The Sami are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe, and the attractions on the Norwegian tundra all reflect Sami history, heritage and life today. No wonder, as nine out of 10 people here are Sami. Go dog sledding or skiing on the rugged Finnmark plain, camp in a traditional lavvu (Sami tent), or get a glimpse of reindeer husbandry. At winter nights, wonder at the northern lights dancing above your head.
The town of Karasjok, with its recognised Sami institutions and living Sami culture, is the Sami capital with almost 3,000 inhabitants… and some 60,000 reindeer. At The Sápmi Culture Park you can experience the Sami way of life. Here you can try Sami cuisine by the open fire, hear the traditional songs (the «joik», one of Europe’s oldest surviving music traditions), and meet Sami people in colourful local costumes. The town also host the Sami parliament, shaped as a lavvu.
Even though Karasjok is Sami Norway's indisputable capital, the neighbouring municipality, Kautokeino, have more Sami residents.
Most people here have Sami as their first language, and the area is officially bilingual. Nomadic reindeer herders have lived here for hundreds of years, and the traditional lifestyle is still very much alive.
Go in spring to see the Sami Easter festival, or in summer to see the wildlife and thousands of fishing ponds and lakes, and the midnight sun. A little way out into the countryside with a prime view of the town you will find Juhls Silvergallery - an eye-catching building where you can buy traditional Sami silver and more modern designs.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that mushing is popular both as a sport and a means to get around in the Land of the sami. If you come in winter, you should definitely try to experience a dogsled race or join an expedition. The beautiful, wild nature surroundings comes as part of the bargain.
There is no need to wait until you´re here to find out what you´d like to do.
Northern Norway is by far the largest and most sparsely populated part of mainland Norway, and covers more than a third of the country. It stretches from the idyllic Helgeland region in the south, to mainland Europe’s northernmost point, near the North Cape.
Alta is the largest town in Norway’s northernmost county, and an area with a relatively mild climate in the otherwise cold north. Here you can experience Sami culture up close and UNESCO-protected rock carvings.