Interview with Kaley Diaz: Vienna with Kids
Having lived all around the world, Kaley Diaz knows a thing or two about the nomadic family lifestyle. She moved to Vienna where she continues to work as a photographer, writer, yoga instructor and is a mother of two. As a blogger, Kaley has written extensively about living in Vienna with her family on her website, lending helpful advice for family-orientated travelers and inspiring others with her DIY tips. This led her to teamed up with Favoroute for the "Vienna with Kids" Guide. We caught up with Kaley to find out more on how she finesses the art of traveling while raising her family in Vienna.
Q: Did you have a certain expectation about Vienna before you moved? And what is your impression of the city now?
When you move as much as we do, you learn not to have any expectations before moving to a new city. It is best to go in with an open mind, and be ready to embrace whatever life awaits you there.
We love living in Vienna, and would stay here forever if we could. Vienna absolutely deserves every one of its many awards for being the most livable city in the world.
Q: Vienna is rich in history and culture, there’s an abundance of museums and art galleries, opera houses and palaces, what is it like bringing up your children there and would you say Vienna is a family-friendly city?
Vienna is an amazingly family-friendly city, if you know where to go. Nearly every museum has a dedicated children’s program, or special weekly or monthly workshops for kids. There are even special operas and ballets for kids. Public transportation safe, reliable, inexpensive and is great for families, as there are designated spots reserved for strollers on almost all buses and trains. And there is an incredible amount of green space within the city, with playgrounds everywhere!
Q: You have moved around a lot with your family, what makes Vienna special compared to all the other places you’ve live in?
We have lived in some pretty wonderful places, but Vienna is definitely our favorite. It is just so easy to live here! Besides being one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, Vienna is an incredibly safe city, and we feel comfortable letting our kids be kids. They can run and play, without us having to hover over them at all times, worrying that they will be taken. And there is so much history and culture in the city, accessible to everyone. You could live here a lifetime and still not run out of things to do.
Q: What have you discovered about the city that most travelers would have often overlooked?
Not many people realize how green it is here. Vienna is one of the greenest cities in the world, with over 120 square meters of green space for each of Vienna’s 1.7 million inhabitants. And the Viennese really get out and enjoy their green space. On weekends especially, people flock to the vineyards, the woods or the parks to run, walk, bike, or just breathe in the fresh air.
Many travelers will come to Vienna to see the main sights, tour the palaces, and go to the opera. But they never leave these touristy areas, and thus miss out on such an integral part of what makes Vienna such an amazing city.
Q: What is your favorite route to take with your kids in Vienna?
I love taking our girls hiking up in the Vienna Woods. We set out on a sunny weekend day, walk for about 45 minutes (give or take, depending on their mood), before stopping for a nice lunch outside. Almost any trail you take will sooner or later end up passing a gasthaus, which all serve delicious traditional Austrian food. Then we head back home. We love to see how the woods change with the seasons, and always carry a bag to collect treasures like sticks, leaves, and pinecones along the way.
In the city, we love to check out whatever is happening in front of the Rathaus. No matter what time of year, there is some kind of festival or market going on, and always with tons of food and fun things for the kids to do. Plus, the gorgeous backdrop of the Rathaus never gets old!
Q: The travel photos you’ve taken for your blog and Instagram allows your audience to connect with the beauty of each of your destination. As a photographer and traveler, do you take a different approach in discovering a city before you capture it on your camera?
I think it is important to capture a city with fresh eyes. While I love to read about a city before I visit, I don’t want to look at anyone else’s images, as it may influence the way I photograph the city myself. So that means I try to stay away from places like Instagram at all costs. I may miss out on some fun new places that people have shared, but it ensures that I don’t end up with the same photos as everyone else.
When traveling with my family, it can be difficult to get the photos I want without boring my husband and kids. So I try to go out with my camera early in the morning, before everyone else is awake. Then I can be present with them all day, and not constantly have a camera or smartphone in my hand. The added benefit is capturing popular landmarks without a ton of tourists in my images, and being able to take advantage of the beautiful morning light.
Q: Why did you decide to team up with Favoroute and what can travelers expect from your guide?
There are so many different travel guide apps out there, but I love the format and ease of use of Favoroute. One of my favorite features is the maps that you can use while you are going from place to place, which makes it so much easier to find your way around a new city. It is also always up to date, which is one of the things that frustrates me most about traditional travel books.
I wrote the “Vienna with Kids” travel guide because it is the type of guide I was looking for when we moved here, but never found. It is perfect for families who want to visit Vienna and see beyond the tourist traps. For parents who want to experience the best of Vienna, but also make sure their kids also have a great trip.
Q: Tell us something that people don’t know about you.
I love to travel, but I am a complete homebody. There is nowhere I would rather be than at home with my family!
Q: We’ve saved the toughest question for last…what’s your favorite Viennese pastry?
Believe it or not, I don’t eat chocolate and don’t really have a sweet tooth! So I actually haven’t tried very many Viennese pastries. But the apple strudel is quite good, especially when it is served hot.
If you've wanted to explore Vienna with your family, get the "Vienna with Kids" Guide with all the local insights and recommendations from Kaley Diaz. Be sure to follow her exciting adventures on Instagram and website!