Mystical Montserrat Mountains: A Day Trip from Barcelona

montserrat-mountains

For a quick getaway from the bustling metropolis of Barcelona, look no further than a day trip to the breathtaking and mystical Montserrat Mountains. For an experience like no other, Montserrat is only an hour’s drive away from Barcelona’s city centre. Rocky, finger-like projections shoot up into the sky and tower over the ancient Catalan monastery nestled in the peaks.

Take your time in Barcelona and appreciate the stunning Gaudi architecture: the Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Casa Batllo, and Park Guell are certainly worth your attention. When you’ve had your fill and you’re ready for something quieter, plan a day trip to the Montserrat Mountains Monastery. Appealing to both spiritual seekers and active travellers, make sure to add this destination to your Spanish bucket list.

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History of Montserrat Mountains and Monastery

Montserrat Mountains were first mentioned in history texts in 880 AD, and officially founded in 1025 by Santa Maria. The Monastery was built around the Virgin Mary of Montserrat (Black Madonna) statue, which is situated in the Montserrat Basilica. In the 1200’s it was first noted that this Black Madonna Statue was capable of performing miracles. Pilgrims from all over the world began making journeys to Spain to worship the Black Madonna. The Black Madonna is cause for many visits to the Montserrat Monastery to this day.

The Monastery has experienced turbulence over the last 1,000 years, especially during the Spanish Civil War when the Monastery faced destruction and looting. 23 Montserrat monks died during this time. When the war was over, the monks returned to Montserrat to rebuild and today there are 100 monks living in devotion of the Monastery.

How to get to the Montserrat Mountains from Barcelona

By Tour Bus – This is optimal if you want to learn about Catalan culture. We opted for the tour bus. It was very clean, air-conditioned, and the tour guide was phenomenal. She spoke both English and Spanish. We paid €42 each for a 5-hour tour.

By Train (Cheapest) – There is a train from Barcelona to Montserrat every hour. Make sure to plan ahead and book your tickets. This is the cheapest option.

By Car – If you have rented a car, you can drive to Montserrat. There is a car park at the top of the mountains which at the time of writing costs €6.50 for the day. However, I wouldn’t recommend renting a car unless you have experience driving on European roads. Don’t be fooled by cheap rental car prices, Euro driving is not for the faint-hearted!

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What is there to do at Montserrat Mountains?

Hike to the Viewpoint

There are a few options for hiking Montserrat Mountains from the Monastery. Walking up to the viewpoint will give you an unparalleled view of the valley, and even a view of the Monastery itself. Religious temples and statues line the path. Wear comfortable shoes, but fear not, the paths are well-paved and marked, and accessible for most fitness levels. Also, bring a jacket as it can be cold up in the mountains. If you are ambitious and you have an entire day, there are longer hikes that will take you through the serrated cliffs. You can also rock-climb. Bring your camera!

Visit the Monastery

The Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey Monastery is home of the Black Madonna Statue. As you enter, you will walk into a square outdoor courtyard and marble floor. Past this atrium, you will find the queue for the Black Madonna. It is worth it to go into the Monastery even if you have no interest in seeing the Black Madonna.

See the Black Madonna Statue

The famous Black Madonna statue can be seen within the Montserrat Basilica. It is free to see Her, but you will likely have to line up. However, it is said that She performs miracles, and if you are inclined to spirituality it is certainly not something you want to miss.

Ride a Cable Car through the Mountains

Riding the cable car is another fantastic way to take in the view. There is a fee to riding the cable car, and often a lineup. If you are arriving in Montserrat by tour bus, be aware that you might not have time to ride the cable car. The ride itself is short (5 minutes long), but during high season line ups can be long.

Get a Quick Bite to Eat

There is a cafe near the museum which serves coffee, pastries, and sandwiches. There is also a restaurant overlooking the valley which offers a larger menu. Or, bring your own lunch and enjoy it from the viewpoint.

In Conclusion

When you’re done with Barcelona’s gorgeous architecture and bustling vibes, take a relaxing day trip to Montserrat to see the breathtaking natural landscape and monastery. Visiting Montserrat was one of the highlights of my trip to Barcelona, Spain.

Have you been to Montserrat Mountains? Did the Black Madonna make all of your wishes come true?

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Alexandra Hackston
Alexandra Hackston

Alexandra (known as Allie) is a Canadian writer, Business Administration graduate, and the creator of the blog Brave Beyond Borders. Although Alexandra spends most of her time writing, she also loves photography, yoga, kale smoothies, and travelling with her husband.

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