While there is plenty to see and do in Barcelona, many tourists choose to take a day trip outside of the city to see another side of Catalonia. One of the top choices is always a day spent at Montserrat, the beautiful mountains that loom just outside Barcelona. Visiting Montserrat is an experience that you won’t want to miss, as the views will take your breath away! Planning your day trip to Montserrat will be a cinch with this quick and easy guide, so let’s get started!
In this post, you will find:
- What Montserrat is
- How to get there
- What to see
- What to do
What is Montserrat?
Just outside of Barcelona lies a mountain range that is shrouded in magic and mystery. The inspiration for many stories and fables, the Montserrat mountain range is one of the most-visited sites in Catalonia. Montserrat, or “saw mountain” in Catalan, gets its name from its jagged appearance when looked at from a distance. The mountains are home to a famous Benedictine abbey, which houses the well-known Virgin of Montserrat. Legends say that it is also the site of the Holy Grail, as fabled in the Arthurian legend stories. The natural beauty of the mountains, along with its many intriguing stories, bring both locals and tourists back again and again.
How to get to Montserrat
1. By Train & Cable Car
There are several ways to get to Montserrat from Barcelona, depending on your preferences and schedule. One of the easiest ways to get to Montserrat is by train, which you can catch in Plaça Espanya. Take the R5 train towards Manresa, and you have 2 options for getting off and arriving at the top of the mountain.
- Hop off at the Aeri Montserrat station and from there you can take a cable car up to the top, where the monastery is located.
- Take the train a few more stations and get off at the Monistrol Montserrat station, where you can then catch the Cremallera (rack railway) to the top. The Cremallera is a train that zips back and forth from the train station to the top of the mountain.
You should think ahead about which option you would like ahead of time, as you can purchase combined tickets before your trip to save time and money.
You can download the timetable of R5 train towards Manresa from here.
2. By Bus
Additionally, visiting Montserrat by bus is an option, both by public bus or on a private tour. You can take a bus by AutoCars Julia that leaves from the Sants station and takes you directly to the mountain. This bus does not provide you with a tour. If you would like, there are several companies that offer private tours, including transportation by bus to Montserrat.
3. By Car
Lastly, you can reach Montserrat in about an hour by car, following the A-2 highway.
What to see in Montserrat
Upon arriving, you will find that there are several things to see apart from the natural wonder of the mountains. Your first stop should be the monastery, which is home of the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat. Locally, she is known as La Moreneta, and many go to visit her for good luck and blessings. Visitors can go in one-by-one to touch the orb in the Virgin’s hand, which is said to bring good fortune. Next, mosey on over to the Montserrat Museum where you’ll find a treasure trove of art, artefacts, and relics from the Abbey of Montserrat. Some pieces span the 1000-year history of the abbey, some contemporary pieces are from modern and well-known Spanish artists.
If you can, seize the opportunity to hear La Escolanía, the oldest choir in Spain, which is composed of only 14-year-old children. The choir performs music from the Montserrat School, as well as pieces from the Renaissance. They perform at Montserrat (concert information), in addition to concerts around the Barcelona area.
What to do in Montserrat
You made it all the way to the top of the mountain, so hit the trails and explore it! Many choose one of the easiest routes along the mountain that ends at Santa Cova. It is also known as “The Holy Grotto” since many religious pilgrims make the trek to this cave every year. Legend says that the image of the Virgin Mary appeared to a group of children here all the way back in the year 880. The Virgin was seen several more times, and due to its religious importance, a chapel was built here in the 17th century.
Another easy trail is the Camí dels Degotalls, which ends at the monastery. The route is decorated with commemorative monuments to famous Catalans like Jacint Verdaguer, Pompeu Fabra, and Joan Maragall. The trail eventually links up to the Camino de Santiago, the most famous pilgrimage route in Spain!
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try your hand at rock climbing! Montserrat is a hotspot for climbers in Spain due to its size, beauty, and open roads. Local climbers say the best time to climb is summer and fall, when it’s not too hot and there’s enough shade to keep cool. Enjoy views from the very top, and get that perfect, Instagram-worthy pic to show your friends back home!
⭐VISITA AL CAVALL BERNAT⭐ ? Vía Puigmal 7b+ 250m al Cavall Bernat Montserrat ✔ Hacia 2 años que no escalaba en la NORTE de Montserrat y 5 que no hacía cima en el Cavall Bernat ? ✔ Vía 5 ⭐ Que ataca la FISURA evidente del monolito con el equipamiento justo y que después te regala dos largos de PLACA buenísimos y asegurados! ✔ Toda una CLÁSICA que no puede faltar en el currículum de un escalador.?? ✔ Vaya ESTRENO de cordada @rockjantclimbing ha sido un placer! #veranobarrabes #barrabes #climb #climbing #climber #climbed #climbers #escalade #escalada #escalador #escaladaenroca #escaladaemrocha #arrampicata #escaladaclasica #escaladaclassica #vialarga #viallarga #tradclimbing #bigwall #tapia #multipich #tradclimb #tradisrad #montserratlovers #montserrat #cavallbernat #puigmal #montserratmountain
Do you want to explore the magic of Montserrat while on your vacation in beautiful Barcelona? Most of our apartments reach Plaza de España in 15 minutes. Come stay with Olala Homes for the experience of a lifetime!