Well, the first thing to recommend about the Riesenrad - or giant ferris wheel to you and me - is that it was built in 1897 by Walter Basset, an Englishman! Hurrah!! It has become one of Vienna's most iconic landmarks solely due to the famous film adaptation of Graham Greene's novel 'The Third Man'. It might not be sought out by thrill-seekers but it certainly is by film buffs. If you haven't seen the film you might find yourself seriously underwhelmed, but if you've long savoured Joseph Cotton's celebrated scene with Orson Welles you wont leave the city without taking a turn on the wheel. I almost hate to point it out but their scene in the movie was actually filmed on a studio set...but the external scenes are totally pukka and there for everyone to see. I braved my rather sad fear of heights to go on the Riesenrad and was remarkably calm until the wind rocked the closed wooden carriege as we rested at the 12 'o clock postion. Hardly bungee-jumping I know but I was suitably pleased with myself..and no, I'm not going back on it!
One further word, the Prater park is perhaps a touch on the seedy side (quite safe though) - aren't most funfairs?- and hardly in an elegant part of Vienna, so perhaps a daytime trip is best for the faint-heatred!
Fun fairs aren’t usually “my thing” at all, but I was prepared to make an exception for the “Riesenrad” ferris wheel at the permanent Viennese “Prater” fun fair. Why? Well, because it is such a historic device, having commenced operations in 1897, when it was by far the world’s largest (65M) – now it’s the world’s oldest; because over the years it become so much a symbol of Vienna; and because….well, the ‘kid’ in me came out and I just wanted to try it!
Yes, I know that many people feel it is an enormous tourist trap – and if you purchase the photos taken as you enter, you’re succumbing to that, but the easiest thing is to not bother even checking them as you leave: nobody says you must buy, after all! As you enter, you will pass through a small ‘museum’ with items such as dioramas of Vienna, housed in old cars from the wheel: many years ago, half the original cars were removed. It isn’t a world-shaking museum, but worth a few minutes of your time.
And did the Riesenrad meet my expectations? It did indeed, it was not only a buzz, but being slow-moving it also provided a good vantage point for some great photos. I’d give it the thumbs up as a “to do”.
In the other side of UNO CITY,you'll see a big wheel and other attractions just in the riverside.Is a good option if you are travelling with children,I am sure that you'll have lots of fun here and see some nice views of the city.This big wheel is more than one hundred years old,and it is one of most important landmark of Vienna!.
One part of the Prater is a big recreation park (till the beginning of the 20th century it was a hunting area), with a lot of green space and forest. Many people do sports there, for example running, roller skating, or are just sunbathing. There is a riding school as well. Since the 1920ies a little train is going through the Prater, the nostalgic "Liliputbahn". The ticket costs EUR 3,50 (EUR 2,20 for children under 12, free for children under 2) and it is great fun.
One of the main attractions in the Prater is of course the amusement park, which is called "Wurstelprater". It was pretty shabby in the 90ties, now it is well kept again and a nice place for adults and for kids to spend for example a Sunday afternoon. There is no general entrance fee to the amusement park, but they charge directly at the attractions. Tickets cost ca between EUR 1,50 - EUR 15,00 (for the ejection seat- you sit in kind of a big ball and are catapulted up in the air- only for the ones with nerves of steel :)) . Apart from some scary attractions like the "space shot" you`ll find roller coasters, haunted houses, carrousels, racing circuits, gambling houses, pony riding for kids and a looot more. Here you`ll find the famous giant ferris wheel as well, which is Vienna`s landmark. The ticket costs EUR 7,50 for adults and EUR 3,00 for kids between 3 and 14. Watch out for reduced combination tickets, for example Liliputbahn and giant ferris wheel or Donauturm and giant ferris wheel.
Last but not least, the most famous restaurant in the Prater, the large "Schweizerhaus" should be mentioned. It is always packed with people, so if you come with a larger group you should reserve a table, especially at the weekend. They have a large beer garden where you can enjoy a Budweiser beer and the traditional rear knuckle of pork (so called "Stelze" which usually weighs 1.5 kg and costs ca EUR 20,00).
The Giant Ferris Wheel (Wiener Riesenrad) was erected between 1896 and 1897 by the English engineer Walter Basset. From one of the 15 cabins you can enjoy scenic views of the Prater and Vienna. The Giant Ferris Wheel has a total height of 64.75 m. The Admission of 7.50 Euro (2004) includes a visit to the exhibition "The Wheel of History".
The Giant Ferris Wheel, trademark of Austria's capital city and a symbol of Vienna's world-famous Prater, creates a very special point of reference for every visitor with its unmistakeable silhouette, clearly visible even from great distances.
A circular trip on one of the most significant and fascinating structures in the world, and the unique view of the city of Vienna, make the Giant Ferris Wheel an absolute cultural and architectural must for every visitor to Austria's capital.
Have a look at my restaurant-tip "SCHWEIZERHAUS" , only a 10 minutes walk!
Ever since it opened, the Giant Ferris Wheel has been a symbol of Vienna's Prater district, and with its famous silhouette seen from far off it has become the city's trademark. The Giant Ferris Wheel, erected by the British engineer Walter B. Besset, has the proud distinction, in contrast to other wheels in London, Blackpool, Paris, or Chicago, of having withstood all the natural catastrophes and acts of war to which it has been subjected. Following the destruction of the entire operating system and all the cabins in 1945 by bombs and fire, the Giant Ferris Wheel, like the city it symbolises, very soon began to rise from the ashes to turn again.
