I always use a “When in Rome…” approach to travel so I’ve decided to try ice swimming when I’m in Helsinki this winter! My questions are: where should I go to do this and is there anything I need to know before I do it? Many thanks in advance! And yes, I know I'm crazy.
Actually few Finnish lunatics engage in ice swimming, but as it happens, I'm one of them. Take bus 730 from Station Square (Rautatientori) to Kuusijärvi. This lakeside log cabin complex has saunas, for which you pay - the actual swimming is free.
Women and men are in separate saunas, which is the norm in public facilities of this type. You steam yourself up in the sauna, then put on your swimsuit and head out to the lake. That's all there is to it. Stay in as long as you can bear.
Be sure to take beach shoes with you as the icy path is very painful with bare feet.
Here's a video of me with a few Scandinavian friends at Kuusijärvi: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=737Jlh8Tvjc
Its not crazy at all. In Helsinki there are multiple locations you can go test it. I suggest you look up some of them from http://www.hel.fi/hki/liv/en/Sports+facilities/Winter+swimming+places and contact the people mentioned to set up a test visit.
Hi Janine! A nice question, and very recommendable and unique activity. Ice swimming is an experience you never forget. It makes you feel totally relaxed and vibrant, heals the body and soul.
There are plenty of places where you can go ice swimming and have a sauna afterwards in Helsinki. Some of the clubs have information in English, or a contact person who you can ask further questions. Here's a list:
Katajanokan Jäänsärkijät (Katajanokka)
Katajanokan Jäänsärkijät ry
Marjalahdentien ja Kivalontien risteys
Hietaniemen uimarannan vieressä
Rastila / Rastböle (Vuosaari)
Rastilan Talviuimarit ry ja Myllypuron Mursut
Talviuintiseura Humaus ry
Seija Herrala, puh. 041 462 1892, firstname.lastname@example.org
Seurasaari / Fölisön
Soutustadionin Talviuinti ry
Uunisaari / Ugnsholmen
Uunisaaren Talviuintiseura ry
Suomen Saunaseura ry
Mentioned in this answer: