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Alpabzüge in the area

With children back at school and the weather getting cooler, the time is approaching for another famous Swiss tradition.

The Alpabzug (also known as the Alpabfahrt or, in French, the Désalpe), refers to the annual journey made by cattle from mountain pastures to lower ground, where they will be spending the winter. Cows adorned with flowers, flags, and, of course, bells are guided through the village by herdsmen dressed in traditional costume, while children lead goats past cheering onlookers.

Joining the crowds to welcome the animals’ arrival is an excellent way to experience an iconic Swiss tradition, not to mention an opportunity to sample local Alpine specialties at various market stalls. Unfortunately a lot of regions have decided to cancel this year’s festivities, but you can still watch the cows coming down the mountains in all their splendour. Here are some of the Alpabzüge which will be taking place near Lucerne.

Entlebucher Alpabfahrt – September 25 – no market or festivities

Viehschau Herbstmarkt, Weggis – September 25

From 9:00 to 17:00 you will be able to see cows dressed up on the village square, accompanied by musical entertainment. From 15:00 the cattle will be making their Heimfahrt (homeward journey) along Luzernerstrasse. Be sure to pop by the Herbstmarkt on Seestrasse, which will be selling local products and Alpine specialities from 9-17:00.

Viktoriagärtli, Engelberg  – September 25

It is unclear whether the cows will have already come down from the mountains or not due to the wet conditions up in the Alps. In any case the autumn market will be taking place from 10-17:00. the Viktoriagärtli in Engelberg will be hosting a market at which approximately thirty vendors will be offering homemade products from the region, including bread, cheese, wine, and wool products.

Lucy Ferguson is a freelance writer/editor and edits the Living in Luzern magazine