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 European Saunas
Introduction to European Sauna Culture

Europeans—and Northern Europeans in particular—value the institution of the sauna very highly, and the love affair with the sauna is manifested in innumerable saunas in parts of Europe, from the humble to the humongous. Sauna customs are not uniform throughout Europe, but, from an outsider's perspective, the facet of certain European sauna culture that is most notable—and perhaps even shocking—is the nudity. It's not that being naked in a sauna is all that radical a concept, but most English speakers are familiar with sauna nudity only in a gender-segregated context. In some countries in Europe, saunas are almost always mixed. Men and women use them together. Furthermore, nudity is generally not considered optional. It is expected. This reality certainly causes many North Americans to gasp in disbelief, but certain European nationalities are exceptional even among other Europeans for their casual attitude about mixed nudity.

As ubiquitous as saunas are in parts of Europe, they are mostly off the radar of those who live in other parts of the world. It can be a challenge to figure out how everything is set up and what to expect, not to mention to know the proper etiquette. We have written this page to illuminate sauna novices about the basics. The other pages in this sauna guide detail about 800 saunas in Europe, sorted geographically.

What countries in Europe are included in this guide?
What is a Sauna?
What is a "Stand-Alone" Sauna?
What is a Therme?
Nudity in the Sauna
Preparing for a Trip to a Sauna
Sauna Etiquette
Questions and Answers
Sauna Listings: Coding and Descriptions
Navigating Sauna Websites
More Swimming and Sauna Terms, Facts and Minutiae

What countries in Europe are included in this guide?
Sauna culture is widespread in Europe, but the sauna experience is not the same from country to country. Consider Finland, which—with more saunas per capita than any other country in the world—is practically synonymous with sauna culture. Finland is absent from this guide. That is because sauna bathing is Finland occurs mostly in the private sphere. Just about every detached house is equipped with a sauna, and sauna bathing occurs mostly among family and friends. There are some public saunas, but they are segregated by gender.

In this guide, we are concerned with commercial saunas that are available to the general public. More specifically, this guide concerns saunas that women and men visit together and where swimwear is not worn. Almost all these saunas are located in five bordering countries of Central and Northern Europe. In a nutshell, if you are in a part of Europe where German or Dutch is the first language spoken, then you are in a part of Europe where mixed-gender sauna nudity is the norm. German-speaking Europe includes all of Germany, all of Austria and about two-thirds of Switzerland. Dutch-speaking Europe includes all of the Netherlands and just under 60% of Belgium. Just a handful of saunas in this guide are located outside these five countries.

It is notable that language is the key cultural indicator of the presence of mixed-gender nude saunas, and this is evident in multilingual countries. In Belgium, for example, mixed-gender nude saunas are commonplace in the Dutch-speaking northern part of the country but virtually absent in the French-speaking southern region. Likewise, in Switzerland there are mixed-gender nude saunas in predominantly German-speaking areas but not in the French or Italian areas.

In this guide, the ratio of saunas in German-speaking areas to saunas in Dutch-speaking areas is about four to one, which is consistent with the ratio of German speakers to Dutch speakers in Europe. Because of this German-skewed ratio, we default to German terms when describing sauna concepts in the parts of this introduction that follow.

What is a Sauna?
Dumb question, right? Everyone knows what a sauna is. Well, sort of, but the word is very general. Most of us probably automatically think of a sauna as a small wood-paneled room where patrons sit on benches and sweat. True, but a sauna can also be a relaxation facility with several such wood-paneled rooms along with other types of steam facilities, whirlpools, plunge pools and the like—in other words, something like a bathhouse or spa.

In English, we do not have separate words to differentiate sauna meaning enclosed sweat chamber from sauna meaning bathhouse. In German, the word sauna is similarly non-specific, but a sauna as a collection of facilities is often described as a compound word: Sauna plus any number of other words that describe a large space. Saunaland = just what is sounds like; Saunalandschaft = Sauna Landscape; Saunawelt = Sauna World; Saunabereich = Sauna Area; Saunadorf = Sauna Village; Saunapark = just what it sounds like; Saunaparadies = Sauna Paradise. These terms are all interchangeable, and an establishment may have any number of other terms to describe its collection of sauna facilities. In this guide, we use "sauna" or "sauna zone" to refer to a sauna in the collective sense of the word and "sauna room" to refer specifically to any enclosed space where you sit and sweat.

The most essential elements of what makes a sauna a sauna are the actual sauna rooms. Even in the most basic saunas, there will likely be at least several sauna rooms. They differ in temperature and other aspects (more about that later). In addition to sauna rooms, a sauna is likely to contain several types of pools, usually on the order of thermal whirlpools and perhaps plunge pools. Some saunas have indoor pools large enough to be considered full-size swimming pools. (Indoor pools in saunas are much more common in Dutch-speaking Europe than in German-speaking Europe.) Saunas are also likely to contain outdoor lounge spaces called saunagärten (make the "ä" an "a" for the singular form), which usually contain at least one free-standing, cottage-like sauna building. A saunagarten is likely to have a sunbathing lawn with lounge chairs, and more than 60% of the saunas listed in this guide have outdoor pools in their saunagärten that are large enough to be considered swimming pools (as opposed to plunge pools).

What is a "Stand-Alone" Sauna?
The term stand-alone sauna is one we have coined for this guide, so it is not a common term you will find elsewhere.

There are two basic models that virtually all establishments listed in this guide fit into. In one model, the sauna facilities are part of larger water recreation facilities, and there is both a nude area (the sauna facilities) and a textile area (everything else). In the other model, the sauna exists as an independent entity, and thus we describe it as a stand-alone sauna.

For example, consider a hypothetical business called Aquaberg, and say you know that Aquaberg includes a large swimming pool. If Aquaberg is a stand-alone sauna, you can expect that swimwear will not be worn in its swimming pool. If Aquaberg is not a stand-alone sauna, you'll need to know whether or not the swimming pool is part of the sauna area to know whether or not swimwear is worn. (Part of what we do in this guide is help you figure out the answer to such questions if you do not speak German or Dutch.)

In Dutch-speaking Europe, virtually all major saunas are stand-alone saunas. Some textile swimming establishments have small sauna areas, but for the most part, going to the sauna as a leisure pursuit in Dutch-speaking Europe means going to a facility that is just a sauna, not associated with textile water recreation. Conversely, only about 20% of the saunas listed in this guide that are in German-speaking Europe are stand-alone saunas. The vast majority of German saunas are zones within otherwise textile water recreation establishments.

What is a Therme?
German- and Dutch-speaking Europe is replete with saunas, and they are built on scales ranging from very basic to impossibly vast. A sauna may be the size of a small corner store, or it may be the size of a grand department store. Therme Erding on the outskirts of Munich includes a sauna that is reputed to be the largest in Europe, and the sauna zone alone covers about three acres—roughly the size of a typical city block.

