There is a train from Barcelona that stops at a cable car station below Montserrat. (no panic if you miss the stop, as the next stop allows one to take the train also to Montserrat). The cable car is small, and people are packed in. Not a good place if you are claustraphobic. It is quite a stunning way to get to Montserrat. You travel over a gorge and river and then up the steep, carved cliffs.
You must go to Plaza España and take the train R5( Manresa directions).
If you wish to take the Cremallera then you must get off at Monistrol de Moserrat. If you wish to take the furnicular you must get off at Monserrat Aeri.
At Plaza de España you can get a ticket for the entire journey all the way to Monserrat.
It is nice construction to get to Monterrat monastery (it lifts 800 meters high). The using Aeri is quite nice experience, overlooking landscape views when lifting up - down. As I understood Aeri schedule is simple if there are many visitors – if a group of about 20-30 persons gather, it moves.
Actually the ticket we used was all-in-one ticket (Barcelona – Montserrat – Barcelona). It consisted of two train rides, two uses of Aeri, two funicular rides (St. Jeroni top). The other nice thing – the same ticket could be used for 2 metro rides (let say, to go and come back Plaza Catalunya – Plaza Espania). The price of it was about 20 euros. We purchased it at Plaza Espania station; they had options to use other funicular instead of Aeri, to add extra things as funicular ride to Santa Cova, monastery museum visit with free lunch.
There is a good train connection between Serra de Monserrat and Barcelona. If you want to get there from Barcelona, you have to catch a train in Square of Spain (Plaza Espania) common metro-train station.
After a drive with quite much stops in Barcelona and outside of it, train stops in Monserrat, near the Aeri stop in case you want to visit monastery 800 meters up.
Our journey starts from Placa d'Espanya. The easiest way to get here is by Barcelona's subway (metro). When you arrive you should search for FGC (Ferrocarils de la Generalitat de Catalunya) train station. There are a lot of signs so you will find it without a problem. You may buy FGC tickets at the ticket machine yourself. Or you may ask the person at the information desk and he will help you. At the station you should search for R5 train. R5 line connects Barcelona and Montserrat.
Monastery is located on the mountain and there are two ways to get there.
First is to travel by R5 train to "Montserrat-Aeri" station and then go up by cablecar. Second is to reach "Monistrol de Montserrat" station (it is next after "Montserrat-Aeri") and then change to Cremallera. Cremallera is the small train adapted for mountain railway.
The main mistake of each traveller going to Montserrat is the use of cablecar to lift up. Monastery is very popular tourist location and when you travel there early in the morning the large crowd of people will be your companions all the way. All these people will go out at "Montserrat-Aeri" and start to assault cablecar station for the place in the cabin. Cablecar cabin is very small. So most likely you have to wait for the next one. Or you are doomed to go up in the crowd without opportunity to look through the windows and make a photo of the wonderful sights.
I would like to suggest using the cremallera. It consists of several rail cars and there are plenty of place here. During your way up you will have a chance to photograph the delightful views of mountains. Also the timetable of cremallera is synchronized with the timetable of R5 train. So you don't have to wait for cremallera or to run to catch it.
Of course you shouldn't refuse yourself of pleasure to travel by cablecar. But it is better to do it on the way back.
The key to an enjoyable and efficient visit to the Montserrat monastery and surroundings is to get there early. Otherwise, you'll be stuck in long lines (especially to see the Black Madonna) and in crowds in general. The tour buses start arriving in numbers at about 10:30-11:00, so be there no later than 10:00 (I'm quite sure the place is open by 9:00).
If coming by car, try to be there by 9:30 the latest.
If coming by train, the first train from Barcelona (Placa Espanya) leaves at 8:36am and arrives in the town at the base of the mountain at 9:48am. Be on it. Then you have two choices:
(1) Take the cable car up to the monastery after getting off at the first Montserrat station (Montserrat Aeri), OR -
(2) Take the rack railway up to the monastery after getting off at the second Montserrat station (Monistrol de Montserrat) - same platform.
When you arrive, go up immediately to the church (uphill towards your left when leaving the rack railway station or the cable car and around the curve) to see the Black Madonna before the crowds create hour-long lines to it. I was there at the end of March 2009, did it, and had the Black Madonna all to myself for a few minutes in an almost empty church.
There are 2 packages available in Barcelona for the train trip from Placa Espanya:
(1) An all inclusive ticket for (a) metro to Placa Espanya (b) train to either of the Montserrat stations (c) either the cable car or the rack railway (d) the funicular to Sant Joan (e) the funicular to Santa Cova (f) an audio visual show (Basic Package - 22.50 euros).
(2) As above + (a mediocre) lunch + entrance to the museum, for a little over 10 euros more.
I took the Basic Package. You make your choice according to your preferences.
I'm sure there are quite a few places selling these packages. The ones I know of for sure are the main tourist information office in Placa de Catalunya and at the Placa Espanya railway station just before you descend to the train platform (the R5 line to Manresa). There are English-speaking guides there to help you purchase the package tickets from the machines.
