Travel Through Vienna By Fiaker

Think about Vienna and images of waltzing, coffee houses and St. Stephen’s Cathedral are most likely to be conjured up in one’s imagination.  However, the fiakers, two-horse-drawn carriages are just as much part of the city’s culture and there is arguably no better way to see the city.  The term actually originates from the French hackney carriage stand in Paris.  The carriages were referred to Janschky until they were renamed fiakers in 1720.  It was at this time they were also numbered.

Chariots waiting outside the Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria
Fiakers waiting outside the Imperial Palace, Vienna, Austria

With more than 1,000 fiakers on the road in the late nineteenth century the trade began to boom.  Drivers were born entertainers and often performed as singers.  Nevertheless, it was their discretion for which they were most appreciated, particularly by elite gentlemen and their mistresses.

Enjoy a little old-time luxury yourself from any of the fiaker stands in Vienna: Stephansplatz, Heldenplatz, Albertinaplazt, Petersplatz and Burgtheater.  A short tour, taking about 20 minutes and travelling through the centre of the Old City, costs € 40.  Alternatively, the long tour, which takes 40 minutes and travels through the Ringstrasse as well as the Old City, costs € 65.

A Top Tip: If you wish to enjoy a particularly romantic journey, ask the fiaker coach for a “porcelain ride”, which is a particularly calm and steady drive. This term originated from the time of transporting precious porcelain safely from one place to another. Today, it’s a nice way to enchant your beloved!

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