Vienna’s Prater is the second-largest amusement park on the European continent. With about 250 attractions and over 60 cafes and restaurants, you could spend the whole day there.
Each ride is between 2-7 Euro, and you must pay upfront at each ride’s pay booth since there are no tickets you can purchase ahead of time.
The good news is that Prater is open all year round, but to experience all the attractions, you have to visit between March and October (the high season). However, you could enjoy fun events like Oktoberfest at the Wiener Wiesn-Fest, Halloween, and Winter Wonderland during the off-season.
There is so much to discover and explore at the Prater, so where do you start? Here are the top 5 things to do while you’re in this fantastic place.
1. Take a Ride on Prater’s Famous Ferris Wheel
The Giant Ferris Wheel (Das Wiener Riesenrad) is an iconic symbol of Vienna. Erected in 1827 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Emperor Franz Joseph’s accession to the throne, the Ferris Wheel is a Viennese icon. Taking a ride on the Ferris wheel is a must for visitors at the Prater (and Vienna, in general).
The ride is 12 Euro for an adult ticket and 5 Euro for a child. You can purchase them online or in person. To get onto the Ferris wheel and in one of the red and white cabins, you first walk through an entertaining and informational museum that shows the history of Vienna and the Prater. Then, once you’re in the cabin, you’ll slowly lift into the air and eventually get a birds-eye view of the incredible amusement park. Time will seem to stop when you’re up on top, and Prater will feel like your kingdom.
The Giant Ferris Wheel in Vienna’s Prater was featured in The Third Man and Before Sunrise. Plus, it’s open all year round, so you’ll be able to get a chance to go on it even in the dead of winter!
2. Eat Stelze at the Schweizerhaus
Located at the Wurstelprater, the Schweizerhaus is near the Praterturm swing ride. This famous spot is open from spring to autumn and is known for its luscious green outdoor seating area and delicious Bavarian cuisine and beers.
Being a part of the space allows you to feel immersed in German-speaking culture, hearing the clinking of beers coming together with boastful laughter from locals.
The most well-known item on the list at the Schweizerhaus is the Stelze – a marinated or pre-boiled pork knuckle in a caraway seed and garlic brine. It’s roasted until the skin is crisp and comes with two types of mustards (sweet and spicy) with fresh horseradish. The Stelze is quite large and meant to be shared by four people.
Eating the Stelze at the Schweizerhaus is a must for visitors wanting to gain an authentic experience at the Prater!
3. Enjoy One or Many of the Prater’s Ride
What is an amusement park without rides? People into horror can get freaked out at Hotel Psycho (the large gargoyles at the front of the building are pretty creepy). People who want a more mild experience can ride go-karts, motorboats, and the Wild Alps – the longest and largest water fun ride in the world.
To warp your brain, the Hall of Mirrors, the Vienna Maze, and the Labyrinth are just a few highly suggested attractions.
Then, of course, there are intense rides like the roller coasters. According to this fascinating article Das Ultimate Freizeitpark, the Prater is number one for the best roller coasters in Europe. Three roller coasters are family-friendly, while seven are extreme, and three are special/unique types (such as Darkrider Insider – an indoor roller coaster in the complete dark).
Family-Friendly Attractions: Don’t fret if you’re a parent struggling to figure out if your little ones will have any fun here – they will. The amusement park is family-friendly and considers children. There are many attractions for your child (and yourself!) to enjoy:
- Hot wheeling, mini bumper cars, and swan water rides are just a few of what you can both enjoy. Even for toddlers, merry-go-rounds and small car rides are meant just for them.
- Parents can sip coffee from the park’s coffee house – Wiener Rösthaus- while watching their little one on their ride.
- For lunch, families can grab pizza or chicken nuggets at nearby restaurants.
4. Stroll Along the Hauptallee
The Hauptallee is a beautiful avenue between the amusement park and the Green Prater. The wide paths invite you to jog, cycle, and roller-skate. If you’re lucky, you can see people horseback riding here.
The Hauptallee and surrounding areas are lovely for afternoons with family and friends. You can have a picnic, watch your kids play on the playground, and explore the woods that branch off the alley. Or even try not to have a heart attack as you watch your kids tear it up on the BMX track.
You could spend an entire day just enjoying what the Hauptallee and the Prater’s green area has to offer.
One afternoon my husband Aldin and I rode our bikes down the avenue. We suddenly discovered a new part of the neighborhood. Beautiful houses line side by side at the end of the Hauptallee. Then, we rode parallel to the avenue on our way back, which was on a meadow with a dirt path. It was an incredible experience because we were really in nature yet still in the city.
It is especially recommended to visit the Hauptallee and the Green Prater during the autumn season. Once the leaves start changing, it is a beautiful sight to see.
5. Visit the Bohemian Prater
While the Bohemian Prater is not located inside the Prater, I still recommend you make the trip.
Located in the 10th district of Vienna, the Bohemian Prater started in the 19th century when a canteen owner set up a swing and carousel for visitors at his inn. In World War II, the Bohemian Prater was almost destroyed by bombs, and it took until 1970 to gain popularity again.
Now, this spot is centered on family-friendly attractions with a 90-year-old rollercoaster.
The Bohemian Prater is hands-down one of my favorite parts of Vienna. It has an intimate, laid-back vibe and is much more peaceful than the large Prater amusement park.
Prater Has So Much to Offer
I hope you will take the best of what this list has to offer and customize your experience when you are at Vienna’s Prater. There is so much to see and do, I’m sure you’re going to find something just right for you!