Alta is a sprawling settlement amid the surrounding wilderness of the Finnmark region of Northern Norway. Prehistoric rock carvings dating as far back as 4200 BC are its main attraction - there are around 6,000 of the carvings in total, depicting scenes of hunter-gatherers, reindeer herding and fishing, as well as boat building and bear worship. The Alta Museum provides the background story to this important site.
Alta is a quieter alternative to Tromso, but offers a similar choice of excursions. The cliffs of the Nordkapp (North Cape), mainland Europe's northernmost point, are one possibility and can be reached from Alta by cruise ship or self-drive.
Inland, is the Finnmarksvidda, a chilly and lofty plateau where Sami reindeer herders retain their distinctive cultural traditions and live a semi-nomadic way of life dictated by the movement of their herds. Also in the area is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, rebuilt each year and constructed, inside and out, of ice and snow. Ice sculptures decorate the interior and guests sleep in ice suites furnished with reindeer hides.