Summer or winter, all the best things in the Tatras happen outdoor. The Tatras are often considered to be a green natural playground – and who appreciates playgrounds more than kids? If there is a place where you realise that hiking does not have to stop if you have kids, the Tatra is definately that place. Families with kids of all ages will fall in love with its sheer natural beauty.
Hills, mountains and peaks as far as eye can see – the region is proud at hundreds of kilometers of high quality, well- signposted hiking trails. Easy or moderate trails can be easily walked even by the youngest family members and as „road is our destination“ does not usually apply to children, so in the Tatras, there is and emphasis on motivating the children to be active. Educational trails are part of many iconic hiking trails, those are almost compulsory for any family to complete during their stay in the Tatras. Those not only enrich hiking but also bring new knowledge about the flora and wildlife, laws of life and intersting facts about the Tatras nature. There are many outdoor playgrounds on the way for children to enjoy. Very popular among children are cable cars and chairlifts, which offer a completely different view of the mountains, make hiking easier and for children, they are considered a form of adrenalin activity.
The High Tatras has a fantastic electric train network that can transport everyone around quickly, comfortably, economically and ecologically. Forget about the car! The kids will enjoy the iconic red train, which takes you to all the main villages where you can start or finish your family hiking.
There are several trails starting from every popular mountain village in the Tatras which are more than suitable for families.
Hikes and strolls from Strbske Pleso
Due to its picture perfect tarn (glacial lake) Strbske Pleso is considered as one of the prettiest villages of the High Tatras. At 1346 m above the sea level, Strbske Pleso is the highest located village of the region and offers plenty of relaxing strolls and easy hiking possibilities.
Event the youngest family members can walk around the lake – the 2,25 km path is nice and flat, suitable for strollers and pushchairs. There are several areas set up as an obstacle course that the whole family can use to exercise. Wooden benches offer spectacular views at the lake and surrounding peaks. Kids playgrounds around the lake are sufficient motivation for children to go for „compulsory“ walk around the tarn. Dont forget to take full advantage of the incredible photo opportunities.
Same popularity enjoys the easy hike from Strbske Pleso to Popradske Pleso – another picturesque mountain tarn deep in the mountains and woods, under the majestic peaks. This hike is one of the „Tatra´s classics“. The trail itself is interesting for its drinking water well, nice wooden bridge over the mountain stream with clear water, shadows of the trees, educational boards and breathaking views. After a 1,5 hours hike (you can take either the red route along the forest path or the blue one along the asphalt road suitable for strollers, buggies and bikes from Popradske Pleso tram stop) you arrive to the hidden tarn where you can have some easy mountain food, snacks, drinks and ice cream in two restaurants.
Skok Waterfalls is another popular destination for families. The forest paths are lined with blueberry bushes which make the cca 1,5 hours hike definately longer – children love to stop to pick blueberries and fill their bellies on the way. The forest path turns into a more rocky, but also safe one – it´s not suitable for buggies, so either take a baby carrier of be prepared to piggyback rides. Once you reach the waterfall, you can climb up close and cool off in the spray. The water thunders down an impressive 25 m drop and the views are really worth the effort.
Another great choice for families is the hike to the Chalet under the Solisko Peak. For less able there is the possibility to use the chairlift and simply enjoy the beautiful views – you can see the Skok Waterfalls, the iconic Krivan Peak, the Sub-Tatra Basin and even the Low Tatras. The chairlift ride takes only 7 minutes and makes the Predne Solisko Peak one of the most accessible peaks of the Tatras. The peak is 2093 m above the sea level, but as the first 1840 m can be done in 7 minutes by the chairlift, the remaining 250 m takes only about 45 minutes. Who would not like to conguer 2093 meters above the sea level in less than an hour?
Hikes and strolls from Stary Smokovec
Stary Smokovec is the oldest settlement of the High Tatras and is considered to be the central village. It is an important starting point to hikes and climbs into the heart of the mountains. Just a few meters above the iconic Grandhotel Stary Smokovec – a yellow Art Neuveau building built in 1904 there is the valley station of the modern ground funicular which takes you up to Hrebienok, a crossroad of different hiking trails at 1285 m. Strollers and buggies can be taken up in the funicular and kids will definately like the ride.
If you don´t fancy hiking any further, at least you should walk downhill to the Cold Creek Waterfalls. Without any doubt, it is a „must“. Your would never forgive yourself to miss the fantastic photo opportunities – the combination of the cascade waterfalls, woods and surrounding dramatic peaks will take your breath away.
Those who like a little more challenge can continue to some of the popular mountain chalets such as Rainer´s Chalet, Zamkovsky Chalet and the former chalet, now 4-star hotel Sliezsky Dom under the highest peak of Slovakia – Mt. Gerlach. All these chalets can be reached with younger children as well – the only thing required is a little determination. If you are lucky enough, you can meet some marmots on the way or see some chamois.
Hikes and strolls from Tatranska Lomnica
There is no way to avoid Tatranska Lomnica once you are spending your holiday in the Tatras. The village belongs to the most popular mountain settlements and is known as the home of one of the best ski resorts in Slovakia – if not the biggest, but definately with the most stunning views. In summer, the ski resort converts into a hiking paradise.
Families appreciate the two cable cars which take you high enough to feel like beeing in the clouds – the Skalnate Pleso tarn 1751 m above the sea level offers stunning views at the surrounding peaks and the valley below. It is easy to walk around the tarn, than the kids can be rewarded by spending some fun time in the mountain playground.
From Skalnate Pleso, there are several good options for families. The most unique one is to take the iconic suspended red cable car to Mt. Lomnicky Peak – this is the comfortable way to reach the second highest peak of the High Tatras 2634 m above the sea level. There is a coffee and a platform offering breathtaking views – you can feel like you brought your family to the top of the world (tickets are limited and have to be purchased in advance).
Another good option – cheaper and easier one – is to take the chairlift to „Sedlo“ – the views are not less stunning.
If you don´t want to spend all the day in cable cars of chairlifts, there is another choice – make slight descend alongside thewell known Tatranska Magistrala hiking trail to Hrebienok. The hike is easy, descending all the way and you will pass some of the famous mountain chalets such as Zamkovsky Chalets, Rainer´s Chalet and Bilikova Chalet. From Hrebienok, there are two options how to go down to the village Stary Smokovec: either take the funicular or walk down 30 minutes.
Hikes from Jasna – Low Tatras
The Low Tatras, only a 30 minutes drive from the High Tatras, offer a different, but not less stunning experience. Families should not miss the opportunity to discover other corners of the Slovak mountains. Head to the end of the popular Demanovska Valley and take the chairlipt and cable car to the second highest peak of the Low Tatras –Mt. Chopok. Its elevation is 2024 m above the sea level, what is high enough to offer fantastic views at a different kind of mountain scenery. Families can easily hike up from the top station of the cable car to the Chopok peak – takes only a few minutes, as well as to challenge themselves a bit more and hike to the highest peak of the Low Tatras – Mt. Dumbier.
… at last, a good advice: the weather in the mountains can be variable. Don´t let the occasional rain or storm discourage you. If it rains in one village, it can be sunshine in the other village just a few kilometres away. Check the weather forecast in the villages every morning before you leave for your daily hike and be flexible. Do not forget your raincoat!