Prater in Vienna, Austria

The Vienna Prater offers its visitors probably the most diverse leisure programme in the city. Fun and action are the order of the day in the amusement park and the Praterdome, and sporting activity and relaxation are the focus in the "Green Prater".

The Prater in the centre of Vienna has many faces: amusement park for children and the young at heart, historical site for the nostalgic, green oasis for those seeking relaxation, meeting place for athletes and home of the Ferris wheel, probably the city's most famous landmark. A must for Vienna holidaymakers, the multi-faceted Prater is one of Vienna's top 10 sights.


PICTURES: Prater in Vienna

Photo gallery: Prater in Vienna

When is the best time to go to the Prater?

The main season in the Prater is from March to October. During this time, all the stands, stalls, rides and restaurants are busy. Some, including the Ferris wheel, are open all year round, making the Prater one of Vienna's most important tourist destinations.

Wurstelprater - Amusement Park in the Vienna Prater

Right at the main entrance to the Wurstelprater in Vienna, visitors are greeted by a nostalgic carousel, Austria - © pryzmat / Shutterstock
© pryzmat / Shutterstock

The Wurstelprater in Vienna is Austria's largest theme park. Located right next to the idyllic Grüner Prater, it delights visitors of all ages with over 250 nostalgic and modern attractions. Roller coasters, ghost trains, carousels, pony rides, trampolines, amusement arcades, Autodrom, shooting galleries, laughing booths and giant slides make a day in the Prater an experience for young and old.

PICTURES: Wurstelprater in Vienna

Photo gallery: Wurstelprater (Volksprater) in Vienna

Admission to the Wiener Prater is free, you only have to pay for the attractions. So if you don't want to spend any money at the amusement park, you can enjoy the colourful hustle and bustle completely free of charge.

Giant Ferris Wheel - Vienna's landmark

The famous Ferris wheel in the Vienna Prater was one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world at the time of its construction, Austria - © jpatava / Shutterstock
© jpatava / Shutterstock

Without a doubt, one of the biggest attractions at the fairground is the famous Ferris wheel right at the entrance to the Wurstelprater. Vienna's landmark is inseparably linked to the skyline of Vienna and towers unmistakably above the rooftops of Vienna's second district.

PICTURES: Giant Ferris Wheel in Vienna

Photo gallery: Giant Ferris Wheel in Vienna


Facts, figures and data on the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel

The famous Ferris wheel in the Vienna Prater is inseparable from the skyline of Vienna, Austria - © Frank Gaertner / Shutterstock
© Frank Gaertner / Shutterstock

The Ferris wheel has an overall diameter of 200 feet (60.96 metres) and is 64.75 metres high at its highest point. This made it one of the largest Ferris wheels in the world in its early years at the end of the 19th century. In the meantime, this title is held by the Singapore Flyer in Singapore, which is another 100 metres higher, followed by the London Eye in Great Britain, which is 30 metres lower.

A massive 245 tonnes are powered by two motors that move the wagons in a circle at a speed of 2.7km/h. A complete revolution takes about four and a half minutes.

However, a ride on the Giant Ferris Wheel takes much longer because the carriages stop again and again to let passengers get off and on. Thus, the fantastic view of the lively Prater and the centre of Vienna can be enjoyed for a total of ten to twenty minutes.

Events on the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel

The two luxury carriages, the Jubilee Carriage and the Art Nouveau Carriage, provide a special ambience on the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel - © Jessmine / Shutterstock
© Jessmine / Shutterstock

The Giant Ferris Wheel is not only one of the most spectacular viewing platforms Vienna has to offer, but also serves as a venue for a wide variety of events. These range from a romantic dinner for two and smaller private parties to press conferences and company presentations. The two luxury carriages, the anniversary carriage and the art nouveau carriage, provide a special ambience.

The Romantic Crystal Dinner takes place in the unique atmosphere of a carriage designed by Swarovski and includes champagne vouchers and a three-course menu with wine accompaniment as well as a surprise gift from Swarovski. Speaking of romance: On request, a carriage can be prepared for an unforgettable marriage proposal and even a wedding in the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel is possible.

