Welcome to Alta, a city located directly under the northern lights oval. Here you can experience winter adventures on powdery snow and the open sea. Maybe even the whales will show up?
Alta is a modern city of 20,000 people found in a secluded and protected pine-clad valley at 70 degrees north, surrounded by arctic tundra and mountains. Found directly under the northern lights oval, Alta enjoys a stable inland climate with plenty of clear skies that allow aurora to appear most nights. In fact, the first modern studies of the northern lights started here.
In the Snow Hotel, a warm sleeping bag keeps you comfortable, but conventional hotels are also plentiful. Getting to Alta is easier than you might think.
Specialised northern lights chasers go much further, either to the arctic coast or to the vast, largely empty Finnmark plateau in the south by bus, thus increasing their chances to see the lights.
Last year, orcas and humpback whales showed up in the Altafjorden fjord to feed on herring. They will probably return this winter season too, around November, December, and January, and if so, whale safaris are on offer.
Alta’s cuisine is influenced by its multi-ethnic heritage, with both Sami and Finnish elements. The famous Alta salmon, game from the Finnmark plateau, reindeer and fish from lakes and fjords are prominent on the menus.
Find more inspiration on Northern Norway’s official website.
The NorwayLights app provides the best prediction for when to see the northern lights in the area.
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 Hammerfest to Alta there are 1–3 daily departures, and the travel time is 2.5 hours. From Honningsvåg, there are 1–2 daily departures, and the travel time is 4 hours.
Kirkenes to Alta will take 11 hours by bus, and there are 3 weekly departures. From Tromsø to Alta there is one daily bus, which takes 6 to 7 hours. Find more information on travelling by bus to Northern Norway.
Alta Airport has direct connections to Oslo, Tromsø and several towns and communities in the region.
From Oslo, the flight time is just over 2 hours. From Tromsø, the flight time is 40 minutes.
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