When The Cows Come Down From The Mountains

Some of the mountain villages and towns in the Tyrol region of Austria have started to announce their Almabtrieb dates and festivals.

For those who have never heard of the Almabtrieb, it is a late-summer celebration of the end of a season spent high in the mountains.

Cows and other animals are driven up to the mountain pastures once the snows disappear at the start of the summer.

They are accompanied by herdsmen and -women, who look after the animals when they are grazing on the high-altitude slopes.

The Almabtrieb – when the animals descend to the valley again – generally takes place around the end of September/beginning of October.

In many places it is cause for great celebration, with the cows especially decorated with floral headdresses and other ornaments and led by the herdsmen and -women in a procession through the village.

Almabtrieb – History & Customs

Cows are decorated for the festival
© Tirol Werbung | Norbert Freudenthaler

Two Tyrolean summer resorts have already announced their plans for the Almabtrieb festival.

Mayrhofen Almabtrieb

The traditional Almabtrieb will take place in Mayrhofen on Saturday, 05 October 2019, In addition to the extensive festive programme with culinary delights, traditional music and local products, visitors will also find an arts and crafts market and a parade of traditional customs.

Traditional Almabtrieb

The first decorated cows are expected in Mayrhofen at about 13.00. The individual farmers come from the different side valleys of Mayrhofen, such as the Zillergrund, Stilluptal and Tuxertal and also from Ginzling, as well as from Schwendberg. Many of the local farmers will accompany their lovingly decorated cows during the “passage” and the festival can view the procession close at hand.

NEW – Arts and Crafts Market

This year, craftsmen and artists will be presenting handicrafts from various fields at Josef-Riedl-Platz, such as forging, embroidery, carving, knitting and handicrafts, pottery, and much more. There will also be a parade of traditional customs accompanied by the local young farmers, music band, Schuhplattler dance group and horse-drawn carriages.

There is an entrance fee of €7,00 for visitors who do not have a Mayrhofen-Hippach guest card.

More information: www.mayrhofen.at

Söll Almabtrieb

The 40th Almabtrieb in Söll on 21 September 2019 will be a feast for all the senses.

The local farmers will drive their cows – which have been decorated to mark a successful summer – down into the valley. The return of the animals is traditionally celebrated with the sounds of the local bands and choirs when the cattle arrive at noon in the Tyrolean village of Söll near the Wilder Kaiser.

The Almabtrieb festival in Söll
The Almabtrieb procession in Söll
© Tirol Werbung | Peter von Felbert

In addition to original craft stalls, the festivities will also feature plenty of home cooking, including delicacies such as doughnuts, kiachl, alpine cheese, farmhouse bacon and homemade bread.

Smaller visitors can enjoy themselves on carriage rides, children’s make-up and on a bouncy castle. The cattle walk through the village to the local stables until 15.30. Entrance to the festival is free.

More information: www.wilderkaiser.info