Would you like to know what life was like in a medieval castle? Then visit the Kufstein Knights’ Festival in Austria over the Pentecost long weekend. For four days the Kufstein Fortress grounds are transformed by the hustle and bustle of merchants, knights, musicians, blacksmiths, jesters, and acrobats.
The Kufstein Knights’ Festival at a glance
Since 2008, history comes alive at the annual Kufstein Knights’ Festival in the picture-perfect setting of the 800-year old Kufstein Fortress. Perched on a rock overlooking the Inn Valley, the fortress dominates the skyline above the historic village centre of Kufstein.
More than 500 official participants, ranging from knights in shining armour to jugglers, fire artists, noblemen, and belly dancers, give visitors a glance into the lives of their ancestors. Many of them even set up their authentic medieval tents on the castle grounds.
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Kufstein Knights’ Festival
7 to 10 June 2019
Festival-goers are entertained throughout the day by fighting knights, musicians, magicians, craftsmen, storytellers, and more. Some perform on the official stages while others simply mingle with the crowds.
The great thing about the Ritterfest Kufstein as it is known in Austria and Germany is that many ordinary visitors also come dressed the part. I would say at least 50 % of the people we saw at the festival were dressed in a medieval costume of some sort. And I don’t think they did it for the €2 discount when attending in costume.
Talking about ticket prices…
Ritterfest Kufstein ticket prices
|1 day only|
|Family (2 adults and children)||€35|
Is it worth the price?
For a full day’s entertainment by top-quality artists, great organisation and logistics, and the best Austrian festival food we’ve had so far? Definitely.
Apart from all the festival-related entertainment and activities, the ticket price also includes:
- General fortress entrance which would set you back €11,50 anyway
- The trip in the Kaiser Maximilian panorama cable car to the top of the fortress
- Entrance to the civic tower with the famous heroes’ organ and museum exhibitions
- Access to the state prison and all the other exhibitions and attractions on the Kufstein Fortress grounds
Disclosure: As guests of the Kufsteinerland Tourism Association we didn’t pay the entrance fee. However, based on our experience, we wouldn’t have minded paying the ticket prices. As always, all opinions are our own.
Kufstein Knights’ Festival Parade
We timed our visit to Kufstein to be in time for the festival parade through the streets of the historic old town on the Saturday.
Tip: The parade is free to watch by anyone who happens to be in Kufstein at the time.
From our spot in the picturesque cobbled stone Römerhofgasse we watched as noblemen and women, peasants, knights, jesters, bellydancers, and musicians passed us by.
The colourful parade, accompanied by lively medieval music, really did take us back in time. We couldn’t get enough and ran to catch it from another angle when everyone had passed.
Ending on the Unterer Stadtplatz (lower town square), spectators were treated to performances by the different participating groups.
The medieval market is scattered around the Kufstein Fortress grounds, with traders and craftsmen presenting their products throughout the weekend.
M had his eye on a bow and arrow. Fortunately, we convinced him to shop around before buying the first one he saw in the official fortress shop. He was rewarded with a home-made wooden crossbow with his name burned into it as a special touch.
Eating and drinking
Eating and drinking at the Kufstein Knights’ Festival centres around the main Josefsburg stage. We couldn’t believe there were no Schnitzel or Schweinsbraten, the usual Austrian festival fare, in sight. Just two weeks previously, this is what we were served at the Gauderfest in the Ziller Valley.
Honestly, it was the best variety of festival food we’ve had in Austria. M had a Barbarian Kebab (€5), I had a hamburger (€7,50), and C had a bread pocket filled with roast meat (€7,50).
Despite loads of people enjoying their lunch in front of the Josefsburg stage, we never waited longer than 5 minutes to get food or even a spot at a table.
Getting to Kufstein
Kufstein is in the Inn Valley between Innsbruck and Munich. The A12 highway passes close-by but, if at all possible, I recommend taking a train. Why? From the train station, it’s only a 5-walk across the bridge over the Inn River to the historic old town. In fact, you are greeted by the Kufstein Fortress towering over the town and the river.
Where to stay for the Kufstein Knights’ Festival
While we only spent one day at the festival, I can easily imagine visiting for 2 days. In this case, it’s much more convenient to sleep over. Even if you travel by train, it’s no hassle to pull your luggage to a hotel in the historic centre. The Boutique Hotel Träumerei is ideally located in the Römerhofgasse. It’s steeped in history and, believe it or not, is home to the world’s largest gin bar if you’re into that sort of thing.
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