Visiting Montserrat: how to get there from Barcelona

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Alejandra Rangel
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When we think of Barcelona, several things come to mind: the Sagrada Familia, Park Güell or La Rambla. But a few kilometers from the city is one of the most beautiful and visited places in Catalonia, the Montserrat massif.

This 1200 meter mountain is known for its beautiful peaks, its breathtaking views and above all for its Monastery, one of the most sacred places in Catalonia. Visiting Montserrat is certainly an activity not to be missed on a trip to Barcelona.



The Montserrat massif is a unique mountain in the world, thanks to its formation and its jagged peaks. Known as the "Magic Mountain" it has always been the cradle of many legends and traditions, and a place of pilgrimage.

Montserrat houses the sanctuary of "La Moreneta" and the Benedictine monastery, which for more than a thousand years has been at the service of all pilgrims and visitors who reach this sacred place, especially to pray to the Black Madonna.

Montserrat -

 

The Montserrat massif

The extraordinary rounded and elongated shapes, which today present the walls of the mountain, are the result of the tectonic movements that have occurred in the area in the last millennia and which, together with atmospheric agents, have created this fascinating relief that we can admire today.

From the highest point of the massif, Sant Jeroni at 1.236 meters high, you can enjoy a spectacular view, from the Pyrenees to the Sierra de Tramuntana in Maiorca, on the clearest days.

A Mediterranean forest surrounds this wild and captivating landscape, where Count Guifré el Pilós built the first hermitage in 888, after, according to legend, the image of the Virgin of Santa María de Montserrat appeared to two children in a cave.



Activities to do and places to visit in Montserrat

After learning more about the Montserrat Massif, you will surely have noticed that the Montserrat Monastery has a lot to offer. Here are some interesting places to visit and activities to do.

Montserrat Monastery

Perched on the edge of the mountain, Montserrat Monastery is a jewel of architecture. Founded in 1025, the monastery is a spiritual landmark and many tourists, or pilgrims from all over the world, come to visit the famous Black Virgin.

The visit of the Basilica is free, and open to the public from 7:30 to 20:00, but to be able to touch the statue exhibited in the basilica you must pay a ticket. There are many faithful who queue to ask for miracles from the statue of the patron saint of Catalonia.

Montserrat Monastery - Image from Pixabay

Santa Cova

The place where the Virgin of Montserrat first appeared, is located about 2,7 km from the Monastery. It is a very easy walk and the vertical drop is 120 meters. It is accessed via a path carved into the mountain, where the Monumental Rosary of Montserrat, the work of Gaudí, is located.

Montserrat Museum

In the basement of the monastery square of Montserrat is this building which was originally a biblical museum. Over the years, it has become a space that houses a large number of works of art from all periods, thanks to private donations. Among the most important works, there are some paintings by great artists such as Caravaggio, Monet, El Greco, Picasso, Degas, Tiepolo, ...


Way of the Cross

After the Abat Oliba square, located next to the Cappella della Dolorosa, the Via Crucis begins, offering a splendid view of the sanctuary.


Hermitages of Sant Joan, Sant Onofre and Santa Magdalena

If you want to take a small tour around Montserrat and get to know its surroundings, the complex offers a tour to visit the remains of the hermitages of Sant Joan, Sant Onofre and Santa Magdalena. You can book a guided tour through the monastery website, or take the tour on your own, it's about three hours of walking.

The trails for trekking

For trekking lovers, there are many trails for those who want to explore the mountain and enjoy the incredible view of Montserrat and its surroundings. One of the best known is the one that leads to the Sant Jeroni peak, a 12-kilometer hike to reach the highest point of Montserrat.

Montserrat Hiking Trails - Photo from Pixabay

How to get to Montserrat

In the car

From Barcelona take the A-2 in the direction of Lleida, and then go up the mountain. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. There is paid parking near the sanctuary (€ 6 per hour), although the capacity is limited.


By bus

Several private companies offer organized trips from Barcelona to Montserrat. In addition, there is a bus company that gives the possibility to leave from Calle Viriato (near Sants station) and return in the afternoon. The journey takes an average of 1 hour and 25 minutes, and the single ticket costs € 5,10.

By train

If you don't have a vehicle, the train is the easiest way to visit Montserrat. You can choose between 3 different combinations:


1. Regional train + Rack: from Plaza de España in Barcelona it is possible to take a regional train FGC (R5) to Monistrol de Montserrat station, and then take the green cogwheel which takes 15 minutes to the Monastery. Combined tickets can be purchased directly at the Spanish Steps station in Barcelona.

2. Regional Train + Funicular: take the local train R5 from Plaza de España in Barcelona and get off at Montserrat-Aeri, from where you can take the funicular that flies over the valley and reaches the monastery in 5 minutes. Also in this case, combined tickets can be purchased in Barcelona.

3. Regional Train + Walk: after taking the R5 train in Barcelona, ​​you get off at Monistrol de Montserrat. From here there are several paths to climb up to the Monastery: el Camino de Les Canales and L'Aigua, the shortcut of Els Tres Quarts, the PR-C19, the path of the Coves del Salnitre or the path of Les Voltes and Sant Miquel. You have to be a bit trained to do it, because the walk is about 4 km, and the difference in height is more than 500 meters.

Excursion to visit Montserrat from Barcelona

If you want to avoid all organizational problems (transport, parking, visits…), you can also book a day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona online.

Discover all the tours to reach and visit Montserrat from Barcelona

 

Montserrat, Spain - Image from Pixabay
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