There are some shops, restaurants, museum, church, etc. You can find the accommodation too. Besides, you can choose the Sant Joan Funicular or Santa Cova funicular to get to the hiking route. I took the Sant Joan Funicular and walked 2 easy walking path with a view of the whole mountain range.
How to get there:
Take the Monsterat-Manresa line from the FGC Pl. Espanya station and alight at the Montserrat-Aeri station, where you should then take the cable car that climbs up the mountain of Monsterrat.
The Montserrat mountain from which the top is 1236 metres high is home of the monastery of Montserrat.The first time there is spoeken about this monastery is in the 9th century. Montserrat was destroyed in 1811 when the French invaded Catalunya. In 1844 the monastery was rebuilt.Everyday you can hear the Escalonia Choir sing the 'Virolai' at 13:00 and the 'Salve Regina' at 19:10.
The monastery is surrounded with a lot of peace and quietness. You will hardly hear anything while being on this mountain. The main attractions of Montserrat are the 'Black Madonna' and the 'Basilica' it is in. In the summertime there are a lot of people that want to visit Montserrat, so there are very long queues in front of the Madonna. I visited in wintertime and we were amongst the few visitors. There is also a museum with a lot of 19th and 20th century Catalan paintings.
You should really take a whole day to visit Montserrat. To start with the train only goes once an hour from Plaça d'Espanya to Aeri de Montserrat. Then you have to take the cable car up to the mountain. So travelling already takes upp quite some time. If you really want to see everything on the mountain you just need a whole day. But it's worth it.
I went to Montserrat knowing only very little of the place, a mountain outside of Barcelona with an abbey... So naive as I sometime am I expected something like "the Sound of Music" with nuns/monks all over the place, but truth is that what I saw most of was tourists ;)
Besides this little stupid misunderstanding of my own, I must say that I really enjoyed the visit to Montserrat - I went together with my bf and his two children (7&9years old) - and apart from me always being "yet another tourist" with my camara taking pics of everything and nothing, I enjoyed walking around the place sensing how life must have been there years ago, when there were less tourists and when you at this place actually dedicated your life to Christ (with this said I should probably mention that at the moment the abbey still runs and there are about 80 monks living there).
The Basilica is very beautiful, and is somewhere between the Gothic and Renaissance traditions, and contains a little room where you can bring a picture or some other thing, to offer to the virgin so that she will protect you / your family or whom every you may pray for. It is said that she can cure people - especially with prosthesis' of any kind - so my boyfriend told us, that earlier you could easily find a prosthesis in this room from people whom had visited the virgin and e.g. could leave without need of their prosthesis. Personally I didn't see any, but I did see a lot of wedding-dresses as well as pictures of people who had obviously asked the virgin to protect them or help them through a rough period in their lives.
There is a lot of history and culture to learn while there, and some increidible views to check out. On the webpage below several hiking trips are suggested to visitors, and all though I didn't do any of them - YET - I very much hope to be able to go back and enjoy a hike there, because the place is so beautiful.
While we were there, there was an exposition of veteran cars.
Take the train from Barcelona around 30 miles to the Monastery of Montserrat to see the 12th century 'Black Virgin'. From the train you'll take a cable car up the mountain, it is a very dramatic ride. Even if you're not religious, this is an experience to have. I highly recommend staying the night at the only hotel at the top of the mountain (Abat Cisneros Hotel). It allows you to experience the sunrise from a wonderful vantage point and a chance to hike and explore the area. The hotel is around $50-80 a night, make sure you get a room with a front facing window.
Montserrat is a national park widely visited by pilgrims and tourists. Besides the Monastery (and the Black Madonna), the mountains also hosts a huge diversity of ecological life. The more adventurous ones can scale the great peaks. I went hiking on one of the routes on the mountains. Montserrat is very accessible from Barcelona, around a hour's train ride away. It is definitely worth a visit, you can take a look at the pictures on my Montserrat page.
