Finland is historically famed for its saunas, and the same tradition is strong in Sweden. But for some reason, only in the last few years has neighbouring Norway realised the joy of saunas. Not that saunas didn’t exist there before – but they were mostly at gyms and swimming pools. The real Nordic sauna experience – outside in nature, where you can cool down by jumping into cold water – was harder to find.

It was in bigger cities, like Oslo, that the Norwegian sauna renaissance began. This might seem ironic for an activity so deeply associated with nature, but the cities on Norway’s enormous, fjord and lake-scattered coastline proved ideal sauna territory. However, though you might find pretty views in Norway’s urban saunas, the sounds of the city will always be in the background.

Heit Sauna: A sauna with a view of Norway’s idyllic fjords

Heit Sørfjorden Sauna/Tor Hveem

Beautiful and peaceful

Luckily there are options for those seeking true peace and quiet. Heit Sørfjorden Sauna is nowhere near a city. Its relatively remote location enjoys beautiful views of Foglefonna National Park across the fjord, and it’s just a short drive from the iconic rock formation Trolltunga. Many hikers finish their day with a session in the sauna and a dip in the fjord.

Heit Sauna is based on the desire to give people a breather during the day, in combination with a nature experience,” says Guro Kvalnes, a partner in Heit. “At Heit Sørfjorden Sauna, you are close to the fjord, the mountains and Foglefonna. In both summer and winter, it offers a great nature experience.”

Heit Sørfjorden Sauna opened in June 2020. It found quick success and expanded to six Heit Saunas in different locations. Heit means hot and, accordingly, the sauna does indeed get very hot. All saunas are located right by the water’s edge, so you can jump straight from the dry heat into the cooling water.

Heit Sauna: A sauna with a view of Norway’s idyllic fjords

Heit Bergen Sauna. Photo: Heit Bergen Sauna

Experience different locations

Heit Grimo Sauna lies where the Sørfjord meets the Hardangerfjord. Hardanger is known for its apples and a visit to both the Sørfjorden sauna and the Grimo sauna can be combined with a visit to the area’s cider makers.

The Grimo sauna is self-serviced, but will be heated and ready when you arrive. As the sauna is located on a pier, it is possible to arrive by boat and moor it there. A sauna session is a great finish to a day of sailing around the surrounding fjords.

It seems that sauna and cider are well-matched, as Heit Telemark Sauna is located at Lien Farm, another cider producer. It’s important to stay hydrated during and after a sauna, so a local cider should hit the spot. This sauna sits on a floating dock on the Norsjø Lake in the heart of Telemark, surrounded by rolling hills and green pine forests. “In a Heit sauna, you get close to great natural experiences, all year round,” Kvalnes says.

In Fjæra, at the end of the Åkrafjord, sits a very special sauna. Shaped like a wine barrel on its side, its large circular window directly overlooks the fjord and the mountains. There is a glamping site with showers, changing rooms and a toilet on the same plot, with facilities open for sauna guests.

Heit Sauna: A sauna with a view of Norway’s idyllic fjords

Enjoy a bottle of artisan-made apple juice at Heit Telemark Sauna. Photo: Heit Telemark Sauna

Urban saunas

Bergen is considered the capital of western Norway and is a beautiful city. Heit Bergen Sauna is quite a different experience, and not just because of the location. There are two saunas to choose from; one communal and one you can book for yourself. There is also access to changing rooms with showers.

Another urban sauna can be found in the small and charming city of Haugesund on the North Sea coast. The sauna is wood-fired, made in Norway and fully serviced. Haugesund has a lot to offer, from exploring the waters by boat to biking around the city and surrounding area. A relaxing sauna visit is a great way to end the day.

No matter the weather or the season, it is always a good time for a sauna session. All ages can enjoy the experience, though it’s not recommended for children under 12.

Heit Sauna: A sauna with a view of Norway’s idyllic fjords

The saunas comfortably fit small groups. Photo: Heit Sørfjorden Sauna

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