Some 20km from Kåfjord, ALTA’s primary claim to fame is the most extensive area of prehistoric rock carvings in northern Europe, which are impressive enough to have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At first blush, however, the view of the town is somewhat less than encouraging. With a population of around 20,000, it comprises a string of unenticing modern settlements that spread along the E6 for several kilometres. The ugliest part is Alta Sentrum, now befuddled by a platoon of soulless concrete blocks. World War II polished off much of the local Sámi culture that used to thrive here, as well as destroying all the old wooden buildings that once clustered together in Alta’s oldest district, Bossekop, where Dutch whalers settled in the seventeenth century.

That being said, the settlement is an excellent place to base oneself in for explorations out to the Finnmark plateau. The area around here gets very green in the summer months, and hiking, canyoning and riverboat safaris are all on offer. In the wintertime, the stable (if very cold) climate allows for plenty of outdoor activities, including dog-sledding, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and chasing the northern lights. Additionally, Europe’s largest dog-sled race, the Finnmarksløpet (wfinnmarkslopet.no), is put on here in mid-March, complemented by a big week-long cultural celebration, the Borealis Winter Festival.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Norway features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Existence at the extremities: a journey through Svalbard, Norway

Existence at the extremities: a journey through Svalbard, Norway

Svalbard is as human as the northern Arctic gets: as far north as you can venture without joining a scientific expedition, and the furthest north mankind has ma…

27 Nov 2017 • Luke Waterson local_activity Special feature
Into the Arctic: the journey of a modern-day adventurer

Into the Arctic: the journey of a modern-day adventurer

Guinness record-breaking adventurer and author Dave Cornthwaite is two months and 1000 miles into his latest self-propelled expedition. He is tackling the fam…

27 Sep 2017 • Rachel Mills local_activity Special feature
The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

The most beautiful country in the world – as voted by you

There's nothing like an amazing view to inspire you to book your next trip, whether you're drawn by rolling countryside, isolated islands or soaring mountain …

30 Aug 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs