Wood crackles as it burns in the small furnace opposite me, small rivers of sweat run down my brow, pooling in my eyes causing them to blink. The soaring temperature begins to make me feel woozy and the smell of the fire permeates my nostrils. Almost in chorus, the eight or so men in the room exhale deeply as they too battle with the heat. I'm in a sauna perched atop a wooden pier in the middle of the sea. But aside from its postcard-perfect situation, there's something else that's unusual about this particular hot box. You see, I'm stark naked, as is the stranger to my immediate left and right.
Best Nude Beaches in Sweden
We undress the Swedish nudity myth - Radio Sweden | Sveriges Radio
Well, if you look at the very limited research that has been done you'll soon find that Swedes may be more prudish than you originally would have thought. A survey from last year by the travelling agency Expedia showed that another Scandinavian country tops the topless league. The Danes actually ranks five places ahead of us when it comes to being topless. According to the survey, four in ten Danish women have left their top in their bags and gone topless instead, whereas just over two in ten Swedish women have done the same. A different study by travelling agency Skyscanner, even found that Swedes were less tolerant of women being topless than most other nationalities, ranking behind both Italians, Spaniards and Americans. And t he constitutional right of public access also makes it very difficult to say just how many nudist beaches there are in Sweden.
And the health benefits of the Swedish sauna are much talked about. But for foreign visitors, who might not be used to baring all in front of other people, the whole thing can feel a little… awkward. So: is it okay to wear swimming gear in a traditional Swedish sauna? Not having clothes sticking to your skin just makes the whole sauna experience a bit more comfortable, and some purists even consider it unhygienic to bring swimwear into the sauna.
Never would I think of even taking off my shirt in a public, or semi-public place. In fact, when I first stopped at the baths in Budapest , it took everything I had to shimmy my swimsuit bottom off while strategically keep my towel from covering up the rest of me. I was not ready to take anything off. Getting naked in Sweden?