This shortlist summarises the best Vienna Balls 2017 and lets you know about tickets, online ordering and dress codes for each event. Each year, Vienna hosts more than 400 balls: High profile traditional events with elegant dress codes next to modern balls such as the Life Ball and dance events of the local firebrigade. I have pulled together 11 of the best traditional Vienna Balls to help you make an informed choice, sort out dates and required dress codes, and book your tickets.
1. Confectioners’ Ball (12th January 2017)
Best Vienna Balls. Imagine dancing past thousands of Viennese cakes among hundreds of elegantly dressed locals in Vienna’s Imperial Palace. Join the sweet raffles, competitions and a showcase baking station to venture far beyond Sacher Torte. Each year, the local trade organisation of Vienna’s Food Industry rallies its hundreds of confectioners’ and bakeries for the annual cake galore at the industry’s Confectioners’ Ball.
Location: Vienna Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
Tickets: EUR 100 (price based on 2016 prices); Ticket sales start in the autumn of 2016; use the online form (in German only) or email firstname.lastname@example.org; Dress code: Ladies – floor length evening dress; Gentlemen – tailcoat (with decoration), tuxedo or uniform
Best Vienna Balls. Number one of the best Vienna balls in the classical category for many locals. The setting of this ball by the Vienna Philharmonics is brilliant, not to speak of the home-made Philharmonic music, and people dress their best. You will dance in the Golden Hall, famous location of the New Year’s Concert.
Location: Vienna Musikverein
Tickets: approx. EUR 170; (the second most expensive of the best Vienna balls, following the Opera Ball); visit website for online ticket sales (from 9th January 2017); email: email@example.com;
Dress code: Ladies – floor length evening dress; Gentlemen – tailcoat (with decoration), tuxedo or uniform
3. Techniker Cercle (21st January 2017)
Best Vienna Balls. The ‘Ball Der Industrie und Technik’, aka ‘Techniker Cercle’, is a highly popular ball amongst urban professionals, and not only those with technical professions. It is run by the eponymous networking and fundraising association related to the Vienna Technical University. This is another great chance to waltz through the Golden Hall of the Vienna New Year’s Concert at Musikverein – the video below shows the débutants’ opening quadrille.
Location: Wiener Musikverein
Tickets: EUR 160 Table bookings: in writing only; to Techniker Cercle, Ball Bureau, Reitschulgasse 2; A-1010 Vienna; Ticket sales start very late and are limited in time – 16th to 18th January 2017 (afternoons): email firstname.lastname@example.org; or call +43 1 533 90 61.
Dress code: Ladies – floor length evening dress; Gentlemen – tail coat.
4. Ball of The Coffeebrewers (17th February 2017)
Best Vienna Balls. Joining the Kaffeesiederball it the best way by far to enjoy the Imperial Palace. The ball usually has lovely ballet performances. When I joined the ball in 2014 there was also a fantastic modern performance – a great contrast to the traditionally dressed audience. Find out more in my Vienna ball review.
Location: Imperial Palace Vienna and Redouten Hall
Tickets: from EUR 135; you can buy tickets online here (form in German only). Tables can only be booked at the ball office but you can email a booking request to Ms Rosemarie Bauer at email@example.com; There is a EUR 24 international booking fee.
Dress code: Ladies: ball gown or long evening gown; Gentlemen: tuxedo, tailcoat or uniform; NO tie.
5. Vienna Opera Ball (23rd February 2017)
Best Vienna Balls. Vienna’s most famous ball is a fix point in the calendar of the international and Viennese socialites. For one night every year, the Vienna State Opera’s stalls are transformed into Europe’s most glamorous dance floor for hundreds of debutants and thousands of hungry ball aficionados and lounge lizards. Learn more about the Vienna Opera Ball and how to get tickets, even when sold out.
Best Vienna Balls. My personal winner in the category food is the Bonbon Ball. That evening, all of Vienna´s cakes and sweets gather under one roof, swamping guests with a combined weight of around three tonnes. Many of them are available at the many bars or can be won as raffle prizes. The opening ceremony includes a wonderful ballet performance. Like every grand ball the Bonbon Ball is busy. You will be absolutely fine with basic dance steps! The evening’s highlight is the election of the annual Miss Bonbon. To change dance steps, use the fun modern discotheque downstairs.
