Touring the Vienna State Opera

In July we headed to Austria for 8 nights, basing ourselves in Vienna for the first part of the trip and then taking the train over to Salzburg for the latter half. I myself have been to Vienna twice previously and know the city well, but given the city’s large size and impressive number of museums and tourist attractions, there were still many places that I had not yet set foot inside. One of these was the Vienna State Opera and given my interest in theatre, I was keen to book a tour of the renowned building.

Exterior of the Vienna State Opera

Guided tours

Every day guides offer tours in various languages, taking visitors on a journey through the opera house, covering the grand hallways, intermission areas, Royal Box and the famous auditorium itself. A full price adult ticket costs 13 euros and with this ticket, you get to spend approximately 40 minutes in the building. Tour spaces can be booked on the day, but I would advise booking in advance if you are hoping to reserve a specific time. Our English language tour was at 11am and the venue was packed full of people waiting to explore. Each group contains 30 people and you start at different locations, so the rooms are never overcrowded with visitors. It is incredibly well organised and insightful, offering a unique perspective to fans of the arts.

Kat Masterson visiting the Vienna State Opera

Tour highlights

The highlights for me were getting to stand on the balcony of the Royal Box, looking out at the vast auditorium and also walking on top of the orchestra pit. We learnt that it can be two different sizes depending on the size of the orchestra and were literally within touching distance of the stage’s safety curtain.

Orchestra pit inside the Vienna State Opera house

It was also fascinating to learn about the intricate details of the 19th century structure, from the tapestries inspired by past operas to the statues representing notable composers throughout history. I honestly don’t think I would have spotted these nods to operatic history without the tour.

An intermission room at the Vienna State Opera

Opera house pricing

As much as I would have liked to watch a ballet or opera at the State Opera House, I had imagined this experience would be totally out of our budget. The guided tour was the next best option, but I was surprised to learn during the walk that standing tickets are actually quite affordable, sometimes less than 20 euros per person! The downsides are needing to queue up 90 minutes before the performance to obtain tickets and if successful, then remain on your feet for multiple hours during the event. You would also experience a restricted view, but the attraction of such an experience for me is being able to hear that incomparable opera sound. A decent view is a bonus in my mind at that price!

Hallways inside the Vienna State Opera

Overall thoughts

A fascinating insight into a globally recognised arts venue, I was totally inspired by the tour and thought it was brilliantly organised for tourists and theatre fans. It is not often that you get such a fulfilling experience for a very reasonable £11 and in the heart of the affluent city of Vienna too, what a bargain! I would recommend the tour to anyone interested in either the arts or unique architecture. Guided tour tickets can be purchased from the opera house’s website.

Seating in the Vienna State Opera house

Vienna is one of my favourite cities in Europe and I am sure I will return in the future. Next time I will be sure to look into securing either ballet or opera tickets, depending on the dates that I visit (the opera season runs from September – June). The Vienna State Opera House is an absolutely spectacular building and one day I would love to witness an actual performance there.

Have you ever been to the Austrian capital? What was your favourite attraction in the city?

Thanks for reading my blog today.

Love Kat xxxx

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