World Heritage Rock Art Centre – Alta Museum is located in the town of Alta in Finnmark, Northern Norway. The museum is in Hjemmeluft, ca 5 km from the town centre. Close to the museum is the largest of the five open-air rock art sites in Alta inscribed on the UNESCO's World Heritage List.

    The museum is open all year round, but the rock carvings are only accessible for visitors during the snow-free season, normally from May to the beginning of October.  In the winter season they are covered with snow. Three small stones with rock carvings are exhibited in the museum.

    The Museum

    The museum opened in 1991. It is responsible for the management, documentation and presentation of the World Heritage rock art in Alta, as well as the more recent history of Alta. Hence, the exhibitions cover a very long period of time and a wide range of themes, such as the rock art of Alta, Sami Pre-historic religion, northern lights, and salmon fishing in the Alta River. 

    Three real rock art boulders are also displayed, one from the World Heritage area in Hjemmeluft, and two from Isnestoften 45 km from the museum in Hjemmeluft. The latter has not been included on the World Heritage List.

    Café and gift shop
    In our café you can purchase cold and hot drinks, as well as waffles and cakes. Our gift shop offers among other things books and magazines, t-shirts, mugs and jewelry.


    The rock carvings in Hjemmeluft

    Hjemmeluft is the largest of the five World Heritage rock art sites in Alta, with more than 3000 carvings over 85 panels. The first rock carvings in Hjemmeluft were discovered by local residents in 1973. Hjemmeluft is the only one of the rock art sites in Alta that has been adapted for visitors with footpaths. The footpaths opened in 1987. The 2.9 km long system of footpaths goes from the museum to the rock carving panels on the westside of the bay, along the beach to the panels on the eastside of the bay. There are several rest areas along the path.

    The rock carvings in the adapted areas cover a long period of time, from around 7000 to 2000 years ago. The carvings were made close to the seashore, but due to the land uplift after the Ice Age, the carvings are found between 26.5 and 8.5 metres above the present sea level. The panels that are the highest up in the landscape are the oldest, and the further down in the landscape, the younger are the panels. Moving from panel to panel, one can quickly see the differences between carvings located at different levels. In Hjemmeluft these chronological variations are the easiest to see on carvings depicting reindeer, elk, and boats.

    Different ways to experience the rock carvings

    There are no information boards along the footpaths, but the museum offers guided tours for groups that book in advance. For individual visitors a detailed guidebook is included in the ticket price. It is also possible to rent an audioguide. In July we offers a daily guided tour for individual visitors, which is not required to book in advance. Please note that groups with more than 10 persons have to pre-book a guide.