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Alta Alta
Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life - Visitnorway.com

The city of Northern Lights

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.

Alta boasts a large assortment of activities - all framed against the brilliant blue light and contrasts which are so distinctive of Finnmark in the middle of winter. Try for example dog sledding or go on a snowmobile safari. The world's first Northern Light observatory was built here at the end of the 19th century and has earned Alta the name The Town of the Northern Lights.

In beautiful nature surroundings by the banks of the Alta river, lies the extraordinary Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, a luxurious hotel where all interior and exterior is made of snow. The hotel opens its door in January each year and melts away again in the spring.

The location of Alta, in the inner reaches of the Alta Fjord, means that municipality is able to offer forests, mountain plateaux and coastal and mountain landscapes. This provides numerous opportunities for anyone interested in the outdoor life and activities such as hiking, biking and fishing. 

In the summer you can visit the protected rock carvings in Hjemmeluft. This group of rock carvings bears the traces of a settlement dating from around 4200 to 500 BC. It constitutes the most important piece of evidence documenting the existence of human activity on the fringes of the Far North in prehistoric times - hence its status as a UNESCO world heritage site. 

Alta has good climatic conditions, with little precipitation, pleasant winters and relatively warm summers. During winter nights, you can often see the northern lights dancing across the skies. The blue season in Alta lasts from November to January, after which the days get gradually longer. May to August have midnight sun and 24 hours of daylight.

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Where to stay

Food and drink

Northern lights forecast

Getting here and around

By plane:
  • Alta Airport has direct connections to Oslo and Tromsø, and several towns and communities in the region.
  • Flight time to Oslo is just over 2 hours. To Tromsø, it's 40 minutes.
By road:
  • All roads are open year round, but some mountain passes may close for short periods in winter.
  • Careful planning is essential when travelling by bus in Finnmark. There are buses connecting most communities in the region, but departures may be infrequent.
  • From Alta to Hammerfest there are 1-3 daily departures, for a travel time of 2.5 hours. To Honningsvåg, there are 1-2 departures per day, and a travel time of 4 hours.
  • Alta to Kirkenes will take 11 hours by bus, and there are 3 weekly departures. To Tromsø from Alta there is one daily bus, which takes 6 to 7 hours.

Alta also offers...

There is no need to wait until you're here to find out what you'd like to do.


Tourist interview series

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