Correct me if I am wrong, interests in Ferris Wheel from travelers are quite polarized. Some love them because of the fairy tale atmosphere, dramatic view, and It’s a happy place to be. Some don’t love them that much because it’s man-made and a little bit cheesy. Either way, it occurs to me that Ferris Wheels are getting more and more popular and it could be seen all over the world – and I have been wanting to do a post that captures many of the wheels all over the world. Of course, it’s impossible for me to visit them all, but I have been to quite a few so far.
I once again reached out to my fellow bloggers and they have recommendations to some of the most exciting Ferris Wheel from Europe, Asa, Africa, to America, feel free to comment below and let us know what other recommendations you have!
The wheel that celebrates the millennium
London, United Kingdom
I guess I am kicking off the list by quite an obvious choice – it’s the London Eye. Although it’s not the very first observation wheel in the world, I always think that this is the one that starts it all, right after 2000. Technically, this is the very first giant, permanent, stand-alone, and urban observation wheel operates to celebrate the millennium. The wheel ceremonially opens on 31 December 1999, and since then it’s been the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom with over 3.75 million visitors annually, offering them a breath-taking view of the entire London city and all its glory.
The structure is 135 meters, and it was the world’s tallest Ferris Wheel until 2006. While it may not be the tallest, I think it has the best location possible on the South Bank, just a few minute-walk away from Big Ben and Parliament across the Westminster Bridge.
The Eye has 32 capsules (one for each of the city’ 32 boroughs), but they are numbered from 1 to 33, skipping number 13 – due to the superstition of the number 13. Every day, families, friends, and traveler hop on the wheel to enjoy the panoramic of Greater London. On a super clear day, you could see as far as Windsor Castle. It is also a great dining spot, where you could book an entire capsule all to yourself and have a high-end, delicious meal prepared by celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Daniel Boulud. Today, more than 5,000 people have gotten engaged in the Eye.
The wheel that features SkySauna
Cath – Passports and Adventures
The Helsinki Wheel, or to give it its proper name the SkyWheel Helsinki, was first opened to the public in June 2014. It is 40 meters (or 131 feet) tall and has 30 climate -controlled capsules allowing it to operate all-year-round, even when it’s below zero outside. It is located on Katajanokka harbor and also has the world’s first sauna on a Ferris wheel called the SkySauna.
The SkyWheel Helsinki is a great place to add to your Helsinki itinerary as you can get unparalleled views across the city and the south coast from it during the rotations. And, if you are lucky and you are the only people on the wheel, you might get some extra time on the wheel like we did when visiting Helsinki with kids in December. The Wheel is also reasonably priced, unlike some of its more famous global counterparts.
The SkyWheel Helsinki can easily be combined with a trip across to Suomenlinna, the Sea Fortress everyone should visit at least once, and which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Helsinki Wheel and the ferry dock to reach Suonemlinna are both located in the same part of Helsinki, making them ideal partners for a great day out in Helsinki.
The wheel that has been one of the oldest in the world since 1897
The Riesenrad is one of Vienna’s most recognizable and popular landmarks. The giant Ferris wheel is 64,75 meters tall and is located in the Prater amusement park in Vienna, Austria.
The Ferris wheel has been part of the beautiful Viennese skyline since 1897 when it was constructed in order to mark the 50th year of Emperor Franz Joseph’s accession to the throne.
The Viennese Riesenrad has also appeared in a few movies throughout the years – “The Third Man” and the James Bond adventure “The Living Daylights”, to name a few.
You can enjoy the magnificent view over Vienna all year round, and the cabins can even be booked for special occasions like dinners and weddings.
While visiting Vienna, do not forget to also see the historic city center, the Schönbrunn Palace, the Belvedere Palace, and the iconic Hundertwasserhaus. The Austrian capital is full of old beautiful buildings and churches, and it has something to offer to its visitors during every season of the year – may it be the Christmas markets in the winter or the free film and music festival in the summer.
The wheel that is the tallest in Asia
Singapore’s iconic observation wheel, the Singapore Flyer, commands the skyline in the downtown suburbs. At a height of 165 meters, it is amongst the tallest structures in the city and clearly complements the neighboring architecture of Marina Bay Sands, the Helix Bridge, and Gardens by the Bay. This is thanks to its clean and modern architectural design.
