This could be a must-see activity or an off-the-beaten-path activity depending on what your plans are in Barcelona. But if you're interested in a day trip, Montserrat is definitely worth the visit. The mountains are beautiful, and even if you're not religions (Montserrat is a religious site), you'll love it for the beautiful views and cultural value.
If you want to take a little trip out of the city, there's this famous and important pilgrimage spot in Spain called Montserrat (serrated mountain.) It's not one of the most fun places to see yet, it's fascinating to see.
We took a tour to Montserrat and when we arrived to the church, there was a long line surrounding the basilica to view the virgin (people come from afar to see and touch La Moreneta, the patron saint of Catalunya.) We opted not to get in line but to get a seat to listen to the 50-member Escolanía (one of the oldest and most renowned boys' choirs in Europe) and they sounded like angels.
And then we were off to go back to BCN. Like I mentioned before, if you're interested why not go... if you're not the pilgrimage/museum buff, it would be better to stay in the city!
This is a monastery on a 4,000 foot mountain northwest of Barcelona. It is the home of a 12th or 13th century statue known as the Balck Virgin that supposedly was discovered here. It is the patron saint of Catalonia and many make the pilgirmage to visit it.
It is a good break from the city and the mountains here are beautiful. A boys choir sings daily at one o' clock--we listened for awhile but the cathedral was just too crowded. There is a good art museum up here with paintings by El Greco, Dali, Monet, Degas, Picasso, et. al. You can also visit the grotto where the Black Virgin is said to have appeared, a rather difficult but scenic hike.
It is so beautiful out there, wish i had camped for a day or two; didn't know but they have a camping ground there.
Rockclimbers and hikers will definetely enjoy it! To get to the top, there are mostly stairs and some inclines, pack up some water for this one!
Scenery is great, and they sell these pots with honey that are really cute and some dried flowers and herbs. some of the rock formations resemble people's faces.... a la Easter island...
Check out the travelogue for more photos..
I went to Barcelona and I enjoyed it really much. But I wont write about obvious locations such as the Sagrada Familia and the Miro museum. They are all worth the visit but what really surprized me was the Montserrat monastery.
Located on the top a mountain near Barcelona, you can reach the place easily by train. The Montserrat monastery is a fantastic example of gothic architecture and faith (people still live there in total isolation!).
You can visit a couple of churches and chapels up there but what is more impressive is the view from the top in a sunny day. Ask you hotel concierge about this trip or search for leaflets at hostels and tourist venues.
From here we found our way to the Basilica. There is no admission charge to the church, but donations seem to be accepted. The basilica is beautiful! There are many ornate shrines to different Catholic saints and everything seems to be covered in a rich gold.
If you enter from the side door you can walk your way up to the shrine of the Black Virgin. The Virgin sits in a little room which overlooks the back of the Basilica. She is in a glass box, but one of her hands and a wooden orb protrude through the glass so that you can touch her. The room that she is in is decorated with mosaic murals and gold. It is quite amazing!
From the Black Virgin Mary Shrine you walk out into the Cloisters, where there are places for hundreds of candle novinas. Our ticket gave us unlimited rides on the funiculars, so we headed to those next. One takes you up to the summit of the mountain and the other takes you down to the walkway that leads to the Holy Cave where the Black Virgin is said to have been found. Be mindful of your time at the monastery, because the funiculars do not run all day. The last ones go up at 4:00 and 4:25 and the last ones come down at 4:15 and 4:40. We had just enough time to snap a couple of pictures and then get right back down, but we were unable to hike along any of the dozen or so trails up there.
We never made it to the Holy Cave because it closed at 4:25, which is when the funicular LEAVES the station to come down (silly planning on their part, if you ask me). Do visit the gift shops, however. There are two of them and they sell some really neat things! If you can leave Barcelona for Montserrat early in the morning, you should have enough time to see and do everything.