As described in the previous section, some saunas are what we call "stand-alone saunas." In other words, they are not attached to more general water recreation establishments. However, stand-alone saunas represent just a small fraction of saunas in German-speaking Europe. Most German saunas are zones within otherwise textile swimming establishments, ranging from municipal pools to small water parks.

At this point, we should back away from saunas specifically and look at water recreation more generally, using Germany as an example. (Keep in mind that what is true of Germany broadly applies to Austria and Switzerland as well.) Simply put, Germans are a people that highly value water recreation, perhaps more than any other nationality, and the vast number of swimming establishments in the county attests to that. In 2009, a British blogger posted a story* about the phenomenon of outdoor pools in German cities. The phenomenon is not that they exist, of course. Most cities have municipal pools. It's the statistics. Comparing London, the largest city in the U.K., to Berlin, the largest city in Germany, the blogger discovered that Berlin has twice as many outdoor pools as London. Per capita, the number is even more skewed, since Berlin is just half the size of London. Adjusting for population, Berliners have four times as many outdoor municipal pools at their disposal as do Londoners. Other German cities have even more pools per capita than Berlin.

That's just outdoor pools, which are open during Germany's relatively short summers. Germany also has numerous indoor municipal swimming pools as well. However, the German devotion to water recreation is nowhere more apparent than in its abundance of establishments called Thermen, or Therme in the singular form (pronounced tere-men and tere-meh). Therme literally means "thermal bath." In a historic sense, it describes an ancient Roman public bath. In a modern sense, the word has been co-opted to describe any large-scale water-oriented recreation and/or relaxation facility.

A quintessential therme is similar in character to a water park—not so much a sprawling outdoor park with the mega-thrill rides, but more along the lines of an indoor water park that is more compact. Such thermen typically contain multiple swimming pools—mostly indoors but some outdoors as well—along with one or more looping water slides. Wave pools, lazy rivers, multi-jet spa pools and waterfalls are also common features. Because the amenities of thermen are mostly indoors, they are open all year and can be welcome respites during the long winter season (but swimming outside in the dead of winter in heated pools is not uncommon in Germany). While the most common therme paradigm is that of a family fun park, there are plenty that are more oriented toward spa-like relaxation. Furthermore, some thermen are large enough to have multiple personalities, with one zone for high-octane fun and another for sedate unwinding.

In comparing thermen in Germany to indoor water parks in North America, there are two major differences. One is the numbers. In North America, there are just several dozen indoor water parks (with especially notable ones in the frigid cities of Edmonton and Minneapolis). In Germany, there are several hundred thermen. Secondly, most thermen in Germany have separate sauna zones, which are absent in North American water park culture. Look on virtually any thermen website and you'll see a tab marked Sauna or some variation thereof (Saunawelt, Saunalandschaft, etc.).

When you enter a therme, you'll typically pay an upgrade fee to enter the sauna zone, although establishments vary in how fees are charged. When you are in a therme but not in the sauna zone, you are in an area where swimsuits are worn. Once you enter the sauna zone, you'll be in an area where swimsuits need not be worn and may in fact be prohibited.

The sauna zone of a particular therme may be fairy modest in scope, or it may be grander than anything you ever imagined. Most are somewhere in between. A typical medium-scale sauna zone is likely to contain both indoor and outdoor areas. Indoors, you can expect to find several wood-paneled sauna rooms along with a smaller number of tiled sauna rooms (on the order of what North Americans usually call a steam room). Additionally, there is likely to be one or more small pools—perhaps a hot spa and a cold plunge—along with a relaxation room full of comfortable lounge chairs. Food and beverages are generally available within the sauna zone, either at a snack stand, a café or sometimes at a full restaurant, and alcoholic beverages are often available. Outside, the saunagarten will typically be a grassy lawn or a courtyard. A saunagarten will usually include at least one free-staning sauna building, like a small log cabin. There are also lounge chairs where patrons can relax or sunbathe. A saunagarten will likely contain some kind of water feature as well: sometimes a small pond that is just for looks, sometimes a whirlpool or other type of plunge pool, sometimes a pool large enough for swimming. CLICK HERE for a diagram and an aerial photo that show the typical layout of a sauna zone within a therme.

Over half the saunas listed in this guide are zones within thermen, and usually the bigger the therme, the bigger its sauna. Some of the grandest saunas in Germany are located in thermen, but there are a number of stand-alone saunas that are exceptional for their scope as well.

Nudity in the Sauna
Whenever you enter a sauna room, you are entering a space where swimwear is not customarily worn. In fact, swimwear may be prohibited or at the very least frowned upon. However, you will not often encounter signs stating that swimsuits are prohibited. Nudity is so endemic to German and Dutch sauna culture that it is taken to be a given. If you enter a Japanese home without removing your shoes, you are breaching etiquette and identifying yourself as someone who is unfamiliar with the cultural norms. The same can be said of entering a sauna room wearing shorts or a swimsuit. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that removing all clothing before entering a sauna room is akin to a religious ritual.

Calling a German or Dutch sauna a "nudist sauna" is something like saying "eating restaurant" or "sleeping bedroom." But, keeping in mind we are writing for an audience largely unfamiliar with the customs, in this guide we risk redundancy by using modifiers to remind readers that saunas are places where nudity is the norm. The adjective that is most suitable is the German word textilfrei, or "textile free" in English. This rather neutral word merely points out the absence of any type of textiles (i.e., clothing) in the sauna. "Textile-free sauna" strikes us as more appropriate than the terms "naturist sauna" or "nudist sauna," which are too self conscious. Being naked in a sauna is not a deliberate expression of a naturist lifestyle preference; it's just the way it's done. Furthermore, we avoid saying "FKK sauna" because that word pairing, unfortunately, has been usurped. If you see anything described as an "FKK Sauna" or "FKK Sauna Club," be advised that is it almost certainly a sex club or brothel, not a real sauna. (Click here if you do not know what FKK means.)

The textile taboo is one that applies most stringently to sauna rooms, since sweating into a swimsuit is generally regarded as unhygienic. The rules are less concrete when it comes to wearing swimsuits in a sauna zone but outside a sauna room. Depending on the particular establishment, swimwear may be permissible or prohibited elsewhere in the sauna, but swimwear is almost never required.

