Austria // Vienna //

The Hofburg

The immense, highly ornate Hofburg palace houses many of Vienna’s key imperial sights. Skip the rather dull Kaiserappartements in favour of the more impressive Schatzkammer. Here you can see some of the finest medieval craftsmanship and jewellery in Europe, including relics of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg crown jewels. The Hofburg is also home to two of the most enduring tourist images of Vienna: singing boys and prancing horses. Steps beside the Schatzkammer lead up to the Hofmusik Kapelle, the venue for Mass with the Vienna Boys’ Choir.

On the north side of the Hofburg, the imperial stables are home to the white horses of the Spanish Riding School, known for their extraordinary, intricate performances. There are three ways to see them: book for a performance well in advance; attend a morning exercise session ; or, join a guided tour of the school and stables. Alternatively, if you just want to take a peek at the horses, look into the stables (Stallburg) from the glass windows on Reitschulgasse.

Finally, at the Hofburg’s easternmost tip, the Albertina, houses one of the world’s largest graphic art collections, with works by Raphael, Rembrandt, Dürer and Michelangelo.