36 Hours in Prague: If you want a good morning

Experienced travelers will tell you that the key to a successful trip lies in careful advance planning — and getting an early start to you day. Planning activities later in the day can result in long lines, crowds and sold out venues. With all of the sights that make Prague a unique European destination, beginning your daily activities early offers you more time to experience what Prague has to offer.

For a busy morning

If you’re up at 6:30, you could be first in line at Bakeshop Praha where you’ll find cookies, muffins, croissants and cakes. For an early morning snack, the chocolate chip cookie or plum-poppy seed pie with crumbs are good choices.

Location: Kozí 918/1, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město
Hours: Monday-Sunday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Now walk to the Old Town Square. With few tourists out, it’s easy to see the age of the city. Look closely at the Jan Hus Memorial statue, where several inscriptions were added after Czechoslovakia was founded in 1918. One inscription reads, “Love each other and wish the truth to everyone” in Hus’ own words.

Location: Staroměstské nám., 110 00 Praha 1

View of Old Town Square at 7 a.m.
View of Old Town Square at 7 a.m.

Now that you’ve taken in the scenery and are ready for a full breakfast, try Café Slavia. The retro vibe, with its grand piano and crystal chandeliers, feels like an old-time movie star hangout without charging for the glitz and glamor. The menu features traditional Czech dishes, as well as savory and sweet crepes, several coffee options and lunch items.

Location: Smetanovo nábř. 1012/2, 110 00 Praha 1
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 12 a.m., Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. – 12 a.m.

A walk around Prague 1 offers an eclectic shopping experience with a mix of small, locally-owned shops and larger chain stores. The Palladium mall has 180 shops and 20 restaurants, bars and cafes.

Location: Praha nám. Republiky 1 Praha 1
Hours: Shopping gallery Sun-Wed 9a.m- 9 p.m., Thur-Sat 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Restaurants Mon-Sun 8 a.m.- 11 p.m.; Supermarket Mon-Sun 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.

For a healthy morning

Take public transportation to Letna Park. You can run on various paths, walk among the trees and tall grass or lounge like the locals as you look over the city. Visit the Metronome, where a 50-foot statue of Stalin once stood from 1955 to 1962 until it was blown up. The statue had an explosive history before the people of the Czech Republic decided it should come down. Though the decision to erect the statue was made in 1949, construction didn’t begin until 1953. Construction took two years, cost around 150 million CZK and Stalin had already been dead for two years when it was unveiled. Stalin had also fallen from grace about a year later and it was an embarrassment to the regime to have a fallen leader in full view, so in 1962 plans were finally made to destroy it. Now a rocking aptly-named metronome statue that swings day and night stands in its place.

View of the Metronome from behind
View of the Metronome from behind

Enjoy the cleared space and views, then take a short tram up the hill to Bistro 8. Situated between a record store and markets, the shop offers coffee, breakfast and lunch. The staff is friendly but the seating is sparse, so get there before the lunch rush.

Outside view of Bistro 8
Outside view of Bistro 8

Location: Veverkova 1410/8, 170 00 Praha
Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., closed Sunday

For a “local” morning

Take a metro or tram to Naplavka farmer’s market. Located on the edge of the riverbank, stalls with fruits, vegetables, meat and juices offer healthy options. If you don’t feel like going green, look for fresh cakes, cookies and cheese. On a small pier at one end of the market, look for tables with old trinkets, clothing, jewelry and other treasures. Peruse the trash of another and you might walk away with a unique souvenir.

Location: RAŠÍN’S RIVER BANK, NEAR PALACKÝ’S BRIDGE, PRAHA 2
Hours: Saturday 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

One of many stands at Naplavka
One of many stands at Naplavka

Make your way to Karlovo náměstí, or Charles Square, to enjoy your spoils. The square is one of the oldest in the world. In medieval Europe, it was the largest town square to exist. Founded in 1348 by Charles IV, it served as the main square for the New Town. Known as Dobytčí trh, or Cattle Market during the 15th century, it was then renamed after its founder in 1848. Avoid the major road and sit on a bench near one of the many fountains — you’ll feel like you’ve stumbled on the untouched natural past in the center of busy Prague. The greenery dims the noise of the traffic, and the park is a good spot for people and dog watching.

Location: Take Resslova street to the park.

For a late morning

If you stayed out late and need more sleep, wake up at 10:30 and try Sicily Café for a late breakfast or early lunch. With fair trade items, organic food, environmentally-friendly practices and a town hall for exhibitions and seminars, this restaurant offers a relaxed atmosphere and attentive service with a side of soul. The menu features vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Borrow a book from the windowsill to read while you eat. Free water and Wi-Fi are available.

Location: Senovážné nám. 994/2, 110 00 Praha 1
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.