Sauna culture

Immerse yourself in a variety of sauna experiences amidst nature’s embrace.

Picture this: gently pouring a small ladle of water onto the hot stones, listening to the distinctive sizzle, then reclining against the comforting, warm wooden walls as the enveloping steam cocoons you. Feel the tingling sensation as your pores open, sense your entire body thanking you for a moment of rest and rejuvenation in absolute harmony. Sauna bathing is a sensory journey, a deep dive into bliss and indulgence. In Finland, the homeland of saunas, there’s even a specific word describing sauna bathing, the steam, and that wonderful sensation: löylyä.

Sauna Adventures

sauna experiences and local traditions

Finland’s best sauna in Sweden? Well, according to one of our customers, at least. We consider it a testament to our facility.

We offer a range of sauna experiences suitable for all ages and budgets.

Embrace the sauna culture of Tornedalen with us, overlooking the rapids and offering the chance for a refreshing dip.


Varieties of Saunas

Nestled alongside the picturesque Kukkolaforsen, our sauna culture boasts deep roots in the rich Finnish tradition. Through a wonderful partnership with the Swedish Sauna Academy, we offer an array of sauna experiences amidst the stunning backdrop of the rushing rapids. Our offerings range from the evocative smoke saunas to the serene Native American sweat lodges, and in between, soothing warm baths and the crackling warmth of our wood-fired BYA saunas. Notably, our site proudly hosts Sweden’s grandest sauna heater, embracing 2.6 tons of stones, lovingly stoked with fragrant birchwood.

Tornedalians and the Sanctity of Saunas

For the inhabitants of Tornedalen, the sauna holds an almost sacred place in their lives. It’s not merely a structure; it’s an integral part of their daily existence. Legend has it that in establishing a new homestead, the first cornerstone laid was the construction of a sauna. This ritual ensured cleanliness, granted moments for thoughtful planning, and, above all, provided a tranquil space to relish the enveloping steam. Immerse yourself in our captured moments on film as we explore the deep significance of the sauna in the everyday fabric of Tornedalian life.


The Legacy of the Sauna

The history of the sauna extends far back in time and finds its origins in various parts of the world. One of the earliest known forms of sauna bathing dates back to Finland, where archaeological findings showcase the use of similar structures as early as around 2000 BC.

Swedish sauna history is rich and deeply entrenched in the country’s culture and traditions. Here in Tornedalen, the sauna has always been a central place for purification, social gatherings, and relaxation for centuries, greatly influenced by Finnish sauna culture. The roots of the sauna in Sweden trace back to ancient times, where similar structures were used for warmth and purification. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, public bathhouses spread across Europe, and Sweden was no exception. These bathhouses served as places for social interactions and hygiene, where sauna bathing became a natural part of people’s lives.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, interest in sauna bathing grew further in Sweden. Many individuals had their own small sauna cottages at their homes or adjacent to their farms. The sauna became a hub for family activities, where generations gathered to enjoy the warmth and camaraderie.

In the latter half of the 20th century, the sauna became integrated into many Swedish households and recreational facilities. Its popularity was reinforced by its role as a place for relaxation and recreational activities. Sauna bathing became part of summer cottage life and an essential tradition during Swedish midsummer celebrations.

In modern times, Swedish sauna culture has evolved. Traditional wood-fired saunas have been joined by modern variants, including infrared saunas and saunas with different temperature zones. The sauna has also found its place in spa resorts and health contexts, where its potential health benefits, such as improved blood circulation and muscle relaxation, have been highlighted.

“In Tornedalen, the sauna has always held a unique position. It was the cleanest, most sacred place in the home. Here, women gave birth, here people prepared themselves for holy days, and here, they prepared their departed relatives for their final rest,” says Svante Spolander from the Swedish Sauna Academy. He continues, “In the sauna, the four elements converge, and the connection to health and well-being is evident. In Finland, sauna bathing is a part of everyday life, strongly linked to nature, lakes, and quality of life. At Kukkolaforsen, we’re working on expanding the sauna museum, adding more history and knowledge about sauna culture both in Sweden and around the world,” concludes Svante Spolander.

Did you know that the sauna culture has been added to UNESCO´s list of intangible cultural heritage of humanity?

In a press release announcing the addition, UNESCO wrote of the importance of the sauna in Finnish culture. “Traditionally, the sauna has been considered as a sacred space – a “church of nature”. At the heart of the experience lies löyly, the spirit or steam released by casting water onto a stack of heated stones,” the UN body said in a statement.


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