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Every autumn, cheese is apportioned and cows are decorated

Autumnal events in the Holiday Region Interlaken

From a running event by Lake Brienz to Chästeilet cheese apportioning in the Justistal, it all happens in the Holiday Region Interlaken in the autumn. Enjoy a slice of the finest alpine cheese and watch decorated cattle adorned with jingling bells as they are ceremonially driven down into the valley. As wine is harvested and enjoyed by Lake Thun, runners participating in the Jungfrau Marathon make their way up from Interlaken to the Kleine Scheidegg.

  • Traditional Swiss events, including cattle drives and the Chästeilet

  • Running against a magnificent mountain backdrop in the world’s largest mountain marathon

  • Local wine tasting by Lake Thun

  • Autumn alpine cheese

Sporting and traditional events for autumn

As the weather begins to cool, the autumn features a number of sporting and traditional events. Lower temperatures are ideal for sporting activity in natural surroundings, so the Holiday Region Interlaken stages a series of running events every autumn. Apart from running, events based on culinary pleasure are held in the autumn, the harvest season when the cows come down into the valley along with the finest alpine cheese. The Bernese alpine cheese competition takes place in the Diemtigtal Nature Park while cheese is celebrated at the Thun cheese festival in Bälliz.

 

"Chästeilet" in the Justistal

Käse wird von Älplern auf Holzbrettern aufgetürmt umgeben von Zuschauern

The "Chästeilet" has taken place every September for nearly 300 years. Cheese produced from the milk of 250-plus cows during the alpine summer is apportioned according to a traditional ritual known as the "Chästeilet". The Justistal "Chästeilet" ceremony is thought to be the oldest such event. The apportioning of cheese in the valley starts at 11.00h and goes on into the afternoon; the cattle drives then start at around 14.00h.

 

Cattle drives at Lake Brienz, Saxettal and the Suldtal

Familie läuft im Alpabzug vom Suldtal nach Aeschi

Bönigen on Lake Brienz also holds a "Chästeilet" ceremony to mark the return of the cows from the "Küenzlen-Läger" pasture. Aside from cattle, some 150 goats return to Bönigen from the "Küenzlen-Alpiglen" pasture in September. Come and enjoy alpine cheese freshly made in the mountains – especially if you like fine cheese containing alpine herbs. Another cattle drive for 60 colourfully adorned animals leads from Iseltwald to Goldswil via Bönigen. Even from afar, you will hear the jingling of cow bells proudly worn around the necks of the cattle. In nearby Saxettal the cows, including those of the Feuz family, return from the Innerer Innerberg pasture to Unterseen. From Saxettal, you can walk via the Renggli pass to the Suldtal valley, where decorated animals owned by the Wittwer family take part in a ceremonial cattle drive every September. To mark the occasion, market stalls sell cheese, meat and other regional specialities from 10.00h to around 16.00h.

 

Queen of the Alps: crowning Miss Beatenberg

Mehrere schön geschmückte Kühe zeigen sich an der Viehschau in Beatenberg, die im Herbst stattfindet.

An autumn cattle show takes place in Beatenberg every October. For the event, around 100 cows are washed and brushed and presented at the Wydi car park. A panel of experts then rates the animals and explains the scoring criteria to the spectators. The next generation is already being raised and nurtured: visitors can pet 10 or so calves in an open enclosure. The highlight is the crowning of Miss Beatenberg; there are also awards for Miss Beautiful Udder and Miss Protein. During the event, members and helpers of the Beatenberg Cattle Breeding Association serve delicious food and drinks to guests.

 

Election of Miss Altstadt in Unterseen

Down at the "Bödeli", "Miss Altstadt" is chosen from 100 or more cows at the autumn cattle show on the town hall square of Unterseen. At the same time, farmers from around the region sell alpine cheese and other farm products, including fine "Chäsbrätel", from various market stands.

 

Sampling wine by Lake Thun

Verliebtes Paar geniesst auf einer Sitzbank inmitten der Weinreben einen feinen Tropfen Spiezer Wein.

