Überfahrt über den Königssee

The lake cows of the Königssee

An 'Almabtrieb' by boat

The lake cows of the Königssee

An 'Almabtrieb' by boat

``Almabtrieb`` at the Königssee

It is perhaps the most impressive way of concluding the alpine summer as a farmer: an "Almabtrieb" by boat!

The farmers from Rennerlehen, Mooslehen and Grafenlehen have had mountain rights on Lake Königssee, the Salet and the Obersee, since time immemorial. The alpine pastures on the southern banks of Lake Königssee are so idyllic, precisely because they are so difficult to access. Steep rocky banks border the narrow valley; there are no paths along the banks of the fjord-like lake; and the paths over the mountains are too long and difficult. The easiest route for humans and animals is, therefore, across the water. Via the Königssee.

The easiest route for humans and animals is across the water.

When the alpine farmers bring their animals back from the lush, herb-rich meadows of the Salet after around one hundred days, it means a long and exciting day for family members, for the alpine herdsmen and women, and for the visitors, who come along to witness the spectacle.

Geschmückte Kuh

On the final morning, the alpine farmers assemble their cows on the bank of Lake Königsee and then board the traditional, wooden transporter boats – the so-called Landauer – with them.

Joyous greetings sound across the lake from the alpine farmers.

Many years, as they pass the pilgrim church of St Bartholomä, the sun reflects in the lake, illuminating the surrounding trees in their most vibrant autumnal colours. In other years, a more mysterious atmosphere reigns as the boats suddenly appear from the mist after an hour-long transfer, and can be made out from the northern banks, and the first joyous greetings sound across the lake from the alpine farmers.

Überfahrt vor St. Bartholomä

During the journey, the farmers don their festive attire. Even the animals are decorated. But not until the boat trip has been completed and they are back on solid ground. And only if the alpine summer has been a happy one; without any misfortune happening to the animals on the alpine pasture or the farmer's family.

Magnificently decorated the cows then return to their barns on the farm.

The cows are crowned with an elaborate Fuikl. These magnificent headdresses are crowns that, from 24th August, Bartholomew's Day, the alpine farmers bind together from fir or spruce branches and then decorate with brightly coloured roses made of twigs. This craft requires a lot of patience, dexterity and, depending on the size of the Fuikl, up to 30 hours' work.

Accompanied by music, and under the gaze of hundreds of onlookers, the cows then return to their barns on the farm. The animals can then enjoy a little peace on this extraordinary day. Meanwhile, the alpine farmers celebrate with a wonderful party with all of those who have helped. After all, the alpine summer has now come to a happy end!

Geschückte Kuh
address: Seestraße, 83471 Schönau am Königssee