How to spend a day in Montserrat Barcelona
Montserrat is a famous destination in Barcelona, Mostly people from all over the world come here to visit the sacred Santa Maria Montserrat, Virgin of Montserrat Sanctuary.
Not only people come here for the Sanctuary but as well as the beauty of the enticing multi-peaked rocky range composed of strikingly pink conglomerate, a form of sedimentary rock.
Is also known popularly as Benedictine abbey hosting the Virgin of Montserrat a statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery.
In Catalan, the word “Montserrat” means “saw (serrated, like the handsaw) mountain”
It is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat and groups of young people from Barcelona and all over Catalonia make overnight hikes at least once in their lives to watch the sunrise from the heights of Montserrat.
The highest point of this rocky mountains is 1,236 m or 4,055 ft. It is the highest point of the Catalan lowlands and stands central to the most populated part of Catalonia.
It is also Spain’s first National Park, also known for its holy grotto where visitations by the Virgin Mary reported. As well as the World famous Montserrat Choir boys recitals.
Approximately 48 kilometers away (30 miles) west of Barcelona, that’s why tourists come here to adore its peculiar beauty.
What to visit in Montserrat?
There are multitude interesting places to visit as like its breathtaking oodles structures of mountains that are evenly named.
One primary place to visit is, of course, the Basilica of Montserrat Monastery. then you have Spain Cross, the Museum, the highest summit of the place Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome).
Don’t forget to visit the Virgin of Montserrat (the black virgin), hear L’Escolania choir and take the Funicular Sant Joan from Sant Jeroni.
Be amazed by the outlook and panorama view of Barcelona city from the top.
Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey
As you all know that the Benedictine abbey in the mountain of Montserrat, however what you need to know is that this is one of the most important place of the area.
This is the first place where you will step in to start your tour. You will see the entrance of the Basilica in front and the Museum on your left.
The area surrounded by spectacular mountains and rock formations. But don’t worry it’s safe.
On the other side of the main attraction you’ll see in front the Tourism Office and right at the back of it is the amazing mountains that envelope the Abbey.
The Basilica Monastery
From 7.30 am to 8.00 pm the Basilica is open to welcome Pilgrims and visitors around the world. The Monastery made up of some 80 monks from now on.
They are the monks of Montserrat follow the Rule of Saint Benedict, devoting their lives. The day begins and ends with prayer.
Every day, as well as celebrating the Eucharist, the monks meet five times to pray (the liturgy of the hours).
You will also witness inside the Basilica the Escolania (Boys’ Choir) home to one of the oldest boys’ choirs in Europe.
The performance is free of charge in the Basilica daily except on Christmas holidays, July and some other festive periods during the year.
Make sure to come here early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid massive folks around you. In our case it was 11:00 am and this place were full of people.
Boys’ Choir Schedules:
From Monday to Friday: 1:00 pm Salve and Virolai
From Monday to Thursday: 6:45 pm Vespers, Salve Montserratina and Polyphonic Motet
Sundays and religious holidays: 12:00 pm Salve and Virolai and 6:45 pm Vespers, Salve Montserratina and Polyphonic Motet.
Our Lady of Montserrat
Virgin of Montserrat or La Moreneta (the Dark One), Pope Leo XIII proclaimed Our Lady of Montserrat Patron Saint of Catalonia in 1881. It is Catalonia’s favorite saint and in the sanctuary of the Mare de Deu de Montserrat.
Believed by some to have carve in Jerusalem in the early days of the church, it is a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century.
History of Montserrat
Started in 880 when a small group of shepherd children saw a bright light descending from the sky in the Montserrat mountains.
Came home to tell their parents, then visitation the parents were also witnessing to the same heavenly experiences and were left with only one conclusion.
The visions occurred in the same place in a cave on Montserrat mountain. From that moment on the cave became a holy sanctuary for religious pilgrims.
The image of Our Lady stretches out Her right hand, which holds the globe, symbolizing the cosmos. Her left hand on the Child’s shoulder, indicating that this omnipotent king is Her Son.
To visit La Moreneta you must line up in the right side entrance of the Basilica. Where normally a bunch of people queuing up as well. It might take 30 minutes – one hour of waiting.
