One of the things I love the most about travel is that going to different places and doing different things often means that you end up experiencing or seeing something you never thought you would.
Often that thing is something that you had only ever dreamt about, or had read about, seen in movies, or thought wasn’t real. Until suddenly, something happens when you are travelling off your usual path and there you are, doing something, or seeing something that you never would have believed was possible.
Going to a Viennese ball was one of those moments for me.
I still look back and this smile comes over my face. Then this kind of girly giggle erupts and I nod to myself and think.
Yes. Yes that was real.
I was at a ball, a ball held in the Hoffburg Palace, the winter residence of the Hapsburgs.
Really, with that kind of set up, your adventure can go anywhere from Cinderella to Bond!
OK so how is this even possible?
Ball season in Vienna lasts for several months, from November to late February. The balls range from one hosted by the Red Cross to the Vienna Coffeehouse Owner’s Ball. Also if you work for a big company, sometimes they will host their own ball too.
Maybe you have even seen the Opera Ball on television one time? A beautiful ball rooms with the white dressed debutant ladies, dancing the Viennese Waltz (what else?) with their tuxedo clad partners.
It is such a fun time to be around the city. I enjoyed sitting on the U-bahn train with the carriage suddenly full of people dressed in tuxedos and full length gowns returning home after a night of dancing. It’s enough to make any grumpy one smile.
Maybe you are reading this and feeling a little like Cinderella, that this all seems very nice but a little out of reach for the ordinary person?
Well consider me your fairy Godmother!
Info about the Vienna Ball
As you would expect, tickets vary in price, and so does the theme as does the venue, and what the Ball offers in the way of entertainment and refreshment options.
Do your research, however, and you can find a ticket for €50-60, or even less for students.
For more exclusive and expensive balls, like the Opera ball, it is possible to get cheap tickets for the rehearsal. It is a magnificent show, the decorations are already up, and the best part of the rehearsal is that sometimes you get to see the acts more than one time!
Vienna Ball Dress Code
All you really need is a second hand full length gown, or an old bridesmaid dress, and a borrowed tux. Find a Youtube video on how to style your hair nicely, and put on some make up if you wish and you are ready! Ladies, you are in a full length gown so really you could probably get away with any shoes you like.
Don’t worry about your dancing prowess or lack of it, or your age. The balls are stocked with people of every age and dancing ability!
Yes, really, it is that easy to be on your way to a ball in a Royal Palace, or an Opera theatre where the great composers have stood.
Once the details are sorted, it’s up to you what magical spin you put on your night of fun, mystery, dancing, music and wonderfully feely dress material.
What will happen when you are taking a chance in the centre of the freshly cleared dance floor, dancing your cares away and looking a million dollars?
Make the Night Yours!
Although it looks a little crowed from the photo (it was the first waltz so everyone was excited), the Hoffburg venue has many ballrooms, so there is plenty of space to dance or chat.
If you really want to spice up the experience, even if you are sharing a hotel room with your partner, just tell them to meet you at Stephansplatz, and book a twilight carriage ride to your ball.
The next morning, enjoy an Einspänner at a Coffee House like Cafe Central, and maybe sample some Sacher torte too before slipping home to bed.
Your grin will be difficult to lose, Cinderella.
It lasts for a lifetime.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get you to the ball!
You can check out the balls this season here.
* If you are looking at flights and have a few days to spare, also consider flying into Bratislava. It’s an easy train or bus ride to Vienna, and depending on your location, can mean significantly cheaper flights.