Fiaker - Horse Carriage, Vienna
The word "fiaker" seems to be typical from Austria (not used in Germany) but close to the French "fiacre" except that you won't find nowadays any fiacre in Paris but many in Vienna.
As we had money left and the rain had stopped we made a short ride on our last afternoon before leaving for the airport.
We took one of them waiting at the Heldenplatz in front of the Neue Burg. You have to take the first in the line. During 20 minutes at a price of 40 € we explored the surrounding area.
My wife found especially pleasant to hear the sound of the hoofs passing under the portico of the Hofburg. That was well worthwhile the 40 €; the Kaiser must have heard the same sound.
The horses of our fiaker were well educated; they waited that we left to do what they were in need to do.
Inflation: Begin June 2012 I saw that the price for 1 hour was 80 € and 55 € for 20 minutes for the fiakers standing at the Stephansplatz. Not surprising that many remain empty.
Now I know it, I made mistake not to take fiaker tour of the city centre because it offers more sights in a shorter time and in more comfortable way. I've skip it because my wife was eager to make some shoppings here. It happens to me all the time when exploring the city in a company of my wife.
Do not make the same mistake I did, rent a fiaker and enjoy the city tour!
Fiaker ride price:
- the small city tour, 20 minutes € 40
- the medium city tour, 40 minutes € 65
- the big city tour, 60 minutes € 95.
The horse and carriage rides around the beautiful city of Vienna are a great way of seeing the city in comfort because of the Narrow Streets and cobbles. The horses pass by many beautiful buildings and statues. The length and prices of the rides vary so it is best to agree on a price before the ride.
A trip with a Fiaker is a romantic way to discover Vienna. In our case, a pink carriage with two horses, with this combination we made a city tour from a half hour for € 40, =.
See for an impression the video Giant Ferris Wheel and the Fiaker.
Stands are the Augustinestraße for the Albertina and the Stephansplatz on the north side of the Cathedral.
It's a pleasant way to see the city. Most of the carriages are enclosed which, whilst is a welcome in the winter when it is very cold, means that you get no information about the buildings you are seeing. As there were 5 of us I sat up the top with the driver. It was snowing and very cold but he told me lots about Vienna and I got some better photos than I would have had I been in the carriage!
There are different length tours to choose from. Under time pressure I took one of the shorter ones but it covered most areas.
You can pick up a horse carriage from outside St. Stephens Cathedral
My first Fiaker ride was in April 2005 and it was surprise birthday gift from someone special. He arranged for the Fiaker to come to my apartment so that we can ride in style to my birthday party held at a restaurant in the 1st district. So, there we were, dressed in our formal outfits, and riding in a Fiaker to a restaurant for dinner. I felt like those elegant noble ladies in those old days, i.e. before the invention of cars. As I stepped into the horse carriage, I was being helped on board by the driver. With my friend sitting next to me, I sat back and enjoy the beautiful ride. People were looking at us in the Fiaker passing them by. I felt rather strange when I saw people looking or staring at us. Some tourist even took photos! Anyway, it was fun riding in an open Fiaker and it was great to see the inner city sites from a different point of view - from top of a carriage.
Here are the prices for the Fiaker ride:
Rate for a short city tour @ 20 minutes will cost Euro 40.
Rate for grand city tour @ 40 minutes will cost Euro 65
Rate for one hour city tour will cost Euro 95
One Fiaker can seat 4 people, so if you want to save money, go in a group of 4.
This is probably the first thing that comes to your mind on the mention of Vienna. I love this picture!
Walking around Vienna, seeing "fiaker" is nothin strange. And it fits in perfect!
What we have noticed is that horses in Vienna do not look abused, like the ones we saw in Schwangau
and that made us very happy!
The budget didn't allow it the first few times I was in Vienna, and paying to ride around in a closed carriage in the rain had no appeal on a Christmas visit, but beautiful sunshine and a friend who'd never been there before combined to see us negotiating with the driver of one of the fiakers waiting by the Stephansdom on a day that was a public holiday in June (Corpus Christi - the Thursday following Trinity Sunday).
There's no getting away from the fact that this is both a)expensive and b)very touristy - but what the heck - it was our last day in Vienna, our plans for the day had gone somewhat awry, and it was fun. We opted for the full hour (90 euros). As it was quite early and a holiday, there was very little traffic around our coachman was prepared to make a few unscheduled photo stops. He gave us a knowledgeable running commentary as we clip-clopped along and some unforseen barriers meant we took a couple of unexpected detours.
