After a leisurely breakfast and another quick trip to the sauna to stave off the winter cold, transfer to the beautiful seaside city of Helsinki. Perched on the southern tip of Finland, the country’s harbourside capital is a great place to sample the city’s best and brightest in art, design, and gastronomy. If your schedule allows for an addition two to three days, we recommend a cruise aboard the MS Silja Serenade (tallinksilja.com/en) – the ship travels on the Helsinki-stockholm route, which means you can spend a day (or two) in Sweden before returning to Helsinki; a bonus if you’d like to cover two countries in one trip.
The hottest new place in town (no pun intended) is Löyly (Hernesaarenranta 4, 00150 Helsinki; loylyhelsinki.fi/en), a magnificent public sauna built to be environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly, and a self-dubbed “urban oasis on Helsinki’s waterfront”, Löyly’s saunas are a thing of beauty offering a traditional smoke sauna as well as a wood-fired sauna. The purpose of the sauna’s outdoor seating area is to allow guests direct access to the sea, where they can dip to cool off in between steam sessions. The Finns do this even in winter, when water temperatures can sometimes drop below 2 degrees Celsius, a recipe for heart attack if I ever saw one but probably the reason for their sterling coronary health and outstanding life expectancy. Even if you’re not looking to participate in sauna, Löyly is also a great place to catch up over drinks, with the outdoor decks overlooking the water being exceeding popular during summer. Löyly translates loosely to mean “the steam that comes when you throw water on hot stones in a sauna”, because yes, the Finns do have a word for that.
THIS PAGE No matter which way you look, Löyly is a stunning visual addition to the Helsinki shoreline