15 cabins provide visitors with a unique "round trip experience". From short journeys in cabins of the style of the year 1897 to small-scale celebrations, press conferences, or a romantic dinner for two in our two luxury cabins, the "Jubiläumswaggon" and "Jugendstil", make a trip on the Giant Ferris Wheel into the memory of a lifetime.
I like Ferris wheels so I had to ride Riesenrad :D the day we went it was a little windy so it was a tad scary when the cart started to move left to right and back a little. Riesenrad is also the only place where we saw Vienna from above. Some might say that the view isn't spectacular but I liked it.
On arrival you get 4 photos taken for you to shop if you want. The idea is that you look at different places from Riesenrad and the "book" where your pictures are printed is actually a good idea...if only I was more photogenic that day hehehe.
Just beside the 100+ year old ferris wheel of Reesenrad in Leopoldstadt in Vienna, there is a wonderful amusement park that kids will surely enjoy --- called the WURSTELPRATER.
There’s a wonderful rollercoaster, carousels and several other fun rides. The mascot for the park is Calafati, a 9 meter-tall sculpture of a Chinese man --- why Chinese, I don’t know…
The park is open from 10:00 am to 1:00 am daily in its season from March 15 to October 31. But check actual dates as this may change (I visited in 2007). There is no entrance fee to get into the park; instead, each individually-owned attraction charges its own fee! So, feel free to walk around!!!
I just took a tram to go to the famous 1897 Reisenrad ferris wheel (one of the earliest of its kind) in Vienna's Prater in the second district of Leopoldstadt (designed by Hubert Cecil Booth). At first I was anxious if this old structure would collapse, but remember - it has survived 2 World Wars!
It has a height of 65 meters (213 ft), and from above you see a magnificent view of Vienna as well as a large amusement park. Some of the carts had dining tables, reserved for special occassions and I think it would be a perfect place for a “marriage proposal”!
Drop me a line if you did propose on that ferris wheel (and send pics too!)...
There is a wonderful museum at the base, giving a history of the ferris wheel and pictures of it from the past. It is amazing that it stands to this day, and every new visitor to Vienna should go on it to have a piece of history!
The ferris wheel situated in the Wiener Prater, is one of Vienna's landmarks. This wheel takes you to such heights, that you will be able to take pictures and video clips of part of Vienna underneath you.
It is not recommended for people who are afraid of heights or who suffer from claustrophobia. The cabins are closed and only a few of the windows are open.
Besides the wheel, there are many more activities, such as the roller coasters and puppet shows.
The Prater is definitely a must see. It's very odd. Well, not really I suppose...it's more along the lines of a fairground that one would find in America. However, there are all sorts of very fun sculptures to play on and of course the famous ferris wheel is amazing. Instead of seats in a traditional ferris wheel, the passenger compartments are old wooden train cars....that sway. Really neat!
It's kinda pricey...if memory serves me correctly, it's 8 euros. *but* if you buy a combo pass for the ferris wheel *and* the Donautrum (the big needle thingie kinda like in Seattle) then it's totally worth it. The Donautrum is not in the Prater, but it's not *too* much of a pain in the arse to navigate to both fun spots.
The Prater means 'plain'...which it really is...just a large expanse of land with all kinds of buggies, games, go-karts, rides, etc... Typically (esp in the summer and for New Years) there are big tents set up with music, super cheap beer, etc...it basically becomes a big party zone.
This ferris wheel is a contemporary of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. I see both of them as monuments of late 19th century engineering.
As I love watching the Eiffel Tower from beneath, for the impression of strength and stability it gives me, so my preferred view of the Riesenrad is from inside a wagon looking towards the centre of the wheel.
The Giant Ferris Wheel is open 365 days of the years. It has been a famous landmark since it was opened in 1897 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I. It was damaged during WW2 but was rebuilt and reopened in 1947. It has featured in a number of films but became world famous in the post war film ‘The Third Man’. It is nearly 65m in height and the whole construction weighs 430t. There are 15 cabins on the wheel from which you get fantastic views of Vienna. There are 4 cabins set aside for private hire. For those who fancy something different for a wedding this could be the location. As the cabins have a limit on the number of people allowed, it cuts down on the number of wedding guests.
The Giant Ferris Wheel in the Prater Park was constructed in 1897 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I. However, it wasn’t always as popular a tourist attraction as it is today because in 1916 a court approved its demolition (luckily never carried out). It burnt down in 1944 but was rebuilt a year later after the end of World War II. It reopened in 1947 but with only half of its original 30 cabins.
If you have seen the “Third Man”, you will know that the Riesenrad has often been used as a setting by film directors. But did you know that in 1914, as part of a film, Madame Solange d'Atalide, a successful circus manageress and rider, completed a revolution of the Giant Ferris Wheel sitting on a horse on the roof of one of the cabins
More interesting facts: The Wheel is just under 65 metres high and weighs more than 430 tonnes!
Visit the homepage of the Vienna Big Wheel and click on the flags for the various languages.
Prices: Adults: 7.50 children: 3.00
Combicard with Danube Tower 9.60