The view from atop the Singapore Flyer is impressive as it overlooks the entirety of downtown Singapore. It offers a great angle for viewing some of the other architecturally designed buildings in the city.
Aside from riding the wheel itself, it looks impressive itself as it stands out within the city. For photography enthusiasts, it is a great subject to photograph during either sunrise or sunset.
A visit to the Singapore Flyer is a must for any budget. Aside from this, there are plenty of things to do in Singapore. Nearby, consider visiting Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Gardens by the Bay, and Marina Barrage – all of which offer something unique to Singapore.
Looking further afield, Haw Par Villa, Little India, and Chinatown all offer a unique cultural perspective to the city. And of course, don’t forget to eat at the Hawker Centres where you can try the best food in Singapore.
Hong Kong Observation Wheel
The wheel that is embraced by the dramatic Hong Kong skyline
The Hong Kong Observation Wheel is a 60-meters tall Ferris wheel located at the Central Harborfront in Central. Built-in 2014, the Ferris wheel is the only Ferris wheel there is in Hong Kong. It features 42 a total of 42 gondolas with one VIP gondola that has leather seats and a clear glass floor. Located on the waterfront, visitors that embark on the Ferris wheel can get some of the best views of Hong Kong. On one side it is the Victoria Harbor that separates Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, on the other side is Hong Kong Island and all the skyscrapers and cool lights it is known for. You are completely surrounded by the beauties of Hong Kong. My personal advice is to go on the Ferris wheel at night. Even though Hong Kong is beautiful in the day time and you can see all the different neighborhoods of Hong Kong, the lights at night on every building of Hong Kong are something you cannot miss on your travel to Hong Kong.
The wheel that has been a landmark in Osaka shopping district
Located on the 7th floor of HEP Five shopping mall in Umeda district, only a stone’s throw away from JR Osaka Station and Hankyu Umeda Station, HEP Five red Ferris Wheel provides 360-degree panoramic views over the city all the way to Osaka Harbor.
105 meters from the ground and 75 meters in diameter, HEP Five Ferris Wheel has 52 four-seater gondolas. The glass-walled gondolas are enclosed and heated during winter months and air-con in the wintertime. In addition, they are equipped with an audio jack so you can plug in your smartphone and play your favorite tunes as you go. The Ferris wheel turns very slowly, so it takes 15 minutes to make one complete circuit.
The HEP Five Ferris Wheel and shopping complex below was opened in 1998. Today the shopping mall is filled with dozens of clothing stores and fashion boutiques that target mostly the younger generation and in particular at young ladies. If you plan on doing some shopping, you can expect to find menswear, ladieswear, children’s wear, bags, shoes, jewelry, and accessories.
To reach the Hep Five you can use Subway Midosuji Line and get off at Hankyu Umeda Station. It is no more than a 3-minute walk to Hep Five. Once you exit the station, just look up into the sky and locate the giant red Ferris Wheel. The address is 5-15, Kakuda-chou , Kita-ku, Osaka-city, Osaka.
All the stores at the shopping mall are open from 11.00 am until 9 pm. Restaurants start serving from 11 am until 10:30 pm. The Ferris Wheel is open daily from 11 am till 10:45 pm. The entrance ticket is 500 yen.
Cape Town Wheel
The wheel that celebrates the FIFA World Cup 2010
Cape Town, South Africa
Campbell & Alya – Stingy Nomads
The story behind the Wheel of Excellence known as the Cape Wheel in Cape Town is similar to the story of the Eifel Tower in Paris that was supposed to be a temporary construction. Originally the Wheel was a short-term project, it was installed in the city in 2010 for the FIFA World Cup but soon after that it gained huge popularity and the city’s authorities decided to make it a permanent construction. The Wheel was built in 2007 in Germany before it got to V&A Waterfront in Cape Town it’d traveled around Europe a bit, it was assembled in different cities in Belgium, Germany, and Sweden. The Wheel is 50m high, it takes about a week to assemble it.
