Visit the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and witness the training of the Lipizzaners and their riders. During the morning exercise you can observe…
Enjoy a look behind the scenes of the Spanish Riding School on this guided tour. Admire the stunning architecture of the centuries-old institution.
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Top sights in Vienna
Vienna's Spanish Riding School allows you to relive the prestige and sophistication of centuries past. Here are five fascinating facts about its history, which render the Spanish Riding School the only remaining dressage institution of its kind in the world.
The majestic white stallions of the Spanish Riding School are all Lipizzaner, Europe's oldest domesticated breed of horse.
The Spanish Riding School is the only institution in the world where the prestigious, 400-year-old equestrian tradition of the haute école is still practiced in its original form.
Accompanied by classical music, the riders and horses perform highly intricate ballets, with such magnificent feats as pirouettes, passages and piaffes, as well as amazing jumps.
At the Spanish Riding School, in order to reach the required level of excellence, a horse must undergo 6 years of training, whereas riders train for 10 to 12 years.
The hall where the performances are held, widely regarded as the world's most beautiful riding hall, was built by eminent baroque architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer in the 1730s.
Note that there are different options for visiting the Spanish Riding School, including taking a tour of the stables, watching the morning exercises and, of course, witnessing one of the performances. The availability of each option is also dependent on schedule, so make sure to carefully consider the choices to avoid disappointment.
The horses and riders have their summer break in July and August. It's best to get informed about the exact dates of the break prior to your visit, as it's not possible to watch a performance during the school's summer holidays.
Cap your day of Viennese tradition by grabbing a slice of delicious Sachertorte at the café on your way out.
- When should I visit?
- The Visitor Center is open Monday through Sunday 9:00AM to 4:00PM. Performance times vary.
- Is it expensive?
- Adult tickets start at €14 and go up depending on performances and tours selected.
- Will I need a guide?
- A guide is not necessary.
- How to get there
- Take the U3 train to Herrengasse or trams 1, 2, D or J to Burgring.
- Additional information
- Children under three are not admitted.
- Each performance is about an hour, and you'll need to secure tickets well in advance.
What people are saying about Spanish Riding School
We visited the stables after we had seen the show, there was a wait in the main entrance where other people were also queuing up for other events so it got busy at times. We were grouped with a good English speaking guide and taken into the arena and then around the main stable block, we were asked NOT to take photos and were only permitted to in the tack room. We were able to see the horses feed in their individual stables and the guide gave us a brief commentary about the horses answering questions as we walked through, you kind of got the feeling that we were in the way as the grooms were trying to go about their daily routine with groups of people standing around. Under no circumstances were you allowed to touch the horses, but the experience overall was interesting and informative.
Exactly what it said on tin. Lippizaner training session from 10am to 12pm but an hour was all we needed. You won’t see horses doing the formations they do in show but you will see them practicing moves on an individual basis. Lovely to watch. Although we purchased on line tickets still had to queue to exchange it for a paper ticket.
The Lipizzaners can live until the age of 24 so there is a mix of young horses in training and older fully trained on show. That also applies to riders and makes it interesting to witness the different development stages. Initially it may seem repetitive but the longer you can stay the more meaningful it becomes. Highly recommended.
On the second tier we looked down on the horses from a higher level than anticipated. Also I had hoped there would be live music. Still, seeing these horses perform so elegantly was wonderful fulfillment of a childhood fantasy that began with a Walt Disney movie about the horses.
The arena was very busy. The ticket advised staying 20 minutes. However many people stayed much longer making it difficult to find a place where a good view could be accessed. I feel some management by the facility is needed to make observation more accessible and fairer.