Villages: Černošice & Zbraslav

Zofia Froněk visits the Berounka Valley villages

Expats.cz

Written by Expats.cz
Published on 21.09.2007 18:04 (updated on 21.09.2007)

Written by Zofia Froněk
for Expats.cz

Nestled in the green Berounka Valley to the south-west of Prague are the thriving villages of Černošice and Zbraslav. With a population of over 5300, Černošice has grown into a small town, but much of this expansion is relatively recent, and is encouraged by the fact that the railway connection makes it a short journey into the city – perfect for commuters.

The village is set on a hill overlooking the picturesque Berounka river with its steep green banks, and chatas dotting the forest on the opposite side. There is no bridge here however, except for the railway bridge at Mokropsy, a small village which has become part of Černošice and is connected by the same rail route. Mokropsy translates into English as ‘wet dogs´ – a curiously named village – as are the nearby Solopysky (Solo lips) and Všenory (All the dens).

Architecturally, Černošice is an eclectic mix of styles – large, crumbling ‘First Republic´ villas; smaller, older bungalows; several developments of flats currently under construction and many luxury family houses forming a new neighbourhood of several streets. Thankfully, the village seems to have escaped the outcrops of towering concrete paneláky; unlike neighbouring Radotín.

Residents benefit from a range of amenities  – there is a mateřská škola (kindergarten), a základní (elementary) škola, as well as a post office, butcher, Delvita and Eso supermarkets, a lékárna (pharmacy), a couple of penzions and several restaurants. The newly-constructed Centrum Vráž will have both flats and office space on offer, as well as a Tesco Express, set to open in the next month or so. For bulkier grocery shopping, there is also a Penny Market and Albert in Radotín, five minutes away by car.

In their free time, locals can head down to Club Kino for a night out where there is plenty happening – live music and cinema several nights a week. If you want to eat out, try Restaurant Luna (www.lunarestaurant.cz). A popular place with locals (making it wise to book a table ahead), it has a good choice of fish, steaks, pasta and pizzas, as well as a surprisingly respectable wine list, all at exceptionally moderate prices. I recommend the baked salmon in pastry with creamed garlic spinach. You´ll find it located in Mokropsy, by the Berounka river, but it is well-signed from the centre of Černošice.

If you are thinking of relocating to the area, there are currently several new developments of apartments and houses in Černošice  – check out the Dolphin Villas project (www.atriumrealestate.cz) and also the villas at Slunný Vrch (www.skanskareality.cz). As well as many new family houses, you can also find older houses in need of renovation at lower prices.

On approaching Zbraslav village from Prague, you are treated to a fine view of  Zbraslav Chateau. This impressive pile dating from 1268 is home to a part of the National Gallery, and is currently housing a permanent exhibition on Asian art, together with a Japanese tearoom. Entrance is 80czk (adults) and it is open daily 10am-6pm, except Mondays (tearoom has more limited hours). See www.ngprague.cz.

Zbraslav is centered around a fair-sized náměsti, with several shops, restaurants, penzions, a library and a small theatre. For good-quality and reasonably-priced food be sure to pay a visit to the cellar restaurant Steakhouse Stará Škola (www.stara-skola.cz).

Sports fans are well-catered to in both villages as well. Černošice has a ‘zimní stadion´ (winter stadium) for ice-hockey and free-skating. By the river in Mokropsy, several teenagers were making full use of the sports facilities provided for them there – a small sandy beach area, a beach-volleyball court, a skate-park with ramps, and dirt ramps for mountain bikes.

Golf players will be happy to know about Zbraslav Golf Resort which has an 18-hole course, driving range, shop and bar. Green fees start at 250czk (www.golfzbraslav.cz). Zbraslav also has a tennis centre. For a stronger adrenalin rush, head to nearby Radotín where you will find a Karting Centre (www.kart-centrum.cz) boasting the ‘biggest sheltered go-cart race course in Europe‘, with a track length of nearly a kilometre. Prices start at 190czk for 10 minutes.

Černošice and Zbraslav are also in a favourable location for some interesting trips, most obviously to Karlštejn castle, a favourite of Czechs and international tourists alike. Built by Charles IV in 1348, Karlštejn is a gem of late gothic architecture. It also defies the normal April-October castle season by remaining open all year (except February). See www.hradkarlstejn.cz for more information. An alternative trip is to the nearby ‘Americas´ – Velká Amerika and Malá Amerika – between Karlštejn and Mořina villages. These are former stone-quarries, the larger of which has a lake, and are situated in a popular area for walking. Access to the floor of the quarries is forbidden, as the sides are sheer and there are no paths; although the stone-patterns and remains of fires at the bottom testify to the fact that the warnings on various signs around the top about financial penalties for trespassers are not always taken seriously. You can walk around the rim of Velká Amerika in around half an hour, but remember not to look down if you haven´t a head for heights!

In 2002, the floods that hit Prague were particularly severe in this area, which sees the convergence of the Vltava and Berounka rivers; with parts of the villages of Černošice and Mokropsy being completely submerged. There are little traces left of this disaster now, however one wonders whether it is not the first time that the village has witnessed such phenomena in its history – maybe this would help to solve the mystery of those wet dogs.

How to get there:

On PT – By train to Černošice: From either Hlavní or nádraží Smíchov, take the train (route 9940 towards Beroun) to Černošice station (journey 18/13 mins). Regular service, including weekends.

By bus to Zbraslav: From nádraží Smíchov there are several bus routes (129, 241, 243, 314, 338, 390) to Zbraslav nádraží (journey 14 mins). Regular service, including weekends.

By car/bike: From Barrandov, take the road signed Dobříš and Strakonice, following the Vltava south and passing Velká Chuchle racecourse.

For Zbraslav, turn right off the main road and follow signs into the village. For Černošice, turn right before Zbraslav, onto road 115, signed Radotín. Continue through Radotín, following signs for Černošice and Karlštejn. This will bring you into the village.