Arctic Adventures: Best Alta Norway Hotels From Fabulous to Budget (2024)

Alta is the first biggish town in the northernmost county of Norway, Finnmark. This small town is mostly famous for being a salmon fishing paradise, with the infamous Alta River loved by salmon fishers from around the world. But what about Alta Norway hotels and accommodation options?

There are lots of things to do and really nice places to stay in Alta. I just visited a few weeks ago, stayed in the city center, had a wonderful dinner in town, and hiked to the Komsatoppen mini-mountain, which you can reach on foot from the city. Prepare for infinite views of the fjords from the top!

In the summer, from around May, the days never end here, and you can have wonderful experiences under the midnight sun. And in the winter, the sun does not show its face for two months!

I will share some really cool things to do in Alta with you at the end of this article. But first, let me tell you about the best places to stay!

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Best Places To Stay In Alta From A Native

The fjords of Alta on a bright late winter day with bright sunlight over the dark blue water of the fjord, mellom snow capped mountains in the distance, and floating transparent clouds in the blue sky
The Fjords of Alta – Photo credit Irene Stjern

When I recently visited Alta, I really wanted to stay at the famous Sorrisniva Ice Hotel, which is a bit outside the city. Unfortunately I was a bit late in the season, as in May, even up here the temperatures are not fit for ice hotels.

I have included this epic place here regardless, as it has an incredible number of great reviews, as well as my hotel and a few more really good Alta Norway hotels for you in this small northern town.

📍 Quick facts about Norway:

  • Population 5 million
  • Capital city: Oslo
  • North Cape: northernmost point in Norway & Europe
  • Language: Norwegian (most people speak English)
  • Currency: Norwegian Krone (currency calculator)
  • Coastline: 62000 miles
  • Has territory in the Arctic region
  • Midnight Sun in summer and Northern Lights in winter

Top-Rated Alta Norway Hotels (And One Tent)

Alta Norway hotels: A fireplace inside the ice hotel - made entirely of ice, with ice chairs covered with raindeer furs in front of the fire, the room glowing in a misty atmosphere.
Fireplace in Sorrisniva Ice Hotel in Winter – Photo credit Irene Stjern

1. Unique: Sorrisniva Arctic Wilderness Lodge & Ice Hotel

Let’s just start with the spectacular Sorrisniva Arctic Wilderness Lodge, which is home to the famous ice hotel that is open during the winter season.

This is by far the most breathtaking place to stay in Alta, a unique location situated by the Gammelbollo River, about 20 minutes from the center of Alta. You probably want a rental car for a stay here (learn from my mistakes), as it is tricky with public buses.

Breakfast is included, and you have two restaurants, a spa, the ice hotel in the winter season (you can stay in a “normal” hotel room, too), a bar, free parking, and wifi.

The hotel building is lying low in the surrounding terrain next to a lazy river and is stunning during all seasons. Outside the hotel, you can enjoy tours and activities in the immediate area in summer and winter.

Spectacular bedroom in the ice hotel in Alta, where you can sleep on an ice bed in an ice-castle lookalike bedroom.
A spectacular ice bed in the Sorrisniva Ice Hotel – photo credit Irene Stjern

What about going reindeer sledding combined with the Sami culture experience, northern light hunts, e-bike rental, hiking, riverboat trips, horseback riding, or snowshoeing?

You can even learn ice sculpturing here, which is probably a one-of-a-kind experience that is only possible in a few places in the world.

2. Rustic: Bjørnfjell Mountain Lodge

A bond fire outside Alta in Finnmark Norway, with the mountains in the background.
A warming bonfire outside Alta

Another place slightly outside Alta worth mentioning is the Bjørnfjell Mountain Lodge, which will give you a wonderful rustic stay in the middle of the incredible nature in the Alta region.

This lodge is about 20 minutes from Alta Center as well, situated in the Arctic forest. Norwegians do love their cabins, and the more remote, the better! This Arctic lodge will give you the cabin-life experience, although in a comfy setting with all the amenities you need for a wonderful stay.