Preparing for a Trip to a Sauna
What to Know Before You Go
Before you visit a particular sauna, there are three basic pieces of information you should know in advance to avoid showing up and being disappointed. The first thing is fairly obvious. Know the operating days and hours. Most saunas are open daily, usually from mid-morning to 10:00 pm or later, but there are lots of variations. Small-scale saunas in particular are often closed one or two days a week, and some saunas—especially those that are located within municipal swimming establishments—have shortened summer hours, when leisure pursuits are typically shifted to the outdoors. Secondly, make sure all members of your party will be able to enter when you visit. While mixed-gender sauna bathing is the norm, many facilities have limited single-sex times. For example, a sauna may designate every Tuesday as women-only days, so no men would be allowed entry on those days. Lastly, if you intend to bring your children, make sure they are permitted. Children are usually allowed in saunas, but some establishments prohibit young children, and a few prohibit all minors (usually defined as under 16).

Further down, we give some advice about navigating sauna websites (most of which are in German or Dutch only) to help you figure our the answers to these questions, even if you are unfamiliar with the language of a particular website.
What to Take with You
At a minimum, bring a pairs of slippers (e.g., flip-flops). Slippers are not worn when using any sauna facilities, but it is the norm for patrons to wear slippers between facilities, and footwear may not be rentable at the particular sauna you patronize. You should also consider bringing a towel (or two), preferably with a distinctive pattern. Towels are usually rentable, but remember that rented items look alike, increasing the chance someone could pick your towel off a hook by mistake. Plus, you can save a few euros by bringing your own. Since your towel is meant to be a barrier between your skin and shared surfaces for sitting or reclining (sauna tiers, lounge chairs, etc.), it is best to bring a larger towel like a beach towel rather than a regular bath towel. Furthermore, if you plan to dine at a sauna (many have eateries), you are going to need to keep your towel cinched around your body while you eat, so you need a towel suitable for your girth. A fresh towel for drying off before you leave is also not a bad idea. Many sauna patrons prefer to wear robes while lounging, dining or walking between facilities, so consider bringing a terrycloth bathrobe if you prefer more coverage when you are not sweating in a sauna room or submerged in water. (Note: In German-speaking countries, robes are typically optional. In Dutch-speaking countries, robes are typically required in some areas.) Also, consider bringing... gasp... a swimsuit . Remember that most saunas are zones within otherwise textile swimming establishments, so you'll need appropriate attire if you plan to step outside the sauna zone (and that great big looping water slide can be tempting if you're a kid at heart, but you can't do it naked!). Any establishment that requires bath robes will almost certainly have them for rent. Swimwear is sometimes rentable as well. Finally, don't forget to bring along personal effects like hair brushes and grooming/hygiene products. Basically, just pack a bag like you are going to the gym, minus the workout attire.
When You Get There
If you go to a stand-alone sauna, things should be pretty straightforward; you will probably just pay a general admission fee. If you go to a sauna that is part of a larger swimming facility, you'll need to make it clear to the attendant that you are there for the sauna. The word "sauna" is the same in English, German and Dutch, and English is widely spoken in German- and Dutch-speaking Europe, so language barriers are not likely to be an obstacle. Most of the time, sauna admission is an upgrade to regular admission, so if you purchase a sauna ticket, you will generally be able to move back and forth between the textile-free area (i.e., the sauna zone) and the textile area (i.e., everything outside the sauna zone). Just make sure you understand the policies. In a minority of cases, sauna admission and swimming admission are entirely separate.

You will most likely be issued a bracelet with your locker key. At some of the more deluxe saunas, the bracelet may be equipped with a microchip that acts as your currency. This allows you to purchase food and drink in the sauna without having to deal with actual money. You just give your bracelet to the server to be scanned, then you pay your tab to a cashier at the exit at the end of your visit, after you have dressed and gathered your belongings.

Once you have undressed in what most likely will be a co-ed locker room, you will leave your locker with three items: a towel, a pair of slippers and your locker key (most likely attached to a plastic bracelet). A fourth item can be a robe if you choose, but robes are optional.

Sauna Etiquette
After arriving and undressing, the first place you should go is the shower before you visit any of the facilities. Rinsing off each time you exit a sauna room is also standard practice.
Entering a Sauna Room
The protocols vary a bit depending on whether you are entering a low-humidity, wood-paneled room (a so-called dry sauna) or a high-humidity, tiled room (a steam bath).

When you enter a dry sauna, you should first make sure you have toweled yourself reasonably dry. Don't enter the sauna room dripping wet. Secondly, leave your slippers outside the door. Stepping into a sauna room in footwear is a minor breach of etiquette. Stepping onto a sauna bench in footwear is a more serious breach of etiquette. If you have a bathrobe, leave it on a hook outside the door. Enter the sauna room with your towel and nothing else. It is acceptable to sit upright or lie down on a sauna bench. Many patrons spread out their towels to minimize contact with the wood. For example, patrons who sit upright often drape towels across two tiers so their buttocks and feet can both rest on the towel. However, this is often just a matter of personal comfort since sauna benches can be very hot. There is not a universal taboo against skin touching the wood, but some saunas do post house rules that request that patrons use a towel as a buffer between all body parts and the sauna bench. Even in the absence of posted rules, dry sauna users almost always at a minimum rest their buttocks on a towel. As previously mentioned, a towel larger than a standard bath towel will ensure you have sufficient surface area to comfortably situate yourself as you wish.

