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Giant Ferris Wheel

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Built in 1897, the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel is considered one of the most famous landmarks of Vienna. From 1920 to 1985 it was the highest Ferris wheel in the world. Today, it is still the oldest Ferris Wheel in operation. Especially in summer, the lines can become long, so it is recommended to book a skip-the-line ticket in advance.
Jessica DonevBy Jessica Donev
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Tickets

The ticket that lets you discover Vienna from a different perspective.
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Vienna: Skip-the-cashier-desk-line Giant Ferris Wheel Ride
4.3starstarstarstarstar half(4953)
 
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Specials

Save money and combine the Giant Ferris Wheel with dozens of great attractions when you buy the Vienna Pass
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Vienna PASS: 1, 2, 3, or 6 Days of Sightseeing
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Vienna: Flexipass for 2, 3, 4 or 5 Top Sights
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4 tips for visiting the Giant Ferris Wheel

Picnic in the Prater | Unsplash: Jarritos Mexican Soda
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Restaurants in the Prater or picnic?If you prefer to eat in a more down-to-earth manner, in the Prater, which surrounds the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel, there are various restaurants or the option to picnic on one of the extensive green areas. The Prater is twice as big as Central Park in New York and offers meadows as well as forests and playgrounds.
Chair swing ride | Unsplash: Soroush Karimi
2
Reaching for the skyIf the Giant Ferris Wheel wasn't high enough for you: In the nearby Wurstelprater amusement park you can go for a spin on the Prater Tower, the world's highest chair swing ride (117m high, 383.9 ft). Not for the faint of heart, but the view is worth it!
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The perfect dateLooking for something exclusive and romantic? In the Vienna Giant Wheel, there are carriages that can be booked for a private candlelight dinner. The package includes a 90-minute three-course meal with wine accompaniment and a glass of champagne as an aperitif. Optionally, your own music can be played during the meal.
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The Vienna PassTo see as many attractions as possible at a low cost in a short span of time, there's the Vienna Pass! This combination ticket allows free entry into over 90 of Vienna's most popular attractions (including the Vienna Giant Wheel) and museums, most with fast track entry. The Hop-On-Hop-Off Buses of Vienna Sightseeing are also included to easily move between program points.
Prater and Ferris Wheel | Unsplash: Marie Rouilly

The Vienna Giant Wheel - Through the Course of History

And it keeps turning...
Vienna Giant Wheel and View | Unsplash: Shery Arturova

1897 to the post-war period

The history of the Vienna Giant Wheel begins in 1897 when it was built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Josef I. The Giant Wheel consists of two identical, superimposed semicircles that represent a bridge. At that time, the project was considered incredibly risky and was only approved after Hofrat Ing. Johann Brick from the Technical University of Vienna presented his calculations to the city's building department. The Giant Wheel's first movement took place on June 25, 1897, to lower the upper part and complete the construction works there. The official inauguration took place in front of many visitors on July 3, 1897. However, probably only a few could afford a ride as it cost 8 guilders. For comparison: a civil servant earned about 30 guilders a month.

After World War I, Eduard Steiner bought the Giant Wheel in 1919 and originally wanted to demolish it. However, due to a lack of money, the demolition permit was never utilized.

In 1938, the Nazis 'Aryanized' the property of Eduard Steiner and placed the Giant Wheel under monument protection (the Nazi term 'Aryanization' refers to the process of expropriating the possessions of Jews). It was almost destroyed by fire damage during World War II. Only the steel structure remained standing. Since it was assumed that the structure was no longer as safe as before the damage, during the reconstruction in 1945 only half of the carriages, i.e., 15 instead of 30, were reattached. Due to a lack of money, these only had 4 instead of 6 windows per side.
Panoramamuseum | Unsplash: Manel & Sean

2002 to present

On May 1, 2002, the Panoramamuseum opened. Eight reconstructed carriages tell the story of the Prater during a journey through time.

In 2016, the Ferris wheel was equipped with 15 new carriages, built according to the original plans. These have 6 windows per side again.

In mid-March 2020, the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel stood still for the first time in 73 years. The Corona Pandemic not only brings the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel to a standstill, but the whole world. The joyful reopening by the Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig took place on May 29, 2020, and signifies Vienna's awakening from the pandemic.

In 2022, Platform 9, a glass structure between two carriages which can be entered, opened. Visitors are secured with a rope and enjoy an indescribable view over Vienna - adrenaline rush included.
Prater shooting range | Unsplash: Christian Lendl

Your Visit in the Prater

A day in the Prater, the popular amusement park in Vienna, promises a varied mix of entertainment, fun, and culinary delights.
Content Creator Jessica in Volare

A wild ride

It's best to plan half a day for the Vienna Prater. My favorite time to go on the rides is during dusk, or after sunset, but this decision is entirely up to you.