The Cape Wheel offers amazing 360° panoramic views of Cape Town and its attractions such as Table Mountain, Robben Island, Lion’s Head, V&A Waterfront and the Harbour, the Cape Town Stadium and more. The Wheel is a great place for a romantic date at sunset there is a special extended 30-minute ride with a picnic table installed in one of the cabins. You can enjoy the beautiful sunset at the Waterfront with a glass of local wine and snacks.
It’s very easy to include the Cape Wheel in your Cape Town itinerary, the ride takes 15 minutes, the location of the wheel is perfect, it can be combined with a tour to Robben Island or a boat tour around the harbor. It’s open daily from 10 am to 10.30 pm.
The wheel that is the world’s largest transportable wheel
Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Built in 2013 by Ronald Bussink, a lead designer of Ferris wheels, the Coachella Wheel, officially named Le Grande Wheel, is the world’s largest transportable Ferris Wheel. Well, technically behind the London Eye and Le Grande Roue de Paris, but those are so big they can never be moved. SO Le Grand Wheel of California takes the cake. Its permanent home is in Southern California, at the L.A. County Fairgrounds. But once a year in April, the 150 foot and 750-ton wheel rises to glory at the Coachella Music Festival.
Although most people travel to the area for the Coachella Music Festival, we all know the festival would be nothing without the iconic Ferris wheel. The Coachella Wheel is the focal point of the entire festival and is the perfect meet-up spot if your group gets separated. And at $5 USD a ride, it is also one of the most affordable attractions in the entire festival grounds!
The Coachella Wheel is a must-see for anyone interested in pop culture, and the influence that media has on the world. It’s also a pretty awesome Ferris wheel, lifting you higher than the desert palm trees and into the California mountain backdrop.
Seattle Great Wheel
The wheel that goes over the water
Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
The Seattle Great Wheel was built on Pier 57 on the Seattle waterfront in 2012 and has been a popular tourist attraction ever since. This is one of the few Ferris wheels that go over the water, making it one of the more unique ones in the country. Each gondola is climate controlled, and you can upgrade to the luxury VIP gondola with leather bucket seats and a glass floor for an extraordinary experience.
The ride lasts for 12 minutes and will give you views of Puget Sound, downtown Seattle, and West Seattle. The Seattle Great Wheel is a great option to add to your Seattle itinerary while you explore downtown and the shops and restaurants along the waterfront.
The Capital Wheel
The wheel that is close to Washington D.C.
National Harbor, Maryland, U.S.A.
Jennifer Dombrowski & Tim Davis
The red, white and blue Capital Wheel soars up to 180 feet high over the Potomac River. Located in National Harbor, Maryland, the Capital Wheel is close to Washington DC and affords riders spectacular views over the harbor, Chesapeake Bay and all the way to the Washington Monument. Opened in 2014, it’s among the elite Ferris wheels of the world and the design was inspired by the Roue de Paris. A massive 180 feet tall and 165 feet wide, the 42 cars twirl passengers around year-round. There’s even a VIP car dubbed National Harbor One with super comfy leather bucket seats and a glass-bottom floor for unique views in all directions, which accommodates just four passengers. The VIP experience is perfect for a date night out at National Harbor, and sunset is a romantic time for a ride as the sky explodes in shades of orange and pink.
The wheel that is on the world’s biggest waterfall
Clifton Hill, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Opening in June 2006, Niagara’s SkyWheel is the crown jewel of the Clifton Hill area located in Ontario, Canada, side of Niagara Falls. Standing 175-feet tall, visitors enjoy unique views of this iconic North American destination.
The beauty of the enclosed nine-passenger cars is the climate control – allowing riders to enjoy no matter the temperature outside. And the views! Visitors enjoy 8 to 12 minutes of glorious views of the Niagara River, including both the Horseshoe and American Falls, as well as other Clifton Hill attractions.
The SkyWheel is open daily from 9 am to 1 am. While it’s open all day, the night views are absolutely amazing! Purchase tickets online for a discount or purchase a Clifton Hill Fun Pass to enjoy several area attractions. And of course, don’t miss an actual visit to the Niagara Falls themselves while you’re in the area!