Ever wanted to take a boat ride through the Viennese underground waterways with the Empress of Austria? (Of course you have.) Welcome to the Sisi’s Amazing Journey 5D experience.
- Film introduces Sisi’s life and iconic status
- Professional presentation
- Ask for the English audioguide
- 5D VR boat ride like a theme park thrill
- Simply (a lot of) fun
- Whole thing takes about 40 minutes
- Book a ticket* for Sisi’s Amazing Journey online
- See also:
Film & VR boat ride
(The location is right next to the pedestrianised centre)
As a middle-aged history buff, I always approach virtual reality attractions with a little snobbish skepticism. And how often they prove me an idiot. (Though not always.)
I’d put off visiting Sisi’s Amazing Journey, for example, for a long time. But, you know what? It was fun.
The experience divides into three parts.
1. Info display
Once you pass the ticket barrier, you find a small room with a handful of wall displays in English and German on the titular heroine of this experience: Empress Elisabeth (1837-1898), perhaps the most famous woman in Habsburg and Austrian history; this article explains why.
Two headless life-size models of Sisi (as she was known) and her husband (Emperor Franz Joseph) offer an opportunity for an amusing photo.
2. Sisi film
A short documentary-style film introduces you to Sisi’s life, beginning as a young girl in Bavaria and ending with her assassination in Geneva. This professional production provides insight into her personality, fame, and legacy, along with intriguing anecdotes.
In the film, Sisi’s love of candied violets gets a mention, and the documentary guide drinks coffee inside (I think) the very same Café-Konditorei that served the empress with her preferred sweet delights. That’s Demel: only a short walk away.
3. The 5D VR ride
You then move to a “boat” and put on a headset for a 5D virtual reality experience.
I don’t want to spoiler it, but Sisi gets on board and takes you through some Viennese sewers and underwater channels before travelling along (and then high above) the modern-day Danube.
You won’t learn much more about Sisi or experience the events or locations related to her life (with one small exception).
Think of it rather as a theme park ride with a former Empress of Austria as guide. I’ll reluctantly admit to actually blushing when Sisi climbed in and sat next to me.
(Sisi just before changing into more suitable clothing for the boat ride. Or, more accurately, Franz Xaver Winterhalter’s painting of Kaiserin Elisabeth, undated. Photo courtesy of and © Belvedere, Wien. Reproduced with permission under the terms of Creative Commons License CC BY-SA 4.0. Photo by Áment Gellért)
The boat moves, which combines with the 360° VR view to get you bracing yourself at times. And parents be warned: some scary bits involve ghosts and skeletons. Like I said, think theme park ride rather than a Sisi-themed experience.
The bottom line…a bit bizarre but all rather fun.
After you remove the headset, it comes as quite a surprise to find yourself back in a small building in the centre of Vienna and not in some dark sewer worrying whether the Empress has got dirt on her dress.
Visitor & ticket tips
I listened to the original German version, but an English-language audioguide and headphones are available (ask for one before viewing the film).
The whole experience took around 40 minutes to complete, leaving plenty of time for other activities.
(Booking service provided by Tiqets.com*, who I am an affiliate of)
For more 5D, multimedia, and virtual reality fun, try these suggestions. Or simply cross the road to the sister attraction, Time Travel Vienna, which offers a more varied and longer experience. Another Habsburg-related VR experience is the one at Schönbrunn palace.
And for more of the empress, well…I have a guide to Sisi locations in Vienna.
Actually, you’re quite close to the Sisi Museum, which takes you through biographical displays as well as the original apartment rooms used by the empress in the Hofburg.
How to get there
Subway: two stations are close by. Stroll down either from Herrengasse (U3 line) or Stephansplatz (U3 and U1 lines).
Tram/bus: the 1A and 2A old town buses wind their way through the centre and stop at Habsburgergasse.
Address: Habsburgergasse 3, 1010 Vienna | Website