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Cattle Descent Parades in the Swiss countryside

We are planning to be in the Wengen area, Lucerne and on the route between Lucerne and Tirano via the Bernina Express September 13-17. I've read about the awesome time when the cattle come down from the mountains for the winter and am trying to find out if we can be in an area when that is going on. So far I've been unable to find any real info on that. Anyone know anything about this?
Many thanks for any help you can offer!

Posted by
31435 posts

Shirley,

I don't know about all the areas you mentioned, but in the Berner Oberland your best bet to see that is probably in Lauterbrunnen (only a short train ride from Wengen). I suspect the actual date this occurs each year may depend on weather and other circumstances, but you could check with local hotels as they may be able to offer more information.

I was fortunate to be in Lauterbrunnen on 27 September on a trip a few years ago, and was able to see one of the "cattle parades" first hand. They can be heard a long time before they can be seen, and the event was a lot of fun. Once they have made the run through town, they gathered in a field at the end of town for a short time, and of course every tourist in town was snapping lots of pictures. Apparently the cow with the largest Bell and most elaborate floral headdress is the top, award winning cow.

Good luck!

Posted by
16883 posts

I'm not sure that you will get info much in advance, but you could ask at the tourist info offices locally in each region, or email them (such as info@lauterbrunnen.ch). This is how Rick words it in the Appenzell chapter: "If you’re here at the right time, you might luck into seeing the festive procession of cows heading up to the high-mountain pastures (Alpfahrt, generally late May-early June) or returning from a summer high in the Alps (Alpabfahrt, generally late Aug-early Sept). Unfortunately, the cows don’t give much advance notice--announcements of the event pop up around town just a few days ahead."

PS This Gimmelwald site suggests flexible timing around Sept. 20.

Posted by
97 posts

Thank you for the guidance... I will check with the TI in the areas when we arrive and hope serendipitous events happen! Would just LOVE to see it!!

Posted by
97 posts

Thank you, Anita! Hope we're there at the right time!

Posted by
12040 posts

It's not Switzerland... but in Oberstdorf, in the Allgäuer Alps of Bavaria, cattle walk to and from their pastures daily through the town. It's not a formal event, more like just the daily commute for some hard-working cows. I don't know why, but there's something I just find very relaxing about the sound of Alpine cow bells ringing through the town.