Vienna's world-famous Spanish Riding School is truly reminiscent of the imperial Habsburg era. This equestrian show is performed by Lipizzaner stallions formerly kept at an imperial stud established at Lipizza (hence the name). The graceful stallions perform an equine ballet to a classical-music program while the audience watches from pillared balconies – or the cheaper standing-room area – and 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 (€13 to €48). Visitors to the Morgenarbeit (morning training sessions; adult/child €15/7.50, 10am to noon Tuesday to Friday mid-August to June) can drop in for part of a session.
One-hour guided tours (adult/child €18/9; 2pm, 3pm and 4pm Tuesday to Sunday), 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.