Things to Do in Austria – dance the waltz at a Viennese ball
Did you know that there are around 450 Viennese balls that happen each year during the Carnival season? That’s a lot! So if you plan to go to Vienna in February, make sure to fit one into your travel plans.
You’ll get to dress up, meet locals and see if you can dance a Vienna waltz!
A lot of people have the misconception that you need to be an elite member of society or part of an organisation to attend these ballroom events. But I’ll let you in on a secret – these balls are actually open to everyone – including curious travelers!
Austrians take dancing seriously. Many teens even take lessons. No wonder they ‘glide’ so gracefully across the dance floor.
But don’t be intimidated. There are a number of events like the Refugee Ball I attended that are more laid back and ‘contemporary’. Plus Austrians will be happy to help you out with your dancing technique. And even if your waltzing skills are still subpar (ie like mine), you’ll still get to enjoy the fun vibe!
If you really want to learn some proper waltz steps, sign up for a Viennese waltz dance lesson before the event.
Do I need to wear a glamourous dress or tuxedo to an Austrian ball?
Some people will be dressed to the nines and look like royalty, which adds to the enchantment of the event, but a ballgown or tux aren’t necessarily requirements. It all depends on the event so make sure to check the dress code. At the Refugee Ball I attended, it was more ¨anything goes,” so my friends were a bit playful with their outfits. One wore a dirndl (traditionally an Austrian farmer’s wife dress) and another wore a pink Nigerian outfit.
Tips when you want to attend Viennese Ball
- If you are looking for a more traditional ball where you can dance waltz, check out the events in huge halls such as the Imperial Palace
- Take a couple of lessons before you visit Vienna so you can strut your stuff!
- The more, the merrier! If you can join a group, then so be it. It would be more exciting to dance with different partners.
- If you are a foreigner, bring your own ‘safe’ dresses like a coat and tie for men and black dress for women. You might also be able to rent clothes, if you’re willing to risk low availability during peak season.
- Wear comfortable dancing shoes or suffer blisters after (like my poor friend in the video!)
- Relax hours before the ball because you’ll need that energy for the rest of the night.
Book a Viennese Ball
Fortunately, many balls, like other Vienna events, are listed online and you’ll be able to purchase the tickets directly. Another option is to the visit tourism offices on the ground and ask for their advice on attending a Viennese ball. It’s a great experience and definitely worth putting on your list of things to do in Vienna.
If you want to attend the Refugee Ball like I did, check for tickets here.
For more stuff to do in Vienna, check out my Vienna guide and video.