Take in the monastery and mountains as a day trip from Barcelona. Special tickets can be purchased from the Tourist Office (Information Centers). The "Trans Montserrat" ticket includes five Metro rides, the train ride to Montserrat with return, the ride on the Cable Car up to the mountain, and unlimited rides on the two funiculars. This ticket is 19.50 Euro per person.
The "Tot Montserrat" ticket includes all of the transportation in the Trans Montserrat ticket, plus admission to the Audio-Visual Exhibition, the Art Museum, and a two-course lunch with dessert, beverage, and coffee at the self-service restaurant atop the mountain. This ticket is 34.00 Euro per person.
We opted to go with the Trans Montserrat ticket because we had no plans to go to the Art Museum, and we also thought that we could buy our own lunch and bring it with us for much less money. You catch the train to Montserrat at the Espanya Metro Station. When we were there the trains ran every hour at 36 minutes after. The ride to Montserrat takes about an hour. You disembark at the Aeri de Montserrat station. You then are supposed to board the cable car for an awesome ride up to the monastery. However, in the winter the cable car does not run because of its yearly maintenance check. What a disappointment! So instead, we had to take a bus up, which wasn't too bad and gave us some nice views of the surrounding area.
The monastery, at the time, was going through some major construction to a train or something, so we were constantly walking around workers who were jack-hammering and the like. We followed the signs to the Audio-Visual exhibition, which leaves from one of the gift shops. I wouldn't recommend this. It costs two Euro per person and basically is just a bunch of lit pictures on the wall of monks and a slide show set to music. We found it terribly boring and not the slightest informative!
More to come in my Montserrat 2 entry.
Theres a magic place in Catalaunya, its called Montserrat and its a high mountains situated 50 km far from barcelona. Theres a church at the top of the mountain, that holds the catalan virgin, MORENETA ( name given since its the only black virgin around).
You can access to Montserrat by the motorway, leavaing in st vicenç de castellet and following the banners until there, or using the train, get the ferrocarrils de la generalitat from Barcelona's plaça dEspanya, until Monistrol aeri, there you shoudl get the cable car to go to the top of the mountain, or nowadays also can get the cremallera train that also goes to the top.-
Montserrat with its monastery and black Madonna is well worth a visit and it can be done in a day trip from Barcelona by public transport.
There are also some walk in the surrounding hills. In Montserrat itself, there is a souvenir shop and a big self-serve restaurant and public toilets.
The mountain of Montserrat is a beautiful place to visit if one wants to escape the smog and the stress that one can encounter in Barcelona.
The general knowledge of Montserrat is that it is the home of a large monastery with a well-known basilica. However, Montserrat also provide perfect opportunities for hiking.
Tip: Be sure to check the weather channel before you go...
a pilgrimage to some people, especially Catholics but otherwise it is also a wonderful day trip.
There are lots of things you can do there, either visit the Church and see the famous Black Madonna or take the furnicular rides, walk around and taste local produce of honey, almonds and cheese.
The Montserrat monestary is very touristic. Don't forget to put on your hiking boots, because you can make some great hikes on this rock. Altough not every visitor to Montserrat is making a hike, you will still meet many people on your path. I was surprised by the difficulty of the hikes that eldery people did.
Visit Montserrat...yes I know is a tipical visit, but this section is for that.IS INCREDIBLE TO FIND IT the middle of the country, and really the mount is like a big knife.
Is a Monastery between the extrange stones of Montserrat knife mount.
Very near to Barcelona to the north there is Montserrat, the Catalan Sacred Mountain. The highest part of this astonishing grey mountain range is 1.235 meters high. The place is very popular among Catalan people due to religious reasons. The Patroness of Catalonia is Montserrat. The Monastery of Montserrat was set up here in the XIth century even though the present buildings date from the XVIth century. There is not only the possibility to visit the church but also do nice promenades.
The complex has about ten other buildings, all which have restaurant, shops for gifts, food to buy,etc besides a hotel