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Everything you need to know when visiting Montserrat Mountain and the Monastery near Barcelona

I this post we resume everything you need to know when visiting Montserrat Mountain and the Monastery near Barcelona!

The iconic Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain, not to be confused with mountainous Caribbean island, is an exquisite site to visit. At 1236 meters high, this fairy tale like the spiritual retreat is the highest point of the Catalan lowlands.

Surrounded by a natural park and shaped by nature’s elements, the Montserrat rock formations are a ‘must see’ sight, if not for religious reasons then simply for the breathtaking panoramic views across Catalonia.

Time Needed For a Visit

We suggest setting aside one whole day, it’s a truly spectacular place. Apart from the picturesque surroundings and gorgeous Santa Maria de Montserrat, the abbey itself, there are also two trails to take around the mountains with panoramic views of the valley.

You will want to arrive to Montserrat as early as possible. The place is relatively small and gets crowded with visitors, which means long queues all over Montserrat later in the day.
The overall journey, depending on the season, can take from 1.5 hours up to 2 hours from Barcelona, including waiting time at the cable car, so don’t leave too late before you set out.

Visiting the Monastery, Montserrat Mountain

Getting There

Montserrat is located approximately 30 miles (48 km) away from Barcelona which makes it perfect for a day out. It’s easy to access the foot of the mountain via road by bus (from the Plaça de la Universitat) or car.

One of the most popular ways of getting to Montserrat is by train from Plaza Espanya rail station. Trains leave the station every hour. Once you’ve bought your tickets, look for Line R5and hop on the train going towards Manresa.

Buying Your Rail Tickets

Train ticket combined with the cable car (Aeri de Montserrat) – €22 ($24.59 USD) per adult. The ticket includes:

  • return (round trip) train journey from Barcelona
  • return (round trip) cable car journey to Montserrat
  • Trans Montserrat ticket – €29.50 ($32.97 USD) per adult. The ticket includes:
  • return (round trip) train journey from Barcelona
  • return (round trip) cable car journey to Montserrat
  • unlimited funicular journeys in Montserrat
  • train ticket combined with funicular railway (Cremallera de Montserrat) per adult – €20 ($22.35 USD) per adult. The ticket includes:
  • return (round trip) train journey from Barcelona
  • return (round trip) rack railway (Cremallera de Montserrat)


Cable Car (Aeri de Montserrat) vs. Rack Railway (Cremallera de Montserrat)

The train from Barcelona will drop you at the bottom of the mountain at Montserrat AERI station. The cable car station is just around the corner from the train station, a 2-minute walk at the most.

Aeri de Montserrat. While it’s fun to take the cable car, there are only 2 cars, one going up the mountain and the other one going down. The cable car is a little dated and there’s not much space inside.

Aeri de Montserrat

The journey itself only takes around 5 minutes, but the queues can be lengthy, especially during holidays (we waited for around 40 minutes before boarding). Despite the wait and lack of space, the journey was smooth and the views of the valley below were breathtaking.

Cremallera de Montserrat.

The train from Barcelona stops at Monistrol de Montserrat, one stop after Montserrat AERI. From here you will get on the Cremallera de Montserrat which will take you all the way to Montserrat. The views of the valley will also be stunning. The total journey from Barcelona takes around 90 minutes.

Cabin lift montserrat

If you are driving, you will want to park at the free Monistrol Vila parking lot. Here you will also be able to buy your rack railway ticket for Montserrat.

What To See and Do

First things first, inhale the beauty of Montserrat once you reach the center of this stunning sanctuary. Look around, admire the architecture and surroundings and then choose your route. We recommend visiting the architectural monuments first and then head up to the walks in the mountains.

Meet the Patroness of Catalonia – Black Virgin of Montserrat

Also referred to as Black Madonna, this Romanesque, the wood carved statue has a monumental significance in Montserrat. It’s believed that this world famous statue was carved in Jerusalem in the very early days of the church and the whole Montserrat complex is built up around it.

