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Tucked away in one of Norway’s northernmost fjords, Alta is surrounded by towering mountains and lit up on clear nights by the magnificent Northern Lights. This small coastal town is the largest settlement in the Finnmark region, and a vibrant, interesting community with plenty to offer its visitors. With national parks, UNESCO heritage sites and a wide range of attractions close by, you won't need to stray far from your cruise ship to experience Norway at its best.
With its unique location so far north, some of the most popular attractions in Alta focus on adventures in the snow – although there are plenty of summertime and indoor activities here too. The town is relatively small, making it easy to get around, and without travelling too far there is a host of cultural and natural sights to enjoy. When your cruise ship docks at the port of Alta, here are some things you might want to try:
Northern Lights Huskies
One of the most traditional forms of transport in Arctic countries, husky sledding is still a popular activity in colder climes – although it’s rarely used as a reliable form of transport any more. Try your hand at running a sled, learning the commands and getting to know the dogs that pull them. If you’re lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the Northern Lights during your adventure across the snow.
The Alta Canyon is the largest natural crevice in northern Europe, and there’s always plenty to do here year-round. River rafting, trekking and mountain biking tours leave from the town centre, and it’s a beautiful spot to capture photographs of your trip to Norway.
One of the world’s most unique rock carving sites is located here at Alta. It’s a UNESCO heritage site, with beautiful carvings that date back nearly 6500 years. The site is surrounded by twisting trails that are great for an afternoon stroll, and the museum and cafe nearby make this a great place to relax and learn about the region's ancient history.
Shopping in Alta is a unique experience, because unlike most cities and towns it has hardly any shops located on its main streets. The location of the town means that for much of the year it’s covered in snow – so shopping, along with restaurants and local entertainment, are all indoor affairs.
There are two shopping centres in Alta, one of which is the largest in Norway, and both of them are within walking distance of the port. They contain a variety of recognisable high street stores, but you’ll also find some artisan shops and high-end boutiques here too.
Alta has an excellent reputation for outstanding cuisine, with a particular focus on freshly caught seafood. Not far from the town is the Hildurs Urterarium at Tilrem, an outdoor herbarium where herbs and fresh produce are cultivated and sold to the local market.
A particular speciality is the king crab, one of the largest crustaceans in the ocean. They were only introduced to the Norwegian coastline in the late 1970s, but they’re now a popular delicacy with locals and tourists alike.
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