The climate is something in between a coastal and inland climate. In winter the temperature is rarely below minus 25 °C, while in the summer rarely over 25 °C.
The highest mountains in Alta are located on the western side of the fjord. The highest of all is Store Haldde by the Kåfjord (1149 m above sea level). There are many mountain peaks over 900 m, even on the islands of Seiland (1079 m) and Stjernøya (914 m). The mountains on the eastern side of the fjord are not as high, rarely 700 m above sea level, and to the southeast the landscape flattens out towards the Finnmarksvidda mountain plateau.
The Alta valley is a fertile oasis with many agricultural properties. The mighty Alta river forms a natural midpoint. This wonderful river is regarded as one of the best in the world for salmon fishing. The chances of landing a salmon weighing 10 kg or more are high. Every year, salmon weighing close to 25 kg are caught here.
A modern town
Alta is the commercial and educational centre of Finnmark and North Troms. It features an upper secondary school and university and a modern town centre with shops, cafés, hotels and a shopping centre.
The new Northern Lights Cathedral is situated in downtown Alta and the Alta Museum, featuring rock art inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is in the western part of town. Alta is one of the few places on earth with two inscriptions on the World Heritage List. The other is Struve’s Geodetic Arc, one of the survey triangulations astronomer Fredrich G. W. von Struve used to calculate the shape and size of the earth in a project that spanned from 1816-1855. The site of the geodetic arc is the mountain peak Lille Raipas near Alta.
Polar Night and Midnight Sun
Alta is situated approx. 400 km north of the Arctic Circle. Consequently, we can enjoy the Midnight Sun and the Polar Night. In Alta, this means that we have the Midnight Sun from 16 May to 26 July. The Polar Night, the period when the sun does not rise above horizon, stretches from 25 November to 17 January. There is a party in Alta when the first pink rays hit the spire of Alta Church in mid-January.
Alta is considered one of the best places in the world to experience the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Click here to read more about why. The Northern Lights dance across the sky when it’s clear (cloudless sky), and under optimal conditions may be seen here from late August to mid-April. However, October until late March is considered the main season for experiencing this wonderful natural phenomenon.
Welcome to the Town of the Northern Lights – Alta!