Alpabzugs, Alpabfahrts, Alp Processions & Cow Parades in Switzerland

Updated for 2018

Cows Alpabzug

Photos by P. Wilders

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Alpabzugs, Alpabfahrts, Alp Processions & Cow Parades in Switzerland

 

 

Alpabzugs

Whatever you want to call them, Alpabzugs, Alpabfahrts, Alp Processions, Désalpes or Cow Parades – the traditional Swiss custom when the cows come down the mountains is a highlight of Autumn in Switzerland. Not only are they colourful, joyful and fun events, but afterwards there is plenty of partying to be had in the villages, often with a cheese or farmers market.

alpabfahrt-appenzell

Photo by Carmen Sirboiu

The farmers are rejoicing in the arrival of their treasured cows and that certainly calls for a celebration with festive food and drink. As the cows approach from the distance you hear the melodious sound of their bells announcing their arrival long before they come into sight. Not only do the herdsmen dress up in traditional clothing but the cows dress up in finery and flowers too. Flowers, ribbons, you name it – these cows are beauitifed to the nines!

Cows Alpabzug Switzerland

If you haven’t been to a cow parade so far, there are plenty taking place in September – so take a look below. Please note that because there is often no exact time for the the cow parades to start, sometimes these details are not given, or are only announced online at the last minute. All information provided is correct to the best of our knowledge but please do check before you set out.

Please see the dates below but please note that some of the links below are only in German. The local tourist offices should have full information and some dates aren’t published until a day or two before.

cow parades in Switzerland

Sedrun: Saturday 6th September 2018

A traditional “Alpabzug” which start at 9.30am from Alp Giuv and passes through the Graubunden villages of Dieni, Rueras, Sedrun, Bugnei, Segnas and Disentis. For more information please see here.

Brigels Alpabzug: 8th September 2018

The “Scargada” Alpabzug with around 600 festival decorated cows takes place in Brigels on 8th September. For more information please see here. 

Flums Dorf: Saturday 15th September 2018

See the cows arrive in their finery in Flums Dorf, which includes a festival and theme attractions, happening between 8:30 to midnight. For more information please see here.

Flimserstein: Saturday 15th September 2018

At 12.30 the cows arrive at Bargis and at 3pm they make their way to Flims via Fidaz. Join them for a traditional country festival that goes on into the night!  For more information please see here.

Klosters / Monbiel: 15th September 2018

Check out Alpabzug festivities in Monbiel near Kloseters from 9am onwards with the alpine parade beginning at 10.30am. For more information please see here.

Urnäsch: 15th September 2018

As well as the Alpabzug there will also be a traditional farmers market with over 50 local stores. Lots on from 9am till 4pm including Säulirennen (pig races!) at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Plenty to entertain the whole family. For more information please see here.

Crans Montana: 16th September 2018

How about at trip to the beautiful town of Crans Montana to watch the Alpine cow parades. Cheese, raclette, music and more. For more information see here.

Entlebuch: 29th September 2018

The Entlebuch events and festivities begin at 10am and continue throughout the day. For full details please visit the website. There is a full Alpabfahrt program that you can download too.

Prattigau Alp Spektakel: 4th & 5th Oct in Küblis, 6th & 7th Oct in Seewis

A collection of events happening around the region, these festivities boasts a host of activities for all ages, steeped in Swiss tradition. For more information please see here.

Elm: 7th October 2018, Cheese Tasting and Alpabfahrt

On 7th October there is a party in the village of Elm with a market, cheese tasting and all the cows get dressed up as if they had just come down the mountain. The cow procession begins at 2.30pm. For more information please see here.

Lenk in Simmental: 13th October 2018

The imposing landscape that lies before this small village of Lenk adds to the alpine festival. Come to see farmers showing off their best cattle and voting for “Miss Cow” 2018. For more information please see here.

Alpabfahrt descent of the cows

Do have fun watching the Alpabzüge and why not try some of the local specialities while you’re there too. Please contact the relevant tourist board or the website for further details before you set out.

Here’s a video of the one in Prättigau you might be interested in viewing:

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