Montserrat is a mountain located near Barcelona and is one of the many reasons why Barcelona is worth visiting. Its name is a Catalan word meaning “serrated mountain” due to its jagged appearance. It’s famous for its monastery, making Monsteratt a sacred and holy place for many Christians.
However, this mountain attracts more than just religious people and is a popular destination for avid hikers, explorers, and tourists. Given the breathtaking nature and panoramic views, it’s no wonder it’s such a hot spot.
If you’re visiting Barcelona, you won’t want to miss out on going, and luckily, Monsteratt makes for a perfect day trip. In this blog, we’ll cover how to get to Montserrat from Barcelona and have the best day possible.
Hi, I’m Timon!
I’ve experienced the heartbeat of Spain firsthand. Over the last five years, I’ve immersed myself in the dynamic cities of Spain, truly living the Spanish way. My insights into this beautiful country are rooted in genuine experience.
How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona
When it comes to getting to Monsteratt from Barcelona, you have many options. Depending on your location, group size, and time, it’s worth considering all of them to find the best for you. Be it a train, a car, or even a hike, you’re bound to enjoy yourself.
The Classic Train Route
Ah, the good ole’ train – probably the easiest way of getting to Montserrat from Barcelona. You’ll take the train from Estació d’Espanya, which is on the green and red metro lines, making it very accessible.
Once there, the train to look for is the R5, headed towards Manresa-Baixador. Bear in mind that the station is quite big, and getting a ticket can be confusing. It’s best to arrive at the station with plenty of time to spare – I’d suggest at least half an hour. The trains to Montserrat are also only once every hour, so if you miss it, you’ll be stuck waiting.
Once on the train, it should take around an hour to reach Montserrat. When you arrive, you have two options to get to the Monastery. Depending on your choice, you’ll depart the train at different stops.
The first option is a cable car from the stop Aeri de Montserrat. This is a five-minute ride with incredible views. However, you will be standing for the duration.
The second option is to take another train, the Cremallera Funicular, from the stop Monistrol. It takes fifteen minutes, but the views aren’t as spectacular. However, it is seated, which may be better suited to you.
Rolling on the Roads: By Car or Taxi
If you’re not feeling the train, you could rent a car in Barcelona and drive directly to Montserrat. This will take about one hour, and you can enjoy the scenic Catalan countryside on your journey.
To get there, you’ll take the C-55, accessible through various points in Barcelona, before eventually turning on to the A-2. Once there, you can park your car at the bottom of Montserrat and take the cable car or train up. Or, you can continue driving directly to the monastery.
There are free car parking options available at both. I would suggest taking the cable car, which is a huge part of the experience.
Another driving option is to take a taxi or Uber. These will cost anywhere between €80-100, depending on the time and season. While getting a taxi there will be easy, getting one back to the city can be a pain.
Guided Expeditions: Tours and Packages
Another great option is to take a guided tour to Montserrat from Barcelona. This is a convenient and popular option that allows you to sit back and let someone else think.
Guided tours usually include transportation to and from Montserrat and an enthusiastic guide busting with fascinating facts and information. You can also find special tours with add-ons like wine tasting and other fun experiences.
There are plenty of options to choose from, such as private tours, group tours, and full- or half-day tours. Prices range from €60-200 depending on the type you select.
If you’ve got the cash to spare, a guided tour is great if you want to enjoy it without the hassle. Plus, if you do a group tour, you get to meet other travelers.
Setting the Pace: Hiking to Montserrat
If you want more physical activity during your day trip, hiking up the mountain is also an option. Here, you have two options, which are both relatively easy once you find the paths.
1. Hiking from Montserrat de Aeri
This is the same stop as the cable car. To get to the hiking trail, walk towards the cable cars and over the bridge towards the main road. To the right of the main road, there is a small path – this is the start of the trail. It will take around 1 hour and 30 minutes. Expect to see lots of trees and interesting rock formations.
2. Hiking from Monistrol de Montserrat
This is the next station, where you take the train. First, you need to cross the bridge of the River El Llobregat, which takes you to Monistrol – the mountain’s village. Proceed by strolling along Passeig de la Canaleta and, upon reaching its end, take a left onto Carrer de les Escoles.
