Located in the northernmost county of Norway (Finnmark), the city of Alta lies in an area with a relatively mild climate. With this winter-themed adventure, you'll meet huskies and reindeer, see UNESCO-protected rock carvings, experience Sami culture, and enjoy snow activities. Easily reachable by plane, the area offers forests, mountain plateaus, and coastal landscapes bathed in distinctive blue light—perfect for star gazing and searching for the Northern Lights.

Highlights

  • Let a pack of huskies carry you through the Arctic's snowy landscape
  • Have lunch with views of the Alta Fjord, then walk through ancient rock carvings
  • Spend a day at an alpine center offering skiing, sledding and ice skating
  • Spend two nights in an ice hotel and luxury 'lavvo' tent

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive to Alta Alta (city center)
Day 2 Dogsledding & Northern Lights Alta (outskirts)
Day 3 Explore Alta Alta (city center)
Day 4 Winter Activities in Alta Alta (city center)
Day 5 Igloo Hotel Experience Alta (outskirts)
Day 6 Reindeer Sled & Sami Experience Alta (city center
Day 7 Depart Norway  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive to Alta

Coastline near Alta on the tip of Northern Norway

Welcome to Alta—nicknamed City of the Northern Lights! 

Alta is the largest town in Norway’s northernmost county and lies in the inner reaches of the Alta Fjord. Once you touch down at Alta's airport, you'll transfer to your hotel in the city center by taking a short 10-minute taxi ride (alternatively, there's also an airport bus). 

Once you're settled in your hotel, head out and wander around town, which is laid out along Norway's northern coast. There are several restaurants to try for dinner, like Alta Bistro, Restaurant Havblikk, Trine og Trasti for local ingredients, and a chic, cozy space called Du Verden Matbar that serves Nothern Norway's traditional dried fish.

Day 2: Dogsledding & Northern Lights

A Northern Lights display near Alta

This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you'll have free time to spend in Alta before you head out on an overnight excursion that combines the area's spectacular wilderness along with a touch of luxury. 

Your private guide will pick you up from Alta's city center and take you to a lodge outside of Alta, where the first priority is a fun dog sled ride through the snowy landscape, surrounded by crisp air and the natural light of winter.

Once you return, you will have time to relax with a hot shower before having dinner in the dining room of the lodge's beautiful, renovated barn. Then, you can join your fellow guests for an after-dinner drink in the cozy common areas, while swapping stories about your recent travels and adventures. Another option is to put on your bathing suit and visit the Jacuzzi and sauna. 

When it’s time for bed, head to your tent or 'lavvo'. These private bungalows are insulated against the winter’s cold, and come with a double bed (with comforters and heated blankets just in case), and a wood-burning stove so you can watch the crackling fire as you curl up in bed. One section of the lavvo has been replaced with a floor-to-top window for views. On clear nights, you can watch the stars, and—if you're lucky—the Northern Lights!

Day 3: Explore Alta

Northern Lights Cathedral

After a night sleeping in your cozy lavvo, you’ll wake up to enjoy breakfast at the lodge before returning back to Alta. The rest of the day is yours to spend in town as you like.

Some suggested activities include (hours during winter months may vary): 

  • World Heritage Rock Art Centre & Alta Museum: With a scenic vantage point overlooking the Alta Fjord, this museum features an open-air rock carving exhibit, historic exhibits, and a café with fjord views for lunch. After your meal, you can walk on pathways arranged around the rock carving area and explore the 2000 to 6200 years old rock carvings that show the life of hunters and fishermen. Guided tours are available.
  • Northern Lights Cathedral: Located in the central part of town, this modern concrete and titanium steel structure, circa 2013, serves as the main parish church for Alta. Step inside the circular design and see why this Northern Lights inspired church is worth a look with its oak furnishings, LED strip lights, and great acoustics showcasing the impressive organ and two church bells. 
  • Tirpitz Museum: This museum is dedicated to the German Navy’s occupation of the Alta area in World War II. The fearsome battleship called Tirpitz was anchored just outside of Alta. Take a tour through the area, learn about the wartime history of Alta and neighboring Kåfjord, and see fascinating artifacts reclaimed from the Tirpitz and the area.
  • Alta Fjord Cruise: This 23-mile (38 km) long fjord stretches from the town of Alta in the south to the islands of Stjernøya and Seiland. Starting at the Alta harbor, you can take an adventure cruise and have a chance to birdwatch, enjoy the coastline, and maybe even see dolphins jumping near the boat. Tours include a guide/captain, a light meal, and proper attire. 

Day 4: Winter Activities in Alta

Cross-country skiing in Norway's Arctic wilderness

After breakfast at your hotel, you will have a free day in the Alta area to enjoy some outdoor activities. Some ideas include:

  • Skiing: Just outside of Alta, you’ll find an alpine center that offers downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, sledding and even ice skating. A café on-site serves hearty food, hot drinks, and lounge areas to warm up and relax before heading out again.
  • Snowshoe Tour: Take a trip into the wilderness using the ancient method of snowshoes (although the shoes themselves are thoroughly modern). You'll feel part of the nature that surrounds you as you tramp along. Keep an eye out for animal tracks from animals like reindeer and moose as you go along.
  • Winter hiking: Alta has extraordinary nature, and winter offers hikes and tours that range from moderate to strenuous in many locations and destinations in the Arctic wilderness. Hikes can be arranged for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
  • Snowmobiling Tour: Snowmobiling is a favorite activity for the area. Join the fun, whether you are experienced or a newbie. With a tutorial, climb aboard your snowmobile and follow the guides along the forest trail. 

Day 5: Igloo Hotel Experience

Cocktails in the ice hotel's lounge

Today, you'll have more time to relax in Alta before you are picked up and transferred to your overnight in the world's northernmost ice hotel, Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel. Since 2000, this hotel uses sustainable materials like natural snow and ice to create a new theme each season with the help of a local team of builders. 

While staying here, you can experience Norway's peaceful nature and relax in a warm atmosphere. There is a lounge area for relaxing and a restaurant that serves local cuisine. (A table is reserved for you when staying the night.)

After dinner, you'll experience the contrast between staying in the cold igloo environment, while your cozy sleeping bag keeps you nice and warm. Long underwear is recommended.

Included in your stay:

  • An extreme cold sleeping bag and pillow suitable for low temperatures 
  • Bathroom towels
  • Time in the morning sauna 
  • Breakfast buffet with local ingredients 
  • Coffee, tea, and drinking water
  • Wifi

Day 6: Reindeer Sled & Sami Experience

Reindeer sledding on a sunny day

After breakfast at Sorrisniva, get ready for a unique all-day experience. A local Sami guide (Sami are the northernmost indigenous people of Europe) will pick you up from the hotel in the late morning and drive you to a beautiful atmosphere in the wilderness. 

Here, you'll embark on a guided reindeer sled tour on a 1.8-mile (3 km) prepared trail. Each sled will be shared by two people pulled by one reindeer. During the tour, you will be dressed in warm clothing (if needed) and have the opportunity to learn about Sami culture. The Sami guide and reindeer herder will lead you through unforgettable events that highlight their past and present culture. 

Towards the end of the sled tour, you will warm up by an open fire in a traditional Sami tent and enjoy hot coffee, traditional cake, and other small snacks. You will lie on your back against reindeer skin, like the Sami did in the old days, and look for the Northern Lights. 

After the tour, you will be transported back to Alta where you'll stay the night.

Day 7: Depart Norway

One of many scenic routes in Norway

After breakfast, head to the airport and catch your departing flight. Although it's time to say goodbye to Norway, the memories from your trip will surely stay with you forever!