Sauna etiquette in Germany

So having just written about where to go for a sauna in Frankfurt I was reminded today that it can be quite intimidating going to a German sauna for the first time. A couple of guys came into the sauna and immediately got told off by an old German for not following the sauna rules! Same thing happened to me when I went to a sauna and didn’t understand rules about no textiles. Sauna culture is an important part of German life and is taken seriously!

So what are the rules?

  1. Shower before entering the sauna to keep it clean and hygienic.
  2. Shower after the sauna before getting into any pools.
  3. No sweat on the wood! You see signs about this. Bring a towel to sit on (including under your feet) and a second towel to dry yourself off.
  4. Saunas are either with swimwear (Textil) or with just towels (FKK). However the vast majority of larger spas are textile free. The only saunas which allow textiles are often in public swimming pools where lots of children are present.
  5. Keep quiet: Saunas in Germany are generally quiet places, so it’s important to keep noise to a minimum. Speaking quietly is allowed but frowned upon, but shouting or loud conversations are not.
  6. Do not apply any fragrances, lotions, or oils to your skin before entering the sauna, as this can interfere with the sauna experience for others.
  7. Be aware of the temperature and your own limits. If you start to feel dizzy or uncomfortable, leave the sauna and cool down.
  8. When leaving the sauna, use the shower to cool off and rinse off any sweat before entering other areas of the spa or sauna.
  9. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and replenish fluids lost through sweating. Bring a bottle with you though as there are no free fountains. There will be a paid bar though.
  10. Respect personal space: It’s important to respect the personal space of other sauna guests. Avoid sitting too close to someone else, and don’t stare at others.
  11. No phones or cameras: Using phones or cameras in the sauna is not allowed in Germany, and can get you kicked out. Leave your phone in the locker and take a book.
  12. Don’t rush: Take your time in the sauna, and don’t rush the experience. It’s customary to spend 10-15 minutes in the sauna, followed by a cool-down period.

Ok, not all of these are rules, some advice mixed in for good measure! And don’t worry, even though it seems really weird sat in a mixed naked sauna, everyone gets used to it. But if you are uncomfortable all large sauna complexes have one sauna designated ‘women only’.

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