Afterward, make another left, and at the top of the steps, you’ll find the beginning of the hike. This hike will take around 1 hour 45 minutes from the station and is fairly similar in scenery to the other one.
Must-Visit Spots in Montserrat
Finally, you’ve arrived at Montserrat, but now you’re there. What exactly is there to see? From museums to chapels to beautiful scenery, this mountain range has a little bit of something for everyone.
The Montserrat Monastery and Basilica
The Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey and the Basilica are the most famous attractions at Montserrat. The site is a sacred pilgrimage for Catalunians across the region.
First built in the 9th century, to this day, the monastery is the home of over 70 monks. They’ve had a long and sometimes brutal time living in Santa Maria de Montserrat, showcasing Spain’s volatile yet fascinating history.
Another star of the show, the Basilica, is the church’s name inside the monastery. It’s a beautiful example of typical Catalunia Gothic architecture and has a deep religious significance in the region.
Inside the Basilica, you’ll find the Black Madonna, or “La Moreneta,” a famous sculpture of the Virgin Mary. This icon is also Catalonia’s patron saint, which is why the mountain range is sacred. Even if you’re not religious (or Catalonian), the monastery is a must-see that all can enjoy.
Best Viewpoints and Hikes
Once at Montserrat, various hiking trails offer impressive views of the mountain range in all its glory. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a total newbie, there are plenty of options ranging from easy to advanced. Some of the most popular hikes include:
- Santa Cova: This is one of the easiest hikes that takes you through forests to the Santa Cova Chapel.
- Camí dels Degotalls: This short and easy hike is ideal for families and small children. It leads you to the natural water sources of Montserrat.
- La Plana de les Vinyes: Discover vineyards and meadows along this relaxing, easy hike.
- Ermita de Sant Joan: This short yet moderate hike leads you to the Hermitage of Sant Joan. Here, you’ll find incredible views of the whole mountain range.
- Sant Jeroni: The most famous and challenging of hikes takes you to the highest peak of Montserrat, with panoramic views of the entire landscape.
- Camino de San Miguel: Last but not least is the must-see of all viewpoints at Montserrat. Following the Camino de San Miguel, you come to Creu de Sant Miquel (the Cross of Saint Michael). Here, you’ll find the most magical, panoramic views of Montserrat and its surrounding landscapes. This is a pleasant and easy walk, perfect for all the family.
Choirs, Museums, and More
Alongside scenic views and religious significance, Monsterrat also has two museums on site.
The main museum is a large art museum with six different exhibitions. Expect to see works from greats such as Picasso, El Greco, Caravaggio, and many more. If you’re an art lover, you’ll be thrilled to know there are over 1,300 pieces to discover.
The second museum is the Espai Audio Visual Museum, Montserrat’s interactive museum. Using visual aids and audio, you can discover the ins and outs of the Montessary and gain insight into areas only accessible to the Monks. The interactive features also make this a great experience for kids.
One of the main attractions of Montserrat and a must-see is the L’Escolania. This is the all-boy choir that is renowned across the world for its excellence. Dating back to 1223, this choir still has over 50 boys who are educated in Monsterrat. Each day, they perform twice, and you’ll definitely want to catch at least one. The performances take place in the Basilica at:
13:00 – Salva and Virolai
18:45 – Salve Montserratina
Note that the choir doesn’t perform during July or the Christmas holidays.
Best Eateries in Montserrat
One of the most important and exciting aspects of any day trip is the food. If you, like me, are a huge foodie, you’ll be glad to know you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to dining at Montserrat.
