Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bastu Bliss

bastu = sauna = bliss

see that little building down there by the water's edge? that's my bastu

Tucked away on the far southwest corner of Kungsholmen island in Stockholm is Fredhällsbadet. In the summer months, its grassy slopes and wooden piers are open to the public, and, more often than not, covered in sunbathers and swimmers, soaking up as much sun as possible. 

During the winter, however, I am one of only a couple hundred lucky members who has access to Fredhällsbadet, namely the saunaEvery Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday, I am welcome to enter this isolated, water-side sanctuary where bastu-ers plunge into Lake Mälaren, then relax in the 180° F-sauna to warm up. A bubbler keeps the water from freezing so that even in the depths of the winter months when the rest of the Lake is completely frozen, bastu-ers can take a swim. Since bathing suits are not allowed, men and women go on different days.

I've found the perfect place to escape - my smultronställe, as they say in Sweden - in Fredhälls bastu, where from the top bench, I can look out the windows and see only water. And the feeling of going from nearly frozen water to the hotness inside a sauna is unlike any other - exhilarating is an understatement. 

I am lucky to be able to visit Fredhälls bastu and also to live within a 2-minute bike ride from it. Although I don't go as often as I'd like, it's wonderful to know it's there when I want: my own energizing, detoxing spa experience in one of the most beautiful places in Stockholm.


  1. A winter bather (?) like Niklas and mine grandmother. Although she skipped the sauna and warmed up with a walk to and from 'Ribban' in Malmö.

  2. I cannot see the building very well in your photo, but the description sounds heavenly! xom

  3. @ Malin - Yes, I heard she also swam every day at Steninge! So nice : )
    @ Mom - Thanks for reading!