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.
The tour was excellent--Josh was knowledgeable, personable, and easy to hear. I knew we were going to get a tour of all of the facilities, and I had been disappointed to not be able to attend either a show or "morning exercises" because of our schedule, but when we got to see the Stallions up close in their stalls, I was touched and thrilled. And although we are not allowed to touch them or take pictures of them, just being able to look many of the horses in the eye and say a little something to them made me feel connected to them. I only wish the gift shop were open when the tour ended--perhaps extending the hours so that those who take the tour can visit the shop at the end would be good.
This was a wonderful experience, having seen the horses and riders perform their captivating show earlier in the day we had the good fortune to be on the last guided tour of the day... The friendly Austrian guide was very well informed and very patient.,and spoke English fluently ... the tour through the stable block tack rooms and arena was delightful and unhurried and gave a great inside to the dedication of all the team .. I would thoughly recommend this if you have a love of this beautiful breed of stallions..
We were the only two on this mornings tour and had our guides attention most of the time. A lovely place with lots of noteable poinrts shown and explained clearly. An early start meant less tourists, always nicer and cooler too. Highly recommend this tour.
We especially loved seeing the Mother horses & their babies running free in the park. Our guide told us about this opportunity that takes place on nice days about 5-5:30 ish. What a perfect opportunity to see these beautiful horses up close.