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Vienna Ferris Wheel

Vienna Ferris Wheel – 8 Insights Before You Board

Would you enjoy a ride in the Vienna Ferris Wheel? By all means, add the Wiener Riesenrad to your list if you love nostalgic places, engineering breakthroughs, a gentle pace, and panoramic views. To prepare for your ride and everything around, gather insight and practical information below.

1. How Old Is The Vienna Ferris Wheel?

Wiener RiesenradDating from 1897, the Giant Ferris Wheel in Vienna is more than 120 years old. To celebrate Emperor Francis Joseph’s Golden Jubilee, the city required an ultramodern show-off piece.

What few people know is that the Wiener Riesenrad is a masterpiece of British engineering, by Harry Hitchins, Hubert Cecil Booths and Lieutenant Walter Bassett.

During World War I the Vienna Ferris Wheel was almost taken down, and suffered severe damage during a fire in World War II. After the war, the Viennese decided to restore it, along with other landmarks such as Stephansdom (St. Stephen’s Cathedral) and the Vienna State Opera.

2. What’s The Best Way To See the Wiener Riesenrad?

Giant Ferris Wheel from the topIf you ask me as a native, I would say after a visit to Prater amusement park, when the sun sets.  Vienna’s historic fairground Prater is an attraction in itself. At dusk or at night, a dozen lights will illuminate the Vienna Ferris Wheel’s intricate metal construction. What’s more, the city lights will shine against the night sky, too! When boarding in the evening there will also be fewer visitors, and shorter queues.

Other than that, many romantic couples go for a candlelight dinner in one of the special dinner waggons. Find out more how it works in my post about Valentine’s Day.

By the way, do you remember post-war cult movie The Third Man? In a memorable scene on board the Ferris Wheel, criminal dealer Harry Lime (Orson Welles) explains his morbid world view to his old friend Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton). If you can, watch the movie and possibly join a Third Man Movie tour in central Vienna before boarding the wheel.

3. What Can I See From The Ferris Wheel?

View from Vienna Ferris WheelIf you wonder about the views from the Ferris Wheel, imagine standing on top of a 19-storey building: At its top height, the Wiener Riesenrad measures almost 65 meters.

Essentially, the views provide a panorama view of Prater and the city in general, rather than particular landmarks. On sunny days you can see as far as the hills of the Vienna Woods, across the Danube until the Pannonic Basin.

For breathtakingly spectacular vistas, consider climbing up the 250-meters high Danube Tower (Donauturm) across the Danube.

4. How Long Does The Vienna Ferris Wheel Take?

Vienna Prater Giant Ferris WheelA ride in the Ferris Wheel takes 10 to 15 minutes. More precisely, the wheel gently turns at 0.75 meters per second. Every now and then it stops to drop off and pick up passengers for each cabin.

If you do a candlelight dinner you will do six movements during your meal. While you’ll be able to sit down in the dinner wagons, even the regular wagons have a bench in the middle to sit down. With a bit of luck, and most likely in the evenings, a piece of that bench should become yours.

5. How Much Do Giant Ferris Wheel Tickets Cost?

One ride in the Vienna Ferris Wheel costs around EUR 12. If you find the price a little high you can sweeten the deal by getting a VIENNA PASS city card, which includes a ride in the Ferris Wheel, amongst many other top attractions.

6. Should  You Book Riesenrad Tickets In Advance?

Since the Giant Ferris Wheel is a top attraction do expect queues at the ticket counter upon arrival. To skip the ticket lines consider buying your ticket online. For an even quicker entrance, get the VIENNA PASS city card, which you can scan quickly at the entrance.

7. What Attractions Are Near the Wiener Riesenrad?

Vienna Chocolate Museum at PraterJust opposite the Giant Ferris Wheel the Vienna Chocolate Museum opens its doors to choc fanatics (photo). After our museum visit, my kids created and decorate their own crazy chocolates in a chocolate workshop, it was huge fun.

Next door you will find Madame Tussaud’s, where you can rub shoulders with Empress Sissi, Gustav Klimt, Wolfgang Mozart, Sigmund Freud, and more. Luckily, Adolf Hitler is missing.

Given that the Riesenrad is located in the second district of Leopoldstadt, take advantage and explore the former Jewish quarter along with Karmelitermarkt street market. Alternatively, stroll through Augarten, Vienna’s oldest baroque garden, and tour marvellous Augarten porcelain manufactory on the grounds.

8. When Does The Vienna Ferris Wheel Open?

Except the second and third week in January, the Wiener Riesenrad is open all year round. It usually opens at 10.00 am and closes at 10.00 pm. Between the end of April and the end of August you can even take rides until midnight. For the exact opening and closing times by season click here.

How To Get To The Vienna Ferris Wheel

Coming from the city centre, the easiest way to is to grab Vienna metro lines U1 or U2 to Praterstern. Alternatively, for a neighborhood ride from Belvedere Palace up to Prater, for example, take tramway O. If you come from the 7th or 8th district, get into tramway 5. Other than that, railway lines S1-S3, S7 and S15 also stop at Praterstern, as does bus line 80A.

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