Take a walking tour of Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia and crossroads of central Europe. Medieval fortifications, Gothic cathedrals, a neoclassical palace and a vibrant coffee-house culture await you in this off-the-beaten-track visit to the city, just an hour from Vienna.
Spanish Riding School performance
While you are in Vienna, we can arrange for you to see a performance of the graceful Lipizzaner horses at Vienna’s Spanish Riding School, a tradition that dates back to the days of the Habsburg empire. The Ballet of the White Horses features elegant all-white horses, clad in traditional gold-plated breastplates and cruppers, performing to the tune of orchestral music.
The performance is held in the Winter Riding School arena, located inside the Imperial Palace and commissioned by the artistically inclined Emperor Charles VI. The arena is easy to mistake for a Baroque-era ballroom with its white coffered ceilings dotted with stucco flowers and the trio of tiered crystal chandeliers illuminating the arena.
The Spanish Riding School has been practicing for more than 450 years, cultivating classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of haute école. While you’re there for a performance, you can also visit the cafe at the riding school for coffee and small bites to eat.
Crystal chandeliers glimmering, stucco flowers, a white, coffered ceiling. The Winter Riding School arena at the Spanish Riding School is considered one of the most beautiful riding arenas in the world. We can arrange tickets for you to see this two-hour show that will let you watch as the riders show their skill and finesse through a variety of riding styles.
Located in Hofburg Palace in Old Town Vienna, the Spanish Riding School is one of the most prestigious classical riding academies in the world. A wooden arena for the school was initially built in 1565, but in 1729, the art-loving Habsburg emperor Charles VI commissioned the new arena, designed in a late baroque-era style.
The horses are meticulously trained over a course of years, beginning at the age of four when their bodies are fully mature. Training focuses on basics at first, concentrating on building muscle and movement to allow the horses a safe transition to the more complicated skills. Training differs slightly depending on a horse’s needs and abilities, and it takes about six years to finish.
Aside from their bright coats and choreographed routines, the horses are also known for their airs above the ground skills, in which the horses leap completely off the ground.
While you’re at Hofburg Palace to see the horses perform their flying changes and half-pirouettes, you can also stop by the hidden cafe at the Spanish Riding School. The cafe offers a taste of Viennese coffeehouse culture, in addition to small bites to eat.
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Photos of Spanish Riding School performance
Other experiences in Vienna
These activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences around where you're staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident's eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can suggest tours and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the local ways of life.
This three-hour guided coffeehouse tour around Vienna brings you to some of the most storied cafes in the city, and gives you a taste of the city’s renowned coffee and pastries — all in one morning.
Take a guided half-day walking tour of Vienna’s First District to the memorials and museums dedicated to Austria’s Jewish community and the 65,000 Austrian Jews killed in the Holocaust. Pay your respects at the Holocaust Memorial and see the ruins of a medieval synagogue.
Spend a morning on a brief walking tour of Vienna’s markets, tasting the city’s delicacies along the way. Then retire to your guide’s private apartment for instruction on cooking a two-course gourmet lunch. Sample Austria’s wines with the meal you’ve prepared in a chef’s kitchen.
This combined walking-and-driving tour lets you map out the location of many of Vienna’s most storied sites, as well as explore the mammoth Schönbrunn Palace. You’ll see the former imperial palace in Vienna as well as the Habsburg’s summer residence outside the city limits.
This river boat tour of the Wachau Valley starts with the Baroque majesty of Melk Abbey, then takes you on a slow drift through the vineyards, orchards and villages along the Danube’s forested banks. A stop in the historic town of Dürnstein, with its storied history, completes the day.