Ice Swimming - (c) by Sam Foles
Ice swimming, or avantouinti, is an extreme sport, enjoyed only by Helsinki’s bravest locals and tourists. Ice swimming is believed to rejuvenate the body, improve circulation and lower stress. If nothing else, visitors who plunge into frigid water after spending time in a hot sauna are guaranteed a memorable experience. Ice swimming may not be for everyone, but those who wish to try it have several options to choose from while visiting Helsinki.
Kuusijärvi Recreation Center is open several days each week. Ice swimming in the Kuusijärvi Lake is combined with time in the center’s traditional sauna. The sauna can hold 20-30 guests at each time. Another popular ice swimming destination is Rastila Camping Center. The sauna here is only open to campers or those who have a season pass. Katajanokka has heated carpeting, stairs and dressing rooms. Dressing rooms, showers and sauna are gender-specific.
Dressing rooms, but no saunas, are available at the Marjaniemi, Ryssänkärki, Munkkiniemi and Seurasaari swimming areas. Saunas are available to members at Furuvik, Vaskiniemi and Ouritsaari. Uunisaari, Soutustadion, Pikkukoski and Rajasaari have separate changing and showering facilities for males and females. The saunas at these locations can include mixed turns, and appropriate swimwear is required.
Many of Helsinki’s winter swimming holes are only open to members and their guests. Travelers should call the location they wish to swim ahead of time to verify the policy.
For contact information, prices and location information, check out the City of Helsinki -website.