Strong men and strong beer: Zell am Ziller in the heart of the Zillertal Valley is famous well beyond the borders of Tirol because of its annual Gauder Fest, a popular spring celebration for which the local brewery even brews a special strong beer.
Held in Zell am Ziller every May, the Gauder Fest is the largest folk festival in Tirol and is famed throughout the region and beyond for its specially brewed Gauder Bock beer and entertainment, including the traditional Gambrinus Rede taking a satirical look back on the past year’s events. The more than 500 year-old festival lasts several days and is even part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. Each year locals and tourists flock to Zell am Ziller to take part in or watch the processions and sporting competitions such as “Ranggeln”, an ancient form of wrestling where young men test their strength and courage. Of course, no good festival would be complete without a specially brewed beer, and the local Zillertal Brauerei takes great pride in brewing the Gauder Bock, a strong beer guaranteed to get people in the party mood.
For the rest of the year, Zell am Ziller towards the end of the Zillertal Valley is the administrative centre of the region and home to several tourism schools teaching youngsters how to welcome guests with the perfect combination of hospitality and professionalism.