I'm putting together my itinerary for my first visit to Stockholm & Helsinki. I plan to take the overnight ferry between the two cities, and would like advice on whether one direction is better than another. In his guidebook, Rick mentions how pretty sunset in the Swedish Archipelago can be -- but is it worth arranging my trip around? I assume a morning arrival through the Archipelago is also scenic. Lastly, we will be traveling in July when sunset is around 9:30 pm -- will we still be sailing thru the Archipelago at this time?
You definitely have to do it Stockholm to Helsinki. it is 1000% more scenic! The Archipelago itself is the highlight as the ship navigates around the tiny channels and islands, you can literally wave to people sitting in their backyards. If you do it in the other direction you will sleep through most of it. One of the most memorable travel experience I have ever had.
The scenery is the same in both directions ... it is just that departing from Stockholm you get to enjoy the Stockholm archipelago while you are awake and with the sunset. It will stay light well past 9:30 in July as twilight extends until 11 or so.
Coming from Helsinki to Stockholm, you'll sail into the archipelago in the wee hours of the morning, so you will likely sleep through a good portion of the scenery.
The others are correct. If you can, it is nicer going to Helsinki and seeing the archipelago in the evening. And morning arrival in Helsinki is also gorgeous. But you can still see a lot the other way if you are willing to get up early.