Florian Karg: Im Sommer ist er Alphirte auf der Plättele Alp und im Winter Opernsänger
A big stage

All summer long, Allgäu’s Florian Karg works and lives as a herdsman in the mountains near Hindelang. With no electricity or hot water. In the winter months, he returns to the stage as an opera singer

Shepherd and opera singer Florian Karg

Natural landscapes as far as the eye can see, or a sold-out concert hall? Florian Karg can choose! In the summer, he works as an alpine cowherd in the Allgäu. During the winter break, he earns applause as a tenor on the stage. A life of two worlds.

Florian Karg spends the alpine summer on the Plättele alpine pasture in the Obertal near Bad Hindelang – together with his family and 122 heifers. Up here, humans and animals live very closely. “I know every single animal personally. Each one has unmistakeable traits and is their own character”, explains Karg.

Humans and animals in harmony on the alpine pasture

The work is hard – but life is simple. The family sleeps in simple mountain huts, featuring only the essentials. There is no electricity, no hot water. They get up at daybreak. They go to bed when the sun goes down. In between, Karg and his four children walks several kilometres, driving the heifers from one pasture to the next – keeping vigilant at all times to ensure that no animal gets lost or injured.

The cattle grazes some 2,000 metres above sea level in high summer. The higher they get, the more species-rich nature becomes: lush green grass, colourful flowers, meadows rich with herbs.

"I cannot live without my mountains“

An eventful journey back to the Allgäu

The free spirit Karg cannot imagine a life without the alpine pastures. But he actually wanted to forge a quite different path through life: He trained to be a carpenter. But he didn’t find it fulfilling enough. After his military service, he wanted to become a zither player. The course was cancelled at short notice.

He made the rapid decision to study classical singing at music college instead. He was a talented opera singer and was well aware of his love of music. Despite this, he was driven back to his home. “I am prone to extreme home-sickness. I cannot live without my mountains, the animals and my family”, says Karg.

Florian Karg: Der Opernsänger kurz vor einer Aufführung der Weihnachtsoper

The alpine landscape and the Viehscheid

Shepherds are very well respected in the Allgäu. They help to preserve the alpine landscape. If the heifers don’t graze the meadows, they become overgrown. The grass suffocates the flowers and the herbs can no longer grow. The healthy diet is like a natural pharmacy for the animals. They grow into strong and robust animals.

During the “Viehscheid“, also known as the “Almabtrieb” (or “transhumance” in English), the cowherds celebrate a year of safe grazing together with the farmers and villagers. The Alpe Plättele is open from the beginning of June to the beginning of October. It is located at 1340 meters in the Hintersteiner valley at the end of the Obertal.

Florian Karg: Aufführung der Weihnachtsoper

Part-time opera singer

At the same time, the Viehscheid is the signal for the start of his second passion. The end of the alpine summer means that Karg once again has time to sing. Rehearsals for the Christmas opera “Silent Night” – which is performed in Bad Hindelang and Memmingen – begin from October. The opera tells the story of how the world-famous carol was created.

Karg plays the lead role. As a tenor, he impresses audiences with his powerful voice and enjoys the thundering applause. Despite this, he doesn’t regret opting for the alpine pastures: “Sometimes, after a performance, I think that it would have been nice to have been a famous opera singer. But as soon as the final curtain falls, I am happy that I can go back to my alpine pastures and my heifers.”

Find out more about Florian and his two passions www.alpgenuss.de (only in German)

Florian Karg: Bis auf 2000 Meter Höhe weiden die Jungrinder im Hochsommer

... from Florian

Hiking the Jubilee Trail
One of the most beautiful tours for me is the Jubiläumsweg. You walk on a beautiful high trail at around 2,000 meters with views of the Oberstdorf and Hindelang mountain valleys.

Get to know more of our Bavaria Insiders

Weingut Schenk: Der Jungwinzer in seinen Weinbergen

Winemaker Thomas Schenk

Thomas Schenk does not just produce seriously good wine. He also does it in a way that is as responsible and sustainable as possible

Read more
Im

Star chef Michael Laus

In his restaurant “Soul Food”, Michael Laus creates a fusion of world-class cuisine and small town idyll. We took a closer look

Read more
Timm Buckley in seiner Werkstatt: Er braucht 35 - 40 Stunden um eine Maske aus Zirbenholz herauszuarbeiten

Mask carver Timm Buckley

The scary masks made by Timm Buckley are sure to give you goosebumps at festivals such as Perchtenläufen, Walpurgisnacht or Johannesfeuer

Read more
Tatjana Falk: Die Wildnispädagogin und ihr Mann bringen Mensch und Natur wieder zusammen

Wilderness instructor Tatjana Falk

Tatjana Falk shows participants in her courses how to build snow caves, make snow shoes and read animal tracks

Read more
Das Klausentreiben ist etwa 1.000 Jahre alt und geht auf alte keltische Bräuche zurück

A riot with tradition

The Allgäu shows its spooky side in December. With horns and rods, "Klausen" drive away evil spirits. With him is Matthias Hecht

Read more
Martl Jung bietet als Guide geführte Barfußwanderungen an

Barefoot walking tours with Martl Jung

Martl Jung has crossed the Alps – barefoot! Now he offers barefoot walking tours. We tried it out on your behalf

Read more

News from Bavaria

Get first-hand tips on stories, travel reports and events!