When you enter a steam bath, you should likewise leave your slippers outside the door. However, dryness is not essential. Furthermore, unless there are posted rules stating otherwise, you may leave your towel on a hook outside the door if you wish. If a sauna seating surface is tile or marble rather than wood, sitting or reclined naked without a towel is generally an acceptable option.
Wearing a Towel as a Covering in a Sauna Room
The fact that you are reading this guide probably means you aren't inclined to remain wrapped up in a towel, but just in case... remaining wrapped in a towel is not taboo, but it is very uncommon. Northern Europeans prefer to enjoy the heat of the sauna while naked and unwrapped. If you intend to keep a towel cinched around your body, you may want to bring a second towel on which to lie down or rest your feet.
Yield to the Saunameister
In some cultures, patrons can change the humidity level of a sauna room by pouring water onto the hot stones. Be advised that this is NOT the case for just about all the establishments listed in this guide. The task of altering the conditions of a sauna room is left strictly to an attendant called a Saunameister. A Saunameister will enter a sauna room periodically to perform an infusion, called an Aufguss. These infusions usually occur according to a posted schedule. In such a session, which usually takes 5 to 10 minutes, the Saunameister will pour water on the stones then circulate the resulting steam, generally by vigorously waving a towel. Scented infusions (citrus, eucalyptus, etc.) are common. During an Aufguss session, the sauna door should remain closed, and entering or exiting the sauna room while a session is in progress is considered impolite. Most sauna doors have windows, so if you see a clothed person inside waving a towel around, wait until that person exits before you enter the sauna. If a Saunameister enters and you think you may begin to feel overheated within the next 10 minutes or so, you should leave right away before the infusion starts. Once an infusion starts, try to stay until the Saunameister exits, unless of course you begin to feel heat exhaustion.
Nudity between Facilities
Sauna patrons are naked when sitting in a sweat chamber, submerged in water, showering or sunbathing. Otherwise, nudity is not necessarily practiced as unabashedly as is typical at a nude beach or naturist resort. When wandering about a sauna facility or walking from one feature to another, most sauna patrons drape themselves in robes or towels wrapped at the waist or chest. This is not always a must, though. It depends on the sauna. At some saunas, a substantial minority of visitors (mostly men) carry their towels or drape them across the shoulder. However, there are no universal rules written in stone, and the protocols vary from one facility to another. In examining the policies of hundreds of saunas, there are just a handful of cases where we have found documented policies that state that patrons should be covered when wandering about. Our advice is that you err on the side of caution (i.e., wear your towel or robe at first) the first time you visit a particular sauna. Observe the other patrons and assume they have more knowledge about the accepted protocols of that particular establishment. If other patrons dispense with the wraps, feel free to do the same. If everyone else seems conservative, you should probably follow their lead. Furthermore, if you enter part of the sauna where add-on services like massage and beauty treatments take place, you should always be appropriately covered. (See also the Dutch Variations section a little farther down.)
Many saunas include some type of eating facilities—snack bars, cafés, even full-fledged restaurants with fine cuisine. While sauna patrons do not dress for eating, neither are they completely naked. It is a standard protocol that a certain degree of coverage is called for when at a sauna eatery. If you have a robe, that suffices just fine. Wearing just a towel is often acceptable as well, and it should remain cinched while you are seated. The general dining custom is that women cinch towels at the chest and men at the waist. (See also the Dutch Variations section a little farther down.)
Adjacent Textile Facilities
While some saunas are stand-alone entities, many are part of larger swimming establishments where swimwear is required outside the sauna zone. Make sure you know the layout of the facility so you don't accidentally wander into an adjacent textile area while naked.
Dutch Variations
While robes are typically optional in saunas in German-speaking countries, almost all saunas in the Netherlands and Belgium require that bathrobes be worn in certain parts of the facility. Specifically, robes are required in dining and interior lounging areas, and the house rules of some saunas may stipulate that robes be worn in other areas as well, such as interior corridors.

Questions and Answers
Is swimwear banned in all saunas?
Not necessarily. It depends of the establishment. Some establishments interpret "textile free" literally and do not allow swimwear anywhere in the sauna zone. Other establishments apply a "textile free" policy only to sauna rooms, in which case a swimming pool in a saunagarten, for example, would be considered swimwear optional. Whatever the policy, you can expect that most patrons will choose to be naked even if swimwear is permitted in certain parts of the sauna. Furthermore, you can almost always expect that a swimsuit will not be necessary anywhere in a sauna zone.

Just remember that, as previously mentioned, the textile taboo is one that applies most stringently to sauna rooms. So, if for whatever reason you are wearing a swimsuit when your approach the door of a sauna room, you need to slip it off and hang it on a hook before you enter the room.
Is swimwear ever required in a sauna?
Actually, yes. All rules have exceptions. But these cases are fairly rare. For example, an unusual but not unheard of practice in the Netherlands and Belgium is that a sauna may have designated "textile days" for the benefit of patrons that are not comfortable with being naked. On such days, swimwear is required in all mixed-gender communal facilities, even in sauna rooms. However, only a small minority (less than 10%) of saunas in the Netherlands and Belgium offer such textile days, and those that do usually offer them only once or twice a month.

Another possible scenario that is more common in German-speaking countries is when a facility may designate a particular sauna room as a "textile sauna." For example, consider a therme that, in typical fashion, has a textile swimming zone and a textile-free sauna zone. There may be a sauna room or two in the textile zone for the benefit of patrons who do not purchase access to the full-fledged sauna zone, and swimwear may be required. In any situation where wearing a swimsuit is expected in a sauna room, the room will almost invariably be labeled as a textilsauna since nudity is otherwise a built-in expectation, with a swimwear requirement being a departure from the cultural norm.
Do men and women attend saunas in approximately equal numbers? Are saunas safe places for women?
Yes and yes. The typical gender ratio at a sauna is not discernibly different from the typical gender ratio at any other public place. Furthermore, nudity is an incidental part of sauna culture. Patrons do not go to the sauna for voyeuristic or exhibitionistic pursuits. Women often attend the sauna alone or with other women, and women unaccompanied by men need not worry about being leered at or hit on. By and large, sauna patrons behave appropriately and respectfully.
Are there any saunas with gender-segregated facilities?
Very few saunas keep the genders separated at all times. Co-ed sauna bathing is the norm. However, a good many saunas designate certain times for single-sex sauna bathing. Roughly half the saunas in this guide reserve certain times just for women, typically one day a week. Some saunas also have men-only days or hours, but this is much less common. A relatively small numbers of saunas have some facilities that are always just for women. For example, within the sauna as a whole, there may be separate women-only section with a small collection of facilities.

In each sauna listing in this guide, we do our best to state if and when the sauna is reserved for one gender or the other. However, such policies are subject to change, so we highly recommend you double check with the sauna so you don't show up at a time when the sauna is reserved for the opposite sex. Single-sex times almost always occur on a weekday other than Friday. Weekends are almost always mixed.
Are children allowed in saunas?
That varies from one establishment to the other, but most of the time the answer is "yes." Sauna bathing is often a family affair, and children in German- and Dutch-speaking countries are often introduced to sauna culture at a very early age. Parents that bring children are, of course, expected to keep very close watch over them at all times. Scalding rocks, deep water... bad things can happen. Furthermore, sauna newbies with young children should ask an attendant for guidance. In general, lower temperature sauna rooms are most appropriate for children, and the younger a child, the shorter a session in a sauna room should be. A child that cannot adequately express discomfort due to age or developmental ability should never be taken into a sauna room. If you plan to go to a sauna with a child of any age, call ahead to verify age policies. Some saunas do prohibit very young children, and some saunas are limited to adults (usually defined as 16 or older in Germany).
How much does it cost to go to a sauna?
That varies tremendously since the scope of facilities is so vast. On the budget end of the spectrum, there are certain saunas where you can get an all-day ticket for under €10. For that price, you can expect a basic collection of sauna facilities—the kind that may be located at a no-frills municipal pool. At a typical therme in Germany and Austria, you can expect to spend somewhere in the €10 - €25 range. Generally, the more deluxe the sauna, the higher the entry price. Furthermore, at a particular sauna there is usually a €5 - €10 differential between the least expensive ticket (usually for two hours) and an all-day ticket. There are just a small number of saunas in Germany and Austria where you might expect to pay in excess of €25 to spend the day, and those are the plushest, most extensive saunas. Prices in the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland tend to be somewhat higher—perhaps 20% overall—than prices for comparable establishments in Germany and Austria. (Note: €1 is approximately US$1.33. The euro is the unit of currency in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium, but Switzerland's currency is the Swiss franc.)