I don't know that I would say this is a "must-do" in Vienna - I've been an impecunious backpacker in my time, counting every schilling, and riding around in horse-drawn carriages certainly doesn't fit within that budget but I wouldn't go so far as to call it a tourist trap either. Fiakers are as much a part of the Viennese street scene as the grand buildings and the Baroque domes, the horses are well-cared for unlike the broken-down old nags you find in some cities, so if you fancy a taste of bygone days, this could be for you.
A rather touristically clichéed mode of transport in Vienna is to take a Fiaker - a horse-drawn carriage around Vienna. Prices can vary somewhat but for a 20 minute ride you can expect to pay between EUR 50 and EUR 70. Sure you'll get to see some of the sights and have an experience reminiscent of the long-gone k.u.k. era, but if you are unlucky you might have a pony ride which doesn't really satisfy you as it should! There are Fiaker stands all around the 1st district by the major sights - and usually the drivers speak English and will point out sights.
No matter how heavy the traffic in modern Vienna, there always is room for the horsedrawn cab known as the Fiaker. The German word " Fiaker’ refer to both the two-horse cab itself and to the cabby, who is generally dressed in pepita-check trousers, a velvet jacket and derby hat.
Once the fiakers were Vienna’s taxi transport, but today they are mostly popular for special ceremonial use and as a tourist attraction. Fiaker ranks are near the Imperial Palace, the State Opera and beside St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The well-kept vehicles and their picturesque drivers add an attractive bit of color to the Vienna street scene.
The fiaker cabs have a long history, which is recorded in the Fiakerhaus, a building that has belonged to the profession for a century. It now houses the fiaker museum and is located at Veronikagasse 12 in the 18th district.
Today, a traditional use of the fiaker by the Viennese is at Confirmation, when youngsters are brought from St. Stephen’s to the Prater amusement park by horse-drawn cabs. They are frequently used to transport wedding parties.
A fiaker ride is almost obligatory for the visitor to Vienna. Each cabby is well-versed in local history and is always delighted to tell visitors stories of the buildings they pass on their horse-drawn tour of his beloved city.
Actually this is a difficult one. I had thought about listing fiaker rides under 'tourist traps' but then I felt a sudden, untypical burst of charity. On the one hand, wanting to take a trot around Vienna courtesy of a greatcoated and bewhiskered coachman might seem a trifle predictable. But let us pause! For a fiaker ride is style personified when compared to the kitsch 'gladiators' permanently stationed around Rome's Colosseum (though the plastic plated blighters do give you an idea why countless emperors found it easy to throw people to the lions) The fiaker is arguably less clichéd than the inevitable Venetian gondola ride. Furthermore your coachman is unlikely to think he's in possession of a fine tenor voice, and even less likely to inflict it upon you!
No, a canter round the Ringstasse is not going to be cheap but it will be memorable and it is negotiable - but please be polite about it.You will find the fiaker rank alongside the cathedral in Stephansdom and if you're there in high Summer you might even smell 'em before you see them! Good for the rose bushes. ('er, not that I'm suggesting you carry the free fertiliser through Customs.)
Another nice option if you are tired of walk too much,is take a ride in one of numerous carriages that you'll find in Vienna' streets!.I don't know the price because I didn't had the chance and the time to do it,but I think that is a good idea and see the best part of the city.
Ok, this is afterall a palace in modern-day Vienna.
For the romantics at heart, if strolling down the boulevards of this beautiful city is not a complete experience, perhaps you might wanna try to relive the olden days of horses & carriages. This is certainly the best city to embark on a journey to be remember by long after you've return to the routine of civilization ;-)
may be a little expensive, but so good to visit the city like this
drivers are very kind, may be they could explain better , may be i ve to speck deutsch, but we were french, russian , turc and croatian on board !!!so !!!
Well, it's more of a tourist novelty than a mode of transport....a fiacre (Fiaker) is a traditional-style open carriage drawn by a pair of horses.
They can be found lined up at Stephansplatz, Albertinaplatz & Heldenplatz at the Hofburg.
Expect to pay around € 36 for a 15 to 20 minute trot....& these horses must be among Vienna richest inhabitants!!
Drivers generally speak English & would point out the places of interest en route..
Try to bargain the price!