If you’re in need of some serious pampering — or just a chance to warm up this winter — spending a little time in a sauna should help loosen you up a bit. Raise the bar on your steam-infused treatment by visiting one of these over-the-top options around the globe... starting with Finland, where the whole practice originated!
1. Herrankukkaro, Finland
First up is the largest underground smoke sauna in the world, the Maasavusana — which even features occasional live music! Located in Herrankukkaro, this sauna was built to emulate the ancient Finnish ritual.
2. Lapland, Finland
Though it might seem counterintuitive, another one of the world’s best saunas is in Finland is in a hotel made from snow. If you haven’t already heard of the Arctic Snow Hotel in Lapland, prepare to have your mind blown: Plenty on the grounds is constructed entirely from snow, including everything in the hotel’s sauna (aside from the wooden benches).
3. Barcelona, Spain
One of the next coolest saunas in the world is farther south — all the way down to Barcelona. Within the Hotel Arts Barcelona — a Ritz-Carlton property — is 43 the Spa. And within this spa is a well-designed sauna with standout views of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. This crisp and clean sauna doesn’t just rejuvenate the body with its cedar-scented goodness, but the view in itself is a ticket straight to zen-town.
4. Sandhornøya, Norway
For anyone looking to spend some time in the Arctic Circle, sauna time is an absolute must. If a faraway wintery island sounds like just the break you need from society, check out the Agora sauna, which is located on a remote beach on a small Arctic-Norwegian island called Sandhornøya. With the capacity to seat 120 people, this destination sauna opened recently in Norway as a part of an art project. It overlooks the Arctic Sea, providing a serene and rare view. Guests can enjoy beverages straight from the sauna bar while they relax in the amphitheatre-style seating, listening to music from Biosphere designed specifically for the experience. Also on site is an area dedicated to live performances and small guest lodges complete with glass ceilings and wood stoves. The cultural initiative behind the project is arts and music festival SALT, which plans to expand beyond Norway for future projects.
5. Busan, South Korea
When in South Korea’s second-largest city, where should one venture to for an otherworldly sauna — or jjimjilbang, as the Korean-style experience is known? To the world’s largest department store, Shinsegae Centum City, of course! Tucked away in the belly of the store is Spa Land Centum City. Visitors can have their tarot cards read at the entrance, and then proceed to the various treatments rooms. Unlike many others saunas and spas across the globe, wellness-seekers at Spa Land are permitted to indulge in snacks and a limited amount of alcohol as they wander around the facility. The sauna rooms range from the traditional to the gimmick laden.
6. Erding, Germany
If you want options and lots of ‘em when spending a day in and out of the sauna, head to Thereme Erding, just north of Munich. With 18 different saunas within the definitively hot compound, you’ll get a taste of just about everything here. Each sauna has its own theme and the temperatures between them all vary — from 95 all the way to 212 Fahrenheit. From aromatherapy and meditation rooms to a traditional Finnish log cabin sauna, this one is a must-see for sauna enthusiasts.
7. New York City, U.S.A.
Visiting or living in New York City is, no matter how rewarding, exhausting work. This helps to explain why there are so many spas throughout the expansive and dense city! When you need to relax in NYC, do yourself a favor and head to Spa Castle. It isn’t necessarily an easy commute to the Queens location, but it’s worth it. Get there however you can and then unwind for hours as you switch between the many different saunas, steam rooms, cold rooms, pools, and other carefully appointed and themed relaxation options.
8. Leogang, Austria
For a one-of-a-kind hotel sauna in Austria, make the trip to Leogang and check out Mama Thresl. This lodging option features a panoramic sauna with a bright view of the Austrian Alps. The wood stove in the center of the room (opposed to against one of the walls) is a unique feature that adds to the already unique curved and extra-smooth wooden seating throughout. Within the space's futuristic design, guests can alternate between the hot and cold rooms for an evening of bliss.
9. Machu Picchu, Peru
On the other side of the world at one of the most spectacularly magical destinations on this planet, you can indulge in a sauna at the foothills of Machu Picchu. Stay at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and enjoy an Andean sauna as a part of your visit to the spa. Varying quite a bit from the European saunas, this treatment room is inside of a eucalyptus hut. You’ll sit and reflect alongside candlelight. And when you’re ready, hit the natural spring water pond just outside the door.
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