes into the ice during winter. The eclectic wooden structure is home to dry and steam saunas, built around its most unique feature: an open-air pool in the centre of the building. Book a ‘julvädno’ ritual and experience the rejuvenating combination of sauna and cold water swimming.

Photo: Anders Blomqvist.


Sky Lagoon Sauna, Iceland

Less than 15 minutes outside of Reykjavík you’ll find the Sky Lagoon, a space where modern luxury meets the North Atlantic Ocean edge. Powered by geothermal heat, the signature seven-step ‘ritual’ rejuvenates even the most weary of visitors and includes a trip through the waterside sauna. Pampered with a sensory experience of coastal aromas and spectacular views out of the largest single window in Iceland, the sauna experience is just stage three in the spa journey. If you’re short on time, opt for the lite package and float in the warmth of the geothermal lagoon.

Iceland Spa

Photo: Ása Steinars


TreeHotel, Sweden

Initially built as a collaboration between three of Scandinavia’s leading architecture firms, the TreeHotel is a collective work of art amid pristine Swedish nature. The unique accommodation has drawn an understandable amount of attention since opening in 2010 and with facilities fit for royals, the hotel has notably hosted Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and celebrities such as Kate Moss. Whether it's a stay in the Bird’s Nest, UFO or MirrorCube tree rooms, unwind upon arrival with a visit to the forest sauna and embrace the stillness of the nearby wilderness.

Photo: TreeHotel.


CopenHot, Denmark

With panoramic views across Copenhagen’s harbour, CopenHot provides a steamy escape just outside of the city. The heated firewood sauna seats up to 10 people and a glass front displays uninterrupted ocean views. However, for the full Scandinavian experience, the ‘Dragon Sauna’ enables guests to control the fiery temperatures from within via a wood fire. Currently based at Reffen, an urban space for summer pop-ups, the location also offers more than just the sound of waves crashing against the harbour walls. The pop-up is conveniently positioned in front of Mikkeller Baghaven, so if the post-sauna Champagne isn’t your style, book a Danish beer tasting to quench your thirst instead.

Photo: CopenHot.