Embracing Austrian Sauna Culture: A Pro’s Guide to Navigating Nude Saunas

When it comes to sauna culture, Austria takes relaxation to a whole new level. Here, saunas aren't just about sweating out toxins; they're a way of life.
22. September 2023
Woman sitting in a Sauna in the alps

When it comes to sauna culture, Austria takes relaxation to a whole new level. Here, saunas aren’t just about sweating out toxins; they’re a way of life, a place to unwind, and an integral part of local wellness routines. While the idea of disrobing in a public sauna might seem daunting, fear not! With a few insider tips and some etiquette know-how, you can blend in like a local (pro) and make the most of your nude sauna experience in Austria.

10 Sauna Rules & Tips for Austria

Here are some insider tips and etiquette rules to ensure you have a seamless and enjoyable time in an Austrian sauna:

  1. Embrace the Nude Tradition: In Austrian saunas, nudity is the norm. Leave your swimsuit behind and disrobe completely before entering the sauna. It’s a practice deeply rooted in hygiene and relaxation.
  2. Shower Before Entering: Prior to entering the sauna, take a thorough shower to cleanse your body. This is both a hygiene requirement and a sign of respect for fellow sauna-goers.
  3. Sauna Towels: While nudity is standard inside the sauna, you’ll typically be provided with a sauna towel. Place this small towel on the bench or seat to sit on. It helps absorb sweat and ensures a more comfortable experience.
  4. Respect the Silence: Austrian saunas are usually places of tranquility. Maintain a quiet and peaceful atmosphere, refraining from loud conversations and mobile phone use. Respect the serenity of the space.
  5. Sauna Aufguss (Infusion): Many Austrian saunas offer „Aufguss“ sessions, where a sauna master pours water infused with essential oils onto the hot sauna stones. This creates a burst of aromatic steam. These sessions are usually announced in advance and are a must-try experience. Be punctual if you wish to participate, they usually take around 12 minutes and against some voices: you are free to leave whenever you don’t feel well. Start on the lower benches and move up if you feel ready.
  6. Sauna Rounds: Austrian sauna-goers often follow a ritual of taking multiple sauna sessions. After each session, they cool down by stepping outside, perhaps even taking a plunge into a cold pool or rolling in the snow (in winter). Then, they return for the next round.
  7. Hydration is Key: Be sure to drink plenty of water during your sauna visit to stay hydrated. You’ll often find water stations with fresh, cold water in the sauna area.
  8. Cover Up in Common Areas: When you leave the sauna area to move to a relaxation room or other communal spaces, use a bathrobe or towel to cover up. Nudity is typically confined to the sauna itself.
  9. Observe Gender Rules: Some saunas have separate areas (or days) for men and women, especially in public saunas and wellness centers. Always respect these gender-specific areas.
  10. Know the Opening Hours: Familiarize yourself with the opening hours of the sauna facility. In Austria, saunas may have specific hours or even certain days reserved for women-only or mixed-gender sessions.

By following these insider tips and respecting the sauna etiquette in Austria, you can fully immerse yourself in this cherished wellness tradition, enjoy relaxation, and blend in like a local (pro).

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