If you book or buy something from our website, by using one of our affiliate links, we receive a small commission. However, you will not incur any additional costs. Thank you for supporting our Travel blog.
My home, the Allgäu, is not only known for its breathtaking Alpine scenery but also for its deeply rooted traditions. One of the most fascinating and colourful of these celebrations is the “Viehscheid,” an annual event where decorated cows are driven down from the mountain pastures to mark the beginning of autumn. In this blog article, I would like to introduce you to this tradition.
The Tradition of the Viehscheid in the Allgäu
The cattle drive (another term for Almabtrieb) has a long tradition in the Allgäu. In spring, grazing cattle are driven to the high pastures of the Allgäu Alps, where they spend the summer feasting on lush, herb-rich grass until they are brought down again in autumn. If no harm befalls any animals in the herd during their summer stay in the alpine pastures, they are festively decorated with flowers, ribbons, and bells. On the day of the cattle drive, shepherds who have spent the summer with the animals on the alpine pastures move down into the valley with the decorated herd. There, the cattle are then “divorced” (Viehscheid) and handed over to their respective owners.
Preparations and Festive Atmosphere
Preparations for the Viehscheid begin early in the morning. The cows are adorned with flowers, colourful ribbons, and large bells that produce melodic sounds. Herdsmen don traditional Allgäu costumes and take pride in safely bringing their herds home.
The Spectacle of the Cattle Drive
As the sun rises, locals and tourists gather along the Viehscheid route to witness the spectacle. It is an impressive sight when the cows’ bells ring, and music fills the air as the herds descend into the valley. The vivid colours of traditional costumes and floral decorations create a picturesque backdrop.
Fellowship and Enjoyment
Once the animals have safely arrived in their home villages, the real celebration begins. There is music, dancing, and delicious Allgäu specialities. People gather in festival tents and beer gardens to savor local delicacies such as Käsespätzle, Weißwurst (white sausage), and, of course, beer.
The Viehscheid in the Allgäu is not only a traditional festival, but also an occasion to celebrate and preserve regional culture. Despite the modern lifestyle, this custom remains an important tradition passed down from generation to generation. It offers an opportunity to experience Allgäu hospitality and its close connection to nature. If you are fortunate enough to visit the Allgäu in autumn, you should not miss this colorful spectacle. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
When is the Viehscheid in the Allgäu?
Viehscheid dates in the Allgäu 2023
8. September 2023
- Kranzegg from 9 am
9. Septembr 2023
- Pfronten from 10 am
- Bad Hindelang from 8.30 am
- Oberstdorf from 8.30 am
- Balderschwang from 10 am
- Nesselwang from 10 am
- Oberstaufen from 8.30 am
- Unterjoch from 10 am
- Gunzesried from 9 am
- Zell ab 10 am
- Immenstadt from 9 am
- Pfronten-Röfleuten from 10 am
- Wengen from 10 am
- Hohenschwangau ab 12.30 am
- Viehmarkt Buchung from 9.30 am
- Wertach from 8 am
- Bolsterlang from 8.30 am
- Riezlern from 8.15 am
- Thalkirchdorf from 9 am
- Haslach ab 11 am
- Missen-Wihams from 9.30 am
- Obermeiselstein from 9 am
- Älplerletze from Hahnenkamm
- Haldenwang from 10 am
- Apfeltrang from 10.30 am
- Memhölz from 11 am