The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel on film

As an internationally known landmark, the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel has served as a breathtaking backdrop or been part of spectacular stunts many times. As early as 1914, a circus director on a horse standing on the roof of a gondola took a spin on the Ferris wheel for a film. 35 years later the Ferris wheel appeared in "The Third Man" and also in the 1987 James Bond film "The Touch of Death" the Vienna Ferris wheel acted as a backdrop.

Panorama Museum "Wheel of Time

The history of the Ferris wheel can be traced in detail in the "Wheel of Time" at the foot of the Ferris wheel. In eight historical wagons, which were thought to have been lost, not only the past of the famous landmark is rewound, but the history of Vienna is traced back to 2000 years ago. The exhibition focuses on Roman times, the Middle Ages, the Turkish Wars, the Enlightenment and Biedermeier periods, the World Exhibition in 1873, the end of the 19th century and the Golden 1920s.

Giant Ferris Wheel Square, Prater Museum and Praterdome

At Riesenradplatz, a nostalgic world of experience recalls the Vienna Prater around 1900, Austria - © Kirill Kuzminykh / Shutterstock
© Kirill Kuzminykh / Shutterstock

On the square in front of the Ferris wheel, a nostalgic world of experience reminds us of the Prater around 1900. This is also where the Prater Museum is located, where the history of the creation of the Vienna Prater can be traced in detail.


The Giant Ferris Wheel Square is not only a fun place during the day, because the hustle and bustle continues in the Praterdome until the early hours of the morning. In Austria's largest disco, four dance floors and twelve bars offer partygoers over 18 entertainment until they drop.

The wide range of music from house and electro to R'n'B, soul and salsa to the hits of the 80s and 90s meets every taste. At midnight, two dance floors will be the scene of a spectacular laser show.

Chain carousel - once the highest in the world

The Praterturm in Vienna is 117 metres high and the largest chain carousel in the world, Austria - © josefkubes / Shutterstock
© josefkubes / Shutterstock

Next to the Ferris wheel, the second main attraction of the Wurstelprater is the chain carousel, which is already visible from afar. The "Praterturm" whirls its passengers around in circles at around 60km/h.

With its height of 117 metres, it was the highest chain carousel in the world until April 2013. The Ferris wheel only goes up to a height of around 60 metres, but you can enjoy the view from the cosy carriage in peace and quiet.

Pure adrenaline in Vienna Prater

Ghost trains in Vienna's Wurstelprater are always good for goosebumps and moments of shock, Austria - © Bokic Bojan / Shutterstock
© Bokic Bojan / Shutterstock

Numerous attractions, such as Space Shot, Turbo Boost or Bungee Jump, provide pure adrenaline with extreme speeds and rapid flights of fancy. You can reach speeds of up to 80km/h on the mighty swing "Schwarze Mamba" and the particularly brave can take a ride on the indoor roller coaster through complete darkness. Darkness also reigns in various ghost trains or in the Horror House, which are always good for goosebumps and shock moments.

Tip: On an adventure tour through the amusement park, you can take a look behind the scenes of the attractions, some of which are ultra-modern. A more contemplative tour of the Prater is on the nostalgic Liliput train, which runs from the Ferris wheel to the Ernst Happel Stadium.

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds also moved into Vienna in 2011. The world-renowned wax museum allows photos to be taken with around 70 deceptively realistic celebrities. In addition to famous Austrians such as the imperial couple Franz and Sisi, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mozart or Falco, international stars such as Nicole Kidman, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie or Robbie Williams are also represented.

The "Green Prater" and the Prater Hauptallee

The Green Prater is located in the middle of Vienna and covers an area of around 6 km2 , some of which are still completely unspoilt landscapes of the Danube floodplains, Austria - © Gugerell CC0 1.0/Wiki
© Gugerell CC0 1.0/Wiki

Despite tourists, motorways and underground trains, the Green Prater has managed to retain its idyllic character and was even voted one of the ten most beautiful parks in the world by the German magazine "Focus". When the weather is nice, there is a lot going on in the extensive green spaces, especially along the Prater Hauptallee, which runs from the Praterstern to the Lusthaus, where sports enthusiasts and walkers meet.


