Europe’s first over-water Ferris wheel has opened in Scheveningen, Holland, but there are plenty of other equally impressive options for those who fancy some traditional fairground-inspired fun.
Tamara Hinson is a Surrey-based freelance travel journalist who writes for newspapers such as the Telegraph and Guardian, along with in-flight publications and travel websites. She’s especially interested in getting off the beaten track and some of the more unusual destinations she’s visited include North Korea and Benin.
Banner Image Credit: Macau Tourist Board
Scheveningen Pier Ferris wheel, Scheveningen, Holland
Image Credit: Holland.com
Europe’s first over-water Ferris wheel opened in August. Located on the Scheveningen Pier in the town of the same name, the 40-metre-high wheel has 36 cabins, and you’ll soon be able to enjoy afternoon tea and dinner in them, too. But it’s worth noting that one of the cabins has a glass bottom, so this is probably the one to avoid if you’re prone to queasiness.
Baseball Ferris Wheel, Comerica Park, Detroit, US
Image Credit: Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
Baseball fans cheering on the Detroit Tigers at their home stadium can take a pre-match spin in this baseball-themed Ferris wheel, which features pods shaped like the sport’s famous red-and-white balls. Best of all, a ride on the Ferris wheel, which has 12 capsules, costs just under £2 per person.
Integrated Ferris Wheel, Technological University, Batumi, Georgia
Image Credit: Stuart Dobson
Yes, that really is a Ferris wheel you’re looking at, and yes, it really is built into the side of the building. The structure in question is the 35-storey Batumi Technological University and the eight-capsule Ferris wheel is located 100 metres above the ground. Apparently it’s especially popular with university employees on their lunch breaks. Suddenly, our own staff rooms look rather boring.
Golden Reel Ferris Wheel, Studio City, Macau
Image Credit: Macau Tourist Board
It’s hardly surprising that the world’s only figure-of-eight Ferris wheel can be found in Macau. The Golden Reel opened at the bling-tastic Studio City resort in 2015 and the designers were apparently inspired by the idea of two asteroids crashing through the building. Cheerful stuff. Each rotation lasts 15 minutes and the 17 cabins have a steampunk theme.
Coca Cola Orlando Eye Ferris Wheel, Orlando, US
Image Credit: Visit Orlando
Towering over International Drive, the Coca Cola Orlando Eye is a Ferris wheel with a serious wow factor. Before entering the capsules, you’ll experience a 4D cinema experience designed to introduce you to the sights, sounds and smells of Orlando, and once inside, you’ll enjoy 360-degree views over Central Florida. And if you’re lucky, you might just enjoy a spin in one of the wheel’s themed cabins, which have drinks coolers, funky music and selfie sticks.
Big O, Tokyo, Japan
Image Credit: Tokyo Dome City Attractions
On the face of it this Ferris wheel, which can be found in the Tokyo Dome City theme park, isn’t anything special. But take a closer look and you’ll see that a roller coaster passes through its centre. It’s also the world’s largest spokeless Ferris wheel, spanning 60 metres. The ride in question is Thunder Dolphin, which is one of Japan’s fastest roller coasters, and to increase the thrill factor, the track is positioned scarily close to the wheel’s rim.
Tianjin Eye, Tianjin, China
Image Credit: Richardson Vasquez
Visitors to the city of Tianjin can’t fail to notice this enormous Ferris wheel, not least because come nightfall, it’s lit up like a Christmas tree. Standing 120 metres high, it’s one of the world’s few over-water Ferris wheels and one of the tallest in China. The wheel opened in 2009 and has a capacity of 786 people per hour, thanks to 48 spacious cabins.
Enclosed Ferris Wheel, Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Image Credit: Murat
Turkemistan’s capital, Ashgabat, is home to the world’s only enclosed Ferris wheel. It’s probably not the ideal option for those prone to claustrophobia, the wheel, which is part of the Alem Cultural and Entertainment Centre, features 24 six-person cabins, and surprisingly, the view is said to be pretty spectacular.
Salina Turda Ferris Wheel, Turda, Romania
Image Credit: Christof Asbach
This is another Ferris wheel best avoided by those with a fear of enclosed spaces. The Salina Turda is one of Romania’s oldest salt mines, and also home to the world’s only underground Ferris wheel. Three billion tonnes of salt have been mined since extraction began in Roman times, and today, it’s home not just to a Ferris wheel but to an underground boating lake, bowling alley and amphitheatre.
Finnair SkyWheel, Helsinki, Finland
Image Credit: Finland Tourist Board
Once you’ve been on one Ferris wheel, there’s a risk that all others will seem rather similar – unless you’re taking a spin on Finland’s insanely glamorous Skywheel. The pièce de résistance is the Veuve Clicquot cabin, which has a glass floor, leather seating and its very own sound system. The best bit? There’s a Jacuzzi at ground level, designed especially for guests in need of a post-rotation soak. This is Finland, after all.
Wiener Riesenrad, Vienna, Austria
Image Credit: Vienna Tourist Board
Vienna’s famous Ferris wheel was first erected in 1897 to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Emperor Franz Josef I. Today it’s one of the most luxurious Ferris wheels in the world, with 15 luxury cabins which can be used for romantic dinners or other special events. Our favourite is the Crystal Cabin, which is decked out with Swarovski crystals. Opt for the Crystal Dinner package and you’ll enjoy a three-course meal as you fly over Vienna’s rooftops.