Even if you’ve never heard of Lipizzan horses, you probably know what they look like. These beautiful white horses are practically the stuff of legend.
The breed dates back to the 16th century, when they were intended for the Hapsburg royal family. A village in modern-day Slovenia, Lipica, or Lipizza in Italian, provided the name. While both World Wars came close to killing off the breed as fighting swept Europe, they were saved and are today the most famous horses in the world. Their reputation comes not simply from their beauty but also from their history as the pinnacle of dressage, or the sport of leading trained horses through complicated sets of dance-like movements. Today the Spanish Riding School in Vienna is probably the best-known place to see the horses and their training. But it’s certainly not the only place you can enjoy them. Here are all the destinations throughout Europe where you can find Lipizzan horses. Let us know if you’d like help planning a trip to any of them!
Sambata de Jos in Romania
The Romanian stud farm Sambata de Jos has 400 Lipizzan horses, more than any other farm in Europe. The farm was founded in 1874 and has operated continually since them. The farm and its corresponding association host numerous events throughout the year, so it’s worth checking their website in advance of your visit to see if anything special is taking place. Nearest city destination: Sibiu, about an hour away by car.
Piber in Austria and The Spanish Riding School in Vienna
The Piber Federal Stud Farm is dedicated to the breeding of Lipizzan horses. It is located at the village of Piber in western Austria. They have 360 horses on the property, which is located in a beautiful region of the country that is well worth visiting. Nearest city destination: Vienna, about 2.5 hours away by car.
If you’d like to stay closer to Vienna, you don’t have to venture into the countryside to witness these wonderful animals. The Spanish Riding School is located in the heart of the city and hosts regular training sessions and demonstrations. It should definitely be on your list of things to do in Vienna.
Lipica in Slovenia
Lipica in Slovenia is one of the destinations for Lipizzan horses we’d recommend most. In a lovely part of the Slovenian countryside, the stud farm is very much open to the public and takes pleasure in visits. They have a rich program of activities and demonstrations taking place throughout the year. You can arrange for a guided tour or take in a show of classic riding and dressage. Nearest city destination: Ljubljana, about an hour away by car.
Szilvasvarad in Hungary
Outside of major cities but still worth a visit, Szilvásvárad is a lovely stud farm that offers tours and accommodation. You can stay in style here while soaking up the rural atmosphere. Nearest city destination: Eger, about 30 minutes away by car.
Monterotondo in Italy
Monterotondo is outside of Rome, so it’s not a bad choice for a day trip if you’re in the area and interested in learning more about the Lipizzan horses that come from Italy. Of course the countryside is beautiful as well. It makes for a very pleasant drive from Rome. Nearest city destination: Rome, about 50 minutes away by car.
Dakovo-Lipik in Croatia
The history of the stud farm in Dakovo began in 1506. It is closely tied to the local culture and has a rich past that is interesting to explore. Nearest city destination: Zagreb, about an hour away by car.
Topolcianky in Slovakia
This Slovakian stud farm isn’t too far from Vienna and Bratislava, so it would be interesting to visit both during one trip to Europe. It’s located in a lovely part of the countryside, and then you could move onto points farther afield. Nearest city destination: Bratislava, about 1.5 hours away by car.
Vucijak in Bosnia
Vucijak was founded in 1946. It is a lovely day trip to take you out of the city and help you get back in touch with nature. Nearest city destination: Zagreb, about two hours away by car.
Karadordevo in Serbia
This stud farm has 30 Lippizan horses, making it far smaller than some of the other farms throughout Europe, but it’s certainly worth visiting if you’re in the area. The history of the stud farm stretches back to 1906. Nearest city destination: Belgrade, about two hours away by car.
All of these destinations are on the JayWay map. We’d be happy to talk to you more about planning your next vacation. Please get in touch!
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Stephan Delbos is an internationally published writer and editor. Born in the US, he has lived, worked and traveled in Europe for a decade. He’s fond of oysters and arid martinis.