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
- Opens late for nighttime views
- €12 for adults* or free with the Vienna Pass
- See also: Best views of Vienna
Ferris wheel history
The original Ferris wheel was erected in 1897 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph. The designer was an Englishman named Walter Basset, who’d already honed his engineering skills building a Ferris wheel for London.
Like many 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 with the Riesenrad, the stamp in your imaginary book of iconic moments, and the knowledge that you’re following in the footsteps of history.
The word iconic really isn’t out of place here. The Riesenrad has a special place in Viennese and visitor hearts thanks to its star turn in various much-loved movies.
Tickets & visitor information
The Riesenrad opens all year, excepting a few days in January.
The exact opening hours depend on the season (it’s often open late so you get good nighttime views of Vienna). Between May and the end of August, for example, it opens from 9 am to midnight.
At the time of writing, a standard ticket was €12 for adults, €5 for kids. Do check the official website (see below) for up-to-date info on prices, opening times, etc.
For those looking for a touch of style, you can also arrange a dinner, coffee, or similar event while you enjoy ever-changing views of Vienna. They even have a special wedding cabin.
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. Once you exit the station, it’s obvious where the Riesenrad is (look up).
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)
Tram/bus: Tram lines 5 and O, and bus lines 5B, 80A, and 82A, all stop at Praterstern
Address: Wiener Riesenrad, Prater 90, 1020 Vienna | Website