The wooden lodge offers super-cozy rooms with delicate interiors and modern amenities, as well as a hot tub, sauna, breakfast included, bike rental, restaurant, and dining area.

The main lodge has traditional features while being super modern, and has a wonderful atmosphere that is only steps from perfect hiking, biking, and skiing adventures!

3. High-End: Thon Hotel Alta

In the center of Alta, you will find the Thon Hotel, a modern city hotel co-located with a shopping center right next to the bus station.

Thon Hotel has a charming and chic interior, with colors resembling the northern lights throughout the hotel, and there is a cozy in-house restaurant and a fitness center.

At Thon Hotel, you will also have wifi, a mini bar, private bathrooms, a buffet breakfast included, and an a la carte menu in the Brasserie Restaurant in the evening if you don’t want to go out to explore.

If you want to do something other than stay in town, the staff will help you arrange popular Alta activities like snowmobile and dog sledding trips!

4. Budget: Canyon Hotel Alta Center

The minimalistic rooms at Canyon hotel in Alta, with dark calming colors and wide comfy beds.

In Alta Town, a super budget option that is also trendy and modern is the Canyon Hotel, situated along the main street just two minutes from the iconic town cathedral.

This is where I stayed as a solo traveler in May 2024. I had a great time, and it is also a good hotel for couples, families, or friends traveling together.

The rooms here are modern and also cozy, held in toned-down earth colors. Breakfast is included, and the quality and selection for breakfast were really good.

The charing in-house restaurant in Canyon Hotel in Alta, with wooden furniture and details, green plants and a modern atmoshere with light details in the ceiling.
The charming restaurant at the Canyon

There is also an in-house restaurant for lunch and dinner, and restaurants, bars, and shops in the city are never more than five minutes away (Alta is not a big city!).

5. Arctic Camping: Glød Aurora Canvas Dome

I also have to mention this unique place to stay a couple of miles outside Alta town center, an Arctic version of glamping in an incredible place called Glød Aurora Canvas Dome.

This is a unique tent camp where you have free parking, a bathroom, a buffet breakfast, and dinner some days of the week. There is also a sauna to enjoy, lots if hiking and biking opportunities, but the most remarkable feature is the actual tents.

The accommodation is like a modern apartment inside a tent, with comfy beds, ovens, and see-through areas (well, windows) of the tent dome so you can enjoy the midnight sun or northern lights from under the duvet!

Things to do in Alta

Beautiful ice sculpture outside Alta Ice Hotel at night, with figures and hearts with colorful lighting in greens, blues, and red shades
Ice sculpture outside Alta Ice Hotel

Although this small town is mostly famous for being a salmon fishing paradise with the Alta River, you also find incredible polar nature experiences in Alta.

Alta is a small town with a small town center. You would probably need a day or two to experience the town itself, and if you are looking for things to do in town, there are a few good options.

The further north you get, the darker it gets in the winter, and on the flip side, the longer and lighter the summer nights get with the midnight sun. This opts for amazing but very different experiences in the summer versus the winter.

For each latitude you travel north, the Northern Lights have a better chance of displaying incredible shows in the sky that tend to move even the most stoic among us, which is why Aurora Hunting is a popular thing to do in the winter!

You should definitely see the unique church, the Northern Lights Cathedral, which is far from the traditional architecture you see in most religious buildings in Norway.

It looks more like a futuristic visit than a church, and as its name implies, it is inspired by the floating northern lights you can see up here in the winter polar night.

You might also enjoy a visit to the House of Salmon, depicting the long history and current state of the salmon industry in Norway and Alta.

And even if you don’t stay at the Sorrisniva Ice Hotel, in the winter, you should go up there just to experience this icy piece of art anyways.

Other things that people enjoy visiting in and a little bit outside of Alta are:

If you feel like embarking on a small hike, you can also make the trip up to Komsatoppen, a short uphill hike of about 45 minutes from the town center, and at the top, you will have infinite views of the stunning fjords outside Alta!

8 Top-Rated Tours In Alta

One of the most popular activities in Alta, Norway, is winter dog sledding, Here a crew of dogs pulling a sled and a sled driver in a completely white snowy environment.

