A block southeast of Graben is the immense, highly ornate Hofburg palace, housing many of Vienna’s key imperial sights. Skip the rather dull Kaiserappartements in favour of the more impressive Schatzkammer (Mon & Wed–Sun 9am–5.30pm; €12), where you’ll 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 Vienna’s most enduring tourist images: singing boys and prancing horses. Steps beside the Schatzkammer lead up to the Hofmusik Kapelle (Mon & Tues 10am–2pm, Fri 11am–1pm; free), where the Vienna Boys’ Choir sings Mass (mid-Sept to June Sun 9.15am; t 01 533 99 27): you can obtain free, standing tickets from 8.30am (otherwise €10–36; book in advance).

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 main ways to see them: book a performance well in advance (mid-Feb to mid-June & mid-Aug to Dec, usually Sat & Sun at 11am, occasionally Fri & eves; standing from €25, seats from €50); attend a morning exercise session (10am–noon: April–June, Sept & Oct Tues–Fri; Nov–March & Aug Tues–Sat; tickets for exercise session and tours from Michaelerplatz visitor centre Tues–Sun 9am–4pm; €15); or join a guided tour
of the school and stables (March to mid-June & Aug to mid-Dec daily, otherwise 5–6 days per week; tours 2pm, 3pm & 4pm; tour €18; combined tour and training session €31). 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 southeastern tip, the Albertina (daily 10am–6pm, Wed till 9pm; €12.90) houses one of the world’s largest graphic art collections, with works by Raphael, Rembrandt, Dürer and Michelangelo.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Austria features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The surprising history of sex in Central Europe

The surprising history of sex in Central Europe

So what is it that draws us to Vienna? The waltzes? The white horses? The cakes? Let’s be honest, it’s the sex. Sex, that is, in the best possible taste:…

30 Nov 2016 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
Austria's KäseStrasse: the hike that's a cheese-lover's dream

Austria's KäseStrasse: the hike that's a cheese-lover's dream

Despite the name, Bregenzerwald’s KäseStrasse (Cheese Street) in Austria’s Vorarlberg region is not a marked route along a specific road. Instead it deno…

02 Nov 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
On the trail of Klimt in Vienna: the art tour of a lifetime

On the trail of Klimt in Vienna: the art tour of a lifetime

Known for its lavish balls and even more lavish cakes, Vienna is overflowing with art. If there’s one image that encapsulates the city, it’s of an elegant…

21 Oct 2015 • Alice Park insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook