All you need to know to enjoy the Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids: practical family guides to easy hikes and the best viewpoints on the Three Peaks, Dolomites, Italy.
Le Tre Cime di Lavaredo are three solitary mountain peaks in Dolomites, Italy.
They are the most iconic and recognizable Dolomite landmark in the area and they are a favorite spot for climbers, hikers and photography enthusiasts.
Despite their wild appearance, they are also a fantastic place to explore if you are on the Dolomites with kids!
The area of Tre Cime is full of easy trails suitable for kids of all ages and facilities are in place to help non-hikers to enjoy the area and catch the best views without effort.
While there are no gondolas or cable cars to Tre Cime, a good road leads up to them and you can drive up yourself or make the most of the regular and excellent shuttle buses serving this area.
We know this area well and have enjoyed the Three Peaks with our kids many times. I have been vacationing in this area since I was a child and now I love bringing my own kids on these trails.
Tre Cime di Lavaredo are one of the most beautiful spots on the Dolomites: in this post, I will share all my tips for visiting the Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids and will add resources on what to bring and where to stay in the area.
I find that Tre Cime strike the perfect balance between a true mountain experience and an endeavour that is easy enough for kids to undertake and enjoy.
This is our family guide to enjoying the Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids, one of the best family hikes in Val Pusteria.
Where are Tre Cime di Lavaredo
Tre Cime di Lavaredo are three mountain peaks in the Dolomites (northeast of Italy).
They are part of an area of great natural beauty recognized by Unesco as a Natural World Heritage Site and they are one of the most famous hiking spots in the region.
They are on the border between Veneto and Trentino Alto Adige.
The closest big towns are Bolzano/ Bozen, about 3h by car, and Venezia/ Venice, about 3h by car and the closest airport to Tre Cime di Lavaredo.
How to reach Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids
There are two ways to reach Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids: by car and by shuttle bus.
Both these solutions allow you to comfortably reach the starting point of the easiest hikes around and near Tre Cime, the well served Rifugio Auronzo.
Reaching Tre Cime di Lavaredo by car
If you have your own vehicle, you can drive all the way up to Tre Cime di Lavaredo from Misurina.
A well-kept, scenic road (Panoramica) leads you from Misurina to Rifugio Auronzo and, on top, you find several parking areas.
Access to the scenic road is regulated and ticketed: on arrival, you need to pay an access permit for the day (30 Euro, at the time of writing, July 2021) and the road only stays open until the capacity of the car park is reached.
Once the parking at the top is full, the road closes and cars can only go up as others leave.
Need to know! Please note that people usually stay at the peaks all day so if you get to this road later in the morning and you find yourself waiting in line, this may be a long wait! In high season (summer) the parking is usually full by 8.30 am, 9am at the very latest. For later arrivals, you may consider the shuttle (see below).
The road up towards Rifugio Auronzo is paved and climbs to the top with many mountain switchbacks.
In good weather conditions, you do not need a special car to tackle it (you don’t need a 4×4) but it is rather steep so you will be safer and more comfortable in a good car with some power.
Gas, oil and excellent breaks are a must.
The road, albeit scenic, is not too scary to drive: if you are afraid of heights however, I recommend you take the shuttle instead!
Need to know: the road may pose problems to kids who suffer from motion sickness.
Parking is at the very top of the road, where you also find the bus stops and Rifugio Auronzo. The cost of the parking is included in the ticket to access the scenic road.
Reaching Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids by shuttle bus
The best way to reach Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids without a car is by catching the Tre Cime Shuttle Bus.
The shuttle is free for kids and connects many of the most popular towns in the area with the peaks.
We used it this year and it is excellent: the bus is clean, comfortable, on time and leads you right to the start of the trail.
At the time of booking, you select your departure time but on the way back, there is not fixed time slot. You just go to the bus stop of your shuttle (there are several lines, all stopping close to one another) and you wait in line: they won’t leave you stranded but there may be a bit of time to wait so I recommend you don’t leave it to the very last bus!
Need to know: the road may pose problems to kids who suffer from motion sickness.
Booking the shuttle is easy but must be done in advance (a couple of days or more). The official site to book the shuttle is this one.
Please note: if you want to take one of the longer hikes, it is important to catch the bus very early, not be caught by fading light on the trails.
The best hikes to see Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids
The area of Tre Cime has several hikes, some for experienced climbers but many suitable for kids.
Our favorite family hikes at the Tre Cime are:
Family walk from Rifugio Auronzo to Rifugio Lavaredo
If you are looking for an easy family hike in the Tre Cime area with stunning views, then I recommend you walk from Rifugio Auronzo to Rifugio Lavaredo.
This walk is the first leg of all the longer walks in the area but it is so beautiful, it is worth doing in its own right and is ok for kids of all ages.
The walk between Rif. Auronzo and Lavaredo takes 20-30 mins, it is on a white road and it is stroller friendly (all-terrain strollers).
