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

(Last Updated On: August 12, 2017)

The city of Barcelona tops the list of cities to visit in Spain. While the food and the Gaudi’s fairy tale architecture are invariably the top things to do in the city of Barcelona if you have an extra day in Barcelona then consider visiting Montserrat one of the popular day trips from Barcelona. Montserrat an hour train ride away from Barcelona is a giant massif part of Barcelona mountain range that looks like a myriad of closely-knit carved rock pillars and is bound to leave anyone awestruck with its picturesque vistas. Montserrat Monastery or Santa Maria de Montserrat located on top of Montserrat mountain is revered as a Catalonian Pilgrimage Destination in Barcelona. “Montserrat” literally means jagged or serrated mountain in Catalan and took millions of years to form the spectacular relief, which entices many day-trippers from Barcelona.

Day Trips from Barcelona Montserrat Monastery

How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona?

There is a good frequency of trains from Placa d’Espanya or Espanya rail station which is well connected with Barcelona city center and other parts of the city by metro. The trains from Barcelona to Montserrat run on Line R5 which is well-marked through the Espanya rail station.

About Placa d’Espanya

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 monumental fountain adorns the center of the square and 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 Tickets

Montserrat Combined Tickets with various combination of the trains to Montserrat with the cable car or rack railway are available at the Placa d’Espanya station. There is staff to help you with the tickets. The Trans Montserrat ticket includes return train fare of Barcelona to Montserrat train (Montserrat mountain can be reached by either cable car or rack railway or funicular which needs to specified while buying a ticket and is not interchangeable), 2 return journeys on 2 different funicular rides to the other parts of Montserrat mountain from Monastery and 2 free metro rides. The other ticket Tot Montserrat tickets include everything that the Trans Montserrat ticket offers plus the entrance to the audiovisual exhibition and a lunch at Montserrat restaurant. Check for Montserrat funicular prices and R5 train schedule.

Train from Barcelona to Montserrat and Montserrat 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 offers breathtaking views of the jagged massif. If you don’t fancy riding at heights or if you are not comfortable standing then go for the funicular option.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

Train from Barcelona to Montserrat and Rack Railway Montserrat

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.

We chose the 5-minute ride in Aeri cable car to the Montserrat mountain. Chhavi was only a year old and we were not sure how feasible it would be to hike with a stroller hence we 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 legion of jagged mountains towering over the dense the forest below cut through by tiny sparkling streams.

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

Montserrat Tour

Montserrat Monastery or Santa Maria de Montserrat

We started with the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat. The Montserrat Abbey is Catalonia’s most prominent religious destination enshrining Our Lady of Montserrat or the Virgin of Montserrat. The main courtyard of the abbey has several arches in the left wall which offers incredible views of the valley below and has niches with interesting sculptures. The access to the church is through an 18th-century atrium which is an open-roofed courtyard with the marble floor. The facade of the church is beautifully adorned with sculptures of saints or kings depicting the history of Montserrat.

The basilica is a beautiful gothic architecture building housing several chapels. The statue of the Black Madonna or the Black Virgin is a wooden statue dating back to the 12th century. It is called “La 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 Black Madonna sculpture sits in a small alcove at the back of the church the way to which is through a beautifully designed corridor adorned with beautiful mosaic work, paintings and silver doors. The corridor is accessible from the staircase on the right side of the abbey, which is usually queued up.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

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.

Day Trips from Barcelona Montserrat Monastery

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 of the Montserrat Monastery and the mountain. An audiovisual video at the end of the museum gave an insight into the life at Montserrat concluded by the delightful video of the famous boy’s choir.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

Sant Joan Montserrat

From the monastery, we took the Funicular to Sant Joan, which is further up to the top of the mountain. Montserrat hiking trails are very popular for its remarkable scenic vistas.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

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. The trails are not accessible with the stroller and hence we could not proceed further.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

Santa Cova Cave Montserrat

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. Though the route was not very stroller-friendly we could still manage to pull along.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

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 Barcelona Spain

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

Day Trips from Barcelona Montserrat Monastery

View of the Monastery from one of the vantage points on the way to Santa Cova Cave.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

Back from the Santa Cova Cave, we headed to the market place where various stalls selling local produce like cheese and other food items were setup.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

Stairway to Heaven Montserrat

‘Stairway to Heaven’ or ‘Steps of knowledge’ Montserrat is the most photographed point of Montserrat.We weren’t aware of the name of the sculpture until we visited Montserrat and didn’t know where to find it. We got the first glimpse of it on the way to the Santa Cova Cave when we were photographing the monastery. The sculpture is on the other end of the market. The stair sculpture was fenced may be for the reason that the climb is dangerous but still, people jumped the fence and climbed it to take pictures.