Climb the Mountain MONTSERRAT , another symbol of Catalonia - it's a fantastic view! It is a unique natural environment and a religious centre. Montserrat is home to the SACTUARY OF OUR LADY and the BENEDICTINE monastery , which has, for almost 1000 years, served all the pilgrims and visitors who come to this unusual mountain. Come up to the image of Our Lady of Montserrat , popularly known as 'dark woman' due to the dark colour of her face. If you put your right hand on the apple she is holding - any wish will come true. For more information: 08199 Montserrat, Espagne; tel: 34 3 835 02 01, fax: 34 835 06 59
To be completely honest we don't like the guided tours that much. We definately prefer to have a look around ourselves and explore the historical grounds by just watching and learning. The guided tours are so well attended that you're unable to hear the guide anyway and we therefore we think that you will miss out on the beuatiful details and it's also one type of tourism we don't like ... the massive groups of people wandering around (and getting in your way!).
We took our self-guided tour with some help of a map and booklet. This itinerary lead us to the most significant monuments and areas of the Sanctuary, such as the Basilica and the throne of Our Lady of Montserrat. We learned the amazing Montserrat's history through some of its architectonic and sculptoric remains and the story which was told to us by some people we spoke to. Finally we visited Montserrat's Museum which owns an important collection of modern painting, with works by Dalí, Casas, Picasso, Rusiñol, Monet, et cetera. We also saw archeology of the Biblical East and painting from 13th to 18th century, with an exceptional work by Caravaggio. So at the end of the day we could say that we had a great time at this historical place, a real pilgrimage to the Holy Mountain!
08100 Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain.
56 kilometers north western of Barcelona.
Daily throughout the yes (except on 25th December and 1st January) you can make a nice trip by coach to MONTSERRAT.
It will take you one morning!
The departure is at 9.30AM at JULIATOURS TERMINAL, Ronda Universidad 5 , ending at aproximately 2.30PM.
Driving across picturesque vollages you will reach the outstanding Montserrat Mountain situated at an altitude of 1.25 m..
It is the most important religious CHAIR of Catalunya.
The old Monastery built at the height of 721 mtrs. was once destroyed by invaders but rebuilt somewhat lower and in a more robust style.
The 12th century VIRGEN MORENETA (a black Madonna) if high up in the Basilica and you can visit her. I joined the long row and step by step we reached her and like everyone did I kissed her feet and had to go on because of the people waiting behind me. She has indeed a black face and during my travels I have seen many more so-called BLACK MADONNAS although I still don't know why they are black. All info differs, so what to believe??
The atmosphere is impressive and teh day I was there especially impressive and moving because a CATALAN COUPLE WALKED ALONG THE AISLE to get married there.
Imagine a dark Spanish beauty with long black hair in a whiter than snowwhite bridal gown, a magnificent wedding dress. What made me laugh and which I enjoyed was the fact that it was such a festive event, the little pages and little girls were laughing and dancing around......it was so sweet!
Another nice tip: opposite the church/monastery you can go up with a cable-way/lift TO ENJOY THE MOST FANTASTIC VIEW.......
AFTERWARDS THE COACH WILL DRIVE YOU BACK TO terminus WHERE YOU STARTED THE TRIP.
BTW the rocks around the Monastery are very specially eroded and all have names because they look like animals and people or a building....but I caa only put one photo here.....
An hour by train from Barcelona is the impressive Montserrat. From the train station at Espana, you can buy the round trip tickets that include both the train and the cable car for around 18E. The Church features the famous Black Virgin, and there can be a long line to walk up next to the figurine. Unfortunately, we timed it during a school field trip.
While I wouldn't recommend this place to anyone with only a few days in Barcelona, I'd say this is a must-do for anyone spending at least a week in the region. It's not that far away, and you can do it in half a day too. Basically, Montserrat is a monastery that is built into the side of a mountain. The best part, the mountain basically juts out of the earth in the middle of a flatland, so you see for miles and miles on a clear day. Also, if you get lucky you'll be able to literally walk through a cloud...it's damn fun!
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.........
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.
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.
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.