Alta Museum

Top choice in Western Finnmark

This superb museum is in Hjemmeluft, at the western end of town. It features exhibits and displays on Sami culture, Finnmark military history, the Alta hydroelectric project and the aurora borealis (northern lights). The cliffs around it, a Unesco World Heritage site, are incised with around 6000 late–Stone Age carvings, dating from 6000 to 2000 years ago, and it's these petroglyphs that will live longest in the memory.

As the sea level decreased after the last Ice Age, carvings were made at progressively lower heights. Themes include hunting scenes, fertility symbols, bear, moose, reindeer and crowded boats. The works have been highlighted with red-ochre paint (thought to have been the original colour) and are connected by 3km of boardwalks that start at the main building. Although the museum remains open in winter, many of the carvings may be under snow and the entrance fee is reduced as a result.