Location: Vienna Konzerthaus
Tickets: EUR 99 (regular); tickets can only be bought at Konzerthaus on 5th February 2017;
Dress code: Ladies: long evening gown; Gentlemen: tuxedo, tailcoat or black suit;
Best Vienna Balls. A masked ball in the Imperial Palace – truly best fun classical dance event with a large student audience. Many of my friends say it is their best Vienna ball. Ladies are obliged to wear a mask that covers the eyes until midnight (in reference to the Strauss Operetta Die Fledermaus/The Bat), then they take their masks off and join the gentlemen in the masks-off dance;
Location: Imperial Palace (Hofburg)
Tickets: EUR 90 (based on 2016 prices); online reservation from October 2016;
Dress code: Ladies: long evening gown with mask; pantsuits, cocktail dress, traditional costume etc. are NOT PERMITTED. Gentlemen: black tailcoat with white bow tie; tuxedo with black bow tie; NOT PERMITTED are ties, neckties and cravats; kilts, cut, coloured tails or jackets, historical uniforms or fancy dress; masks for men.
Best Vienna Balls. Vienna’s most famous and elegant summer ball in the spacious sumptious Vienna City Hall. The ball is organised by the Austrian press club Concordia. Get your most elegant floor-long evening dress and tail coat and whizz across the grand hall or dance in the City Hall’s open air arcaded court yard. The midnight Fledermaus-Quadrille (Johann Strauss) is big fun. Many dancers don’t have a clue how to do the quadrille, therefore be happy to join them!
Location: Vienna City Hall
Tickets: EUR 95; students until 26 years pay EUR 40 (2013 prices); Book your tickets online.
Dress code: Ladies: Full length evening gown; Gentlemen: tuxedo, tail coat, dinner jacket.
9. Life Ball (10th June 2017)
Best Vienna Balls. The Life Ball is Europe’s most extravagant and high profile ball, visited by international stars from fashion to politics, organized by AIDS LIFE. I was there with a group of friends a couple of years ago, and had the time of my life. You will probably never experience a more sparkling yet super stylish event than this ball. This year’s theme is: 1001 Nights: poetry, fairy tales, mythical creatures and more. Learn more about the Life Ball, why I think it’s one of the best Vienna balls, and how to get tickets.
Best Vienna Balls. Elisabeth Gürtler, managing director of both the Hotel Sacher Vienna and the Spanish Riding School, and grande dame of Viennese business and society, invites for the third time to this lavish charity summer ball of the Spanish Riding School. Dance in the decorated baroque winter riding hall and in the open air in the inner court yard where the Lipizzaner horses usually tip toe around. The midnight quadrille dance is great fun. The profits of this ball will be used to fund the scientific research needed to further maintain and nurture the Lipizzaner horses, the oldest culture horse breed in Europe.
Location: Spanish Riding School
Tickets: EUR 130 / EUR 190; students until 27 years pay EUR 50; book your tickets online here.
Dress code: Ladies: Full length evening gown; Gentlemen: White tie, black tie, uniform
Best Vienna Balls. Finally, the traditional New Year’s Eve ball at the Imperial Palace (Hofburg) gets an update in style and taste. Replacing the slightly kitsch Kaiserball, visited every year by hundreds of tourists, Hofburg Silvesterball has ditched Habsburg folklore for Vienna classics and jazz, followed by a gala diner. You can safely count it in as one of the best Vienna balls now.
Location: Imperial Palace
Tickets: EUR 155 (entrance and champagne) to EUR 680 (entrance and gala diner)
Bookings: Book your tickets here.
Dress code: Ladies: long evening gown; Gentlemen: tuxedo, tailcoat or uniform
Hone Your Waltz Skills Before Joining The Best Vienna Balls
The balls in my list deliver wonderful backdrops for classical ballroom dancing. You don’t need to be a super brilliant dancer to join the best Vienna balls, though. Most of these balls are so packed that basic dancing skills will be absolutely fine. The key dance there is the waltz. To brush up on your waltz skills, you can book a Vienna Waltz lesson for couples at one of Vienna’s best dancing schools just before the ball.