The Funicular de Sant Joan, or Sant Joan funicular railway, is a funicular railway at Montserrat, near Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. The line connects the monastery, and the upper terminus of the Montserrat Rack Railway, with the summit of the mountain
This funicular offers a spectacular panoramic view of Montserrat mountain, 1,000 m above sea level. The viewpoint offers a bird’s-eye view of the monastery as well as spectacular views of the surrounding area and the Pyrenees.
At Sant Joan station at the top you can visit the Nature Centre where you will find information on the history of the mountain, its climate, flora and fauna.
At the top of the mountain, from Pla de les Taràntules, it is interesting to do day trips or walks that are signposted along the way, with different difficulty levels and length, to suit everyone.
The journey up Sant Joan funicular is a unique experience, with a steep slope gradient (more then 65%), travelling 503 metres in seven minutes.
Sant Joan funicular railway was opened in 1918 and was built to connect the outside of the monastery with Sant Joan Chapel, which is on the top of the mountain, where there is also a viewpoint. In 1997 the infrastructure was modernised and the funiculars had new panoramic vehicles installed, for visitors to fully enjoy the journey.
The Montserrat Rack Railway or Cremallera de Montserrat is a mountain railway line north of Barcelona in the Catalonia region of Spain. The line runs from Monistrol to the mountain-top monastery of Montserrat.
COMBI TICKETS WITH THE METRO + TRAIN
The combined tickets include Barcelona Underground (Metro), the train to Monistrol de Monserrat, and the rack railway that takes you straight to the monastery. A visit to Montserrat also includes the funicular railways (Santa Cova and Sant Joan), the Nature Centre and the Audiovisual Room, as well as the Museum and the Restaurant
Take a train from the station at Plaça de Espanya. Buy a ticket that includes the rack railway or the cable car. Your choice will dictate which stop to get off (the station staff can help you).
This ticket will include the Funicular .
The lower stations of both the rack railway and the cable car can be reached by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya train from Barcelona's Plaça d'Espanya station
FGC operates two mountain railway lines, both metre gauge using the Abt rack railway system:
The Montserrat Rack Railway, which runs from Monistrol, on FGC's suburban line to Manresa (R5), to the mountain-top monastery of Montserrat. This line re-opened in 2003, having opened in 1892 and closed in 1957.
Those coming by car can reach the monastery on a convenient road. But there is also a "pre-historic" funicular and a more modern rack railway. From Barcelona take the train from Plaza Espanya to Manresa. Change to the Funicular at the station Aeri-Montserrat..
There are several ways to reach Monserrat mountain.
By car, hicking, by rack train or by cable car. So you have lots to choose.
The fun consist on getting there on public transport for getting there with the rack train or cable car. For both of them when departing from Barcelona you have to take the train to Monistrol-Aeri (Cable car) or Monistrol-Vil?la (rack train) train stops.
The train in Barcelona must be taken at Pla?a Espanya Station. The train is fromFerrocarils de la Generalitat Company, not to get confused with Renfe, the main one.
Once there just take the rack train or cable car.
You can find more information at:
Take the line R5 from the metro station Pl. Espanya and alight at Montserrat-Aeri station if you are taking the cable car or at the next station Monistrol de Montserrat to take the rack train (cremallera) up to Montserrat. Combination tickets are available for sale at all FGC stations. Trains of R5 line leaves every hour at the 36th minute (most of them) and the train ride takes around a hour. For more details on what the combination tickets cover, check on the FGC website.
From Plaza España metro station you get to Ferrocarrils Catalans just follow the sign. In the hall there is an information stand where you can have information about all the choises and timetables to go to Montserrat. Once there you have to get the R5 line that goes to Manresa. The shortest way is to get off at Montserrat Aeri and get the Aeri(cable car). From Plaza España to Montserrat Aeri is about 50 minutes long, and the Aeri takes 5 minutes to get to the top of the mountain.
There is a very interesting ticket (34,50 euros) that includes: return train ticket, return ticket to take the Aeir, free entrance for the museum and the Audiovisual, you can take the funiculars as many times as you like and the meal at the self service
On June 2003 Montserrat's new rack railway was inaugurated. The 15 minutes trip aboard of the brand new electrical train is a unique experience. The panoramic glasses allow you the best view as you ascend huging the mountains.
To get around in Montserrat, the best way is walking. There are lots of paths and places to enjoy the view.
Also, to get up high, there is a lift similar to an elevator (the aeri). We each bought a subway/aeri combo ticket for 11,60 Euros at the subway station before heading out. The aeri might be a little scary for people who are afraid of heights (it has huge windows and so you can look out and even down around you), but the view is great. I am sometimes afraid of heights, but I didn't find it scary at all, since there was no chance of falling out of the aeri (it's completely closed) Just don't do like I did and mention power outages! Even if you're just joking, the thought of the aeri stopping mid-air or dropping might freak someone out.