Visit the Spanish Riding School in Vienna: tickets, prices, opening hours

École Espagnole d’Équitation à Vienne

Traveling to Austria and want to visit the Spanish Riding School in Vienna? Here’s everything you need to know about this renowned dressage school!

The Spanish Riding School in Vienna (EEE) is a world-renowned institution in the equestrian world. In fact, it has been listed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Site since 2015! The horses ( lipizzans) and their riders work together for years to achieve an extraordinary harmony, which can be seen in incredible shows every weekend near the Imperial Hofburg Palace.

Whether you’re a horse-riding enthusiast or not, a visit to this school is one of the most popular activities for travelers to the Austrian capital. Would you like to visit the Spanish Riding School in Vienna? Here’s our complete guide to prepare your visit!

History of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna

École Espagnole d’Équitation à Vienne

The Spanish Riding School in Vienna was founded in the 16th century under the Austrian Empire. Today, it is the oldest riding school still in operation! The riding arena used for galas and training was built in 1729 by architect Johann Bernhard Fischer, and was once the winter arena of the Austrian imperial court. Today, the architecture of this exceptional building fascinates visitors as much as its dressage work, earning it the reputation of being the most beautiful in the world.

For a long time, performances were reserved exclusively for guests of the Austrian Imperial Court, as the establishment was not opened to the public until 1918. Balconies, frescoes and imposing chandeliers are all part of the sumptuous setting for a visit to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

The term « Spanish » comes from the origin of the horses for which the school is renowned. In fact, Lipizzaners are descended from the great lines of Andalusian horses mixed with Slovenian ones. They were bred in the town of Lipica from the 16th century onwards, which gave them their name. The horses at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna now come from the Piber stud in western Austria. The horses used are exclusively Lipizzaner stallions, generally light gray in color.

The School is based on a particular training method, originating from the Royal Cavalry. Originally, the purpose of these exercises was to strengthen the horses so that they would be better able to fight. Today, stallions enter school at the age of 4 and train for 6 years, learning numerous steps and rigorous technical exercises. The ultimate goal is to perform various aerial figures symbolic of the Hohe Schule (High School of Dressage).

What to see and do at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna?

École Espagnole d’Équitation à Vienne

A visit to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna offers the chance to witness the morning training of the Lipizzaner Thoroughbreds and their riders to music. This visit is a particular attraction for travelers, as it reveals the hard work put in by both animal and human to achieve the spectacular results of the gala. A very solemn atmosphere is present, lending a little more emotion and nobility to the show. It’s also an opportunity to discover the exceptional venue where the 68 stallions are trained.

Horse-riding enthusiasts can enjoy performances every weekend, as well as a daily behind-the-scenes guided tour of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. You’ll learn about the architecture of the imperial winter arena, the stables (in the « Stallburg » building, Vienna’s oldest Renaissance relic) and the history of the school.

The Hofburg imperial palace is also a must-see nearby. It used to be the political center of the Austrian Empire!

How to get to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna?

To visit the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, go to Michaelerplatz, where the Imperial Palace Hofburg is located. You’ll need to go through the building’s main entrance.

There are several ways to get there:

  • By subway: take line U3 to the Herrengasse stop.
  • By streetcar: lines 1, 2, 71, D, Burgring stop.
  • By bus: numbers 2A and 3A, Hofburg stop.
  • By Hop On-Hop Off bus: red line, stop at Heldenplatz.

Opening hours & Prices of the Spanish Riding School Palace

École Espagnole d’Équitation à Vienne

Photo credit: Flickr – Andrew Moore

There are many ways to visit the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, depending on what you want to do.

Daily morning workout

  • Morning training takes place Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 12pm. You can come and go at any time during these hours. So you can arrive later or leave earlier.
  • Price: €15
  • Reservations must be made on site.

If you’d like to visit the school and also attend the morning training session, combined tickets are available on site.

Guided tour of the Spanish Riding School

Guided tours of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, the winter arena and the stables take place several times a day(2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm and sometimes in the morning). Visits are possible every day except Mondays from May to September. The tour lasts 1 hour and is conducted in English or German. Tickets can be booked online.

Rates :

  • Adults: €18
  • Students and over 65s: €14
  • Children aged 6 to 18: €9
  • Children aged 3 to 6: free

Guided architectural tour

The guided tour of the architecture of the winter riding arena and roofs takes place every Saturday at 1 pm in English and 2.30 pm in German. It lasts about 1 hour, and tickets can be booked online. Children under 12 are not accepted.

Rates :

  • Adults: €18
  • Students and over 65s: €15
  • Children aged 12 to 18: €12

Combination tickets and Passes

– To attend the training and guided tour of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, you can opt for the  » Ticket Plus « . This entitles you to morning exercises between 10am and 12pm, as well as a guided tour in the afternoon.

Rates :

  • Adults: €31
  • Over 65s and students: €23
  • Children aged 6 to 18: €15

– What’s more, access to the morning workout is free with the Vienna Pass. You can book it online and/or pick it up on arrival. This card gives you access to over 60 other sites of interest in Vienna, including a visit to the Hofburg Palace.

Rates :

  • Adults: 1-day pass: €59, 2-day pass: €89, 3-day pass: €119
  • Children: 1-day pass: €29.5, 2-day pass: €44.5, 3-day pass: €59.5
  • Free for children under 6.

Performances and events

Every Saturday and Sunday at 11am, there’s a public demonstration by riders from the École Espagnole de Vienne and their lipizzans. Prices range from €27 to €170, depending on location. There are also special performances:

  • End-of-year gala: December 30 and 31 at 7pm and 11am. Prices from €39 to €225.
  • Tribute to Vienna: every Friday at 11 a.m. or 7 p.m. Prices from €27 to €140
  • Piber meets Vienna: foal show, Tuesday to Sunday at 11 a.m., July and August. Prices from €13 to €48

GOOD TO KNOW

To visit the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, you’ll need to prepare for your visit by familiarizing yourself with the most important information about this historic site. Here is a selection of the most important points:

– If you wish to attend the morning training session (lasting 2 hours), we advise you to arrive 30 min to 1 hour before the doors open at 10am. This is a very popular event, and online booking is not possible.

– The Spanish Riding School is accessible to people with reduced mobility (however, you must reserve your visit in advance in this case).

– Pets are not allowed

– Children under 3 years of age are not allowed to visit the Spanish Riding School.

– The use of cameras and recording equipment is strictly forbidden.

– It will not be possible to leave your belongings in the changing rooms.