One of Vienna’s trademark sights is the Riesenrad or giant Ferris wheel located at the start of the Prater amusement park. Impressive in its own right, it acquired global fame by featuring in several movies, most notably The Third Man with Orson Welles.
- Iconic 19th-century landmark over 60m high
- Offers great views over the city
- €10 for adults (with concessions) or free with the Vienna Pass*
The original Ferris wheel was erected in 1897, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Josef. The designer was an Englishman named Walter Basset, who’d already honed his engineering skills building a Ferris wheel for London.
Like some other Viennese attractions, the wheel didn’t survive WWII intact. It burnt down in 1944, but was soon rebuilt and returned to operation in 1947, albeit with fewer wagons.
The whole structure weighs over 430 tonnes and has a diameter of just under 61 meters or exactly 200 feet (a relic of the original English design!) It turns slowly, but surely, at a pace of 2.7 km/h (2 mph).
There are taller places to get a view over the city and there are more thrilling rides in the adjacent Prater entertainment complex. But it’s all about the experience, the stamp in your imaginary book of iconic moments, and the knowledge that you’re following in the footsteps of history.
The Riesenrad is open almost all year, the exact hours depending on the season (it’s often open late so you get good nighttime views of Vienna). You can buy single-ride tickets, but there are also various combination tickets with other Prater attractions.
At the time of writing, a standard ticket was €10 for adults, €4.50 for kids. Do check the official website for up-to-date info on prices, opening times, etc.
For those of you looking for a touch of style, you can also arrange a dinner, coffee, or similar event while you enjoy ever-changing views of Vienna. You can even get married in one of the wagons.
How to get to the Riesenrad
The Ferris wheel is a mere 5 minute (if that) hop, skip and jump from the Praterstern subway and train station that sits at the entrance to the Prater park.
Subway/trains: U1 and U2 subway lines. Praterstern is also a stop on the city train lines S1, S2, S3, S4 and S7 (the airport line).
Bus: lines 5B, 80A, and 82A all stop at Praterstern.
Tram: lines 2, 5 and O to Praterstern.
Address: Wiener Riesenrad, Prater 90, 1020 Vienna | Website