Your sauna ticket will most likely come with access to any associated textile swimming facilities at no extra charge. You will have to pay extra to rent items (towels, robes, slippers) and may be required to leave a deposit. Most saunas offer discounted family or group tickets. Furthermore, it is usually not a problem if you are unsure how long you'd like to stay. At many saunas you can purchase the minimum time allotment when you enter, stay as long as you'd like and then pay the difference on your way out.
Will language barriers be in issue? Why are so few sauna websites available in English?
English is very widely known in German- and Dutch-speaking Europe. Basic English proficiency in the Netherlands is estimated to be an astounding 87%, and English-speaking tourists who visit the Netherlands are invariably struck not only by the ubiquity of English but by how many Dutch speak it fluently and without an accent. In Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Belgium, about 60% of the population are reasonably proficient in English (compare that to 36% for France and a bit under 30% for Spain and Italy). In Germany, English is less likely to be spoken and understood in the former East Germany compared to the former West Germany, especially among older Germans. Wherever you go, you should not let the fear of a language barrier keep you from visiting the sauna of your choice even if your knowledge of German is limited to Sprechen Sie Englisch? If you do encounter language difficulties with a sauna employee, chances are he or she can summon someone else to assist you in English. The word sauna is the same in English, German and Dutch (and almost all other European languages), so if you visit an establishment that is more than just a sauna, it will not be difficult to communicate where you want to go.

Most sauna websites do not reflect the polyglot nature of the countries detailed in this guide. Few websites contain information in any language other than German or Dutch. One reason is that outsiders are unlikely to be familiar with sauna norms, particularly regarding nudity, so saunas tend not to be advertised as tourist attractions to foreigners. That should not be interpreted to mean that saunas are unwelcoming of foreigners. You should just know the basics in advance so you can enjoy the sauna as the locals do, and we've tried to give you all the information you'll need on this page.
How comprehensive is this guide? Why may a sauna be include or excluded?
Saunas are so common in German- and Dutch-speaking Europe that it would be impossible to list every single one, but we have tried to be as inclusive as possible without cluttering this guide with saunas not likely to be of particular interest to readers. Small-scale hotel saunas that are not available to the public are omitted, for example. Many municipal pools offer a sauna room or two for patrons, and such establishments are usually also omitted, except in certain cases. For example, if a municipal pool offers occasional nude swimming hours, we would most likely include it even if its sauna is not particularly notable in its own right. Similarly, with a very small-scale sauna, the presence of an outdoor space for nude sunbathing is often the determining factor in whether or not we list it.

Sauna Listings: Coding and Descriptions
There are over 800 sauna establishments listed in this guide, divided among multiple pages. Beside the name of each establishment, there is a brief string of bracketed code in pink type. For example, [☆, 1, OS, n]. Each establishment is at a minimum described by a number: 1, 2 , 3 or 4. Only when applicable, supplemental coding (☆, ★, IS, OS, N, n) is added along with the number.
Coding: 1, 2, 3 or 4 (overall character)
A 1 indicates that the facility is best described as a therme. (See What is a Therme? farther up this page for a description.) For any facility classified as a 1, you can expect there to be a textile swimming zone and a textile-free sauna zone. Of the listings in this guide, almost two-thirds of the saunas in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are saunas that are zones within thermen, but this model is very uncommon in Dutch-speaking Europe.
2Swimming Hall
We'll very loosely call anything classified as a 2 a swimming hall. Basically, any such establishment does not have the requisite bells and whistles to pass muster as a therme. As is the case for a 1, for any facility classified as a 2, you can expect there to be a textile swimming zone and a textile-free sauna zone. Very generally speaking, a sauna zone at a 2 is likely to be less elaborate than a sauna zone at a 1, but there are some exceptions. Any municipal swimming pool or other small-scale swimming or spa establishment would most likely be considered a 2.
3Historic Swimming Hall
While the scope of these facilities is similar to those classified as a 2, the key difference is that these are holdovers from another era. Most of these establishments are over 100 years old, and the general aura is such that they warrant a separate category since 1's and 2's are invariably more modern facilities. An elegant swimming hall with marble columns is often the focal point of such an establishment. Most of these have textile and textile-free zones, but some are entirely textile free.
4Stand-Alone Sauna
We consider any sauna that is not a zone within a larger textile swimming facility to be a stand-alone sauna. (See What is a "Stand-Alone" Sauna? farther up this page for a description.) Generally, you will have no need of swimwear when you go to a stand-alone sauna. Note that in some cases a sauna we classify as stand-alone may be connected to an associated facility such as a fitness club where appropriate attire is required, but in such cases the sauna and non-sauna portions of the facility tend to function independently. Almost all the sauna listings in this guide for the Netherlands and Belgium are stand-alone saunas, compared to about 20% of those for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Coding: IS and OS (nude swimming facilities)
For the FKK enthusiast, we figure that one criterion that may make one sauna more desirable than another is the presence of a swimming pool where patrons can swim in the nude, so we have used the letters IS and OS to code a sauna that has a swimming pool or pools.

     IS = indoor swimming pool

     OS = outdoor swimming pool (or occasionally swimming pond)

Remember that, for a particular establishment, IS and OS apply only to swimming pools that are within the sauna zone and where normally nudity is always allowed or required. This coding does not indicate anything at all about swimming facilities in the textile zone of the establishment. When a swimming pool is part of a sauna zone, it is typically similar in scale to a backyard pool, not a large sports pool. We have tried our best to avoid using the IS and OS coding if the sauna pool is just a small plunge pool that does pass muster as a swimming pool.
Coding: N or n (occasional nude swimming facilities)
The letter n indicates that the establishment has occasional nude swimming hours in parts of the facility that are normally textile. One typical example would be a municipal swimming hall that designates one evening each week for nude swimming. Another common example is a therme that designates one evening each month (usually, but not always, on a Friday or Saturday) when patrons can use the entire therme in the nude. If the letter n is lower case, then the frequency of nude swimming times is once a month or less. If the letter N is upper case, then nude swimming times occur on average more than once a month. Note that an upper-case N means that nude swims occur more than 12 times a year but does not necessarily indicate that there are nude swimming hours every single month. For example, consider an indoor municipal pool that has nude swimming hours every Saturday evening from October through May but has no nude swims during summer, when it closes earlier on Saturdays. Furthemore, an n or N will only appear in conjunction with a 1, 2 or 3 classification since 4 indicates an establishment that does not have textile swimming facilities.
Stars: and
Since there are so many saunas in this guide, we have used stars to draw attention to some of the more notable ones. About one third of the saunas in this guide are coded with an outlined star (). A sauna may be coded with an outlined star if it is larger and more lavish than average, and even a very small sauna may be coded with an outlined star if it has an unusual attribute such as direct access to a nude beach. A solid star () is a code used sparingly in this guide for less than 3% of all saunas. A solid star indicates a sauna that is unusually grand in its size and selection of amenities.
      Saunabad Molfsee   [4, IS]   24113 Molfsee   54.2674, 10.0708 

