Sauna etiquette worldwide: naked or not?
- In Germany, Austria, South Tyrol, Poland, Russia, and the Netherlands, nude saunas are common, while countries such as Italy, Spain, and France prefer swimwear.
- In the USA and Australia, saunas without clothing are taboo.
- Finland allows nude saunas, but practices strict gender segregation in public.
Germany’s sauna culture compared
For us in Germany, it is perfectly normal to go naked to the sauna. By the way, this has been the case for centuries. Also, common is that men and women sweat together. There are special ladies’ saunas, but they are the exception rather than the rule. But how does this behave when traveling? Are customs similarly loose here? No, they are not. In many countries, it is even forbidden to bare on the wooden benches. We have for you a list of the various rules so that you do not put your foot in your mouth on vacation.
Southern Europe sauna habits
We generally think of southern Europeans as hot-blooded people who know little shame. But this is not so, at least when it comes to the healthy sauna pleasure. In Italy and Spain, it is customary to take a sauna in swimwear – and it can be high-necked. Women are allowed on the wooden benches with a bikini, but a swimsuit is preferred. In Spain, the customs are a bit looser, here it also does a two-piece.
The gentlemen of creation should not squeeze into their tightest panties in either country. Better put on a bathing suit with a leg section or a pair of boxer shorts right away. Italy, however, is a special case. In the region of South Tyrol, it is quite possible to sweat naked. The general rule is that the closer you get to the Austrian border, the more permissive it becomes, because this is where the cultures mix.
The sauna culture in France
Even in the land of love, you should not go to the sauna without. Although it is not forbidden to sauna naked here, it is still not welcome. You should respect this wish of your compatriots. Ladies, please wear at least a bikini that safely covers the essential parts. Gentlemen are allowed on the wooden benches in a skimpy bathing suit. Prudery in the Grande Nation, by the way, goes back to the strong influence of the Catholic Church.
French winter magic: young woman enjoys sauna relaxation with view of snowy forest
Sauna in the USA and Australia
Also, those who fly across the big ocean are not allowed to go to the sauna without clothes. In the U.S., it’s common for both sexes to sweat together in swimwear. However, the country is so large that there are definitely exceptions. In metropolises like New York City and LA, there are baths that allow naked sweating. However, many of them enjoy a dubious reputation.
In Australia there are no exceptions, however, because of the high temperatures also few saunas. If you do have a sweat lodge at your hotel, you should go to it wearing swimwear.
Finland: The motherland of sauna
In the motherland of the sauna, it is common to sweat naked. However, a strict separation of the sexes applies here. This is due to the long tradition of sauna culture, which is mainly male. The gentlemen of creation regularly meet on the wooden benches to seal deals. That’s where women must have interfered in the old days.
That is why they have received their own bathrooms. In Finland, however, the sauna culture is so strong that there are also exceptions. Some spas now allow mixed-sex sweating in certain saunas. They are popular with tourists and locals alike.
Idyllic Finnish sauna wooden log house: a yellow paradise on a summer island
In case of doubt ask
Of course, this list is not complete. In addition, it may be that different rules apply in a special bath than in the rest of the country. That’s why you should always ask. If you are visiting a public bath, the staff at the ticket office will certainly be happy to help. In the hotel you will be helped at the reception. However, you should be prepared in any case that you are not allowed to go naked in the heat. To really maintain etiquette, it is advisable for women to pack a swimsuit. The gentlemen are best advised with swim trunks with legs.
About me: Klaus Sirotzki
- Hello, I am Klaus Sirotzki. At the age of about 30 I discovered the impressive world of saunas. A visit to a traditional Finnish sauna laid the foundation for a deep passion that has developed into a real lifestyle over the years. My travels have taken me from traditional Finnish saunas to the most modern wellness oases. For me, each sauna visit is more than just relaxation; it is a journey, an immersion into another culture and world. In addition to my personal experiences, I have spent countless hours intensively studying the various sauna cultures and techniques. The result is numerous articles and posts I have written to share my knowledge and passion with others. My passion is to educate people about the benefits and techniques of saunas. With my objective approach and deep understanding, I hope to be an inspiring and trusted resource for many in the world of sauna culture.
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