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Table of Contents
- Finland and Sweden - Nordic Neighbours
- From Finland to Sweden by a Ferry
- Helsinki to Stockholm Route
- Turku to Stockholm Route
- Naantali to Kapelskär Route
- Vaasa to Umeå Route
- Comparison of Ferry Routes
- Ferry Ticket Price
- Ports in Finland
- Ports in Sweden
- Are the Ferries Safe?
- Stopover at the Åland Islands
- Why Are Ferries the Best Travel Method?
- Bottom Line
Finland and Sweden - Nordic Neighbours
Finland and Sweden are Nordic neighbours. Both the countries are members of European Union and Schengen and these two Nordic countries also share a common history. This is the reason why the political and cultural environment in Finland and Sweden are similar.
Finland and Sweden have a border on the sea and on the land. The capital of Finland, Helsinki is located in the Southern Finland while Stockholm, Sweden's capital is located in the the Eastern part of the country. The distance between the capitals is only 496 kilometres but a ferry or a plane are the only feasible ways to travel between the cities. The Gulf of Finland lies between Sweden and Finland and there is land border only in the north.
Ferry to Sweden
Ferry routes from Finland to Sweden start from Helsinki, Turku, Naantali and Oulu. The route from Oulu to Umeå is the shortest, then comes the route from Turku / Naantali to Stockholm / Kapelskär and the route from Helsinki to Stockholm is the longest. Ferries from Finland to Sweden may be slightly cheaper than the similar connections back.
Ferry to Finland
Ferry routes from Sweden start from Stockholm, Kapelskär and Umeå. From Stockholm, it is possible to travel to Helsinki ans Turku, from Kapelskär to Naantali and from Umeå to Oulu. There are also ferries from Sweden to Tallinn, Estonia.
From Finland to Sweden by a Ferry
Taking a ferry is the most comfortable and a recommended way to travel from Finland to Sweden. If you do not like crusing there are other transportation methods too.
Helsinki to Stockholm Route
There are two companies serving the route from Helsinki to Stockholm. Both the companies have two huge ferries that can accommodate almost 3,000 passengers and in addition, a lot of cargo. The oneway journey time between Helsinki and Stockholm is about 18 hours.
Tallink Silja operates two ferries from Helsinki to Stockholm: M/S Serenade and M/S Symphony which are copies of the each other. Even though the ferries have already been built in 1990, they are still modern since they have been renovated multiple times.
The ferries can carry many cars and a lot of cargo. Still, they are more like cruise ships offering entertaining services, a variety of cabins to sleep, bars, cafes and restaurants including one that caters a morning and dinner buffet. You can do tax-free shopping or try an authentic Finnish sauna and spa. The boats have also big floating discos and some people prefer partying the whole night.
Normally on the route between Stockholm and Helsinki, the ticket price includes a private cabin with your own bathroom.
Tallink Silja ferries depart every day at 5pm from the both ends and will arrive to the destination next morning about 10am. In Helsinki, Tallink Silja uses the central South Harbour but in Stockholm you need to take a metro from Värtan Harbour to the city centre.
In Stockholm, a metro ride from Gärdet station to T-Centralen is only a few stops.
Viking Line operates anymore only one ferry between Helsinki and Stockholm: M/S Gabriella. The ferry is a little smaller than Tallink's ferries but still comfortable. It offers the same services as Tallink Silja's ferries but premises are a little smaller.
Viking Line's ferry depart almost at the same time as Tallink's ferries but only on every second day. In Helsinki, Viking Line uses the South Harbour like Tallink Silja does but in Stockholm, Viking Line has a more central harbour called Stadtsgården.
A cabin with you own bathroom is included to the price. See our story about a cruise from Helsinki to Stockholm by Viking Line.
Coming back from Stockholm to Helsinki
Naturally, the ferries leaving from Finland to Sweden are coming back from Sweden to Finland using the same route. However, the pricing may differ. The ferries from Sweden are usually priced in Swedish Crowns and the price level may be more expensive. We recommend that you travel from Helsinki to Stockholm, not vice versa.
The cheapest option is to have a 2-way cruise. That means, you travel to a destination and come back immediately or during the same day.
Turku to Stockholm Route
The best ferries between Sweden and Finland depart from Turku. Turku is a small town located 160 kilometres from Helsinki but Turku Harbour can be reached directly by a train from Helsinki in 2 hours.