Even if you are not religious, the setting itself is worth a visit. However, make sure you leave enough time here as you might need to queue for up to an hour before you get to kiss Black Madonna’s hand.

Santa Maria de Montserrat

Once you had a glimpse of the Black Madonna, don’t rush out of the Benedictine abbey, it’s absolutely stunning. Enjoy the glittering details and tranquility.

When walking out of the abbey through the main door, turn right into a narrow passageway where you will see hundreds of burning candles.
For a small fee, you can buy one yourself to light and place amongst other flickering colorful candles. It’s customary amongst Catholics to light a candle for their loved ones, wishing them well and for departed relatives, wishing them peace on the other side.

Montserrat Museum

If you love history and museums, have a nose around the Montserrat Museum which houses six permanent collections of more than 1,300 artifacts as well as temporary displays.

Montserrat Museum

Sant Jeroni Summit

At 1,236 m, Sant Jeroni is the highest point of Montserrat. The easiest way to reach the first base of the mountain is to take the vertical Sant Joan funicular railway up. It’s around a 2.5-hour trek if you use the funicular railway, otherwise reserve around 3.5 hours if you are hiking all the way up, depending on your fitness level. We highly recommend the trek, the views are simply spectacular from up there.

Sant Jeroni Summit

Sant Joan Chapel

If you aren’t up for a long trek, you can take a shorter route which leads to a great viewpoint and the beautiful Sant Joan Chapel. It takes a bit of climbing up a 100m long hill, but it’s easily done and is quite a beautiful walk with the incredible rocks sticking behind you as you climb up.
To reach the trail, again take the Sant Joan funicular railway and follow the signs.

Sant Joan Chapel

Rosario Monumental and the Cave Chapel

Take the Santa Cova funicular railway to get down to the famous Rosario Monumental, home to some of the most important modern Catalan sculptures by Antonio Gaudi amongst other famous artists.
The journey is a scenic winding ride with more stunning panoramic views which, as we learned, you are never short of in Montserrat!
The legend has it, that an image of Virgin Mary appeared on the rock in the area and a chapel was built to mark it. Since 1929 pilgrims have been making their way down on the funicular to visit this symbolic place.

Rosario Monumental and the Cave Chapel

Hot Air Ballooning in Manresa (close to Montserrat)

Did you know you can float in a Hot Air Balloon at dawn with views of Montserrat, Mediterranean Sea, and Pyrenees mountains?

Well, yes. The photo above is a Hot Air Balloon flying with Montserrat in the background. It is truly the ultimate experience to take in the Catalonian landscape, flying over the valley of Manresa you will see all of the rich and green countrysides, the vineyards that the famous wineries harvest, the wildlife, and the mountain ranges.
How can I do Hot Air Ballooning in Catalonia

There are many Hot Air Balloons flying every morning in Manresa, summer is a great time to go up for a flight, as the weather is ideal for Ballooning.

Barcelona Balloon Flights has been operating in Catalonia for over 15 years and has experiences pilots who are native Catalan’s.

They offer a service that picks you up from Placa Catalunya (center of Barcelona) at 6 AM and journey towards the valley of Manresa. Once reaching the launching point they welcome you with a morning breakfast as the Hot Air Balloons are inflated. As the balloons become full of hot air they will rise above your head and passengers will climb onboard.

The pilots will check all equipment and take off into the skies for an hour flight approximately, enjoying the magnificent views and the feeling of floating in the wind.
After the flight the Hot Air Balloon will be packed up and the passengers, pilots & crew celebrate with a champagne toast with fresh local cheese.

Barcelona Balloon Flights offer a transfer to Montserrat so you can go on with your day trip outside of Barcelona. Or a package that includes Flight, Montserrat Monastery visit and a Wine Tasting lunch at a famous Winery.

2 Comments

  1. DArtagnan

    Fantastic article and very informative. Thank you very much Barcelona Balloon Flights!

  2. Amanda

    Hot Air Ballooning in Barcelona!

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