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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 (hence the name). These graceful stallions perform an equine ballet to a program of classical music while the audience watches from pillared balconies – or from a cheaper standing-room area – 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 lists 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 frequent additional performances on Saturday and occasionally other days of the week. For standing-room tickets, book at least one month in advance. During the summer break, it hosts special ‘Piber meets Vienna’ performances. Visitors to the Morgenarbeit (morning training sessions; adult/child €15/7.50, 10am to noon Tuesday to Friday January to June and mid-August to December) can drop in for part of a session.
One-hour guided tours (adult/child €16/8; 2pm, 3pm and 4pm March to late January, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm Tuesday to Sunday late January and February), held in English and German, take you into the performance hall, stables and other facilities. A combined morning training and tour (adult/child €31/15) is another option. The visitor centre on Michaelerplatz sells all tickets. Morning training tickets can also be bought at the entrance during training sessions.