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Summer traditions in Tirol 2015

23rd April 2015 Print
Almabtrieb Festival Soll (c) TVB Wilder Kaiser

Long-standing traditions and customs continue to play a significant role in many towns and villages across the Tirol region during the summer months. Enhanced by regional variations and interpretations, there is a strong sense of keeping hold of these traditions and maintaining the special celebrations for future generations. Here we take a look at the most important customs celebrated month by month during the summer in the Austrian Tirol.

Mayday celebrations kick off summer, when the decorated Maypole is the centre of celebration in every Tirolean village. Friendly rivalary takes place and the story goes that neighbouring villages try to steal or chopping down the Maypole and hold it for ransom during the night, in exchange for a few barrels of beer. Stripped of its bark, the traditional Maypole climbing is a slippery challenge, but essential for man and boy in order to impress the ladies down below. Although in 2012 in Zirl, it was a 7 year-old girl who made it to the top before all the men!

Austria’s largest spring and folklore festival, the Gauderfest, takes place on the first weekend in May in Zell am Ziller. Bringing together 500 years of tradition, the event offers musical entertainment, sporting competitions, food markets and a large festive folklore procession. A big part of the event is the unveiling of the Zillertal beer, specially-brewed for the festival, with the Governor of Tirol officially tapping the barrel. The Tourism Office Zell-Gerlos ( offers 3 nights B&B accommodation from €170 per person (£127), including band entrance. Flights not included. Departs from 30th April - 3rd May 2015.

At summer solstice in June the ancient tradition of lighting mountain fires is still strong in the Alps. This celebrated custom of lighting Sacred Heart fires began as a reminder of the oath Tirol made to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1796 to protect them against invading French troops. There is widespread regional variation with the interpretation of this custom. In St Johann in the Kitzbühel Alps, solstice fires are lit to intensify the power of the sun and to keep evil away from man and livestock. One of the most impressive areas is the Zugspitzarena, where there are about 8000 fires depicting various symbols illuminating the mountain peaks around the Zugspitze, Wetterstein- and Ammergebirge, Lechtaler Alps and Mieminger Kette. In March 2010 UNESCO included Ehrwald’s Mountain Fire on the Intangible Cultural Heritage List in Austria.

Stay at the family-run 4* Romantik Hotel Spielmann ( in Ehrwald, with prices starting from €87 (£62) per person per night on half board. Flights from London Gatwick to Innsbruck. For further information:

July/August – ‚Dorffest‘ Village Festivals

Almost every hamlet, village or town across the Tirol region has its own version of a Dorffest or village festival during July and August. It doesn’t get more traditional than this as the Dirndls, lederhosen, brass bands, oom-pah music and, of course, the beer starts flowing. Some of the most popular ones include Seefeld (25.07.15), Mayrhofen (31.07.15), Kitzbühel (01.08.15) and in the Wildschönau Valley (06.08.15). There are countless other festivals taking place throughout the summer, from the foodie-themed Strudelfest in Seefeld or the Dumpling Festival in Hall to flower themed parades in Kirchberg.

Head to Kitzbühel at the begining of August as the cobbled streets of the medieval resort centre sets the scene for a summer night party. On almost every corner music fills the air, with stalls lining the streets as locals and visitors mingle together. Stay at the 4* Hotel Tiefenbrunner in Kitzbühel ( at the heart of the action, with prices starting from €83 (£59) per person per night on B&B. Flights with from London Gatwick to Innsbruck.

September – Almabtrieb Festivals

This is one of the biggest cultural events across the whole Tirol region, where the tradition of bringing the cattle home after a long summer is celebrated in the farming villages. Over 40 cattle drives take place in Tirol from early September through mid-October. The cattle are elaboratley decorated with wreaths of flowers and bells and paraded down by the herdsmen, dairy maids and cheese-makers. The distant distinctive sound of the cowbells grows as the herds get closer and the villagers get ready to welcome them. This long-standing tradition continues with entertainment, brass bands, lots of dancing and authentic entertainment. Time to dust off the lederhosen and dirndl’s as the party goes on long after the cows have come home!

One of the most popular Alambtrieb festivals takes place in Söll in the Wilder Kaiser region on Saturday 19th September 2015. Depart on Friday 18th for a 4 night break, with prices starting from €440 (£314) per person on half board staying at the Hotel Hexenalm & Hexenblick in Söll ( ). Flights with from London Gatwick to Innsbruck.

For more information on the Tirol region or keep updated at or @VisitTirol on twitter

More Photos - Click to Enlarge

Almabtrieb Festival Soll (c) TVB Wilder Kaiser Almabtrieb Festival Soll (c) TVB Wilder Kaiser Ehrwald Mountain Fires (c) Zugspitz Arena Gauderfest (c) Marktgemeinde Zell am Ziller Kitzbuhel (credit Kitzbuhel Tourist Office)