Updated for 2019
Photos by P. Wilders
Alpabzugs, Alpabfahrts, Alp Processions & Cow Parades in Switzerland
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.
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!
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.
Urnäsch: 14th September 2019
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.
Klosters / Monbiel: 14th September 2019
Check out Alpabzug festivities in Monbiel near Klosters from 9am onwards with the alpine parade beginning at 10.30am. For more information please see here.
Wassen 14th September 2019
Enjoy the colourful alpine decent and festival in Wassen. There will be a craft market, an open-air cheese dairy as well as folk music, alphorn playing and traditional flag waving. Find out more here.
Scargada in Breil / Brigels – 14th September 2019
From 10.30 on Saturday the 14th of September, around 600 cows will arrive in the at the Romanesque “Scargada” valley. If the weather is good the festival will take place outside at Plaun Rueun and if not, there will be a small marquee. Find out more here.
Nünenen Apabfahrt Riggisberg: 14th September 2019
From 11.30 clock around 400 cows will descend into Riggisberg and there will be a small market offer and Alphorn playing on the village square in Riggisberg. Find out more here.
Lauterbrunnen : 17th September 2019
The cows descend around Lauterbrunen at approximately 11.30 and there will be fun and festivities in the village for all the family. See here.
Ennetbürgen Alpabfahrt: 21st September 2019
Flums Dorf: Saturday 21st September 2019
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 21st September 2019
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.
Engelberg: 28th September 2019
The first of the cows will be descending the alpine pastures at arriving at the Viktoriagärtli in Engelber at about 11:30 a.m. Local farmers will have stalls all around the square offering regional produce. The Alpine procession take place between 10am and 2om and the market at the Viktoriagärtli is from 10am till 5pm. For more information see here.
Entlebuch: 28th September 2019
The Entlebuch festivities begin early in the morning and continue throughout the day. For full details please visit the website.
Moosbühlen – Hasliberg: 28th September 2019
The Moosbühlen Cow Parade takes place in Hasliberg-Reuti on 28th September from 11am. Find out more here.
Elm: 6th October 2019, Cheese Tasting and Alpabfahrt
On 6th 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.
Photos of Elm Alpine Parade
We visited the Elm Alpabfahrt last year. Take a look at more photos by Carmen Sirboiu here.
Prättigau Alp Festival 5th & 6th October 2019
Taking place on 5th and 6th October in Prättigau, the alpine spectacle is a great event. For more details see here.
Here’s a video of the one in Prättigau you might be interested in viewing:
Lenk in Simmental: Saturday 12th October 2019
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. For more information please see here.
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.
Carmen specialises in doing LinkedIn photos as well family and pet portraits.
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