The town is named after the Otta river.
Otta has a regional medical clinic.
The first three tiers of Norwegian education are covered by its primary and secondary schools and the high school, Otta Vidaregående Skule.
Situated 110 kilometers North from Lillehammer, it spans the valley floor where Ottadalen branches of Gudbrandsdal and the largely glacial fed, most of its 4000 km^2 watershed being in a very arid region, Otta (river) merges into Gudbrandsdalslågen
North-east lies the massif Rondane, which areas became the first national park in Norway in 1962, and has several mountains over 2,000 metres.
Otta sits at roughly the midway point between Oslo and Trondheim along the (E6)European route E06, and the Rv15 starts here connected to the E6, heading west along Ottadalen and over the mountains to Stryn, along the Nordfjord, finally terminating in Måløy Otta is also an important link on the Dovre Line, since Otta Station is the only station in the valley where every single passing passenger train stops.
Otta as a placename came to be in 1896 when the railroad came to terminate here for a decade and some, until continuing to Dombås in 1912, ultimately being completed all the way to Trondheim in 1922; Before this location was called "Åmot" meaning "rivers against" signifying the meeting of the 2 major rivers. And the focus of activity lay 4–5 km further north where there in the 16-1800's was a copper and iron works, servicing the various mines up in the hills, this is also where the present day church "Sel Kirke" is located; Today the de facto town-church, Otta itself being one of very few towns in Norway, without a central church.
In 1612, it was the site of the Battle of Kringen.
Otta is a largely industrially geared town, having a number of factories; including a windowframing plant, production of a high quality slate, woodmill(40,000M3/a) and a large printing plant. Though it also is well covered in most trades and services.
Otta makes a good base for day/2 day trips into the Rondane National Park massif and northern parts of Jotunheimen Having a Hotel, a number of camping sites, and the so-called "High mountain" hotels located near Mysusæter just on the south egde of the national park.
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