Transhumance in Schnals
Region: Meran and environs
The exhausting march of humans and animals over the main ridge of the Alps in the Schnals Valley is a centuries-old tradition celebrated with a big feast still today.
Ever since one can remember in the middle of June, the farmers of Schnals migrate to their pastures in the Venter Valley in the Austrian Ötztal. In this occasion, the around 4,000 animals and their attendants master a long and arduous 2-day march (44 km) over snowfields and steep rocky and icy slopes.
With the sheep transhumance in the middle of September, they return over the main ridge of the Alps and get back to the stables in town. The march in September is not as dangerous as the transhumance in June due to the more pleasant weather conditions; nevertheless, it is worth seeing. The sheep, goats, shepherds and their dogs are received with a big feast in Vernagt and Kurzras.
The so-called transhumance has been added to the National UNESCO list of the Intangible Heritage in Austria. The transhumance in the Schnals Valley, in the Passeier Valley and in Vinschgau is a unique and fascinating event. The tradition is still alive and celebrated without changes just as many centuries ago. The roots of the transhumance in the region even date back to 6,000 years, as the prehistoric research displays.
Appointments transhumance 2019:
- Saturday, 14th September in Vernagt: start at the Niedertal pasture early in the morning, arrival of the flock at the Niederjoch near the Similaun hut (3,019 m) at 8:30 a.m. and between 1 and 2 p.m. in Vernagt. Traditional shepherd’s feast in Vernagt with delicacies of the Schnalstal and live music
- Sunday, 15th September in Kurzras: departure from the Rofenberg pasture early in the morning, arrival of the flock at the Hochjoch near the Schöne Aussicht hut (2,845 m) and in Kurzras between 3 and 4 p.m. Shepherd’s feast in Kurzras from 10 am
Tourist Information Schnalstal
Tel: +39 0473 679148
Photos: © Tourism Board Schnals