      Monte Mare Tegernsee   [☆, 4, OS]   83684 Tegernsee   47.7157, 11.7534 

      Stadtbad Neukölln   [3, N]   12043 Berlin-Neukölln   52.4792, 13.4399 

      Bali Therme   [☆, 1, OS, n]   32545 Bad Oeynhausen   52.1981, 8.7942 

      Therme Erding   [★, 1, IS, OS]   85435 Erding   48.2907, 11.8852 

The five listings above are examples of actual establishments found within the guide (all of them in Germany). After the name of each establishment, the postal code and city are listed in black, while the GPS coordinates are in green. The pink coding for Saunabad Molfsee and Monte Mare Tegernsee indicates that both are stand-alone saunas (4), one with an indoor swimming pool (IS) and one with an outdoor swimming pool (OS). Monte Mare Tegernsee is located along a lakeshore with Alpine views and direct access to the lake for nude swimming, and these atypical attributes earn it a star ().

Stadtbad Neukölln is an elegant, historic swimming hall (3) in Berlin, a but lack of an "IS" or an "OS" in its coding indicates that there are no swimming pools within the sauna zone. However, the letter "N" indicates that there are some nude swimming hours in parts of the facility that are normally textile, and the fact that the "N" is upper case indicates that such nude swimming hours occur on average more than once a month. (In this particular case, Stadtbad Neukölln offers nude swimming hours every Saturday.)

Bali Therme and Therme Erding are both thermen, as indicated by the number "1." Within their sauna zones, both have outdoor pools (OS), but only one has indoor swimming facilities (IS). Bali Therme is exceptional for its exotic and opulent architecture and decor, earning it a star (), and the lower case "n" indicates that there are occasional nude swimming hours in otherwise textile parts of the facility that occur once a month or less. Therme Erding is exceptional for its sheer size and for offering a breadth of facilities that few other saunas can match, and these attributes earn it a solid star (), a designation for just a small number of the grandest saunas in this guide.

For any of these establishments, click on the red box , then in turn click on the resulting blue icon , for a more detailed summary.

Navigating Sauna Websites
In this guide, all the saunas listed are linked to websites. Very few of those websites have any information available in English.

The sections below are geared toward helping figure out websites that are in German. As indicated in a previous section of this page, most saunas in German-speaking Europe are zones within otherwise textile swimming establishments, and part of what you'll need to do when viewing the website of such an establishment is determine what parts of the website apply to the sauna and what parts apply to everything else. Conversely, all but just a few saunas in Dutch-speaking Europe are stand-alone saunas, so you typically will not need to figure out which zones are textile and which are textile free.
Figuring Out the Basics
For any establishment listed in this sauna guide, you can click on the red box and a new window will open with a blue icon in the middle. Click on the blue icon to open the "thought bubble" that contains a summary. (You can also view these summaries by downloading the Google Earth file for all saunas.) Our summary of each sauna establishment gives you some basic information to help you make sense of how the facility is set up.

The first sentence of a typical listing may go something like this: "This establishment has a textile swimming zone (Badewelt) and a textile-free sauna zone (Saunawelt)." The German words in italics and parentheses let you know that, when you go to the website, you can expect to see an option labeled Badewelt that describes the zone of amenities where swimwear in necessary and another option labeled Saunawelt that describes the zone of amenities where swimwear is not worn.

Note that other establishment are likely to use somewhat different terms to designate there component areas. Swimming/recreation zones often contain words like Therme, Bad ("bath") or Erlebnis ("adventure"), while sauna zones are usually described just by the word Sauna, sometimes as part of a compound word. Combing these words with one another or adding words like Welt ("world"), Bereich ("area") or Landschaft ("landscape") yields words such as Badebereich, Erlebnisbad, Thermenwelt, Saunalandschaft, Saunabad and a seemingly endless variety of other terms.
Operating Hours and Price
Selections for operating hours and price are typically found on the front page of a sauna/therme website. Öffnungszeiten means "opening times," and it is often shortened to just Zeiten. Eintrittspreise means "entry price," and it is often shortened to just Preise.

Day of the week listings are more likely to start with Monday than Sunday. Starting with Monday, the days of the week (with abbreviations) in German are: Montag (Mo), Dienstag (Di), Mittwoch (Mi), Donnerstag (Do), Freitag (Fr), Samstag (Sa), Sonntag (So).

The word for hour in the "o'clock" sense is Uhr, and hours are usually listed according to the 24-hour clock (i.e., military time). 09.00 - 23.00 Uhr means 9:00 am - 11:00 pm.

When perusing sauna hours, take note of any hours that are reserved just for women or just for men. Frauen and Damen both mean "women," while Männer and Herren both mean "men." Thus, Frauensauna and Damensauna both indicate women-only days or hours, while Männersauna and Herrensauna both indicate men-only days or hours. Co-ed hours are sometimes labeled as gemischt, which means "mixed," but days or hours not specifically labeled can be presumed to be co-ed even in the absence of a label.

If an establishment holds nude swimming hours in a normally textile zone at least once a week, then those hours will most likely be indicated in the posted operating hours. The letters FKK are commonly used to indicate nude swimming hours, but the word textilfrei may be used as well, often in the form of textilfreies baden ("textile-free bathing"). Somewhat less common words for indicating nude swimming hours are nacktbaden ("naked bathing") and hüllenlos (which is another word for naked that does not translate very articulately; literally, "wraps off").

For establishments that have both swimming and sauna zones, you'll typically find two pricing charts: one for the swimming/recreation zone and one for the sauna zone. While pricing options vary considerably, the most common model is that the sauna price automatically includes access to the swimming/recreation zone. Look for the word mit ("with") or inklusive ("including"). For example, suppose a price chart is labeled Sauna (mit Therme) or Saunawelt (inkl. Badewelt). Both labels indicate that you automatically have access to the textile area when you purchase entry to the sauna.

Prices are typically listed according to the age of the guest and the duration of stay. Erwachsene means "adult," which usually means age 16 and up. Jugendliche means "youth," which usually means less than 16 but old enough to have started primary school (age 5 or 6). Kind (pl., Kinder) means "young child," from infancy through age 5 or 6. For duration of stay, a sauna/therme will typically offer two time-block options (often two hours or four hours) along with an all-day ticket, called a Tageskarte. The word for "hours" as a block of time is Studen. The unit of currency in Germany is the euro (€).
Other Categories
Here's a brief run-down list of other common terms you'll see on a typical website for a sauna and/or swimming establishment.

