A must-see for anyone visiting Vienna is a trip to the Spanish Riding School.
The handsome white Lipizzaner stallions, cross-bred over hundreds of years between Spanish, Arabian and Berber horses, have been stabled in the Hofburg Palace since 1735.
There are gala performances year-round, usually two a week, usually on Saturdays and Sundays but sometimes on Fridays. Every year there is a long break for almost the whole of January and again for the whole of July and the first half of August, so bear that in mind when planning your dates, if you have your heart set on seeing a show.
If your visit doesn’t coincide with a performance you’re not totally out of luck however. Most days there are 2 hour Morning Exercises sessions with music, which the public can buy tickets for at the box office – at the school or on Josefsplatz, in person (you can’t reserve tickets online in advance). At the Morning Exercises you will see the horses being put through their paces in the same baroque hall as the performances take place, working on building the muscle groups essential for performing the exercises of the haute école of Classic Horsemanship.
You can also take a Guided Tour in the afternoon – either separately or with a combined exercises plus tour ticket (Ticket Plus). The tour will take you behind the scenes of the School and teach you about the history of school itself as well as these fine animals. These tours can be booked by emailing the Spanish Riding School directly.
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Charlie is head of marketing at JayWay Travel. A long-term Prague resident, his interests are cooking, eating out, cycling, skiing and of course, travel.