Vienna: Prater

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‘The carnival was alive with chirpy families and ecstatic friends.  The big wheel was merrily turning.  And the booming laughter of my boys could be heard over the colliding bump cars.’

That’s probably how I’d summarise our afternoon at Prater…

They did the bump cars 2x!  And guess who enjoyed the most?

From the Imperial Treasury (which we visited in the morning), we went for a short walk along the Burgring and Opernring roads, and from there hopped on the city tram that would take us to Prater, an amusement park where Vienna’s Giant Ferris Wheel could be found.

The park is located in the Leopolstadt District.  It’s outside the Inner Stadt (Central District) but could be easily reached.  For example, the tram ride that we took to go to the park was less than 30 minutes.  We came back via the underground train which also did not take long.

Line 1 tram to Prater
We walked along this serene park from the tram stop to Prater. Someone’s raising both hands in excitement and it wasn’t my 9-year-old. 

Entrance to the park is free and you only have to buy tickets to the rides that you’d like to do.  The park is big with over 200 attractions but of course it is the Giant Ferris Wheel that draws the most attention.  It is after all one of the city’s most noticeable landmarks, made even more famous by some Hollywood movies including the 1995 romantic film of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, Before Sunrise… Please tell me you’ve see this 🙂


Weiner Riesenrand, as Vienna’s Giant Ferris Wheel is officially called, was originally erected in 1897 to mark the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I’s (also Francis Joseph I) ascension to the Austrian throne.  If you recall from my previous blog on Schönbrunn Palace, Emperor Franz Josef I (1830-1916) was the great-great grandson of of Empress Maria Theresa and husband of Empress Sisi.

Franz Josef I ascended to the throne in 1848 when he was just 18 years old.  He died at age 86 after ruling Austria for 68 years.  He could be remembered as the emperor who,  in 1914, sent his empire to a world war (WWI 1914-1918) that led to its doom and that cost millions of lives.  Triggered by the assassination of his nephew (his named successor), Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and wife Sophie, Emperor Franz Josef I issued an ultimatum to Serbia (whom Austria saw as the mastermind of the assassination) which was tantamount to declaring war.  Tensions between the Central Powers and Allied Forces were already high that time but the assassination sparked the rapid chain of events that led to the impending global war.

Vienna’s Giant Ferris Wheel

Going back to a more joyful note, we headed to the Giant Ferris Wheel and was prepared to wait for a long time for our turn but it did not turn out that bad, perhaps just around 45 minutes.  Besides, we were rightfully entertained by the cabins placed in the waiting area and which provided insights into the long, fascinating years of Viennese history.

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 It did not take long for the ride to finish.  It wasn’t that big anyway, and was just half the side of the London Eye (120 meters in diameter) and Singapore Flyer (150 meters).  From the top we could see the steeple of St Stephen’s Cathedral at the Central District.  I could not remember seeing the Danube River but they say it could also be seen from the top.

It was a bit crowded inside the cabin, but if you want a more private experience, it can be booked with dinner and all.
That’s St Stephen’s steeple right in the middle.
These two would always, always get a thrill from a mini coaster, but they’d be too afraid to try the real thing.
Crowds gather here for hot chocolate and snacks, and to wait for the fireworks that will set off at midnight during the NYE countdown.
Speaking of hot chocolate… and beer 🙂
Finally he found the chimney cake that he had been looking for since we arrived in Vienna.
It was before sunset when we left the park
IMG_9807 2
Grateful for this…

Back in the Central District, it’s PARTY time!

Because in just a few hours it would be the New Year’s Eve countdown. That’s next..


Here are the earlier blogs on our Bavarian and Austrian Holiday:

  1. Munich: Start of our family’s tales from last winter
  2. Munich: Viktualienmarkt Biergarten
  3. Munich: BMW Museum and BMW Welt
  4. Munich: Theatine Church and Odeonplatz
  5. Munich: Christmas Markets
  6. Munich: Hofbrauhaus Beer Hall
  7. Munich: City Aparthotel München
  8. Salzburg: Birthplace of Mozart and Silent Night
  9. Salzburg: Hohensalzburg Fortress 
  10. Salzburg: Residenzplatz Christmas Market
  11. Salzburg: Salzburg Cathedral
  12. Salzburg: Silent Night 200 at Salzburg Museum
  13. Salzburg: Silent Night Tour by Bob’s Special Tour
  14. Salzburg: Silent Night at Oberndorf and Laufen
  15. Salzkammergut: Road Trip to Hallstatt
  16. Salzkammergut: Christmas Market at St Wolfgang
  17. Salzburg: Krampus Run at Hellbrunn Palace
  18. Salzburg: Imlauer Hotel Pitter Salzburg
  19. Obergurgl: A Week in the Austrian Alps
  20. Obergurgl: Chalet Obergurgl Luxury Apartments
  21. Obergurgl: Hohe Mut Alm Mountain Restaurant
  22. Obergurgl: Snowstorm on Christmas Eve
  23. Obergurgl: Day After the Storm
  24. Obergurgl: Snowshoeing
  25. Hochgurgl: Tobogganing
  26. Hochgurgl: Hochgurgl Cable Car Ride
  27. Vienna: First Impressions
  28. Vienna: Hofburgkapelle and Imperial Armoury
  29. Vienna: Schönbrunn Palace
  30. Vienna: Imperial Treasury and Hofburg
  31. Vienna: Prater, Before Sunset
  32. Vienna: New Year’s Eve Fireworks and Waltz
  33. Vienna: Hilton Vienna Plaza
  34. Stuttgart: The Mercedes-Benz Museum
  35. Stuttgart: The Porsche Museum


  1. Richard Linklater’s “Before” trilogy (Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight) is one of my favourites, and it comes as no surprise that “Before Sunrise” was one of my first visual introductions to Vienna, prompting me at one point to ask: “what sweet sweet madness is this city and how do I get there as soon as possible?”

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      1. Hi. Despite many previous visits to Vienna (mostly for work many years ago), I’ve never been onto the Riesenrad, nor have I stepped foot onto Prater or Leopoldstadt. The Leopoldstadt was one part of Vienna I was hoping to have a look later this month.

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          1. I had planned to be back in Vienna this month, but travel restrictions remain, and besides, my flight to Europe was cancelled some time ago. Based on my last visit in 2018, Vienna is very pleasant in spring, especially in May.

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  2. Lovely to live Prater through your post Amor.
    We missed out as it was closed the day we decided to visit 😦 Your pics are wonderful.
    Hope you guys are all well over there, can’t wait for this to be all over so we can start planning again. X

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    1. Oh so they close after all. They said they’re open all-year round although some rides are closed in winter like that time that we went. We’re all good here, Lorelle, thanks. Still got food on the table, noisy kids in the house and a bossy (he’s always demanding food) hubby, so I’m very very grateful. Hope you guys are all safe in there as well. 🙂

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  3. You can’t do Vienna without visiting Prater – and of course I’ve seen Before Sunrise! The Third Man too. I like your picture caption that you left the park “before sunrise”!

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    1. Ah I’m glad you mentioned! I liked that caption too hahah. That was the first thing I thought of when I wrote this blog. Im really glad that we did not miss Prater. Hope you and the girls are staying healthy and safe. 🙂

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