1. Spectacular Cow Herds-Down-The-Mountains Festival (“Viehscheid” or “Almabtrieb” in German) throughout September
Every year in spring cow herds are being taken up to the high pastures to feed on the nutritious grass of the Alpine mountains. They stay there all through the summer and are being looked after by a shepherd.
In September of every year, these herds are being led back down to the valley to be returned to their owners in a spectacular event with hundreds of cows all driven down to the valley together. To celebrate a successful summer without accident or lost animals, the cow(s) are being decorated elaborately and often there are competitions for the best decoration. This event is also celebrated with local music, dance events and beer tents in every town and village.
2. Old-fashioned Cattle Market in the village of Buching (5km from Schwangau / Neuschwanstein) end September
At the end of September Schwangau’s neighbouring village Buching/ Halblech organizes the traditional cattle market. Like in the old days, farmers negotiate prices and agree with a handshake.
Music accompanies the decorated cattle as it enters the market square around 9.30am in the morning. Different to cattle markets elsewhere, all cattle in Buching will be decorated and you will also find market stands with souvenirs and local produce.
3. Alphorn Mass on mountain “Breitenberg” (12km from Schwangau) end September
More than 100 Alphorn musicians will be playing at a special service on top of mountain Breitenberg by Pfronten towards the end of September (26.9. in 2010). To see this special event take the Breitenberg cable car and be there in time for the start at 10am.
4. St Colomans Horse Festival in Schwangau & Other horse processions mid October to end of November
Every second Sunday in October Schwangau celebrates a breath-taking event: the St. Colomans Festival. In honour of St. Coloman, an Irish missionary, more than 200 beautifully decorated horses are being ridden from the mayor’s house to St. Coloman’s church to hold an outdoor church service. Following the service and according to old tradition, the horse parade circles the church 3 times in a wide circle before everyone begins the celebrations in several beer tents and outdoor areas specially organized for this day.
There are at least 10 more similar horse processions all through the months of October to November in different villages in the Neuschwanstein area.
5. “St. Nikolaus and Crampus” Event in Fussen – early December
On December 6, Germans celebrate “St. Nikolaus” who comes to hand out sweets to children who have been good and send the “Crampus” (a version of the devil) to punish the children who misbehaved.
In the historic town of Fussen you will find groups of people dressed up as Crampus running around town with bells and sticks to “scare” all those who might have misbehaved during the year.
From end November to the 23rd of December you will find beautiful Christmas markets in towns and villages all around Neuschwanstein Castle. Germans decorate their houses and the atmosphere becomes magical.