Getting the best for less: Vienna, Austria
What do you think of when you think about Vienna? Old world charm? A grand ballroom? Voices of angels down from the sky? Horses dancing?
What if I told you you can get all of that, but for a fraction of the price!
Old world ballroom dancing
I wrote here about my experience dancing in the middle of the Hofburg and feeling like I was transported back in time. Vienna is one of those rare places on earth where you can feel that old world charm. Especially when you’re surrounded by men in full tuxedo and tails and women in elegant princess ball gowns
You can check out the full calendar for the balls here. So how do you get the best for less?
1) Pick your ball wisely
There are discounts for students with valid student ID. So if you are one, you should check with the ball organizers to see if they would recognize your card. You could get anywhere between 30-50% (or more!) off the original price as a student. Expect to pay anywhere between Euro 35-65 for entry. This doesn’t include dinner, drinks, or a seat at a table. For all of the above, expect to pay more.
And for those of us above the age limit? Again, check out the list of balls above. Want to go for the most expensive one? Check out Le Grand Bal which is on new year’s eve. Get ready to shell out Euro 150 just to enter, up to Eur 450 for the gala dinner. Or you could head out to the Flower Ball which will only set you back Euro 50 per entry
2) Wear what you own
Let’s face it, how often are you going to go ballroom dancing? Even though it would be a great reason to go out and get a brand new spanking ballroom gown with corset boning and what not, it’s probably more economical to just bring along something that you already own. That extra cash? You could always use at the ball to quench your thirst. Or pay for a cab after dancing the night away.
Hear the angels sing
I’m certain most of you would have heard of The Vienna Boys Choir by now. Some who have heard them live describe the feeling as though you are soaring through the clouds. Unable to catch them on their world tour? (Yes they do go on tour), or unable to catch their main concert at the beginning of each month?
You can actually catch them at the Hoffburg Chapel on Sundays for a fraction of a price. Be warned though, that you will be catching them performing at Sunday Mass, so be prepared to sit through it if you want to catch them. They sing sporadically throughout the entire service and they come out to perform right at the end.
And yes, they do charge to enter. Prices range from Euro 5 to Euro 30 depending on how much view it afford you. Or if you’re willing to stand, you can go in for free. A tip? Go for the second floor first row balconies. The boys actually sing from the third floor the whole ceremony before they come out at the end.
Watch the horses dance
Think all horses do are galloping around the battlefield or race tracks? Think again! Here at the Spanish Riding School you can watch as they get their horses to move in formation or to even have them gallop in tune.
They only perform their concerts once or twice a month and will set you back anywhere between Euro 23 – Euro 130 for a limited view standing seat or a seat in the front row.
Best for less? Go for their morning exercises and pay only around Euro 14 (AND you’ll get to choose your own seats). This happens almost daily so you wont have to worry about tickets being sold out.
I have to warn you though to temper your expectations when you check them out. There will be music playing in the background and the horses will come out and make formations on the ground. But don’t expect any jumps or kicks or anything. For the most part, all you’re going to see are the horses just walking around the ring (a lot).
Instead if you want a bit more history behind it, shell out slightly more and get the Ticket Plus for Euro 28 which gives you access to the morning training and a guided tour of the riding school. The school itself is beautiful, so maybe you’ll feel like you got your money’s worth.
So think about it, if you got for the cheapest of all three options, you would shell out Euro 64 (50 for the ball, 0 for the choir and 14 for the riding school). Or go all out and spend up to Euro 310 (150 for the ball, 30 for the choir (not even the concert!) and 130 for the riding school). Imagine that, saving Euro 246 for similar experiences.
Have any additional Best for Less tips and tricks? Drop a note below!