An Old Fairytale Ferris Wheel at Prater Park, Vienna

With the crowds, colours and smells of the busier Viennese Christmas Markets, It would be so easy to miss this little theme park in Vienna’s suburbs. I certainly had never even heard of it until our visit last year. It was only when I mentioned in passing to Pumpkin, a few weeks before we went, how much I love traditional, old-fashioned funfairs that he told me about the Prater Park. He knew that it has the oldest Ferris Wheel in the world, one which was ridden by James Bond in Living Daylights. He is a huge lover of all things James Bond. Have you ever met a man that isn’t?Prater Vienna Entrance

The Prater Park, Vienna

We had read mixed reviews about this place so took a bit of a gamble in sacrificing our final night of the trip to see it but as soon as we crossed the main road, exiting Prater station, I had already fallen in love with it. The twinkling crimson studs of light from the arc of the wheel carved a contour in the black, night sky, pulling eager tourists in its direction like a magnetic force. You’ll notice a stark contrast in numbers of people here so if you’ve done the markets first, this will feel sparse.

At night time, only a few rides are open but that’s a price we were happy to pay to be able to see it lit up in all its glory. It was like walking into a fairytale funfair with sparkling lights, the changing faces of the spinning ride, cycling from mandarin to jade, fuchsia to candy pink, trying to catch me out each time, whilst I stood on the sidelines marvelling at the sight, trying to capture the perfect photo to remember it by. The huge inflatable Coca-Cola-sponsored Santa is a bit of an eyesore in an otherwise charming little park but I suppose children may be more taken with this than I was.Prater park funfair night view Christmas

You could certainly grab a stand-up meal here from one of the food huts lining the periphery of the main circle – there’s nothing out of the ordinary here for the palate but if you are content with another Wurst, some more cake/crepes/waffles (even I was reaching my threshold here in Vienna), then there are more than enough options but it’s not somewhere you would come just to eat.

At 9 Euros entry per adult for the Ferris Wheel, we thought it was worth it to have a bird’s eye view of Vienna – having stayed in the Old Quarter, it was easy to forget that Vienna has a sky-scraper-heavy, commercial district like any other metropolis and we were able to observe this best from the Ferris Wheel. The small museum gave a fascinating insight into the history of this wheel, its regeneration after the 2nd World War and the ride itself was short at about 15 minutes long at quiet times.Christmas activities Vienna ferris wheel
If the idea of retro charm invokes a sense of nostalgia and playfulness in you and if you get as swept up in the festive season as I do, this simple but timeless attraction may just be the cherry on top of the cake in a twinkling city, already so adept at bringing the sparkle of Christmas to life.


18 thoughts on “An Old Fairytale Ferris Wheel at Prater Park, Vienna

  1. Someone told me about this when I was in Vienna. I was interested in going on the world’s oldest ferris wheel, but I was afraid it’d be dumb so we skipped it. And plus, it looked like a hassle to get to! It looks like a super cute old-fashioned theme park though, so thanks for letting me experience what I missed through your blog (that seems to happen a lot!)! 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 25, 2014 — 2:32 pm

      Haha! Thanks Anna! I feel the same way whenever I read your posts too like the recent Thailand one! It was a sweet old fashioned park – not very big with just a few rides but a nice way to spend a couple of hours 🙂

  2. This sounds awesome and looks super pretty. Love that last photo.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 25, 2014 — 2:33 pm

      Thanks Jodie! Really glad you like it 🙂 It really was pretty, particularly all lit up for Christmas!

  3. Retro charm :-). Looks very pretty to visit, especially now during the festive season. The oldest ferris wheel in the world – a nice claim… (just so long as it’s serviced regularly!).

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 25, 2014 — 2:37 pm

      Haha that’s very true about the servicing! I really hope they’re on top of that! It was very pretty lit up for the holidays which added to its charm I think. Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  4. Timothy Dalton rules!

    just saying!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 25, 2014 — 2:38 pm

      Hehe – you sound like my hubby Andrew!

  5. We decided against making the trip to Prater while I was in Vienna earlier this year, as I had wanted to visit the Wine Taverns instead. But it looks like a wonderful way to spend an evening!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 25, 2014 — 2:40 pm

      It’s not a huge thing to have missed Upasna and to be honest, a lot of its magic was from all the festive lights being on etc so it might not have been the same anyway! Hope the wine taverns were fun though 🙂

      1. Oh yes, the Wine Taverns were superb! And I’m glad I got the chose to go up towards the Viennese Woods as well 🙂

  6. We ran out of time to visit when we were in Vienna – it looks so magical and it’s getting me into the festive spirit with all those twinkling lights! xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 25, 2014 — 2:42 pm

      Aww thanks Kelly 🙂 we almost didn’t go ourselves Kelly and it’s only a little place but I’m a sucker for the festive period so I got quite taken by all the lights etc! x

      1. I know what you mean! I’m off to Germany on Friday for a week of Christmas Markets and can’t wait to see all the pretty fairy lights xx

  7. Looks like a good way to spend an evening to me. Super festive. xx

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) November 25, 2014 — 2:45 pm

      That was exactly what made me enjoy it so much Zoe – just how festive and wintery it all felt – quite romantic too going on an old lit up ferris wheel and walking around the theme park 🙂

  8. I love a good Christmas market and fair – it’s the perfect way to get in that festive spirit. Budapest has an amazing one, though this year the one in Paris surprised me. It’s huuuuuuuge and really good.

    This one in Vienna looks very sweet 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) December 3, 2014 — 9:15 pm

      I’d love to be in either of those cities at Christmas time Char – I didn’t realise Paris had such a nice market – sounds wonderful 🙂

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