On the road in the Green Prater

At the Mauthnerwasser, the idyllic floodplain landscape in the Vienna Prater is still completely natural, Austria - © Gugerell CC0 1.0/Wiki
© Gugerell CC0 1.0/Wiki

Meadows and forests with partly dense undergrowth and a wide network of hiking trails provide pure nature in the middle of the city. Where in the 18th century the court and nobility strolled with horse and carriage, today playgrounds, BMX and skate parks, beach volleyball courts, sunbathing lawns, a toboggan run on the extensive Jesuit Meadow, cross-country ski trails and dog zones provide fun and entertainment of the modern kind.

Several ponds, such as the Mauthnerwasser, the Heustadlwasser or the Rosenwasser complete the idyll at the Prater. Especially at the Mauthnerwasser, the idyllic floodplain landscape in the Vienna Prater is still completely natural.

Prater Hauptallee - the artery of the Green Prater

The 4km long Prater Hauptallee between Praterstern and Lusthaus is the centre of the Grüner Prater in Vienna, Austria - © darkweasel94 CC0 1.0/Wiki
© darkweasel94 CC0 1.0/Wiki

The 4km long Prater Hauptallee between Praterstern and Lusthaus is the centre of the Green Prater. There is a lot going on here, especially in fine weather, when more locals than tourists enjoy the sun and the greenery to the full.

There is hardly any traffic noise on the car-free street, apart from the south-east tangent at the lower end, and even the noise from Wurstelprater can only be heard from a distance. The main avenue is dominated by athletes and walkers, as well as recreation-seekers who make themselves comfortable on park benches or spread out picnic blankets.

Distance markers make the street a popular meeting place for runners and cyclists and remind us that the Prater Hauptallee is part of the famous Vienna City Marathon.

Tip: In spring and autumn, hundreds of chestnut trees transform the Prater Hauptallee with blossoms or discoloured leaves into Vienna's largest chestnut avenue and one of the most beautiful attractions the green Prater has to offer.

Viennese cuisine in the Vienna Prater

Along the Prater Hauptallee, the Lusthaus spoils you with typical Viennese delicacies, Austria - © Acp CC BY-SA3.0/Wiki
© Acp CC BY-SA3.0/Wiki

The Viennese Prater also offers a wide range of culinary delights. More than 50 different restaurants cater for the well-being of Prater visitors, from simple langos stands or buffets to rustic inns and gourmet restaurants. The Schweizerhaus and its stilts, the more upscale Luftburg with its idyllic garden and the Eisvogel, a gourmet restaurant, are legendary.

Along the Prater Hauptallee, the Lusthaus spoils its guests with typical Viennese delicacies. The former hunting pavilion still presents itself in an imperial ambience and offers upscale Viennese cuisine from spring to autumn.


The Meierei with its view of the hustle and bustle on the street is a good place to stop for coffee and cake. The Alte Jägerhaus, which was first mentioned in a document as the emperor's former servants' quarters and stables in 1899, offers creative cuisine in an upmarket atmosphere.

Events in the Prater

Under the motto "The Prater rocks", the square in front of the famous Ferris wheel invites you to live concerts from soul and pop to gospel in the run-up to Christmas, Vienna, Austria - © Bucchi Francesco / Shutterstock
© Bucchi Francesco / Shutterstock

Before Christmas and at the turn of the year, the winter market and New Year's Eve party with the motto "The Prater rocks" attract numerous visitors to the Riesenradplatz in the Wurstelprater. There are also celebrations at the Prater Festival on 1 May and at the Wiener Wiesn Festival in autumn, which is modelled on the famous Oktoberfest in Bavaria.

