The world-famous Spanish Riding School is a Viennese institution truly reminiscent of the imperial Habsburg era. This unequalled equestrian show is performed by Lipizzaner stallions formerly kept at an imperial stud established at Lipizza. These graceful stallions perform an equine ballet to a program of classical music while the audience watches from pillared balconies – or from cheaper standing room – and the chandeliers shimmer above.
There are many different ways to see the Lipizzaner. Performances are the top-shelf variant, and for seats at these you will need to book several months in advance. The website has the performance dates and you can order tickets online. As a rule of thumb, performances are at 11am on Sunday from mid-February to June and mid-August to December, with performances frequently on Saturday and occasionally other days of the week. For standing room, book at least one month in advance. During the summer break, special ‘Piber meets Vienna’ performances are held for tourists. Visitors to the ‘Morgenarbeit’ morning training sessions can drop in for part of a session and leave whenever they want to.
Guided tours held in English and German take you into the performance hall, stables and other facilities, and a combined morning training and tour is another option. The visitor centre on Michaelerplatz sells all tickets, and morning training tickets can also be bought at Gate 2 on Josefsplatz during training sessions.