Montserrat – A day trip to Catalonian Pilgrimage Destination in Barcelona!

The giant massif that looks like a myriad of closely-knit carved rock pillars is sure to leave anyone awestruck. “Montserrat” literally means jagged or serrated mountain in Catalan and took millions of years to form the spectacular relief, which beckons many day-trippers from Barcelona.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

There is a good frequency of trains from Placa d’Espanya station in Barcelona to visit Montserrat. One of the busy squares in the city the Placa d’Espanya square houses the Barcelona’s old bull-fighting ring, which is now Las Arenas a mega shopping mall. The rooftop terrace of mall offers 360 deg views of the city. A pair of 47 m tall towers called the Venetian Towers opposite to Las Arenas on the other side of street leads to the National Art Museum of Catalonia.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

To Montserrat
Train and Cable Car – board a train on the R5 line in the direction of Manresa from Placa d’Espanya station. The train journey takes around an hour. Disembark at Montserrat Aeri station and take a 5-minute ride in Aeri cable car which rewards one with remarkable views of the jagged massif . If you don’t fancy riding at heights or not comfortable standing then go for the next option.

Train and Funicular – board a train on the R5 line in the direction of Manresa from Placa d’Espanya station. The train journey takes little more than an hour. Disembark at Monistrol de Montserrat station and take a 15-minute ride on Cremallera (rack railway) to the top of Montserrat mountain.

One can also go hiking to the top of the Montserrat mountain from Monistrol de Montserrat station on various hiking trails.

Tickets with various combination of the trains to Montserrat with the cable car or rack railway are available at the Placa d’Espanya station. The Trans Montserrat and Tot Montserrat combined tickets offer a combination of metro rides, the return train tickets to Montserrat, the ride with the funicular (Aeri) or rack railway, funicular to other points from Montserrat and the entrance to the audiovisual exhibition, which can also be bought at the Placa d’Espanya station.

We decided to take the 5-minute ride in Aeri cable car to the mountain and decided to buy funicular tickets to other points from Montserrat on the mountain. The cable car ride from Aeri offers astonishingly spectacular vistas of the multitude of jagged mountains and the forest and tiny streams beneath.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

Once on the mountain, we visited the information center to get an idea of the places that can be visited on the Montserrat Mountain.

Santa Maria de Montserrat
We started with the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat. The abbey of Montserrat is Catalonia’s most prominent religious destination enshrining the Virgin of Montserrat or the black virgin. The Basilica is a beautiful gothic architecture building housing chapels. The beautifully designed atrium floor of basilica houses the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat in a small alcove.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

The statue of the Black Madonna is a wooden statue dating back to the 12th century. It is called β€œLa Moreneta” because of the black color of her face. The Virgin has a crown of diadems and the statue of Jesus Christ on her lap. The small alcove is accessible from a beautifully designed corridor and staircase on the right side of the abbey, which is usually queued up.

On exit from the visit to the Black Madonna, we entered the Ave Maria Path, which had many colorfully lit candles. The pilgrims light these candles as a prayer to the Virgin Mary.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

Espai Audio Visual
After seeing the basilica, we visited the Espai Audio Visual, which is one of two museums in Montserrat. An audiovisual gives an overview of the history and present of the Montserrat Mountain and the monastery. An audiovisual video at the and of the museum gave an insight into the life at Montserrat concluded by the beautiful video of the famous boy’s choir.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

Sant Joan
From the monastery, we took the Funicular to Sant Joan, which is further up to the top of the mountain.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

There are several walking paths of different lengths with spectacular scenic beauty and rock formations. One of the paths leads to the highest point of Montserrat mountain Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome). It is suggestible that one who can do a lot of trekking in gravel paths opt to visit.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

Santa Cova
Once back from Sant Joan, we took the Funicular down to the caves of Santa Cova. The caves are referred to as ‘The Holy Grotto’ because it is believed that the statue of the Black Virgin was originally found here in 890. The cave also has a small chapel.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

The picturesque winding route known as ‘Path of Rosary’ from the funicular station to the cave is dotted with many beautiful monuments and offers remarkable panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and the Montserrat monastery.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

We next walked past various market stalls selling local produce like cheese and other food items to the most photographed point the ‘Stairway to Heaven’.

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

montserrat day trip to pilgrimage destination

The stair sculpture was fenced may be for the reason that the climb is dangerous but still people jumped the fence to take pictures.

It is believed that the spiritual atmosphere of the Montserrat Mountain is a source of great energy and we did experience it too.

Have you been to Montserrat? Do share with us your experience.

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45 Comment

  1. Oh looks like we missed a lot by not visiting Montserrat! Beautiful pictures… πŸ™‚

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks πŸ™‚

  2. Katy says: Reply

    I was just in Spain a few weeks ago and was lucky enough to be able to go to Montserrat. I loved it! SO beautiful.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree Montserrat is beautiful and worth a visit!

