The Transhumance festival of Muhlbach-sur-Munster is the most important transhumance festival in the Vosges. It celebrates the downward transhumance, i.e. the time when cows come down from the alpine pastures after the summer, to spend winter in the plains. Muhlbach is located in the Valley of Munster, a pretty valley south of Colmar in Alsace.
The program of this popular festival involves cows (go figure!), traditional costumes, folk music, cheese from the Valley of Munster, crafts… Booths are set up in a part of the village.
I went to spend the morning at the transhumance festival. What was my program? To start with, a pretzel for breakfast and then I went to have a look at the booths. That’s where I learnt that the shapes of cow bells vary depending on the region. The one you can see on the picture below is typical from the Vosges, for example. I also discovered the work of an artisan shoe maker from the area. Finally, I drooled in front of the good cheeses of the region sold by farmers and I listened to a group playing the Alphorn. Just superb!
It was then time to see the cows arrive. Only one herd was scheduled for that morning, as the others were due for the afternoon. There were not so many cows and it was quite quick, but it was still nice to see.
To finish off my morning, I savored a wood-oven baked Flammenkuche. It was also possible to try the famous marcaire meal, which is traditionally served in farmhouse inns. I really recommend it if you have never tried it, but do not plan to do anything else in the afternoon, as it’s quite heavy!
The festival goes on the whole afternoon and evening, but I could not stay the whole day. The afternoon must be quite fun, as it’s when most herds arrive. It was a nice morning between friends!
- A nice popular festival
- Booths for crafts and good local products
- Perfect to dive in the culture and traditions of the Valley of Munster
- It’s possible to come by public transport
I liked a little less
- The festival happens in different parts of the town and it’s a bit too spaced out. It’s not a long distance to walk, but it’s a shame not to have one main center for the festival
- There is no shuttle to meet the herds and come down with them
My pictures of the Transhumance festival of Muhlbach-sur-Munster
The Transhumance festival is free.
Date and program
You will find here all the information about transhumances in the Valley of Munster.
Muhlbach-sur-Munster is located:
- 24 km from Colmar (about 40 minutes drive)
- 63 km from Mulhouse (about 1h05 drive)
- 98 km from Strasbourg (about 1h30 drive)
By public transport
TER trains on the line Colmar-Metzeral stop exceptionally on the day of the transhumance festival in the train station of Muhlbach-sur-Munster. You will arrive right at the heart of the festival!