Alta is also less than two hours from Kautokeino, which is a popular destination defined as the cultural capital of the northern Sami (indigenous people) culture in Norway, and about 90% of its population speaks the Sami language.

In the Arctic region, it can be a really good idea to join an organized tour with skilled guides who take care of everything unless you are very familiar with and comfortable with the polar environment.

If you want to check that out, here are 8 super popular and top-rated adventure tours you can do from Alta:

Where To Eat In Alta

Stakeriet Restaurant in Alta, with a charming interior with warm lighting, wooden floors and bar counter, and people enjoying dinner
Stakeriet Restaurant in Alta

For lunch (and dinner, for that matter), a really nice place is Ericas Mat & Vinbar. I had lunch there, and the venue was charming, the service was really good, and the food was delicious.

When I visited, I had an amazing dinner at Stakeriet Mat & Vinhus, which serves gourmet dinners using local, short traveled produce and has great service. I also had a perfectly fitting glass of white wine on the side.

I also had a nice salmon salad at the Aranya Restaurant inside the Canyon Hotel on the main street, a laid-back place with nice ambiance for lunches.

You also have Sushi Point and Peppes Pizza inside the Amfi shopping mall, as well as Brasserie Alta, with a varied menu and generally high TripAdvisor reviews.

What Is Special About Alta?

Views from the top of Storfjellet mountain on a sunny day with a little bit of clouds, the views are infinite with the fjords in the front, and the snow covered mountain plains stretching into the distance
Storfjellet mountain in Honningsvåg, The North Cape, three hours from Alta

Alta is also a good contestant for amazing northern light sightings, and in the summer, you can hike to the top of Komsatoppen directly from the city center, a 45-minute hike for spectacular fjord views – magic for greeting the sun at midnight.

Like most towns in the north of Norway, the houses here are built to survive the Arctic, not to please the eye!

That said, the ambiance in Alta is warm and inviting despite the cold climate (or maybe because of the climate). As this is just three hours from the North Cape above the Arctic Circle, you will find incredible polar nature experiences in Alta.

Alta is also less than a two-hour drive from Kautokeino which you might have heard of, which is close to the Finnish border.

Kautokeino is considered the cultural capital of the northern Sami (indigenous people) area in Norway, and around 90% of its inhabitants speak the Sami language.

FAQ Alta Norway

Is Alta Worth Visiting

Not if you are someone who loves big city life! That is definitely not what you get in Alta.

However, if you love wild nature and amazing nature experiences, love to travel off the beaten path, would like to experience the midnight sun or the northern lights, go dog sledding, hiking, or a myriad of other incredible outdoor activities in the Arctic – Alta is probably worth visiting for you.

Is Alta A Good Place To See The Northern Lights?

Yes, Alta is a good place to see the northern lights! That said, the northern lights do not always appear when we want them to.

Which is why you can join a northern lights hunting tour, or stay in a cabin outside the town where there is less artificial lighting to disturb the lights in the sky.

Which Is Better For Northern Lights, Alta or Tromsø?

I am going to say that there is not much difference between Alta and Tromsø when it comes to the chance to see the northern lights. Alta is situated almost 300 kilometers (186 miles) northeast of Tromsø and is also further inland than Tromsø.

However, in both destinations, you can travel to areas with little artificial lighting and have really good chances to see the northern lights as long as the atmospheric conditions are good.

How Many Days To Spend In Alta?

If you just want to visit Alta town, you can “do” the town in one day. However, if you want to experience all the activities and adventures Alta and the region can offer, you can be happy in Alta for at least 3-4 days.

Also, you are just three hours away from the North Cape in Alta, and can travel there on a day trip, or as part of a longer road trip and make Alta a stop in your itinerary.

Wrap Up Alta Norway Hotels – Best Places To Stay In Alta

Visiting Alta, you have good options for finding really nice places to stay among the Alta Norway hotels in town and a couple of spectacular places to stay if you don’t mind booking your accommodation a little bit outside the city center.

I hope you have found one that suits you here, and if nature experiences inspire you, Alta is a destination with a lot to offer!

Happy travels, and welcome to the Arctic!

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