One of the hottest trends in Norway in recent years, floating saunas offer an unbeatable combination of a warm sauna experience and a refreshing dip in chill waters in unique locations. When it will be possible to travel again, Norway is the place to be for relaxing escapes and for discovering the Norwegian concept of kos while recharging your batteries.
In Norway you can find saunas near famous rock formations like the ones near Preikestolen, rustic saunas in the majestic fjords, saunas under the Northern Lights and the midnight sun in the Arctic region – including one located on Svalbard, halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole.
If you are into world-class architecture, some of the saunas have that too – often in combination with dreamy locations or unqiue urban vibes. In fact, another great thing about the Norwegian badstu (sauna) scene is that some of them are located smack in the harbours in some of Norway’s major cities and in contact with nature.
Here are some of the most exciting floating saunas in Norway right now, ready to be experienced once the travel restrictions are lifted.
Soria Moria, Dalen in Telemark
Soria Moria is a work of art sauna – glittering like a piece of jewelry in Lake Bandak in the county of Telemark. The sauna is the first installation in a project called “Tales of the Waterway”, which focuses on art work along the Telemark canal.
In “Tales of the Waterway”, art, architecture and light are used as instruments in a comprehensive concept to highlight the attraction of the landscape and make the places along the canal more visible. The inspiration for the floating sauna is derived from surrounding landscape and history. The perfect location to reconnect with yourself, the people around you and mother nature.
Pust (“Breathe”) is one of the newest of Norway’s floating saunas. The sauna is located right in the middle of Tromsø harbour, and can accommodate 20 people at the time, with private facilities both for women and men. Pust aims at offering sauna and bathing for everybody, all year long – a breathing space with a view of mountains, water and the biggest city in Northern Norway.
Pust is shaped like a traditional drying rack for fish – a tradition that goes back to when people settled in this region thousands of years ago.
Sauna life by the Oslofjord, Oslo
In the past few years, urban sauna culture has taken Oslo by storm. The harbour promenade of the Norwegian capital now boasts several options for sauna sessions followed by refreshing dips in the fjord. The mix between vibrant city life and re-energizing experiences in the same area is simply unique. It’s common to see locals enjoy a dip in the fjord before heading to the office.
– Oslo Fjord Sauna runs several saunas and a hot tub called Stampen (“the tub”). The charming sauna Måken (“the seagull”) floats next to the Oslo Opera House, and the three others, Skarven (“the cormorant”), Anda (“the duck”) and Havørnen (“the sea eagle”) have capacity for 12 to 16 persons each.
– Green Boats Saunas are located at Aker Brygge, close to restaurants, shops and museums. Green Boats Saunas offers different sauna experiences, from drop-in to private sessions and luxurious treatments with aromatherapy, salt scrubs and aufguss.
– SALT – sauna, culture and entertainment
SALT is a nomadic art project with pyramidal constructions called “hesjer”, which are based on traditional coastal construction methods. SALT is currently residing in Oslo, along the harbour promenade and close to the Opera house.
SALT includes three sauna accommodating well over a hundred people in total, also serving food and drinks and presenting musicians and lectures in their largest sauna. The program at SALT usually includes concerts, festivals, lectures, exhibitions, debates and family events.
The sauna boat KOK (“Boil”) offers warm, wood-fired sauna, refreshing baths and sightseeing trips in the inner Oslofjord. KOK floating saunas can also be found in the towns of Drammen and Hamar as well as in Holmsbu.
Read more about Fjordside saunas in Oslo.
Heit Sørfjorden Sauna, Hardangerfjord
Heit (“Red Hot”) offers steaming sauna and a fresh swim in the fjord, while offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The sauna is located just south of the village of Lofthus in the Hardangerfjord.
A sauna master receives the guests upon arrival making sure the guests get a personal and pleasant experience. The stove in the sauna is in the Finnish style and is fired up with wood. The sauna can take 6 persons at a time.
Gausta floating saunas, Rjukan, Telemark
Located at the lake Kvitåvatn, with the beautiful view towards the Gaustatoppen mountain, the highest mountain in the county of Telemark, and near the town of Rjukan, you will find the two Gausta floating saunas.
The saunas are ownbed and run by the Gaustablikk Mountain Resort, a resort offering excellent skiing in winter and great hiking, kayaking, fishing and biking in summer and autumn. The resort also offers a spa and a swimming pool.
SvalBad, Longyearbyen, Svalbard
SvalBad is a floating sauna in the Arctic waters, docked in the harbour of Longyearbyen, Svalbard, a group of islands located halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole.
Both the float and the sauna itself are largely built with repurposed materials from old buildings, both from Longyearbyen and the Svea mines. Local history is literally built into the walls.
Here you can join the “Polar Bears” experience and take refreshing, cold swims before going back into the sauna.
The first travellers that visited iconic Preikestolen (The Pulpit Rock) arrived just after the turn of the 19th century. Since then, the area that is now Preikestolen BaseCamp has served as a starting point for explorers who want to experience the famous landmark.
What started as a small, private farm where visitors could overnight has become a basecamp complex of accommodations and all-year outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, climbing etc – and floating saunas.
After a day of activities in the mountains and lakes, the two floating saunas offer a relaxing and unwinding experience on the lake Refsvatnet, surrounded by pristine nature.
Vulkana is a former fishing and whaling vessel redesigned to become an Arctic spa and adventure boat, with sauna, hammam, saltwater tub, cold water pool, zen lounge, bar and a small restaurant.
Vulkana offers a wide variety of adventures and fun activities such as midnight bathing under the Northern Lights or midnight sun, drop-in weekend bathing, morning sessions with brunch, bathing lunches, evenings with James Bond inspired cocktails (mock martinis), fjord cruises for small groups and in winter, Ski by Boat cruises.
Vulkana is a place for activity and energy as well as an oasis for tranquility and contemplation in Tromsø, the largest city in Northern Norway. With a location at nearly 70° north, and between fjords, mountain peaks, and islands, the city is a prime starting point to explore Northern Norway chasing the Northern lights or enjoying activities under the midnight sun.
Hang in there, things will get better. Hopefully soon. Meawhile, you can dream of Norway.