Best of Vienna: the Prater
The Wurstelprater amusement park occupies just a tiny corner of the six square kilometer Prater park in Vienna's second district. Located at one end, the world famous Giant Ferris Wheel has been welcoming visitors to the amusement park since 1897. Today the Prater has around 250 attractions offering no end of action and fun, from nostalgic merry-go-rounds to the world's highest chain carousel, and an Olde Worlde ghost train to a casino. The latest highlight to arrive is the Vienna branch of Madame Tussauds on Riesenradplatz, where 65 wax figures are on show against multimedia backgrounds.
Anyone who prefers the great outdoors to the hustle and bustle of the amusement park should head to the meadows, trees and wetlands of the grüner Prater, or green Prater. Lined by magnificent horse chestnut trees, the 4.4km long, dead-straight Hauptallee is a popular training route for joggers. The Prater is full of options for sport lovers, including the Stadionbad outdoor swimming pool (summer only), the Ernst Happel Stadium and the Krieau buggy racing track. There is more than enough space at the Prater for people to enjoy a stroll or simply relax surrounded by nature without getting in the way of joggers, cyclists and skaters.
Vienna's Prater park, once part of the Danube wetlands, later served as the Habsburg's hunting grounds before being opened to the general public by Emperor Joseph II in 1766. This marked the opening chapter in the history of the Wurstelprater, as the first restaurateurs, coffeehouse owners and ride operators moved in soon after. The Prater Museum is the perfect place to find out more about the history of this unique park. This building - also home to the Planetarium - contains mementos of the original Wurstelprater, which was destroyed in the final days of the Second World War. The present-day amusement park dates back to 1948.
Riesenradplatz, Prater, 2nd district,
Prater 116, 2nd district,
Oswald-Thomas-Platz 1 (next to the Giant Ferris Wheel), Prater, 2nd district,