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Sheep transhumance in Schnals

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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 2024:

  • Saturday, 8 June: Departure of up to 2,200 sheep and 300 goats early in the morning between 3 and 6.30 am in Vernagt. Through the Tisen valley, you reach the Similaun hut on the Niederjoch in about 3 1/2 hours. Continue towards the Niedertal pasture and after another 3 hours you will reach the Schäfer hut (2,134 m).
  • Saturday, 8 June: Start is at approx. 5 am in Kurzras. In about 2 1/2 hours, sheep and shepherds reach the Hochjoch. A short break is taken at the Schöne Aussicht refuge before continuing towards the Rofenberg Alm.
  • Sunday, 8 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 am and in Kurzras between 3 and 4 pm.
  • Saturday, 14 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 am and towards 2 pm in Vernagt.
Further information:
Organisateur: Tourism association Schnalstal Valley
Rue: Karthaus 42
Lieu: I-39020 Schnals
Tél.: +39 0473 679 148
Courrier électronique:
  • sa 08. juin 2024
  • di 08. sept. 2024
  • sa 14. sept. 2024
  • Vernagt - Schnals
  • Kurzras - Schnals
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