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Transhumance in Schnals

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 milder weather conditions; nevertheless, it is worth seeing. The sheep, goats, shepherds and their dogs are received with a big feast in Vernagt at Vernagt reservoir and Kurzras.

The so-called transhumance has been added to the international UNESCO list of the Intangible Heritage in 2019. The transhumance in the Schnals Valley 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.

Dates sheep transhumance in Schnals 2022:

  • Saturday, 11 June: Departure of the sheep with start in Kurzras and Vernagt.
  • Saturday, 10 September: Return of the sheep to 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 ca. 9 a.m. and towards 2 p.m. in Vernagt.
  • Sunday, 11 September: Return of the sheep to 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) between 11 and 12 a.m. and in Kurzras between 3 and 4 p.m.
Further information:
Organizer: Tourism association Schnalstal Valley
Street: Karthaus 42
Venue: I-39020 Schnals
Tel.: +39 0473 679 148
  • Sa 11. Jun 2022
  • Sa 10. Sep 2022
  • Su 11. Sep 2022
  • Vernagt - Schnals
  • Kurzras - Schnals

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