Several places are catering to different budgets and tastes. My top recommendations are:
- Restaurant Montserrat: This restaurant is on the pricier scale but well worth it if your budget allows. Located on the ground floor of the Mirador dels Apòstols building, here you’ll find a range of typical Catalan dishes. 📍 Google Maps Location
- Restaurant Abat Cisneros: Part of the Abat Cisneros Hotel in Montserrat, this restaurant provides a fine dining experience. You’ll find plenty of Catalan specialties and a selection of regional wines. Be sure to try some seafood. 📍 Google Maps Location
- Bar de la Plaça in Montserrat: A more relaxed local bar, you can find sandwiches, tapas, coffee, and cervezas here. 📍 Google Maps Location
- La Cafeteria in Montserrat: If you’re on a budget, this is the eatery for you. This laid-back cafeteria offers a range of hot and cold fast food. Its large dining hall style is ideal for larger groups and families. 📍 Google Maps Location
If you want to try some typical Catalan dishes, my top recommendation is Buitifarra. This is a special pork sausage dish cooked with white beans – 10/10 all around. If you don’t eat meat, never fear. There are plenty of Catalan vegetarian dishes to try as well.
My personal favorites are Arròs negre (black rice) and Cigrons a la catalana (Catalan-style chickpeas). You can find all of these dishes in the first two restaurants listed – enjoy!
Planning Your Trip: Duration and Costs
Planning and budgeting your trip may seem overwhelming, but it needn’t be. Below, I’ve offered some guides for both based on my personal experiences in Montserrat.
Structuring Your Montserrat Day
Here’s the itinerary I used when visiting Montserrat, which can help you plan yours.
- Depart from Plaça d’Espanya: Have some breakfast in Barcelona and buy some snacks and water to bring with you. Remember to give yourself enough time at the train station.
- Arrive at Montserrat: Depending on your ticket, take the cable cars or the next train.
- Explore the monastery: Including the Basilica, the Black Madonna, and the Montserrat Museum.
- Viewpoints: Enjoy viewpoints, such as Sant Jeroni or the Cross of Saint Michael. Now is the perfect time for your mid-morning snack as you soak up the incredible landscapes.
- Hike to the Vineyards: You can take a relatively short hike to the vineyards. My recommendation is the La Plana de les Vinyes, which is a peaceful and easy walk.
Spanish Lunchtime (14:00)
- Lunch: After building up your appetite with all that walking, have lunch at your chosen restaurant.
- Discover Monistrol de Montserrat: Take the train back down to Monistrol de Montserrat, the mountain range’s village. You can wander around, look at the beautiful architecture, and have a coffee somewhere—a perfect plan for that after-lunch lull.
- Head back to Barcelona: Have a little siesta as you take the train back to Barcelona.
Estimating Your Montserrat Trip Budget
You can certainly cater your trip to Monsterrat to align with your budget capabilities. Below, I’ve detailed an approximate estimation of your costs throughout the day.
- Train from Barcelona to Montserrat: A return ticket is €25.
- Cable Cars: A single ticket is €8.60, and a return is €13. There are also discounts for over 60s and children.
- Cremallera Funicular: The additional train costs around €8-10 for a return.
- The monastery is free, but the Monsteratt museum costs €8.
- Depending on your place of choice, lunch can cost between €15-40.
- Consider any money you’ll spend on snacks, souvenirs, or gas and toll roads if you’re driving.
- Combination tickets: purchase your train and cable car tickets together for a round-trip of €45.
- Group discounts: If you’re in a large group, consider booking an organized tour, which may work out cheaper.
- Packed lunches: Save on some spending by bringing a picnic and plenty of snacks.
Why Visit Montserrat
When planning your trip to Barcelona, be sure to give yourself an entire day to visit Montserrat. For this reason, I’d suggest at least four full days to discover Barcelona and its surrounding attractions.
Montserrat is well worth the visit and may even be one of your favorite memories – it certainly was for me. It combines a little bit of everything: nature, history, culture, and good local food.
If you prefer rural areas to cities, Montserrat is also a great way to break up your otherwise city break.
Whether you’re with a partner, your family, friends, or solo traveling, this mountain range has a little bit for everyone. And the best thing? You can cater your day trip to suit your individual needs and preferences. What more could you ask for?
Montserrat’s Lasting Impressions
One of my favorite aspects about visiting Montserrat was the way I felt afterward – so at peace and calm. The combination of fresh air, beautiful landscapes, and a spiritual vibe will leave you refreshed and sleeping like a baby.
But don’t just take my word for it. Check out Montserrat for yourself and make some beautiful, peaceful, and unforgettable memories.
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