The winter swimming season is already well under way in Helsinki. All of these places stay open throughout the winter and cut a hole into the ice when the water freezes over. If you’re a first time winter swimmer, remember to take it slowly, drink plenty of water, and keep your head above the water’s surface.
Allas Sea Pool
As well as offering visitors the chance to visit three saunas and a heated swimming pool with views of both Helsinki Cathedral and Uspenski Cathedral, Allas keeps its unheated seawater pool open throughout the winter. And when the water freezes, the ice gets broken! The seawater pool is a slight walk from the saunas, so it’s worth wearing flip flops to stop your feet from getting cold.
Löyly is home to three saunas, including a wood sauna; a stunning restaurant; and a lounge with a the most gorgeous fireplace you’ll ever see. But the most exciting thing about Löyly is the staircase that goes down into the sea for people who want to try “avanto” swimming. Remember to book a slot in advance.
Kuusijärvi is in Vantaa, just outside of Helsinki and is reachable on the 731N, 738 and 739 buses. You’ll find both electric and smoke saunas there, and swimming in Lake Kuusijärvi is permitted all year round. If you’re interested in winter swimming in a lake, it’s worth making the trip to Vantaa; all of Helsinki’s other spots are in seawater.
Kuusijärventie 3, Vantaa
Kultuurisauna in Merihaka is one of the most relaxing spots in Helsinki; they don’t admit groups of more than three people in order to maintain a calming atmosphere. Kultuurisauna is home to separate men’s and women’s saunas, which you can’t wear a swimsuit inside, and the most lovely courtyard with stairs down into the sea for ice-swimming.
Sompasauna is a woodheated self-service public sauna, built and maintained by a group of volunteers. Visitors enjoy the sauna and swim in the sea at their own risk; there is no lifeguard or staff on-site. Remember to clean up after yourself when you leave.
Winter swimming clubs
There are thirteen winter swimming clubs based all over Helsinki, that are worth looking into if you’re living here. Most of the clubs open their doors to new members in October and charge a membership fee. But if you’re just visiting the city, it’s worth checking whether a club near you has public opening hours. See the list of places here.