Montserrat Mountain in Catalonia, Spain (please do not confuse with mountainous Caribbean island) is a “must-see” place to visit once in Barcelona. At 1236 meters high, this natural paradise is the highest point of the Catalan lowlands.
We went there several times with our first son, but for our second son it was his first visit to this holy place.
Location. Montserrat is located 48km(30miles) west of Barcelona. It is a part of Catalonia and is the location of the Benedictine Abbey-Santa Maria de Montserrat.
History: The area where is Montserrat mountain, dates back to pre-Christian times. Even though the monastery itself has been in place since 1025.
How to get. All the time we went by car, and it is very close to Barcelona. There are a lot of parkings just before getting to the mountain, where later you can take Rack Railway (Cremallera). As well there is a big parking right on the top, close to the Monastery. The price for parking is 6EUR for all day long. If you leave your car on a free parking and then to go with Rack Railway as we did, on one of our trip, then the price for a return ticket with Rack Railway is 9,90EUR adult price. There is an option to get a full package that includes: Train (Pl. Espanya – Monistrol de Montserrat) (Return ticket) + Barcelona’s Metro (Return ticket) + Rack Railway (Return ticket) + Funiculars, and it costs 31,80EUR per person. The advantage of taking Rack Railway is the stunning views of the place, that won’t be seen with a car ride. Or you can plan the way on your way by buying all the tickets on a ticket machine in Pl. Espanya.
What to see and do in Montserrat:
– The rock formations. It took 20 millions years for formation this spectacular mountains.
– The Basilica and The Chapels.
– The Virgin of Montserrat. A wooden sculpture of the Virgin Mary holding an infant Christ. The Virgin of Montserrat is considered to be one of the Black Madonnas of Europe. It is also called “la Morenata” which means the little dark one. Due to a very long queue we have never went to see and touch it. Even though this statue is seen from inside of the church.
the Museum. Museum has spectacular works of almost all famous Catalan artists. We went there on our last visit and this time we skip this museum.
– The Grounds. A courtyard outside the monastery is the perfect place to enjoy sunshine and take a rest if you went hiking around the area. I has many arches at which you can take in the magnificent views.
– Go Hiking. Apart of the main area of Montserrat, which represents Basilica and surrounded are there is more to see on a highest point. Saint Jerome (Sant Jeroni) is the highest peak at Montserrat. It is 1236 meters above sea level. There are many hiking trails which will lead you up to this summit. Trails connect from the monastery, the Sant Joan funicular or if you are experienced hiker you can start from the bottom of the mountain! It is a 2-3 hour hike up to the top. During your hike look out for a popular rock formation called the “cavall bernat”.We did it when Damian has been one year, and we went hiking with a pushchair, crazy us. This time we didn’t want even try to go hiking with 2 kids. 🙂
– Go on a retreat. There is a hotel that was converted from an old monastery and is where most pilgrims now reside. It is 3star property but seems to be ok and has really nice views over the mountains.
Every time we go to Montserrat, we see this beauty in a different way. The scenic views just take our breaths away. And it is the perfect time to relax from a weekly working routine.