Engstligenalp, Adelboden

Alpine cattle processions

The spectacular cattle ascents and descents are part of the traditional Alpine festivals. Colourfully decorated, the animals walk on sometimes narrow and steep rock paths.
Gstaad Züglete
© Destination Gstaad - Melanie Uhkoetter

The traditional Züglete procession of local farmers and their cattle through Gstaad is always an experience. In between, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy the concert of the Menuhin Festival at the Kapälli Gstaad and stroll among the many market stalls.

Gstaad Züglete
Emmentaler Alpabfahrt, Destination Bern
© Martin Mägli

Watch the cattle herders and their 850 cattle as they make their way from the Hinterarni Alpine pastures through the villages of Wasen and Mauer before finishing in Sumiswald. The cattle are beautifully groomed, decorated with flowers across their foreheads and carry traditional bells with embroidered belts. They are the pride of the farming families and a delight for the numerous visitors who gather along the way.

Emmental cattle drive
Schafscheid im «Vrenelidorf» Guggisberg, Destination Bern
© Bern Welcome

The Guggisberg “Schafscheid” event, which marks the return of the flocks from their summer pastures, has taken place on the first Thursday of September for more than 350 years. Early in the morning the streets fill with the returning sheep, which are then herded into pens and handed back to their owners. Sheeps wool products such as duvets, jumpers, sheepskins and many other goods are available to buy at the village market that is held throughout the day.

Sheep allocation in “Vreneli’s village”
Alpaufzug Engstligenalp, Adelboden

The impressive Alpine ascent takes place at the end of June, when the cows walk on narrow rock paths up to the Engstligenalp. The Alpabzug procession of cattle back down to the valley is scheduled for early September. On the day of the procession itself, the gondola operates every twenty minutes from 6.10 a.m. onwards.

Alpine cattle ascent and descent Engstligenalp
Alpabfahrt St. Stephan, Lenk
© Patrick Aegerter

In September, more than 100 animals return to the valley. Musical entertainment, market stalls and refreshments are all provided. The annual festival is held on the airfield in St. Stephan.

Alpine cattle descent St. Stephan
Alp Gental
© Claudia Glatthard

An Alpine cattle descent and village festival in one: the return of the cows from the Gental valley is celebrated in Innertkirchen with market stalls, musical entertainment and a children’s programme.

Alp Gental cattle descent

Suldtal cattle drive

Suldtal Aeschi bei Spiez
Alpabzug Suldtal, Ferienregion Interlaken
© Ferienregion Interlaken, Mike Kaufmann

The Suldtal is considered a hidden gem for animal and plant spotting. Well fed after a long summer on the high Alpine pastures, the cows and goats return to the valley groomed and decorated and accompanied by lots of children in traditional dress. Sample a variety of local cheese and meat specialities at the Alpine market and listen to alphorn music as you take in the wonderful atmosphere and setting amid the majestic nature of the Suldtal.

Suldtal cattle drive
Alpabfahrt Rämisgummen, Emmental

40 to 50 animals are expected in the village of Eggiwil. After a short break they continue in the direction of Geissschwand. At the same time, the autumn market of Eggiwil takes place, offering a wide variety of regional products from Emmental.

Alpine cattle descent Rämisgummen