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Smoke Sauna combines the slow Häme character and true Finnish enjoyment

When you visit Finland the Häme region is a perfect destination for a day trip from Helsinki: it is an absolute must on your list of things to do in Finland. We in Häme are sometimes characterised as being slow. In the past, this image of people from Häme got under our skin, but in today’s modern hectic world, a slow pace of life is highly valued and for many people a much-desired objective. It is good to slow down and to calm down when there is commotion happening all around you: there is no better place to do this than in the sauna, and if you are really lucky, in a smoke sauna!

Traditional smoke sauna is heated by burning wood, long and slow. When the sauna stove is hot enough (a process that can typically take almost a whole day) and has stored all the heat from the fire in its stone mass, it can produce steam long into the night, and even into the following day.

Smoke sauna is a true symbol of slowing down and of a slow lifestyle. Some also describe heating the sauna itself as a meditative activity, as you may from time to time forget yourself and just stop and stare at the flickering flames leaping hypnotically from the burning logs.

Bathing itself is also a ritual. In fact, it is not appropriate to disturb others, mess about or bluster in the sauna. The sauna is a place to relax and let the heat rid you of all stress and relax every part of your body until sauna has made you a new person.

Because sauna is so important to us in Häme, we have invented and built the most amazing saunas. A real sauna world awaits you here in Häme, with a barrel sauna, yard sauna, tractor sauna, gnome sauna, Viking sauna and a traditional waterfront sauna just being the beginning of a sauna carnival.

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Finnish people enjoy the heat of sauna with friends and family.

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Lakeside saunas are wonderful! You can go swimming straight from sauna, either from a pier, cliff or beach.

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Some saunas have a hot tub near, which warm water is great for relaxing any time of the year.

Darkness grants you permission to just be and do nothing

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Yoga in the middle of the forest is good for both body and mind.

You have probably heard that Finland has been ranked the happiest nation in the world by the United Nations in their World Happiness Report, for several successive years. For many people this is hard to believe when you know how dark it is here in the autumn and winter.

And it is absolutely true that it is really dark in Häme for many months of the year. The sun sets early in the afternoon and rises only after most people have reached their jobs or arrived at school.

Many find coping with the dark difficult, but for others it is a resource.  Namely, the darkness gives us permission to calm down and just be and do nothing.  Perhaps we are the happiest people in the world precisely because we live according to the rhythm of nature – in the summer we suck up energy from the sunlight and grow, and in the autumn and winter we curl up under a warm blanket to charge our batteries.

Many relaxing and energising activities are well suited to darkness, such as wandering in the forest and practising yoga. When combined these two activities form forest yoga. However, we recommend that if you do forest yoga that you do it in the summertime, for the best experience.

Calming nature

In addition to being considered slow, we in Häme are also known as forest people. Our ancestors cleared out and built their cabins in the middle of the woods and lived by hunting and fishing and by foraging for edible mushrooms and berries. We know how good the forest is for us as our roots are established there.

The forest is a perfect place to calm down and to slow down. It is well established that ten minutes of walking in the forest significantly reduces stress. Therefore, the forest is a perfect well-being centre that every one of us can use with the right to do so (called “Everyman’s Right”) enshrined in Finnish law.

The easiest way to enjoy recreational activities in the forest is to follow the clearly marked, signposted nature trails. Do not worry, even though our recreational and outdoor areas are well known to everyone, you may only encounter a few other people (if any) during your hike. In fact, our forests extend well beyond your line of sight. We have plenty of forest to walk in.

Try one of Hämeenlinna’s Aulanko trails and get sucked into the many activities in the area. Once nature has done its job, you can continue to relax in a luxurious spa.

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There is plenty of forest in Finland! You can wander on unknown paths or hike along marked nature trails.

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You can enjoy the forest any time of the year, also wintry forest is relaxing.

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Tutkimusten mukaan jo 10 minuutin kävely metsässä alentaa stressiä.

You are welcome to shift down a gear or two in Häme – do it like the slow locals.