Around Lake Thun in autumn, the emphasis is on wine as well as cheese. The "Läset Sunntig" event is held every September in Spiez, followed by "Spiez Märit" the next day. Admire the decorated floats of wine casks and listen to the "Trychlern" bell ringers and performances by local musical societies at "Läset Sunntig". After the procession, head for the wine cellar of the Spiez vineyard to sample a fine local "Spiezer" wine.

Fulehung and the Thun folk festival

Der Fuhlehung wird von Kindern durch die Strassen von Thun gejagt

Every autumn, another long-standing tradition takes place at Lake Thun. A court jester known as Fulehung is central to Thun’s "Ausschiesset" folk festival in October. Equipped with a mask, nightstick and a pig’s bladder called a "Söiblattere", Fulehung chases the crowds through the alleyways of Thun while handing out sweets to the kids.

 

Sporting events on Lake Brienz

Läufer laufen entlang des türkisen Brienzersees

See how axes are sharpened and chainsaws are fired up at the Brienz Lumberjack Festival, held by beautiful Lake Brienz. Every September, amateurs and professionals come together to take part in competitions that are all about wood. The sporting activity continues at Lake Brienz in October. On the other side of Brienz, motivated runners embark on the popular Brienzerseelauf in Bönigen – as they have since the autumn of 1957. The race around Lake Brienz is Switzerland’s oldest long-distance running event. The Brienzerseelauf includes various races: a long-distance course, relays, a half marathon, youth event and a "Pfüderi Race" for children. The run starts at Bönigen and passes through Iseltwald to Brienz, Oberried, Niederried, Ringgenberg, Goldswil and Interlaken before heading back to Bönigen. The half marathon starts in Brienz.

 

Flying demonstration on the Axalp

Kampfjets des Schweizer Militärs fliegen in Formation vor einer Felswand

The spectacular Axalp live fire event is the only one of its kind in the world. Every year, the Swiss Air Force stages a flight demonstration on the Axalp-Ebenfluh firing range above Brienz. Air force pilots in Tiger F-5E and F/A-18 Hornet fighters demonstrate their flying skills and accuracy, firing short bursts from their cannons at targets placed on a nearby ridge, the southern slope of the Axalphorn and the northern slope of the Wildgärst. The demonstration also features helicopters like the Cougar and parachute jumps from reconnaissance aircraft. The show concludes with a spectacular display by the Patrouille Suisse aerobatic team.

Jungfrau Marathon amid majestic mountains

Läuferin am Jungfrau-Marathon umgeben von Bergen

Every September, Interlaken hosts the world’s biggest mountain marathon. The race starts at the Höheweg in Höhematte park in front of the famous Grand Hotel Victoria-Jungfrau. With starting places much in demand, the number of entrants is limited. Around half of the 4000 runners invited to complete the sporting challenge are from Switzerland, with the remainder arriving from 50 countries on all five continents. Did you know the event was declared the world’s most beautiful marathon by the "Ultimate Guide to International Marathons"? The Jungfrau Marathon covers the traditional distance of 42.195 km, climbing to the foot of the Jungfrau on the Kleine Scheidegg at a challenging altitude of 1800 m. The course encompasses varied scenery, taking in traditional villages and following rivers with stunning mountains in the background – an unforgettable experience for runners and spectators alike. The build-up to the Jungfrau Marathon starts the day before with the Jungfrau mini-run for children and young people up to 16 years. There is also a "Right to Play Charity Run" on the Friday for beginners, walkers and accompanying persons; some marathon runners also use it as a warm-up for the main event. Handicapped sportspeople take part in the "Jungfrau Pararace", while elite runners compete in the invitation Jungfrau Mile. To fortify themselves for the exertions ahead, a big pasta party is held in the marathon marquee in Höhematte park. The official Jungfrau Marathon starts on the Saturday morning, when temperatures are still pleasantly cool. Want to be there on the start line next time? Check out the Jungfrau Marathon packages.

Did you know?

250

cows at the 300 year old "Chästeilet" in the Justistal

150

goats return to Bönigen in autumn

1800

m altitude difference conquer runners of the Jungfrau Marathon

42.195

km long is the Jungfrau Marathon

1957

the first Brienzerseelauf took place