Vienna is famous for its yearly ball season taking place in January and February. These balls are usually associated with elitist and celebrity exclusive events but it’s not true! Around 400 balls take place in the Austrian capital during the season following Ash Wednesday, so plenty of choice for all budgets. All you need is to dress elegant and a ticket – most balls are tourist friendly. Plus, you can have a great time even on a smaller budget. I had a memorable night at a typical Viennese ball, so here are more details on how I enjoyed it perfectly.
City: Vienna, Austria
Ball season is the perfect time to be in Vienna!
The Ball season in Vienna lasts two months between January and February every year. During this short period of time, over 400 balls take over the city. Many balls have different thematics. I went to BonbonBall with a sweets and chocolate thematic. Other balls are for doctors, for lawyers, for engineers, for students, for butchers etc but surely not for elite crowds of royals and celebrities only!
Most balls are held in operas, concert halls, embassies etc. Experiencing the ball in Vienna can cost as much as a regular night out in one of Europe’s capitals, so it can definitely be done on a small budget! The average Viennese person goes to two balls per year.
If you visit Vienna for a quick city break, make sure it falls on a date during the balls. This experience is unique and is a perfect time to visit!
Purchase your tickets in advance
I went to BonbonBall, which was happening on Friday 9 February 2018 but I purchased my ticket in November 2017. Tickets sell out very quickly. Being prepared in advance is also an opportunity for you to check out the list of balls taking place to secure a good deal. Regarding pricing, there is enough choice for all budgets. In my case, I went to BonbonBall with prices at 99 euros for adults. For students, it’s 48 euros. As a student, I took advantage of this concession price and only paid half price so it’s even better! To guarantee entry to one of the balls taking place in the city, you need to buy tickets in advance, there are no tickets to purchase at the door.
Dress to impress
Dress code is very important on all Vienna Balls. Women should wear long dresses and men should wear black suit and ties. Some balls are very strict and even refuse entry for people who don’t respect this dress code. You need to look elegant and fit into the philosophy of this centuries old imperial tradition. At times it feels like you are in a movie, so play the game and have fun! I personally wear a suit once or twice a year probably so it was an occasion to enjoy wearing one!
You don’t need to dance Waltz
I don’t know how to dance Waltz but it’s not very hard to learn with a little of practice. So why not learn few moves! But it’s not necessary. The main room at the ball is waltz with performances from either professional dancers or otherwise other attendees. The main room was full and it’s hypnotising to watch people moves. But, there are many other rooms for all tastes: salsa, latino, tango, country, rock and my favourite: the disco!
After exploring the venue, I settled with my friends at the disco room for the rest of the night. It was perfect! Seeing people shake their booties to Pop and R’n’B hits was great. What I loved about the ball is that the crowd is very mixed, from young students to older generations. All in one place to celebrate!
How much this week-end costs me?
I spent 120 euros on return flights from London, 48 euros on the ball and I stayed at my friends place so I didn’t pay for accommodation. So really, it was a great city break to experience something new in Vienna. Probably you will need to make other arrangements (such as paying for accommodation) but still, you won’t spend more than any usual city break in Vienna. It’s totally worth it!
Have you ever been to a ball in Vienna?