Zeiss Planetarium Vienna

With its projectors and a cinema hall for 240 people, the Zeiss Planetarium in Vienna's Prater is one of the most modern planetariums in the world, Austria - © Priwo PD/Wiki
© Priwo PD/Wiki

Nearby, the Zeiss Planetarium takes you into the vastness of the universe. The planetarium has existed since 1927 and was the world's first planetarium to be built outside Germany. It was originally located on Maria-Theresien-Platz between the Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Today, with its projectors for the artificial starry sky and a cinema hall for 240 people, it is one of the most modern planetariums in the world.

Flight simulator ViennaFlight

ViennaFlight is the only Airbus simulator in Austria. Under the guidance of professional pilots, visitors take a simulated flight in an Airbus A320, a Boeing 737 NG or a Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter.

Emergence of the Wiener Prater

With historic stalls, old Viennese cafés and barrel organ players, nostalgia is not neglected in the Vienna Prater, Austria - © fritz16 / Shutterstock
© fritz16 / Shutterstock

Today's Prater was once untouched alluvial land on the Danube, owned by various monasteries and municipalities. First a hunting ground of Maximilian II, Joseph II declared the region a general recreation area for the Viennese city population in 1766.

This was the birth of the Wurstelprater, because soon not only sausage stands, but also cafés, swings, bowling alleys and roundabouts were bustling about the then still idyllic landscape.

At the end of the 19th century, more and more buildings were erected in the course of the 1873 World 's Fair, including the "Venice in Vienna" amusement park with its famous Ferris wheel. During the Second World War, the Prater was largely destroyed by bombing and a major fire in 1945, but was rebuilt and reforested with the help of private funds.


In 1976, the Mauthnerwasser was placed under protection as a natural monument, one of the last remnants of the former alluvial forest and a stark contrast to the simultaneous construction of the now eight-lane south-east tangent.

The history of the creation of the Vienna Prater can be traced in detail in the Prater Museum near the Ferris wheel.

History of the Giant Ferris Wheel in Vienna

The fare at the opening of the Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel in 1897 was just under a third of the monthly salary of a civil servant at the time, Austria - © Dafinka / Shutterstock
© Dafinka / Shutterstock

The Vienna Giant Ferris Wheel was erected on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the throne of Emperor Franz Joseph I and was ceremoniously inaugurated on 3 July 1897, one year before the anniversary. It had already been set in motion for the first time on 25 June beforehand, so that the last of the 30 gondolas could be assembled from the ground. The impressive construction was built by the English engineers Walter Basset (who was also the owner of the Ferris wheel) and Harry Hitchins.

At the inauguration, the Praterwiese was full of people, but only very few could afford a ride on the Ferris wheel. The fare of eight guilders at the time was equivalent to just under a third of a civil servant's monthly salary.

After the expropriation of Walter Basset during the First World War, the demolition of the Ferris Wheel was decided by the courts in 1916, but was never carried out due to lack of money. In 1919, the Ferris wheel was purchased by the Prague merchant Eduard Steiner, a relative of Gabor Steiner, on whose property the Ferris wheel stood.

In 1938, the Giant Ferris Wheel was "Aryanised" - that is, declared their property - by the Nazis and a year later it was listed as a historical monument. 1944 was a bad year for the Giant Ferris Wheel and for its founding fathers: The Giant Ferris Wheel was destroyed by bombs and burned out completely, Eduard Steiner was murdered in the Auschwitz concentration camp and Gabor Steiner died in exile in Beverly Hills in Hollywood.

After the Second World War, the Giant Ferris Wheel went to three heirs of the Steiner family and repairs were started in 1947. Although for safety reasons only 15 of the 30 carriages were still suspended, the Ferris wheel became a symbol of the reconstruction of Vienna.

Related links:

Official website of the Vienna Prater
Official website of the Winter Market in the Vienna Prater
Official website of the Ferris Wheel in the Vienna Prater
Official website of the Praterdome
Official website of the Zeiss Planetarium in the Vienna Prater
Official website of ViennaFlight
Official website of the Lusthaus in the Vienna Prater
Official website of the Meierei in the Vienna Prater
Official website of the Altes Jägerhaus in the Vienna Prater