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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).