  3. Sheri says: Reply

    I have been to Barcelona a few times but never went out to Montserrat which I really wish I had been able to do. I know I will be back there in the next few years and will make sure to visit

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Superb Sheri.. We would love to know your trip experience πŸ™‚

  4. Tae says: Reply

    I never went to Montserrat but now I wish I had. The mountains look like they’re made up of people in a way to me πŸ˜› The holy grotto is such an interesting combination of nature and construction – stunning.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Agree Tae.. Everything there looks just amazing πŸ™‚

  5. Theron says: Reply

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking into your web page for a second time.|

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Theron!

  6. This post is very helpful! I would like to try that Aerial cable car and enjoy the perfect view. I assume it is perfect same too (my apology sometimes I’m too keen with security).

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Yes Blair you can be very sure its perfectly safe in there πŸ™‚

  7. As a traveler who is interested in spiritual destinations, this looks incredibly fascinating to me. Some day when I make it to Spain, I will surely go. Thanks for sharing!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      True Nick but its also popular with adventurists for there are many hiking trails up to the monastery and again many from monastery to further up in the mountains.

  8. I haven’t been to Montserrat! But your photos made me want to! About the last photo, I saw someone’s photo—she climbed the stairs to have her photo taken; it is legal to do so? Because as you have mentioned, the sculpture is fenced. 😐

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Dont think so Jona because there are security officers around and people were getting sneaky to get a picture.

  9. Linda says: Reply

    The view from the top is simply breathtaking! This looks like such a fun getaway! Well done sharing it with us!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Linda!

  10. Jenni says: Reply

    Wow this cable car looks great I’m planning a trip round Spain so will check this out

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thats awesome. Keep us updated πŸ™‚

  11. Looks beautiful! Very interesting geology, I think I would want to hike through it.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      It would be a wonderful hiking experience for sure πŸ™‚

  12. This looks like a really lovely day trip to take! That first picture looks absolutely stunning – those arches with those mountains behind!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Danielle πŸ™‚

  13. Jojo says: Reply

    Haha I know someone who actually did get to climb those stairs. She had to quickly get down after someone ratted her out to security.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      When we visited even though it was fenced out still people were getting sneaky to get a quick picture.

  14. Andra says: Reply

    Thanks for sharing this – I had no idea about this one day trip from Barcelona. And it really looks like a place worth visiting. Those Venetian towers look pretty imposing.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Montserrat is definitely worth a visit πŸ™‚

  15. Nice post and very inviting. Would love to go to Montserrat. Thanks for the insight.

  16. Had no idea of this place – the shot of cable cars with the massive mountains in the backdrop is amazing ! The view from top of the mountain looks beautiful – keep hearing only about Barcelona – this was refreshing

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Shounak πŸ™‚ Yes Montserrat is something very different from Barcelona.

  17. Absolutely Lovely destination. The mountains look really beautiful. And yes, some real good photography by you πŸ™‚

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Thanks Tamshuk!

  18. Montserrat has a unique mysterious aura and allure. The mountains, the Basilica all seem to emanate some kind of spiritual energy, and this comes across vividly through your post and the lovely pictures. I think this is a place that one cannot afford to miss in Spain.

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      True Vyjay, its an amazing place full of spiritual energy!

  19. Rashmi, your photos are exceptional! Monserrat is a truly amazing place and I really wanted to visit it this summer. The cable car looks very impressive. I was told about it by someone who compared it to the cable car in Hong Kong.
    Did you get a chance to fly on a hot air balloon?

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      No Veronica, to our knowledge there weren’t any hot air balloons in Montserrat. Need to check out πŸ™‚

  20. I’d heard about the mountains in Montserrat, but I didn’t know about the abbey. Truly stunning with all the gold. I will have to go next time I am in Barcelona!

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      Abbey was stunning indeed πŸ™‚

  21. Definitely have to visit this place when I visit Barcelona. The pictures look so awesome and that stair sculpture is already too famous. Would love to photograph it πŸ˜€

  22. Jorge says: Reply

    Very awesome article, I certainly love your site, keep on it.

  23. Marlon B Josey says: Reply

    I would like to to be grateful for this wonderful read!! I absolutely loved every
    little bit of it. I have you book marked to look at new travels you post

  24. Sarah says: Reply

    At which Time of the day have you Been at the stairway of Heaven? Maybe there Arent securitys around 10am? I would Love to take a picture on the stairs? What Happens if the security catches me? Do I have to pay for it?

    1. GOBeyondBounds says: Reply

      When we visited there were no security guards and as per our information too, the stairway of heaven isn’t guarded. It’s only fenced. Several tourists furtively climbed up for pictures.

  25. Priya says: Reply

    We loved visiting Montserrat when we were in Barcelona but didn’t take the cablecars, it looks like fun.

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