One good solution is to take the complete tour first of the area then come back here in the afternoon where fewer people are on the line.
Right after the visit, you can also offer a candle and have a private talk with your creator.
Inside the museum are masterpieces of art from Caravaggio to Picasso. It is one of the most important latest collections in the country.
Famous painters such as painters such as Monet, Sisley, Degas, Pissarro, Picasso, Torres Garcia, Dalí and many more.
If you’re a fan of painting and arts this will be your favorite corner. The tour will take 2 hours depending on your speed.
The other side of the museum has various pieces like the sarcophagus forms. part of the Archaeology of the Biblical East collection, along with other objects from the cultures of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, the Holy Land and Cyprus.
Admission fee: 8 € (Free for children under 14 years old)
Languages: Catalan, Spanish, English
Quick tip, to get free access to the museum better buy a package admission ticket with includes the funicular ride, lunch, and tours.
New Interactive Exhibition
Perhaps the most interesting exhibition in the place, since people are more and more reluctant on reading about the full history of Montserrat.
The audiovisual room built for visitors and pilgrims who are interested in learning about Montserrat and its significance. It is bas on three fundamental pillars: mountain, monastery, and sanctuary.
I even learned that the Philippines has also an Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat that can found at San Beda College, Manila.
Admission fee: 6 € (Free for children under 14 years old)
Languages: Catalan, Spanish, English
Is the easiest access to the top of the mountains and to descends to visit the shrine. The two funiculars are Funicular de Sant Joan funicular railway that goes up and Funicular de la Santa Cova that goes down.
Funicular fees: 8 euros per ride (If you buy package tickets it’ll be free)
View from the top
Reaching the top after taking the Funicular de Sant Joan, you will see those different rock formations everywhere. Some typical conglomerate can seen on the path to Sant Jeroni.
Rocks have even names such as Cavall Bernat, El Moro, La Panxa del Bisbe, L’Elefant and many more.
The area is very large summit so you can actually have a full visit to see all the unique picky mountains that you liked.
From here you can also see a panorama view of the city and enjoy the glimpse of the Montserrat Monastery view from the summit.
Montserrat’s highest point, Sant Jeroni, can reached by a footpath from the top station of the Funicular Sant Joan. Hike around the peaks.
Leave either from the monastery 2-3 hours to Sant Jeroni (via the cross of Sant Miquel). Back downhill through the shady valley or from the top of the Sant Joan funicular (1-2 hours to top).
Spectacular Views you should not miss
How to reach Montserrat
There are many ways to reach Montserrat:
- By Train and cable car, from Barcelona, take Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat (R5 Line) train from Plaça d’Espanya to Montserrat-Aeri. Trains run every hour, joined return adult ticket costs 22,10€. Trans Montserrat tickets for adult costs 29,50€.
This joint ticket also gives you free funicular train rides once you reach the destination.
- Train and Funicular, one of the cheapest. Take R5 Line train from Plaça d’Espanya, Barcelona. But to the next stop: at Monistrol de Montserrat you can change for the funicular railway (Cremallera de Montserrat).
Combined return adult ticket costs €20 (including the funicular to Montserrat Monastery). Total travel time is 90 minutes one way
- By Bus, You can take buses in Plaça de la Universitat in Barcelona early in the morning. It might take you long but this is the cheapest one.
- Private Taxi, this is ideal for small or big groups, more comfortable in terms of the trip from Barcelona. The sum of the fee is expensive but when divided into heads it’ll be less.
- Car, it’s 1 hour of travel from Barcelona, about 64 kilometers distance.
By all means of transportations when reaching Montserrat you must buy tickets for museums and funicular plus food. I strongly recommend you to buy a package ticket from the official site of Montserrat here : Buy your tickets
All inclusive is the best option with Train+Funicular+Tickets+Lunch (restaurants are quite expensive, this is a good deal) for only 49,95 euros.
In our case, we did the car + all-inclusive package 32,15 euros. You can buy tickets online or on the spot but better online so you’re in advance. Personally, this is a 10/10 experience of life.
For more information please visit the official website of Montserrat