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

Montserrat Day Trip Barcelona Spain

It is believed that the spiritual atmosphere of the Montserrat Mountain is a source of great energy and we did experience it too. Montserrat monastery is definitely a must-do day trip from Barcelona. What do you say? Have you been to Montserrat? Do share with us your experience.

Would you like to pin this post?

45 thoughts on “Montserrat – A day trip to Catalonian Pilgrimage Destination in Barcelona!

    • mm
      June 22, 2016 at 9:53 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks 🙂

      Reply
  • June 20, 2016 at 8:08 am
    Permalink

    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.

    Reply
    • mm
      June 22, 2016 at 9:53 pm
      Permalink

      Agree Montserrat is beautiful and worth a visit!

      Reply
  • June 21, 2016 at 5:17 pm
    Permalink

    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

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:53 pm
      Permalink

      Superb Sheri.. We would love to know your trip experience 🙂

      Reply
  • June 22, 2016 at 6:08 am
    Permalink

    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 😛 The holy grotto is such an interesting combination of nature and construction – stunning.

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:52 pm
      Permalink

      Agree Tae.. Everything there looks just amazing 🙂

      Reply
  • June 22, 2016 at 11:07 am
    Permalink

    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.|

    Reply
    • mm
      June 22, 2016 at 9:54 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Theron!

      Reply
  • June 22, 2016 at 11:33 am
    Permalink

    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).

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:50 pm
      Permalink

      Yes Blair you can be very sure its perfectly safe in there 🙂

      Reply
  • June 22, 2016 at 12:51 pm
    Permalink

    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!

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:52 pm
      Permalink

      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.

      Reply
  • June 23, 2016 at 3:42 am
    Permalink

    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. 😐

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:50 pm
      Permalink

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

      Reply
  • June 23, 2016 at 10:14 am
    Permalink

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

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:49 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Linda!

      Reply
  • June 23, 2016 at 1:29 pm
    Permalink

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

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm
      Permalink

      Thats awesome. Keep us updated 🙂

      Reply
  • June 23, 2016 at 6:49 pm
    Permalink

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

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:48 pm
      Permalink

      It would be a wonderful hiking experience for sure 🙂

      Reply
  • June 24, 2016 at 11:29 am
    Permalink

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

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Danielle 🙂

      Reply
  • June 24, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    Permalink

    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.

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm
      Permalink

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

      Reply
  • June 25, 2016 at 2:43 pm
    Permalink

    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.

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:47 pm
      Permalink

      Montserrat is definitely worth a visit 🙂

      Reply
  • June 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm
    Permalink

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

    Reply
  • June 25, 2016 at 11:54 pm
    Permalink

    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

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Shounak 🙂 Yes Montserrat is something very different from Barcelona.

      Reply
  • June 26, 2016 at 5:12 am
    Permalink

    Absolutely Lovely destination. The mountains look really beautiful. And yes, some real good photography by you 🙂

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:46 pm
      Permalink

      Thanks Tamshuk!

      Reply
  • June 26, 2016 at 5:13 am
    Permalink

    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.

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:45 pm
      Permalink

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

      Reply
  • June 26, 2016 at 5:46 am
    Permalink

    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?

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm
      Permalink

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

      Reply
  • June 26, 2016 at 4:39 pm
    Permalink

    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!

    Reply
    • mm
      June 27, 2016 at 1:45 pm
      Permalink

      Abbey was stunning indeed 🙂

      Reply
  • June 27, 2016 at 4:55 pm
    Permalink

    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 😀

    Reply
  • August 2, 2016 at 5:37 am
    Permalink

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

    Reply
  • August 8, 2016 at 12:08 am
    Permalink

    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

    Reply
  • August 15, 2016 at 3:21 pm
    Permalink

    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?

    Reply
    • mm
      August 27, 2016 at 9:50 am
      Permalink

      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.

      Reply
  • April 25, 2017 at 7:43 pm
    Permalink

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

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: