The Viennese Prater is a large public park in Vienna. If people talk about the Viennese Prater they often mean the «Wurstelprater». The so called «Wurstelprater» is the oldest amusement park in the world. But the Wiener Prater consists of more: the Hauptallee (the main alley), the Krieau and the Praterstadium (Ernst Happel Stadium) belong to the area of the «Wiener Prater».
The Prater was firstly mentioned in a document in 1162 under the reign of emperor Friedrich I. In 1766 emperor Josef the II. donated the area to the people of Vienna, Austria. From this point on the Prater was accessible for everyone. Following to that bowling alleys, cinemas, Cafés and merry-go-rounds were created.
Still the «Wiener Prater» and the «Wurstelprater» are open 24 hours each day — 7 days a week. Entrance is free of charge. Attractions, restaurant businesses, arcade shops and other leisure facilities are all part of the Wurstelprater.
Adventure, tradition, and Viennese charm at once — no other place radiates so much energy and joie de vivre as the Vienna Prater. A fascinating world awaits visitors and guarantees entertainment for both young and old. Full of turbulent roller coasters, spooky ghost trains and attractions of all sorts — there is hardly any other place in the world to challenge your senses in this intoxicating way.
Time flies here while spendind a few pleasurable hours with your family, enjoying the Prater highlights or just having dinner with friends. Have fun and enjoy — this is the Prater’s motto!
The history of the Vienna Prater (from 1766)
The Prater was once imperial hunting ground and only accessible for the aristocracy, until the Austrian Emperor Josef II donated the area to the Viennese in 1766 as a public leisure center. And since Emperor also allowed the establishment of restaurants and snack bars — small wonder that it didn’t take long until the precursors of today’s Wurstelprater appeared on the edge of the former aristocratic hunting grounds.
Innkeepers, coffee brewers, and gingerbread bakers (Lebzelter) hung out their shingles; seesaws and merry-go-rounds as well as bowling alleys were not far behind.
World Exhibition 1873 in the Prater
The first and only World Exhibition in Vienna took place at the Prater in 1873. Around 53,000 exhibitors presented their achievements focusing on cultural issues in an area covering approximately 2.3 million square meters. The 84 meter high Rotunda with cupola diameter of 109 meters, around which the exhibition was centered, fell victim to fire in 1937. Today, the Wiener Messe («Vienna Trade Fair») main building is erected on these grounds.
Carriages and Laundry Girls
In 1895, the amusement area «Venice in Vienna» was established, in whose midst one of the landmarks of the city, the Riesenrad, appeared in 1897 The Prater became a place where everyone finds enjoyment.
The «better» class of people came here in their horse-drawn carriages, military cadets and laundry girls met on secret dates, one found barrel organs, Heurigen singers and ladies orchestras — and some of the great composers of their time, such as the Waltz King Johann Strauss or the composers Joseph Lanner and Carl Michael Ziehrer performed here.
For children’s entertainment, puppet theaters were established in simple wooden booths, where Hanswurst played the leading part. The name «Wurstelprater» derives from this figure.
Reconstruction after 1945
In 1938, the Prater became the property of the City of Vienna. During World War II, bombs and the construction of trenches destroyed large parts of the Prater area.
A large part of the Wurstelprater fell victim to fire in April 1945. After 1945, the Wurstelprater rebuilt with the help of private initiatives, and the devastated Prater grounds afforested by the Vienna public park authorities.
Robert Stolz, Graham Greene & Helmut Qualtinger
Several writers and composers, among them Adalbert Stifter, Felix Salten, Peter Altenberg, Robert Stolz and last but not least Graham Greene and Helmut Qualtinger have immortalized their impressions of the Prater both in literature and in music. These records have helped to reproduce all the facets of development of this city space over the decades and over centurie
General Information about the Viennese Prater
The Prater area is open 24 hours each day, 7 days a week from January to December and accessible free of charge for everyone. Peak season in the «Wurstelprater» starts on the 15th of March and ends on the 31st of October. Individual attractions may have different opening hours. Some attractions are open from 10:00am to 01:00am depending on weather.
In contrast to other theme parks the access to the Prater is free of charge. Only the attractions themselves are charged. Fees for individual attractions vary between € 1,50 and € 5,00 depending size and genre.
The most important attractions of the Prater
Viennese giant wheel
The Wiener Riesenrad (German for The Giant Ferris Wheel), or Riesenrad, is a 64.75-metre (212 ft) tall Ferris wheel at the entrance of the Prater amusement park in Leopoldstadt, the 2nd district of Austria’s capital Vienna. It is one of Vienna’s most popular tourist attractions, and symbolises the district as well as the city for many people.
The giant wheel was build in 1897 and is one of Vienna’s landmarks. Its outline can be seen from a long distance and makes it an irreplaceable attraction. A ride on the fascinating and imposing structure is a must-do for most Vienna visitors.
Additionally to the wonderful view over Vienna a visit to the exhibition is included.
The Prater Liliputbahn is a 381 mm (15 in) gauge light railway in Vienna. Opened in 1928, and extended in 1933, the railway operates primarily as a tourist attraction, but also provides transport links around the wider area of the Prater park, the amusement park (Wurstelprater), and the sports stadium.
Although a year-round service was provided for many years, it is now more common for the railway to close during the months of December, January, and February. Originally steam-operated, the railway now uses a mixture of steam and diesel motive power.
The railway can be reached by bus, tram, or metro from central Vienna, followed by a short walk, but following the extension of tram line 1, there is now a direct interchange with the Vienna tram network at the railway’s Rotunda Station.
The Liliputbahn — a gauge light railway — is a true landmark of the Prater. A round trip over the 4 km long route through the Prater and the Hauptallee (main alley) takes approximately 20 minutes. The over 75 year old attraction is probably the funniest railway in Vienna. Another Liliputbahn is located at the Donaupark.
Alt Wiener Grottenbahn
The Grottenbahn is an ideal adventure for children and adults. Meet Max and Moritz, little red riding hood and many other fairytale characters in this train ride. Thirty grottos will take you into the world of fairy tales.
You can’t imagine the Prater without the Grottenbahn. The fascinating front was designed and manufactured by Robert Tar. At the shop dolls and teddy bears are available in different size at attractive prices.
The Praterturm is the new landmark of the Prater and of Vienna. Build in 2010 its height of 117 meters makes it the highest flying swing in the world.
It is a symbol for all the modern high-tech buildings that are build alongside to the traditional attractions.
A must-do for everyone who loves height and speed!
According to documents the Schweizerhaus existed even before 1766 under the Name «Zur Schweizer Hütte». Today the Schweizerhaus is the most famous restaurant of the Prater — maybe even the most famous restaurant in whole Vienna.
It is famous for its knuckles of pork, but you can also enjoy other delicous dishes at the most beautiful beer garden of Vienna. You can try the knuckles of pork, beer and potato pancakes from the 15th of March until the 31st of October.
With its design and characteristics this rollercoaster is one of the buildings which bring the flair of former times into these days. Experiences and memories are shared between different generations. It is a joy to see people of different ages visiting this well-kept attraction.
The family business puts in a lot of effort to keep the original character of the rollercoaster. The wooden structure with its conventional railing system guarantees high operational reliability and safety.
The brakeman is not only a traditional escort, but also an additional safety factor. In contrast to many other attractions the rollercoaster is suitable for all ages — this means fun for everyone!
Equipped with the latest projection technique this «house of stars» creates a realistic copy of the star spangled sky making astronomy possible on days and nights no matter of the weather.
Adventure a magnificent artificial sky in fascinating multimedia shows, special shows for children and families, presentations and classes.
Also cultural events, company presentations and your personal party will become an impressive memory in this atmosphere.
Lean back and join us on a ride through the universe!
Prater - address and directions
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Visitors ' comments
- My husband and I have not children, but the amusement parks like very and nevermiss the opportunity to ride a rollercoaster)) Prater-it’s certainly not Disneyland and Port Aventura, but not for the urban format very decent place! enough Entertainmentto children and adults in the Park! you can eat! Separately to highlight historically important attraction Giant Ferris Wheel! Be sure to take a ride, you can enjoy the views over Vienna))) If you love wax museums You can go to «Madame Tussauds« it’s small, butinteresting!
- Amusement park rich in attractions there are many dizzying extreme in my opinionrides that will not leave unsatisfied thrill.
- In this park you can walk, ride extreme rides, snack or lunch. We had great company,two or three hours, fun, especially children. In the evening light, a lot of people. Inside the park there is a very democratic Bistro, beer, schnapps, schnitzel, the prices are veryreasonable. Quite a nice place.
- Ferris wheel in the Prater is of course one of Vienna’s tourist business cards. In such a carriage is possible and dine in romantic atmosphere (reservation is needed). Beautiful views, lots of history.