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Enjoy a true Finnish sauna experience in the Lake Saimaa region


Sauna is a fundamental part of Finnish lifestyle – it might be even coded in the genes of Finnish people. If you think about the geographic location of Finland, is it any wonder that over thousands of years Finns have wanted to escape the coldness and chilly breezes of winter into the sweet warmth of sauna?

Sauna does you good. The warm steam caresses you and relieves tension and stiffness of your body. It makes it easier for you to breathe and helps you sweat all stress, pains and aches away. Gentle whip with a birch whisk will enhance the effect. And if you want to maximize the pleasure, take a plunge into a cool lake and have a refreshing drink after sauna.

There are up to three million of these sacred temples of relaxation in Finland. All Finns have their early childhood memories of their first sauna experiences and how you were to sit quietly in order not to upset the Sauna Elf. Whether the elf was listening or not, the point is that the sauna is a place for peace and relaxation.

Finns have built saunas in most peculiar places, such as cars and telephone booths. In the Mikkeli region, you can find lovely traditional wood-burning and smoke saunas on lakeshores as well as cozy saunas in the city centre. There are alternatives also for water sport enthusiasts and spa lovers. And if you can’t get to a sauna, the sauna can get to you – on wheels.

Thousands of years’ sauna tradition in the smoke sauna

A small wooden smoke sauna building is being heated by a lake.
The smoke sauna in Sahanlahti Resort in Puumala

The smoke sauna is a part of Finnish cultural heritage. For thousands of years it was the predominant sauna in Finland. People used to give birth, bathe, cure illnesses, do spells and prepare the deceased for their last journey in the sauna.

Nowadays, smoke saunas are the source of pure pleasure and relaxation for both body and mind – be it summer or winter. Followed by a plunge into a lake in summer or ice hole in winter will surely reinvigorate and awaken your senses.

The stove of the chimneyless sauna is heated for several hours after which the heat is left to ease for a while. Before entering the smoke sauna you throw some water on the stove to blow away the remaining smoke and particles. It is best not to start bathing while the smoke sauna is at its hottest. By letting it rest a bit and throwing only a small amount of water on the stove at a time allows you to enjoy the softest and sweetest steams. Smoke sauna is definitely something you want to experience at least once in your lifetime.

In the following smoke saunas in the Mikkeli region you will have the opportunity to enjoy the genuine, original smoke sauna feel:

A smoke sauna made of round logs in a snowy forest.
​The smoke sauna of Kaidan Kiho in Ristiina, Mikkeli

Kaidan Kiho’s smoke sauna is a traditional log sauna by the scenic Lake Kaitajärvi in Ristiina, about 22 km from Mikkeli. Kaidan Kiho offers also accommodation in ecological and modern villas.

Sahanlahti Resort’s smoke sauna is heated all year round. You can reserve the sauna as well as the living room of the sauna building for private use. After sauna it is nice to chill in the lake or traditional bathing tub on the terrace and enjoy the beautiful view on Lake Saimaa.

Traditional lakeside saunas on beautiful lake shores

The wood-heated lakeside sauna is the ultimate summertime favourite for many Finns. In the Mikkeli region, you can these original  saunas in several resorts, also in winter.

A modern sauna building with a large deck and seating groups by a lake.

Kyyhkylä Manor’s lakeside sauna is located by Lake Saimaa, a fifteen minute minute drive from Mikkeli city centre. The area is peaceful and quiet, and the beautiful facilities suit also larger gatherings. There is room for fifteen persons in the sauna and more space on the terrace to relax. In winter, a quick dip in the ice hole makes your blood circulate. Kyyhkylä Manor favours organic products and catering. ​

Susiniemi’s sauna is located in Otava, about 20 km from Mikkeli city centre. This sauna is on the shore of Lake Puula surrounded by a beautiful pine forest. You can also reserve the Laplander’s hut and the round log cabin for your use. 

In Saimaanranta Resort's log sauna in Anttola you can enjoy soft ”löyly” all year round. A refreshing dip in Lake Saimaa and bathing in the traditional outdoor bathtub adds to the enjoyment. After sauna, you can relax in the cosy living room with a fireplace and enjoy a nice, cool drink. You can order catering to the sauna from the hotel.

Sahanlahti Resort’s Niskalammen sauna is a traditional, homely lakeside sauna in Puumala. From this sauna it takes only couple of steps to plunge into Saimaa. You can order catering to the sauna from the Sahanlahti restaurant − try, for example, Sahanlahti’s own sausages. At Sahanlahti, you can also have an even more exotic sauna experience when the lake freezes: ice sauna is a real specialty for sauna lovers in winter.  

A small wooden wood-heated sauna right by the water.
Niskalammen sauna in Sahanlahti Resort.

Find a sauna oasis in Mikkeli city centre

You can find sauna ambience also in the city centre. The following saunas and facilities suit perfectly for sauna evenings and get-togethers.

Culture House Tempo’s facilities include a modern and stylish sauna department, kitchen, dining area and a spacious living room with a fireplace.

Modern sauna premises with the steam room and benches.
Sauna facilities in Culture House Tempo in Mikkeli

City Sauna is a spacious sauna and living room with a fire place right in the city centre. From City Sauna you a beautiful view to the old prison building of the city. There is room for altogether 12 persons in the sauna. The living area has a fire place, and there is also a dining area, kitchen and a terrace. From the catering service you can order food and beverages to the premises.

Combine water sports, spa and sauna experience

In the water sports centres in the Mikkeli region you can exercise, swim and relax in the tubs and saunas as well as have some fun in the waterslides.

The renewed Naisvuori Swimming Hall in the city centre has a 25-meter pool for adults, a jacuzzi, cold tub as well as a warm pool for children. There are separate sauna departments and dressing rooms for both men and women.

Rantakeidas Swimming Hall is a spa-like centre with a 41-meter-long waterslide, aqua massage points and several pools for both adults and children. There are three saunas for both men and women: two traditional saunas and one steam bath.

Two young boys are having fun in a small spa pool.
Warm and summery feeling in Rantakeidas Swimming Hall

Swimming and Recreation Center Sampola in Juva, about 40 km from Mikkeli, is a modern, fully furbished feel-good centre with several pools and aqua massage points, a water slide and five traditional saunas.

All centres have a gym and a cafe.

Sauna on wheels

A truck wagon that has a built-in sauna.
Elämys Saimaa sauna wagon on its way to the destination

Elämys Saimaa is a modern, wood-heated sauna on wheels. The sauna wagon can be transported to a location of your choice – to your own yard if you like. There is room for 20 persons in the sauna. You can also order a traditional outdoor bathtub to accompany the wagon.

Rent a holiday cottage with a sauna by Lake Saimaa

The Mikkeli region is filled with wonderful holiday villas and cottages with saunas. Located along lake shores they offer peace and privacy in a beautiful scenery. Check out the holiday villas and cottages and enjoy a true Finnish sauna experience in the middle of the magnificent Saimaa nature.