Alta, Norway

Get to know what it’s like to visit this destination.

Getting To Know Alta – Cruise Port Guide


Not many times would you visit Norway on a cruise in the depths of winter, but when you do, Alta is the place to be. That’s because it is way beyond the Arctic Circle and between November and March, it’s the best time to come here to be in with a chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis, better known as The Northern Lights. Our Alta cruise port guide is the only tool you need to plan the perfect day (and night) ashore.

Be prepared to layer up as temperatures plummet below freezing, but you’ll be warmed through if you catch a glimpse of the Aurora dancing and dazzling across the night’s sky. No one can guarantee you are going to see them, so be patient and understanding that this is Mother Nature at her finest.

Daytime activities to enjoy including the chance to take a husky dog sledge ride across a winter wonderland scene, visit the famous Igloo Hotel, and meet the indigenous Sami people, known for their custodianship of the native reindeer.

Travel Tips

The currency in Norway is the Norwegian Krone. Norway has a reputation as one of the most expensive countries in Europe and the average price of a standard cup of coffee is around £3/$4. Budget accordingly if you plan to dine out each day, as meals are roughly around 110kr per person (£11/$13 per person).

Alta town centre has a large, enclosed shopping precinct and a few restaurants and most cruise lines will operate a shuttle service to take you from the port area on the outskirts into the centre. The main attraction in the heart of town is the Northern Lights Cathedral, designed to resemble the Aurora Borealis. Just outside town are the famous Rock Carvings of Alta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is an open-air museum of over 6000 carvings dating to pre-history around 4200BC for the oldest. If visiting in winter the carvings are usually covered in snow, however the museum and interpretation centre are open to learn more about the area.

Most activities will run in extremely cold temperatures outdoors, so make sure you wrap up warm and pack extra layers. It is advisable to take sturdy walking boots with plenty of grip and you may even want to invest in attachable crampons to deal with icy conditions.

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon, so if you pay to head out with experts to go in search of them, go with an open mind that you may only catch a fleeting glimpse or maybe not even at all.

Key highlights of Alta

  • The Northern Lights
  • Igloo Hotel
  • Husky Dog Sledging
  • Reindeer Sledging
Gran Canaria Port

Regular cruise line visitors

  • Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines
  • Silversea
  • P&O Cruises
  • SAGA Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Viking Ocean 



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