Swiss Cow fighting / Combat des Reines

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Swiss Cow fighting / Combat des Reines

Combat de Reines or Swiss Cow fighting, is a traditional event held mostly in the Swiss canton of Valais (map), in which a cow fights another cow (unlike bullfighting, in which humans fight bulls, often to the death).

Each year, the Swiss canton of Valais hosts a series of cow fights known as combats de reines (“queen fights”), which began in the 1920s and has drawn as many as 50,000 spectators in a year.

Cows naturally fight to determine dominance in the herd, and this is the behaviour that is exploited in cow fighting, using cows from the local Herens breed. With their horns blunted, the fights are mainly a pushing contest.

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It sometimes happens that the cows in a fight refuse to engage in physical contact with each other at all. Each fight can last up to 40 minutes.

+ Valais — Switzerland Tourism |

The Valais is exactly that: a long, narrow, L-shaped valley in the Swiss Alps. The main cities in this region are along the river Rhone which cuts through the bottom of the valley, between its source at the Rhone glacier in the east and its temporary destination of Lake Geneva in the west. The main tourist destinations lie in the lesser populated side valleys to the north or the south or on plateaus above the main valley.

The train from Geneva airport runs twice an hour along the main Rhone valley through most of the canton, stopping at stations including Saint-Maurice (1:40hr, not all trains stop), Martigny (1:51hr), Sion (2:05hr), Leuk (2:21 hr, not all trains stop), Visp (2:32 hr) and finally Brig (2:41hr).

The train from Zurich Airport runs hourly and stops at Visp (2:22hr) and Brig (2:33hr) passing through the 34-km-long Lötschberg base tunnel.

For a more scenic journey, the route through the old Lötschberg tunnel still runs. It requires a change of train in Bern, Thun or Spiez and takes around an hour longer to reach Brig. It offers a nice view on the Rhone valley as it slowly descends the side of the mountain. This train is popular among hikers, as it has a supplementary stop at Goppenstein (map), giving access to the Lötschental (map), as well as a couple stops on demand along the way to Brig passing through a popular hiking area.

Public transport

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Swiss Travel SystemSwiss Pass

 BUS >   Swiss PostAuto bus network + EurolinesFlixbus

 RAIL >   The Swiss Travel System includes a rail network of 29 000 kilometres, including several popular rail lines. SBB-CFF-FFS. + TGV LyriaInterCity Express (*Rail travel in Switzerland)

 AIRPORTS >   Major international airports >> Genève Aéroport • Zurich AirportEuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg.

 WATERWAYS >   Association of Swiss Navigation Companies

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