Because the journey time from Turku to Stockholm is less than 10 hours, it is possible to have a day trip without a cabin. Travelling without your own cabin reduces the ticket price.
Check VR for train tickets to the Turku Harbour.
M/S Baltic Princess by Tallink Silja started operating in 2008. The ferry is modern and it can accommodate about 2200 passengers and many cars. The ferry is smaller but offers better quality than the ferries between Helsinki and Stockholm.
M/S Galaxy is just like M/S Baltic Princess. The ferry is a few years older.
These ferries depart every morning and evening from Turku and Stockholm. The journey time is less than 10 hours. Both of them have a really strict turnaround time so you need to leave the ferry fast after arriving to the destination.
Undeniably, M/S Viking Grace is the most modern ferry between Finland and Sweden. It started operating in 2013. This ferry is also more environmental-friendly because it operates with natural gas.
The ferry is big having a capacity of 2,980 passengers. Travelling by M/S Grace feels like being in a luxury floating hotel with many entertainment services.
M/S Amorella is the oldest ferry on the route Turku-Stockholm. A reason to choose this ferry could be the price or the schedule. It will soon be replaced with a brand new M/S Viking Glory.
M/S Viking Grace and M/S Amorella have together two departures from Turku and Stockholm every day. The journey time is less than 10 hours.
Naantali to Kapelskär Route
There is a ferry traversing between Naantali and Kapelskär. Naantali is 15 kilometres from Turku and Kapelskär is 89 kilometres from the Stockholm centre. Because you need to take a taxi or a bus to reach these distant harbours, we can't recommend having this route. However, the route may be more inexpensive and a good option if you take your own car with.
Finnlines carries mainly cargo but there are passengers cabins on their ferries. M/S Finnswan travelling between Naantali and Kapelskär has a capacity of 500 passengers. Even though the ferry has been built in 2007, it is still more like a cargo ship. The cruising experience is not at the same level as on Viking Line's and Tallink Silja's ferries.
You can board this ferry only with a car. No walking passengers allowed.
Vaasa to Umeå Route
Travellers visiting Finland's Western coast may wish to take a cruise from Vaasa, Finland to Umeå, Sweden. That is the most practical way to cross the Gulf of Finland from Finland to Sweden. The journey is short, taking only less than 4 hours.
M/S Aurora Bothnia is a brand new small ferry. It has been built in Finland and the capacity is 800 passengers. The ferry offers a comfortable and fast ride from Vaasa, Finland to Umeå in Sweden.
Comparison of Ferry Routes
|Route||Companies||Journey Time||Daily Departures|
|Helsinki - Stockholm||Viking Line
|Turku - Stockholm||Viking Line
|Naantali - Kapelskär||Finnlines||8 hours||One|
|Vaasa - Umeå||Wasaline||4 hours||One|
Ferry Ticket Price
The ferries are inexpensive. The route from Helsinki to Stockholm is more expensive than the route from Turku to Stockholm. Also, weekend departures are more expensive than weekdays.
On weekdays oneway ticket from Helsinki to Stockholm costs about 60 euros per a cabin and during weekends much more. A cabin can normally accommodate 4 persons. From Turku to Stockholm prices are more affordable. Especially, morning departures may be inexpensive.
While booking a 2-way cruise, you may find find great offers. The term cruise means that you must come back immediately or spend one day at the destination.
Compare prices on Direct Ferries.
Finnish and Swedish residents have a good understanding what is a good price for a ferry cruise. If you follow markets intensively, you may get a great bargain.
Foreigners and travellers should compare prices. We recommend you to compare prices on Direct Ferries. By a single search, you get all prices. For example, we are using this services while looking for ferry connections in foreign countries. There are so many different options so comparing them manually would take a lot of time.
How to Book a Ferry?
For easier booking, follow our simple checklist:
- Compare prices on Direct Ferries.
- Choose the most suitable connection.
- Include extras, like a buffet. Paying services separately on the ferry costs usually more.
- Decide if you need a cancellation cover.
- Double check all the details CAREFULLY before the payment.
Ports in Finland
South Harbour in Helsinki
The South Harbour is in the centre just a short walk or a tram ride from the central station. Viking Line and Tallink Silja uses this harbour. However, the companies have their terminals opposite each other so be ready to head to the right side of the harbour.