The word Bild means "photo" or "image," so a tab named Bilder or Bildergalerie is where you'll find photos. Rundgang means "tour" and often refers to a virtual tour of the facilities. Directions are most often posted under Anfahrt, but Anreise is sometimes used.

Contact details such as street address, phone number and e-mail are usually found under Kontakt or Impressum. (If you see both these words on a website, Kontakt will likely be more relevant to a potential patron since Impressum has more of a corporate connotation, with information about company headquarters, website design, legal disclaimers and so forth.)

Angebote ("offers") and Aktuelles ("news") are both terms that concern the present and the near future. If you see both words on a website, Angebote will more likely pertain to special promotions, while Aktuelles will more likely be a calendar of events, classes, etc. However, these are related concepts that are often grouped together. Other common words used along the same lines are Veranstaltungs ("events") and Kurse ("courses/classes").

Wellness is a very commonly used word that is borrowed from English. It is a broad and flexible word, but as a heading on a website it most likely pertains to spa treatments and massage. Just remember not to interpret such terms too literally. One establishment may refer to its sauna zone as the Wellnesswelt while describing spa treatments under the heading Massagen & Beauty, while another establishment may refer to its sauna zone as the Saunawelt while while describing spa treatments under the heading Wellness.

Some other terms you'll encounter are recognizably similar to their English equivalents, and some are borrowed from English.

More Swimming and Sauna Terms, Facts and Minutiae
Below are some terms you may encounter when perusing German-language sauna websites. Additional terminology can be found in the introductory section of the nude beach listings for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

In a nutshell, Wasser means "water," Bad means "bath" or "bathing," and Schwimmen means "swimming." The word Bad is the most likely of these words to be combined with other words to describe both swimming pools and swimming facilities.

An indoor pool is a Hallenbad , while an outdoor pool is a Freibad . Normally, these two terms refer to large pools or even a collection of pools. If the word Hallenbad is used in the proper name of an establishment, it is likely to be an indoor municipal pool. If the word Freibad is used in the proper name of an establishment, it is likely to be an outdoor municipal pool/recreation center. Stadt is the word for "town," and from that we get Stadtbad , which most literally means something like "municipal pool." A Stadtbad will often contain a pool for lap swimming called a Sportbad . All -bad words become -bäder in the plural form.

Therme is a general term for any large scale water recreation establishment. Although it looks similar to Freibad, the word Freizeitbad is often applied to leisure or recreation pools, whether indoors or outdoors. The words Therme and Freizeitbad can be used synonymously, although Therme tends to have a broader connotation. For example, the Freizeitbad and the sauna may be separate zones within a particular Therme. A Therme/Friezeitbad may contain features like a Wellenbad , which is a wave pool; a Strömungskanal , which is a floating channel commonly called a "Lazy River" in English; and a Wasserrutsche (often just called a Rutsche), which is a water slide. Black Hole is a common anglicism that refers to a water slide in the form of looping tube.

Another word for pool is Becken. It is a flexible word, but Becken usually refers to a specific water basin. For example, Friebad can describe an outdoor swimming recreation center with several swimming pools, while one individual pool within the Freibad would more likely be called a Becken. Combine Becken with the words for "inside" and "outside" and you've got Innenbecken ("indoor pool") and Aussenbecken ("outdoor pool"). A Solebecken is a saltwater pool (Sole = "salt water" or "brine"), a Kinderbecken is a children's pool, and a Tauchbecken is a plunge pool (not large enough to be considered a swimming pool). There is a large array of other possible compound words. The word for "pond" is Teich, and from that comes Bioteich , which is a non-cholorinated swimming pool designed to look like a natural pond. Here is a pool that is both a Tauchbecken and a Bioteich.

As previously mentioned, the word Sauna is the same in English and German, and in both languages the word can be used to describe one enclosure or a collection of facilities. A specific sauna enclosure can be described as a Saunaraum ("sauna room") or a Schwitzkammer ("sweat chamber"). Although Saunakabine ("sauna cabin") can be used synonymously with Saunaraum, it usually connotes a smaller, prefabricated sauna room (but not necessarily an outdoor cabin). The verb saunieren does not translate concisely but mean "to have a sauna session." A collection of sauna facilities could be described as a Badehaus ("bathhouse") but is more like to be described by a compound word with Sauna- as the first part, such as Saunawelt or a long list of variations, many of which are listed under What is a Sauna? near the top of this page.

Sauna rooms in general tend to be built according to one of two basic models. First, there is the Finnish influenced model. The prototype of a Finnish sauna is a log cabin with an all-wood interior, kept at a very high temperature and with very low humidity. Such a structure (or some derivative thereof) is what North Americans tend to call a "dry sauna," although many sauna purists disfavor that term since most dry saunas employ low levels of steam. The second basic model of a sauna room is a lower-temperature but higher-humidity room paneled in ceramic tile and/or marble rather than wood. Such an enclosure is what North Americans tend to call a steam room or steam bath. In German, the word for such a room is Dampfbad.

Finnish-derived saunas are the most elemental components of German sauna facilities. If a specific type of sauna room has the word -sauna as the second part of its name (for example, Kelosauna), you can assume it is some variation of a Finnish sauna. If the sauna room is some version of a Dampfbad, it will not have -sauna in its name.

While most sauna rooms in German saunas are based on the Finnish model, a structure expressly called a Finnische Sauna is likely to be a free-standing log cabin located outside the main facility. Such a free-standing, cottage-like building can also be described as a Blockhaussauna , and Kelosauna refers specifically to a Blockhaussauna constructed from prized Kelo pine. An Erdsauna is an "Earth sauna," and it is usually partially underground and covered by an earthen roof, often resembling a Hobbit House. Keep in mind that these terms overlap, so a specific free-standing sauna can be described by numerous labels. All such saunas are likely to be located in a Saunagarten , which is an enclosed lawn or courtyard that is part of a sauna zone. Saunagärten almost always have lounge chairs for nude sunbathing. If a sauna does not have a full-fledged Saunagarten, it may instead have a Sonnenterrasse ("sun terrace"), and a common urban variety is the Dachterrasse ("rooftop terrace"). Few saunas in this guide have no outdoor facilities at all. A relatively small number of textile swimming facilities (regardless of whether or not they have saunas) designate part of their lawns for nude sunbathing, and all patrons have access. When a nude sunbathing area is not located within a sauna zone, it is usually called a FKK Liegewiese ("FKK Lawn"), and it is typically shielded by hedges or a fence from the main part of the Liegewiese, which is textile. On the other hand, a Saunagarten is usually not expressly described as FKK since the option (or sometimes requirement) of nudity is presumed.