For my day at the Prater, we start around 3 PM on a pleasantly warm September day. Before the evening and after some sightseeing of Viennese highlights, we deserved a break in the greenery. The Prater Park covers 6 million m² (over 64 million ft²). Meadows, forests, and bodies of water shape the landscape right in the 2nd Viennese district. On hot days, the 4.5km (14,764ft) long main alley offers a mist spray that cools you down and is perfect for a break with a good book on the green areas. After relaxing, we head towards Wurstelprater.

Here we start with some refreshments. I love Churros, and the way to Prater made me hungry. The sun slowly sets - it's time for the first ride. I'm an adrenaline junkie, so my path leads me to Volare, the flying roller coaster. You lie on your stomach and zoom 420m (1,378ft) headfirst along the track.

During my roller coaster ride, the others got themselves some target water, meaning beer, and challenged me to a shooting duel. At one of the many shooting ranges, I prove once again that I will remain the undefeated champion and win the bet. As a punishment for my friends and to my delight, we go to the wildest roller coaster of the Prater, the Olympia Looping, and are shot through 5 loopings at 80km/h (50mph).
The Prater at sunset | Unsplash: Thomas Stadler

In the glow of the lights

Before dinner, we'll also pass by the Geisterbahn (Haunted House). I'm terribly afraid of haunted houses, but because of my FOMO (fear of missing out), I can't stay outside either. After the fright, we head to the Schweizerhaus. Here, you can get the famous Stelze (pork knuckle) and huge beer glasses. However, we want to save some money and go to the slightly cheaper, but equally good restaurant Englischer Reiter.

After fortifying ourselves with Wiener Schnitzel and Co., we leave the restaurant; the sun has now completely set. The Prater lights up in many flashing, colorful lights. We treat ourselves to some cotton candy as dessert and make our way to the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel. In the glow of the night, a ride is even more beautiful than during the day. The queue was long all day, and everyone is glad that I had already booked tickets in advance. The cars slowly ascend to the highest point at 64,7m (212.3ft). From there, we look over the Prater and Vienna. Having reached the top, we enjoy the beautiful moment above the roofs of Vienna together before we say goodbye to the Prater.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I visit the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel?

The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel is not only a symbol of Prater but also of Vienna as a whole. It has appeared in many Austrian and German movies, series, and even Hollywood productions: In Orson Welles’ The Third Man as well as in James Bond 007 - The Living Daylights. Besides the historical aspects, the giant wheel also simply offers a great view of Vienna. Read more.

What can one see from the top?

You have a pretty comprehensive view over Vienna, including St. Stephen's Cathedral, the Danube Tower, and the rest of the Prater. On clear days, you can see as far as Kahlenberg and the Vienna Woods to the northwest. Read more.

How long does a full rotation take?

It depends on how often other guests get on or off, as the Ferris wheel stops each time. Depending on capacity, a rotation takes about between 12 and 15 minutes. The speed of the Ferris wheel is 0.75m/sec (2.7km/h or 1,7mph), which would make a rotation possible in 255 seconds. Read more.

Are there any other interesting things to do nearby?

Especially with a Vienna Pass, you have the option, for example, of visiting Madame Tussauds Vienna right across, or the Prater Museum. In the Prater, there is also a planetarium, the Chocolate Museum Vienna, the ROLLERCOASTERRESTAURANT®, as well as various playgrounds for children. Read more.

Is there a cloakroom?

There is no cloakroom at the Ferris wheel itself. Guests with larger pieces of luggage can secure them in the lockers at the nearby Praterstern station. Read more.

Is the Vienna Ferris Wheel accessible for wheelchairs?

The carriages of the Ferris Wheel (including the dining carriages) are accessible for wide wheelchairs. Assistance dogs are allowed. Read more.

General information

opening hours

The opening hours of the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel vary depending on the season. Usually, the Giant Ferris Wheel opens at 10:00 am but closes earlier in the winter than in the summer. The official website of the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel provides information about the opening hours.

tickets

Tickets cost 14.00 € for adults and 6.50 € for children from 3 to 14. Children under 3 years have free entry.

address

Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel
Riesenradplatz 1
1020 Vienna
Austria

how to get there

The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel is a short walk from Praterstern Station, which is served by the subway (lines U1, U2), commuter trains (S1, S2, S3, S7, and S15), regional trains, trams (O and 5) as well as buses (80A, 5B).
Jessica Donev
Written byJessica DonevJessica is the definition of Jack of all trades. When she wants to do something, she just does it. That's why Jessica is an event manager, professional dancer, trainer, content creator, speaker / presenter in training and much more. Having traveled the world a lot, she knows what's important when traveling and shares it with you here on TicketLens.
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