The trail is wide however, there is a drop on your side so this is not a place to leave toddlers on their own: holding hands is a must.
The elevation gain on this path is minimal and the views stunning.
At the start of the hike, you have beautiful views over the Cadini Mountains and the town of Auronzo far below and then the view changes with stunning views over Cima Dodici and Mount Paterno.
The Three Peaks are just on your left and while this is not the view you usually see on photographs of the area, they are stunning!
On the way to Rifugio Lavaredo you will first see a pretty Mountain Chapel (Cappella degli Alpini) and then you reach the Rifugio, where you find a scenic terrace, hot food and drinks.
Toilet facilities are basic (the loos is a hole in the ground) but clean. 50c access for the use of facilities is collected by a turnstile machine upon entrance.
Good to know: on this path, you can often spot climbers and marmots! Climbers are usually visible early in the morning while marmots are more easily spotted towards the end of the day, when the crowds start to subside. Keep your eyes peeled as you get close to Rifugio Lavaredo, where there are big lawns and rocks perfect for them!
Family hike from Rifugio Lavaredo to Forcella Lavaredo
If you want to catch views over the other side of the Tre Cime / Three Peaks, those you will recognize from photos of the area, then you need to climb a little higher, to the Lavaredo Saddle (Forcella Lavaredo).
The walk up follows a road or a path (the road is longer and easier, the path is rather steep), it takes a little effort because of the elevation gain but it is short.
To get to the highest point, you only need about 15-20 mins and the reward at the stop is one of the most beautiful views you can ask for!
The hike up is suitable for kids (you don’t want to push a stroller here, although it is technically possible for the first part!) but it is steep and under the sun: bring water, a sun hat, sunscreen and take your time!
You can walk back down via the same road or the path: for this stretch, proper hiking shoes are a must.
I usually go up the larger path and walk down the steeper one to appease the need for ‘adventure’ of my son. On the way back, I find hiking sticks useful so if you have them, bring them along for this one (they are not a must, just handy on this stretch).
Good to know: from Forcella Lavaredo, you can spot several military hideouts from the First World War. You can spot them from the saddle or you can get closer to them but be careful with kids as some passages closer to the hideouts have sheer drops and do pose risks.
Family hike from Rifugio Auronzo to Rifuglio Locatelli (Drei Zinnen hutte)
The very best way to see Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids and the best way to photograph the Three Peaks of Lavaredo is to take the family hike to Rifugio Locatelli.
This is an extension of the two hikes mentioned above: from Rif Auronzo, you first reach Rif. Lavaredo, then Forcella Lavaredo and finally take the path leading you to Rif Locatelli, which you can see in the distance from the Lavaredo Saddle.
The hike is easy but not suitable for strollers and takes about 1h from the saddle, with low elevation gain.
The walk is easy for kids however, due to its length and the fact that this is a linear path, you want your kids to be used to walking.
This is the place from where all iconic photos of the Three Peaks of Lavaredo are taken!
Family hike around Tre Cime di Lavaredo
If you have kids who are used to walking, another fantastic hike to see Tre Cime di Lavaredo is the loop trail around them.
The start of the loop follows the trail mentioned above, from Rif Auronzo to Lavaredo and then Forcella Lavaredo and then turns to lead you around the peaks.
There are several paths leading you around the peaks and they are all doable with kids, however, they are rather long.
The loop path around Tre Cime with kids requires 3+h (more if you have small kids), it has several ups and downs that put to the test your stamina and a slightly high stretch towards the end.
The loop is fantastic in terms of views but I recommend it to experienced walkers only.
This is a great hike to add to your itinerary if visiting Italy with teens.
What to pack for a day at Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids
Tre Cime di Lavaredo are proper mountains and you need to have your gear to enjoy them.
I recommend you bring:
- Hiking shoes for you
- Hiking shoes for kids
- Hiking socks
- Sports attire
- Sun hat
- Sun screen
- Sun glasses
- Water (there is no water on the path)
- Snacks if tackling the longer trails
- First aid kit
- Binoculars to spot hikers and animals
- Hiking poles (recommended)
Where to catch the best views of the Tre Cime di Lavaredo with kids
There are four easy spots from there to see the Three Peaks. of Lavaredo with kids (aka without strenuous hikes):
- The Tre Cime Viewpoint, on the road between Dobbiaco and Misurina (indicated, there is a parking spot too) – this is a pretty viewpoint that you can reach by car. I recommend after a stop here you go to Lake Misurina nearby, that has beautiful views over Mount Cristallo, another icon of this area.
- Forcella Lavaredo
- Rifugio Locatelli
- Tre Cime Circular Loop
We adore the Tre Cime and I believe the paths on this page are among the best family hikes in the Dolomites you can ever take. You can find additional info on places we love in the Dolomites you can visit with kids here.
Find here >>> over 50 ideas and things to do in Italy with kids of all ages.