There is only one passenger harbour in Turku. It can be reached within 30 minutes by walking from the centre or by a bus. There is also a train connection from Helsinki and Tampere to the Turku Harbour. In Turku, there are no commuter trains inside the city.
The city of Naantali has 20,000 inhabitants and its harbour is located 15 kilometres from Turku. There is no passenger train connection to the harbour but you can take a bus from Turku. Arriving by your own car is easy.
Vaasa Harbour is located 4 kilometres from Vaasa centre. There is a bus connection from the centre to the harbour 1 hour before the ship's departure. Taking a taxi is also possible.
Ports in Sweden
Värtan Harbour in Stockholm
Värtan Harbour is a few kilometres from the Stockholm's Centre. The easiest way to reach the centre is to walk 10 minutes to Gärdet metro station and have a metro ride to T-Centralen. Metro in Sweden is called Tunnelbanan.
Stadgården Harbour in Stockholm
Stadtgården Harbour is in Stockolm's centre. However, to reach the old town and the shopping area, you need to walk 20 to 30 minutes. Taking a bus is also possible.
Umeå Harbour is 15 kilometres from Umeå centre. There is a bus connection about 1½ hours before the ferry departure. No train connection available.
Are the Ferries Safe?
Ferries are safe. They have a good operational history and there is almost no weather they can't operate. High winds, storms or ice isn't any issue. In extreme weather conditions, expect a small delay because the ferries may need to slow down a little. Even though the ferries are safe, you may get seasick during storms.
All transportation methods include risks. We recommend always to get familiar with the safety instructions after boarding a ferry.
Stopover at the Åland Islands
The Åland Islands or simply Åland is an autonomous area belonging to Finland. Almost all the ferries from Finland to Sweden stop there. While cargo is being unloaded during the stop in Åland, ferries have the right to sell tax-free products onboard.
You may have a stopover in the Åland islands. In that case, it is possible to continue to Sweden from Mariehamn, Långnäs and Eckerö. Eckerö Lines operates a route to Grisslehamn, Sweden; Finnlines, Viking Line and Tallink Silja to Kapelskär and to Stockholm.
Why Are Ferries the Best Travel Method?
Passengers travelling from Finland to Sweden and vice versa are often departing from the Southern Finland or from the Stockholm area in Eastern Sweden. Driving the route would become extremely long because there is a land connection between Finland and Sweden only in the north. Basically, taking a ferry or a flight are the only reasonable options to travel between the areas near the capitals.
Flying between Helsinki and Stockholm is fast and inexpensive but not the smoothest option. Stockholm Arlanda Airport is located far from the city centre. The most comfortable way to travel between Finland and Sweden is to take a passenger ferry from a city centre to another. Harbours are near the centres and the journey time varies between 10 and 18 hours. Luckily, the ferries are really comfortable so spending a day or a night on a boat isn't any issue. You may even feel like taking a luxury cruise.
If you still prefer flying, take Finnair's flight from Helsinki to Stockholm Bromma Airport which is much better located than Arlanda Airport.
During your journey in the North, we recommend you to visit first Tallinn and then Finland and Stockholm. Having a ferry between these cities is the most comfortable way to travel. You will also save hotel costs while sleeping in a ferry.
See also our article how to book a ferry between Tallinn and Helsinki. We have also written a stopover guide what to do in Helsinki. While flying from Helsinki to Stockholm is the fastest option, we recommend you to book a ferry instead as your schedule allows. Especially during a summer, the archipelago is extremely beautiful.
Have you taken a ferry from Finland to Sweden? Comment below!
Buy tickets with delicious Nordic buffets onboard on Direct Ferries.
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Tips For Your Next Journey...
Book hotels from a reliable booking site
It is wise to book hotels on a reliable booking site. We recommend European booking.com that has good booking conditions, excellent customer service and offers the best prices.
Ensure your booking payments refundable
While there is always a risk that flights can be cancelled anytime by airlines, you should ensure your booking payments to be refundable in case of such cancellation. We use a reliable payment card which gives additional security and savings while travelling and so we recommend you getting your own Curve Card.
Don´t miss unforgettable activities and tours
Whether you are travelling near or far, make your trips more memorable by attending organized activities and tours. On GetYourGuide, you will easily find after sought sight seeings and tours at your destination.