Rakvere is hosting the Estonian Sauna Festival

The local government in the Estonian town of Rakvere has organised the Estonian sauna festival – there will be more than 20 Estonian saunas to try out over the weekend of 8-9 June 2019.

Rakvere in Lääne-Viru County, northeast Estonia, is the fifth largest town in the country.

The central square will be enclosed by a two-metre-high barrier creating a secluded area in the town centre, with 20 saunas to try out inside under the guidance of different Estonian sauna masters. There will also be a changing area with clothes and luggage storage, a dining area with a bar, live music and a children’s playground.

Rakvere central square.

The organisers say the aim is to introduce and preserve the Estonian sauna culture so that it can grow, develop and continue to be enjoyed into the future.

Truly weird and wonderful Estonians saunas

Visitors can expect to find some truly weird and wonderful Estonians saunas, including the largest tent sauna in the country that can fit 50 people inside at a time.

There’s also a bus that has been converted into a “Sauna Express”.

Tthe Estonian Defence League will be bringing a mobile sauna from their Alutaguse unit in eastern Estonia. Their sauna fits 12 people.

A fire society that runs a museum in Järva county, will be bringing three saunas inside fire trucks. They have a Ford 600 built in 1956, which has now been turned into a smoke sauna that can fit six people at a time, a Mercedes Benz 1113 from 1973 that has a sauna inside for ten people and, finally, a 1960 Magirus Deutz with a hot tub in the back.

The marketing for the festival suggests they will welcome sauna enthusiasts from around the world, although there’s currently very little information available in English.

The local government will probably be hoping to replicate the success of Otepää’s European Sauna Marathon, which grew from a small local event in the “winter capital” of Estonia to a large international event that now attracts hundreds of visitors – and media coverage – from around the world.

This is a lightly edited version of the article originally published by Adam Rang in Medium. You can follow Adam’s take on Estonian sauna culture also on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. Cover: Water being poured on the stones to generate steam inside the smoke sauna. The image is illustrative, courtesy of Adam Rang.

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