Dreaming of a winter wonderland adventure? Alta is the perfect place for you! Nestled at the tip of the Alta Fjord, the picturesque city of Alta sits along Norway's northern coast. It holds the distinction of being the second northernmost city in the world, second only to Longyearbyen in Svalbard.
Experience a taste of Arctic living by visiting the beautiful, snow-covered Norwegian city of Alta. Soak in the awe-inspiring views of Alta Canyon, gliding along the Alta River and even meeting the local Sami people and their reindeer! We’ll guide you through our favorite things to do in Alta, so you don’t miss out on any amazing experiences during your time in this stunning city.
How to Get to Alta, Norway
Alta is located in the very north of Norway, above the Arctic Circle. To get to Alta from the Norwegian capital of Oslo, which is in the south of the country, you’ll need to take a 2-hour flight.
Alta is around a 5 hour and 45 minutes drive from the city of Tromso in Northern Norway. You can also fly from Tromso, which takes 40 minutes.
Our Favorite 10 Things to Do in Alta, Norway
Wondering how to make the most of your time in Alta during your Norway vacation? Take a look through our list of top 10 activities and things to do in Alta for some travel inspiration!
1. Marvel at the Alta Rock Carvings
Did you know that there are over 6,000 UNESCO-listed rock paintings and engravings in Alta
? You may have heard of ‘Alta stone place’, which is actually referring to the World Heritage Rock Art Centre
at Alta Museum. Here, you can visit the largest collection of rock art created by hunter-gatherers in Northern Europe
Dating back 7,000 years ago, these astonishing rock carvings provide a unique insight into what life was like, how people survived and the myths and stories that were told at the time. You can see these rock carvings at any time of the year and can learn all about their history with an audio guide, or a human guide if you prefer.
2. Witness the Magical Northern Lights Over Alta
Located above the Arctic Circle, Alta is one of the best places in the world to view the Northern Lights
. You can see this spectacular light show dancing across the sky in Alta during the polar nights (24 hours of darkness) in winter
. We recommend checking the Norway Northern Lights forecast for Alta
before setting out to see what the likelihood is of spotting the aurora that particular day.
You might like to head a little out of town to the Arctic coast. Or even travel a little further south to the remote Finnmark plateau for your Northern Lights hunting adventure. Wherever you are in Alta or the surrounding region, you’ll have a great chance of viewing this natural wonder for yourself.
These gorgeous aurorae actually inspired the spectacular architecture of the Northern Lights Cathedral in Alta, which is well worth a visit. That’s two unmissable things to do in Alta for the price of one!
3. Tour or Stay in the World’s Northernmost Igloo Hotel
Always dreamt of staying in an ice hotel? Make your dream come true by staying in the amazing Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
, which actually melts away in spring! The Alta igloo hotel is open from the end of December to the start of April
. It is built each year using snow and ice from the Alta valley, featuring a unique theme for every season
Completely made of ice, this Alta igloo hotel contains igloo suites, an ice chapel and a whole range of beautiful ice sculptures. As well as staying over for a night or two, you can enjoy a drink from an ice glass in the ice bar. Or book a guided tour to learn more about the construction of this incredible Alta igloo hotel.
4. Go Dogsledding at Finnmarksvidda
The expansive, white plains of Norway's biggest plateau, Finnmarksvidda, make this the perfect place for a dogsledding adventure. Huskies will carry you across the snow, where you can visit reindeer herds and stay in mountain cabins along the way.
You can choose whether you want to experience a simple day of dogsledding in Finnmarksvidda
, or a several-day-long adventure. These trips are available in winter, whereas in summer, you can go hiking with the huskies or take a walk with the puppies – cute!
5. Get Close to Nature By Exploring Alta Canyon
Europe’s biggest canyon, Alta Canyon, is a must-see during your time in Alta. For keen hikers, one of the essential things to do in Alta is to take a hike around this impressive canyon, exploring the lush, green forests, clear water and majestic mountains.
You can also explore Alta Canyon by bike or take a guided tour. The northern end of Alta Canyon is open and relatively easy to access. However, you’ll need to be with a guide if you wish to visit the dam in the Alta River at the southern end of the canyon.
6. Take a Boat Tour of the Famous Alta River
Another brilliant way of exploring Alta Canyon is taking a boat tour along the beautiful Alta River that flows through it. Between the start of June and the end of August, you can enjoy a peaceful riverboat experience as you glide along the water, soaking in the breathtakingly beautiful natural scenery.
You’ll learn all about the history of the river, the famous salmon fishing season, and maybe even spot some golden eagles along the way during your Alta riverboat tour
. Make sure to dress in warm clothing to protect yourself from the breeze on the river, then sit back, relax and enjoy the journey!
7. Go Skiing Under Arctic Light in Alta, Norway
If skiing is your thing, Alta is the place to be. At SarvesAlta Alpine Resort
, you can enjoy an amazing skiing experience overlooking the stunning Alta Fjord. This family-friendly winter park caters for all levels and ages.
You might also like to try snowboarding here, enjoying the unique Arctic light during Alta’s winter season. From the top of the slopes, you’ll be treated to an awe-inspiring view of the snow-covered valley below.
8. Sample Locally-Sourced Delicacies at Alta’s Restaurants
There’s no shortage of luxurious restaurants to choose from in Alta. Dine at the iconic Lavvu Restaurant
, which replicates the authentic Sami tent design and uses locally sourced ingredients from the surrounding tundra and farms
. You may also wish to sample the delicious cuisine on offer at Trasti and Trine
, where the menu varies by season and the bakery is open all year round!
We also recommend the beautiful Maku Restaurant
, right on the banks of the Alta River. Enjoy a fine dining Arctic Norway experience for dinner between 17:00 and 20:00 – just make sure to reserve a table in advance.
9. Watch the Spectacular Midnight Sun
If you’re visiting Alta during the summer months, you’ll experience the true Midnight Sun. As Alta is located to the north of the Arctic Circle, this unique town experiences 24 hours of daylight during summer. That means you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of Alta at midnight and beyond.
You might like to take a Midnight Sun cruise
to soak in the beauty of the fiery sun blazing above the water all through the night. Don’t forget your camera to capture this magical view!
10. Experience Sami Culture in Alta
Learn all about Sami culture, including traditional dress, houses and lifestyle with Sami Siida
. You can meet Sami people and their reindeer, take a sledding trip with the reindeer, and sit by the fire enjoying traditional Sami legends and stories.
You can also enjoy some Siida cake and listen to the yoik: traditional songs sung by the Sami people. One of the most incredible things to do in Alta, this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity lets you experience Sami culture firsthand from the Sami people.
Get Packing for Alta, Norway!
Inspired to take your trip to Alta as soon as possible? Can we come too? Get set for your very own Alta adventure by booking your accommodation and renting your vehicle in Norway well ahead of time.
We recommend traveling by campervan in Norway
for the ultimate ease, flexibility and convenience during your trip, allowing you to travel to Norway’s remote and hidden treasures, taking your home with you as you go.
Alta is calling – let’s hit the road and start the adventure!