Whether they are located inside or outside, sauna rooms are often distinguished by theme, function or even the type of infusion. For example, a Panoramasauna can be expected to have a large picture window through which patrons have a panoramic view of the outdoors. In a Kaminsauna , the heat is generated by an actual working fireplace. Beyond these common specialty saunas, there is a hodgepodge of other possibilities. A Salzsauna (Salz is "salt") is one with large salt blocks for inhalation therapy. A sauna designated for scented infusions may be called an Aromasauna , while one designated specifically for citrus-scented infusions may be called a Citrussauna . A room designated as a Meditationssauna serves an obvious function, and it is not beyond the realm of possibility that you could find yourself staring at a giant tank full of exotic fish in an Aquariumsauna. Some of the more lavish sauna facilities include sauna rooms with benches arranged in amphitheater fashion, where patrons are entertained with all sorts of spectacles while they sweat: maybe a geyser-like fountain that erupts like Old Faithful, maybe a laser show, maybe a planetarium-like display of the solar system. Again, keep in mind that terms overlap, so a particular Panoramasauna may also be a Kaminsauna and a Blockhaussauna.

For any sauna room that is a Finnish derivative, you can expect that the interior of will be all or mostly wood. The temperature of a specific room will remain constant, and temperatures typically range from about 60°C (140°F) to 90°C (194°F) or more. While 90°C is the maximum allowable sauna temperature in the U.S. and Canada, saunas in Germany can be considerably hotter, so it is possible that a sauna room could be 95°C (203°F), 100°C (212°F) or even 110°C (230°F). However, sauna rooms of 90°C or less are more common than those over 90°C. If a sauna has half a dozen Finnish sauna rooms, just one or two of them are likely to be over 90°C, and the temperature is almost always posted by the door. For any Finnish sauna, humidity is necessarily very low (otherwise the high temperatures would not be tolerable). The humidity can be temporally increased by pouring water onto super-heated rocks. This infusion process is called an Aufguss , and in German culture performing an Aufguss is the duty of an attendant called a Saunameister , who also circulates the steam, usually with a towel or a flag. Depending on how long it has been since the last infusion, the humidity level of a Finnish sauna typically varies from 10% - 25%.

While low-humidity Finnish-type saunas are the most prevalent type of sauna room, a German sauna facility will usually have at least one Dampfbad (Dampf means "steam"). In contrast to a Finnish sauna, a Dampfbad has a highly level of humidity, sometimes 100%, and thus the the temperature is much lower, usually in the range of 40°C to 50°C (104°F to 122°F). However, because of the extreme humidity, a Dampfbad typically does not feel any less hot than a Finnish sauna of twice the temperature. The interior of a Dampfbad will likely be mostly tile and/or marble, and these chambers are often very colorfully and elegantly decorated and sometimes even temple-like. Just like a sauna room, a Dampfbad may have a special theme. For example, an Aromadampfbad may be infused with scents of various fruits or flowers. In a Dampfbad, there is no Aufguss process performed by a Saunameister. The steam and any accompanying scents are piped into the room.

A chamber called a Hamam , often spelled hammam in English, is a common though not ubiquitous feature of German saunas. A hammam is also called a Türkisches Bad—"Turkish Bath." While an actual Turkish bath found in Turkey would likely contain several chambers, the German version is a single, often spacious chamber made predominantly of marble, with one or more water basins with faucets and one or more large blocks that are platforms for bathing and massage. While a hammam is often classified as a subset of Dampfbad, it functions differently. The chamber is heater by water rather than a steam generator. The temperature is lower, usually in the range of 35°C to 45°C (95°F to 113°F), and the humidity level is more moderate than in a typical Dampfbad. Thus, it comfortable to remain in a hammam longer. In a traditional hammam, a patron lies on a marble block while an attendant performs a soap and water scrub. At a modern sauna, patrons can often purchase a soap massage that takes place in a hammam or perform bathing rituals on one another in the hammam.

Other than sauna rooms, another common feature of a sauna is a spa tub with hydrotherapy jets, and such a spa is most common described by the borrowed English word Whirlpool . This term typically applies to prefabricated tubs and other small basins. A larger heated hydrotherapy pool that essentially functions like an oversized spa tub is more likely to be described as a Thermalbecken ("Heated Pool") or Entspannungsbecken ("Relaxation Pool"). Badezuber typically describes a barrel-type hot tub made of wood, but this variety is comparatively uncommon. Fussbecken ("foot basin") describes a foot bathing station, which may be a large communal basin or a series of smaller individual basins. Insert another adjective and it become Fusswärmebecken ("heated foot basin"). While Dusche is the general term for shower, Erlebnisdusche —which literally means "adventure shower"—describes any kind of specialty shower, especially one where the water flows in torrents. Just about every sauna has at least one room called a Ruheraum (Ruhe means "calm" or "peace"), which is typically furnished with comfortable, reclining chairs. These rooms range from basic to opulent, but regardless of the decor, a Ruheraum is a quiet room where patrons can retire for reading, relaxing or even napping.

Many saunas host periodic late-night sauna events, and such an event is most commonly called a Mitternachtssauna , which means "Midnight Sauna." Other common names include Vollmondsauna ("Full Moon Sauna"), Mondscheinsauna ("Moonlight Sauna"), Lange Saunanacht ("Long Sauna Night") and an occasional anglicism like Sauna-Mega-Night. A Midnight Sauna is a type of social event that often involves special themes, food, wine and entertainment. For establishments that have textile and textile-free zones, a very common feature of a Midnight Sauna is that the normally textile zone is opened to nude swimming for part of the evening. Here is a hypothetical but plausible example of how such an event may be set up. A therme with a textile swimming zone and a textile-free sauna zone may hold a Midnight Sauna on the first Saturday of each month, from 8:00 pm until 2:00 am (which is well past the normal operating hours of most thermen). For the first several hours, the Midnight Sauna activities are contained within the sauna zone. At 10:00 pm, the textile zone officially closes, according to normal operating hours. Starting at 10:30 pm, sauna patrons can swim naked in the textile zone for the rest of the evening. Some establishments limit attendance at Midnight Saunas, so reservations (sometimes months in advance) may be required.

Many establishments that have both textile and textile-free zones have FKK swimming hours in the textile zone that are not associated with a special event like a Midnight Sauna. Establishments that hold FKK hours usually do so once a week and in the evening. At some of these establishments, it is not even necessary to purchase a sauna upgrade to attend FKK hours. A designated time for nude swimming in an otherwise textile pool is often described by a term like FKK Abend ("FKK Evening").

To download the complete KMZ file of European Saunas (viewable in Google Earth), CLICK HERE.
See the DOWNLOADS page for a list of all available KMZ files.