So how do you get tickets to see the famous Lipizzaner horses in action at Vienna’s Spanish Riding School?
Relatively easily it turns out, especially if you settle for less than a fully-fledged performance.
- Book tickets* to watch morning training, available 4-5 days of most weeks (a Vienna pass allows one-time free entry)
- Book tickets well in advance if you want good seats for an actual gala performance
- Guided tours available most days, too
- See also: Review of Morning Training | The Hofburg Palace
Riding School Performances
The 18th-century winter riding school hosts the formal performances, where the stallions show off the full extent of their skills.
These performances take place most months, usually on the weekend. During part of the summer, the stars of the stable enjoy a well-earned holiday in the country. In their place, the younger “trainee” horses step in for a special Piber meets Vienna* show.
Morning training and tours
There are alternatives to a gala performance, though.
Most of the year, the stallions train in the winter riding hall in the mornings (10am to midday) and this Morgenarbeit (morning training) is open to the public.
It’s not every day – Tuesdays to Fridays are your best bet – and not all year round, so check in advance.
Although you miss the full pomp, glamour and scale of the gala performances, the horses still perform their exercises to music and it’s a relatively cheap and easy way to see the Lipizzaners doing their (rather impressive) thing.
I say “relatively cheap” because you do need a ticket to see the training.
Simply buy a ticket on the day from the Spanish Riding School visitor centre. Note that some days can be very busy, so get some advice from the centre on when best to attend or simply book your ticket in advance*
Alternatively take one of the tours* available most days and visit the riding school and the actual stables with an expert guide.
If you want to see the stallions for free and you have plenty of patience, you can wait outside the stable areas for the horses to transfer from their accommodation to the training areas on days when there’s Morgenarbeit or a performance.
Stand outside the former Lipizzaner Museum (Address: Reitschulgasse 2), facing the wall. To your right is the entrance to the stables. If you’re there just before, during and after the times of a session or performance, you might see some stallions walked past by their riders. No promises – it’s been a while since I’ve done this.
Equally, from the road you can look into the courtyard of the riding school stables and maybe catch a glimpse of some Lipizzaner poking his head out to catch sight of the tourists (see the photo above).
And to get even closer, visit the Advent market in the very same courtyard, a rare opportunity to get inside without a guide.
How to get to the riding school
The visitor centre and entrance to the Spanish Riding School is part of the Hofburg Palace area, underneath the giant dome (Michaelerkuppel).
If you aren’t walking past on your travels around the sights, anyway, then you can best reach it on bus numbers 1A and 2A using the Michaelerplatz and Habsburgergasse stops.
Alternatively, it’s a short(ish) walk from subways U1 (Stephansplatz), U2 (Volkstheater or Museumsquartier) and U3 (Herrengasse or Stephansplatz), and from any stop on the trams 1, 2, 71, and D between the stops Ring/Volkstheater and Oper/Karlsplatz.
Address: Spanish Riding School (visitor center and entrance), Michaelerplatz 1, 1010 Vienna | Website