This country farm girl could not wrap her head around the attraction of a cow parade. Oh, I love ’em, I went to cow parades growing up, for sure. I was a 4-H girl, granddaughter of a dairy farmer, had a horse, 5 acres… but what was this attraction in Europe of a cow parade? Attracting thousands of tourists a year, Mayrhofen, Austria is world-renowned for their Almabtrieb (we Americans lovingly call this event “the cows coming home.”)
I was totally not prepared for the spectacular of this “shin-dig” taking place in this little town in Austria celebrating the Alpine milking season. Who knew? The bigger the bell the better the milk producer ~ way to go Bessie!
A few years ago, my friend Sybille took me on a day trip to Bregenz, Austria where we learned all about the Alpine dairy production and cheese making at the Alpine Kase Bregenzerwald – or the cheese strasse, (street) so I wasn’t completely in the dark. This really cool tour took us through the entire farming and production process. I highly recommend a visit to this area of Austria.
Our lovely B&B – Gästehaus Oblasser
We booked our stay at the Gästehaus Oblasser just on the outskirts of town and it was idyllic and completely Austrian. Owners Maria and Andreas run this family-friendly B&B in the Mayrhofen valley. Their attention to detail, gorgeous furnishings, wonderful breakfast, and helpfulness has me looking forward to another visit. Their tagline is “Urlaub mit Freundin.” (Vacation/Holiday with friends) That’s exactly how we left too with promises of a 2018 visit.
As soon as we arrived Maria had several sheets of information for us that included all the weekend events, concerts, and fun happenings throughout the town. She must have anticipated my excitement for my first visit here.
Traveling with pets?
We bumped into my friend Betsey (from Stuttgart) at the parade and they were staying at a pet-friendly hotel in Mayrhofen, Hotel Amadeus (Teckel Hotel.) She raved about how they doted on her puppy, making it very easy to travel throughout the region with their fur-baby. These pictures are from her stay ~
Town of Mayrhofen
The little town of Mayrhofen comes alive in September and October every year for this annual celebration. From parades to live concerts for several weeks it is a booming part of tourism for this town. Nestled in the Zillertal valley it’s a perfect location for summer and winter vacation.
During the summer Mayrhofen is alive with outdoor recreation and lots to do ~
Bergbahn – Mountain Train
This super fun ride up the mountain is not for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights. We headed up the first portion of this ride and then realized we still had several meters to go ~ have fun. Tickets were about €15/person and took us up to both levels, but the lift closes at 4:30 p.m. in the windy weather.
Hiking – there is so much hiking (wandern) around the Zillertal I was overwhelmed and excited about planning an August 2018 trip here. With a stop over at Maria’s and then hitting the hills, it will make a great mountain challenge. The High Alpine Park in the Zillertal Alps covers about 379km². There are several mountain huts along the way and if you would like to take a guided trail those are offered by the NaturePark.
Para-gliding – we found so many para-gliding offers I was almost tempted – almost… maybe next year. Everyone we saw was in tandem, so that made me feel a little better. This company seemed to have quite a few on the beautifully clear day we went ~ Paragliding – Flugtaxi Mayrhofen . They seem to have summer and winter prices as well.
Winter Sports and Rec
This part of Austria is stunning and I can only imagine what it is like in the winter. As you can see we had snow-capped mountains in early October – although it was a bit chilly at the top of funicular it was still quite pleasant.
Lots of skiing
Touting as the world’s largest ki valley with over 515 km of ski routes, Mayrhofen attracts skiers from all over the world. The entire valley fills up with ski bus routes that are easily labeled in each town. With 25 ski school and almost 500 instructors, they have plenty of opportunities to learn for new skiers or kids. Cross-country ski trails make up about 180km of the over 500 and are rated some of the best groomed in Europe.
Winter Hiking – there are lots of opportunities for winter hiking along the Finsingbach river that runs through the valley of the Zillertal. There are about 400 km in winter hiking trails from easy to difficult and usually have a Tyrolean hut along the way.
Other winter fun – whether you would like to go for a toboggan run, ice skate, carriage rides
With so much activity in this quiet little hamlet of Austria – I would think you would never get bored! Think I found another Austrian favorite ~
Where to eat!
Our first night in Mayrhofen I made reservations at Gasthof Perauer rated one of the best restaurants in the area. We were about 30 minutes early for our reservation but they had a lovely bar where we enjoyed a drink before our table was ready.
It has beautiful historical wood carving interior and authentically decorated with historical carvings from the area. Their patio was big and wrapped around the hotel. It was quite lovely, but I was very glad we had indoor reservations, Austria hasn’t got the memo on smoking yet. The menu wasn’t huge but what we saw passing us looked fantastic so we ordered goulasch soup and Zweibelrostbraten (Beef Roast with onions) and it was GREAT! Our service was fast and attentive and our waitress was very pleasant. Definitely on the keep-list. They also helped us hail a cab because the rain was coming down pretty hard.
On parade day, we found the Erlebnis Sennerei also known as the BIG TENT in Mayrhofen is on the northern end of town – you’ll have to walk outside the town to get to it, but it was only about a kilometer. It’s o.k. because it is right across the street from the “cow pen.” This is the area they bring the decorated cows to chill after the parade. Lots of picture opportunities.
We enjoyed a bite here to while we watched some Austrian dancers too ~
Mo’s – we had wanted to stop in at Mo’s Cafe but unfortunately it was closed on Sunday – maybe next year. But great reviews and it was always busy.
Be prepared for crowds if you visit the Zillertal for this event. I was very grateful that our accommodations were on the outskirts of town as there was a LOT of partying going on well into the night.
As we were getting ready to leave town it seemed the cows were following us saying… don’t leave just yet ~ don’t forget about us! They are all over the valley bringing this girl right back to the farm ~
It’s always an adventure when you ©Travel with Wendy!
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