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The Northern Lights in winter. The midnight sun in summer. Hiking and biking all year. Dogsleds and snowmobiles when the snow is here, riverboats and canoes in the summertime. Alta is the perfect playground… and you can play without the crowds!
Alta lies at the inner reaches of the Altafjord, right on the water, but far from the coast. A small city of around 20,000 residents, Alta is nonetheless the biggest town to the east of Tromsø in the vast northern county of Troms & Finnmark. Although located far above the arctic circle, Alta is fairly easy to reach by air or by road. The climate is cool in summer and cold in the winter, with useful snow usually present between December and April.
24-hour daylight from May to the end of August (and the midnight sun from late May to the end of July) creates the perfect environment to be active at any hour of the day.
When do the locals sleep? Winter!
Ok, that’s a joke, but for many people here the summer season is definitely a time when it is easy to stay up later and sleep less. When you visit here, you get to discover your own natural rhythm. Everyone reacts differently.
“Normal” daytime hours are great for tours and activities, and if you find yourself awake at “nighttime” then it’s great to just be out in nature.
Explore Alta Canyon by guided tour, on foot or even on a dog-cart day trip! Take canoes or riverboats along the Alta River and see this beautiful area right at water level. Mountain bikes or just your feet are ideal for exploring the nearby terrain. And there are unique museums, UNESCO World Heritage sites and Sami culture to explore at a slower pace.
Winter is our peak season, with a wide array of things to do. Seeing the northern lights is a high priority for many, and we have better conditions than many places to the south, north and west of us. There are also snowmobiles for fast travel, dogsleds for slower and quieter trails, and snowshoes and skis to let nature surround you as you explore.
Alta has a selection of hotels in city center that make an excellent base for exploring in all directions. There are also camping-style cabins, apartments and larger wilderness accommodation for groups or families. For an extra treat, there are several different “adventure overnights” – heated domes or tents (in the forest or on a husky farm), and a large hotel made entirely of ice every winter.
Did we also mention that there are even more unique and fascinating accommodation choices within a couple of hours or less from Alta? We did now! Handmade rustic cabins, seaside houses away from everything, high-standard cabins at a nearby ski resort… and more!
The one constant you will find when it comes to nature, activities and services in Alta, is the small-town, intimate feel. No giant crowds, just you and a handful of others exploring at the right pace.
For a video overview on Alta and why travelers should come here, take a look at this video from our YouTube channel!