Some of the most interesting places are on a day trip from Barcelona. Consider visiting Montserrat, a monastery on a mountaintop. It's quite spectacular and you can get some amazing pictures there.
The train ride from Barcelona to Montserrat is quite enjoyable. Surprisingly, it feels very secluded in Montserrat even with the tourists that are there.
The food is also a surprise. There is a self-serve cafeteria which serves great baguette sandwiches. A full-serve restaurant is another option and they'll serve you a very typical appetizer: bread and garlic cloves. Do it yourself garlic bread...
There's lots of opportunities for hiking. If you're afraid of heights, you might hesitate because you have to take cable cars but the rides are not very long. It's worth it!
The monastery itself isn't the high point for me but it does have a statue of the 'black virgin'...which is important as a local religious icon. As the monastery was built in the 11th century, I did get a picture of me next to the stone engraving showing the original date.
Allow a full day to really have time to enjoy yourself in Montserrat.
An excellent side trip which can be done in a day is MONTSERRAT. Montserrat, a special place because it is a unique naural environment and religious center, and because of the art found there. Montserrat is home to the Sancituary of Our Lady and the Benedictine monastery, which has for almost 1,000 years, served all the pilgrims and visitors who come to this unusual mountain.
Easily reached from Barcelona by train. Purchase the pass which is all inclusive of train, cable car and funiculars.
This is a truely enjoyable place where everyone's heart will be touched by it beauty and senerity.
One of the most beautiful Cathedrals is located here high above what seems like the world.........
We didn't plan to visit this place because of the lack of time. But providence made it happen (I love when it happens this way! If you have such a stories from your travel or life, please share them with me.) As I mentioned before we couldn't go to Andorra because of the snowfall, so we were on our way back to Barcelona. Suddenly I noticed the beautiful mountains on the distance and from road signs learned it was Montserrat. It was evening already, but we decided to go. We were blessed with the breathtaking view and mystical place.
An hour north by train is the monastery at Monserrat. The monastery is at the top of a small mountain that looks like serrated teeth, and the views are to die for! The usual way to get to the top is by a steep cable car that hugs the mountain; the terminus is right near the train station. There is also a small museum worth visiting. You can walk or take another cable car to the tippy top of the adjacent 'tooth'; it's even steeper than the first.
Do not miss going to Monserrat. We went there by train. We bought a day ticket, including train journey, rides on all cable-cars and a good lunch in a fine restaurant from the train station. It turned out to be the best bargain in our holiday.
If time allows, you should take a trip to Montserrat. It's just about an hour outside of Barcelona and can be reached by taking the metro and connecting to the Ferrocarrils. The ride on the funicular is included in the price of the train ticket.
If you can, you should try to visit the monastery on Sundays, that's when the choir boys perform their chanting with the monks. It's sort of like a highlight of the monastery and it attracts lots of people there (especially locals) on that day.
When people come to spend some time in or around Barcelona, they sometimes forget to discover the outskirts of the city. About 50kms (50miles) NE of Barcelona is the town of Montserrat. This Medevial & Religious location is a MUST for anyone who loves scenery & music. Here you will not only see the Statue of The Black Madonna,( Jesus & his Mother Mary), but also hear the beautiful and angelic voice of the Boys Choir in the Monestery in Montserrat. These boys range from the age of 10 to 14 years of age and come from all parts of the world to get their schooling and singing training(all in Spanish) here. This place will leave you totally spellbound. There are also accomodations here in this town 10,000ft above sea level. On a clear day you can see out into the Meditteranian Sea from here.
When visiting Montserrat, my favorite part was hiking up the mountain on the paths. The funiculares which take people up the side of the mountain were out of order due to recent flooding, so we climbed the mountain on foot. What an experience! It was wonderful. Hard work, but worth it. Every so often we stopped at a shrine that had been built by the monks. The one pictured here is called St. Joan. We had a picnic lunch at one of the resting spots at the beginning of the trail. We didn't get to hike up as far as Sant Jerónim, apparently the most spectacular views of all, due to time constraints. I'd love to visit again!
This isn't necessarily off the beaten path, but this is a day trip that no one should miss when visiting Barcelona. Allow yourself an entire day to visit Montserrat in the mountains. Go to the metro stop at Plaza Espanya and take a train to Montserrat from there. When buying your round-trip ticket, you'll get not only the train ticket, but also a ticket for the cable car up to the mountain, and the funiculares that go up the side of the mountain. Check the departure times of the cable car when you arrive so that you are not stranded on the mountain. There are three hotels on the mountain, if you choose to stay. Visit the usual sites, such as the basilica and museum, then put on your hiking shoes and hit the trails. You can walk for hours up the mountain. Here's a useful web site: http://travel.roughguides.com/content/2604/6708.htm
Montserrat is a good destination for a day trip from Barcelona!!!!
For more info about Montserrat, look at the corrsponding page Monserrat
The legend says that a villager had a vision of Virgin Mary here in 9th century. A monastery was buid in 11 century.