MONTSERRAT As we’ve mentioned in one of our other articles, there are many great day trip excursions outside of Barcelona in case you feel that you’ve been living here long enough to have seen everything that the city itself can offer you.  Many times you keep telling yourself that “one day” you will go and see that famous place that’s near to your city, and you keep procrastinating until finally one day you have visitors from abroad who are dying to do the whole touristic route and inevitably you end up being the tour guide.  But this is a good thing, since it forces you to stop your procrastination and in my case it led me to finally see (after 6 years of living in Barcelona) the very beautiful Montserrat!

In case you are unaware of Montserrat, it is a mountain located about 45 mins drive from the city and is well-known for the Benedictine abbey called Santa Maria de Montserrat.  This is the sanctuary of the Virgin of Montserrat and the name literally translates from Catalan as “saw mountain” – named so after the serrated rock formations that can be seen from far away. Coincidentally, Montserrat was the first National Park in Spain!

MONTSERRATGetting to Montserrat from Barcelona is quite easy.  You can take a train from Plaza Espanya (about 30 mins) and once you get there you can either take the Cable car (Aeri ticket) or you can take the Cremallera Funicular (a rack train).  The rack train is more comfortable than the cable car, but apparently the views aren´t as good.  The other option is to drive up with a car (via the BP-1121 road from Monistrol de Montserrat), which will probably work out cheaper if you´re going in a group of people.  Another option is to hike up by means of various trails that connect from the top entrance to the Sant Joan funicular or the base of the mountain.  The highest summit (Sant Jeroni) is 1236 meters above sea-level.

20140104_132754 Once you reach the top you will be greeted by breath-taking views of Catalunya, the mountain itself and of course the famous monastery itself.  You can enjoy the views and take memorable photos as well as walk around the area itself and up to the monastery where there are tours, exhibitions, gift shops and of course restaurants that offer traditional Catalan and Spanish dishes. There is also the possibility to hear the Montserrat Boys Choir perform Gregorian chants and choral music in the Basilica (free of charge) daily at 13h00.

Most people stay in Barcelona when visiting Montserrat for the day, however if you wish to stay in Montserrat for the night you could get accommodation at the Abat Cisneros.