Most local farmers set up stalls by the roadside where visitors can try fresh and new products from their farms – from cheese to meat products.
The Almabtrieb is an annual event in the alpine regions in Europe that takes place in late September or early October. Almabtrieb is a festive parade, where local farmers steer their cow herds down the mountainside.
During summer, all over the alpine regions cattle herds feed on alpine pastures high up in the mountains, a practice known as transhumance. In numbers, these amount to about 500,000 in Austria, 380,000 in Switzerland, and 50,000 in Germany.
While there is often some movement of cattle between the Almen, or Alpen respectively, during the summer, there is usually one concerted cattle drive in the autumn to bring the cattle to their barns down in the valley. If there were no accidents on the Alm during the summer, in many areas the cattle are decorated elaborately, and the cattle drive is celebrated with music, feasts and dance events in the towns and villages. Upon arrival in the valley, joint herds from multiple farmers are sorted in the Viehscheid, and each animal is returned to its owner.
Celebrations commence by 10:30am. The Kufstein Town Brass Band will give a concert at 12:30 pm and there will be great music with traditional dancers and local heritage groups. Artisans display their ancient handicrafts and traditional techniques, which will be sold at Tirolean and Bavarian market stalls. Staples of Tirolean cuisine, such as ‘Kiachl’ and ‘Blattl’, are prepared by farmer’s wives and a lively children’s entertainment program awaits.
“In the fresh air, accompanied by the sounds of traditional music, tourists can enjoy a glass of good quality wine, while locals do their traditional dances. Enjoyment is guaranteed for both old and young”
In many places, this Alpine custom of Almabtrieb has today evolved into a major tourist attraction, with a public festival, and booths set up along the course for selling agricultural, as well as artisans’, products along with alcoholic beverages. In the spring, the reverse cattle drive moves from the valley barns to the Alp. It is celebrated in Switzerland, though less well known. It is not celebrated in Germany and Austria, however.
In addition to being visually attractive and defying clichés, this festival offers a plethora of opportunities. Most local farmers set up stalls by the roadside where visitors can try fresh and new products from their farms – from cheese to meat products. Apart from various festival snacks that can be found there, tourists should try Auszeichnen Noodles, which are not noodles at all, but fried dough stuffed with cheese and herbs.
In the fresh air, accompanied by the sounds of traditional music, tourists can enjoy a glass of good quality wine, while locals do their traditional dances. Enjoyment is guaranteed for both old and young.