Montserrat Travel Guide – Best Attractions to Visit
Written by Elisa Rodrigues
Montserrat Mountain is one of the best locations in Catalonia, the views and sceneries you will see from Montserrat are breathtaking. This travel guide will help you to make the most out of your experience.
Montserrat is a mountain located 50 km from Barcelona, Spain. Reaches 4000 feet/1236 meters high and is a prominent mountain made from enormous slabs of grey rock. In fact, the word Montserrat literally means “serrated mountain”, the mountain is also called “La muntanya dels cent cims” (The mountain of 100 peaks). Every year thousands of visitors – alpinists, climbers, cultural tourists, ecotourists, hikers, nature lovers, mountain bikers, pilgrims and speleologists come to visit Montserrat.
There are many attractions to visit such as the Monastery Santa Maria de Montserrat and the Natural Park of Montserrat, one of Catalunya’s most beautiful natural parks, where you can find several routes of different complexity levels. If you are interested in the outdoors or in wildlife you will be impressed with the views of surrounding areas.
Exploring Montserrat mountain has become, today, one of the most popular day trips in Catalonia.
1 – Places and attractions to visit
Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey
Visit the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey which dates back to the 9th century, however, the solid expansion of the complex was done in 1025. This abbey has always played an important role in the spiritual life of Catalonia, it’s a rite of passage to hike the mountain to watch the sunrise from the top of Montserrat.
It serves as a home to 80 monks, who live according to the Rule of Saint Benedict. The monks welcome and invite pilgrims and visitors to join their daily celebrations of Mass and recitations of the Liturgy of the Hours.
The Basilica, next to the monastery, home to the revered Our Lady of Montserrat, holds also one of the monastery’s most important attractions – the 50-member Escolanía, one of the oldest and most renowned boys’ choirs in Europe, a religious and music school dating from the 13th century. At 1pm, daily, you can hear them singing “Salve Regina” and the “Virolai” which is the hymn of Montserrat.
- Hours: Basilica – from 7:30am to 8:00pm
- Free entrance
Visit the Audiovisual Room – is a new space at monastery which presents information about Montserrat and its significance. The exhibition is based on three dimensions: mountain, monastery and sanctuary.
- Hours: Audiovisual Room – from 9:00am to 6:45pm (Monday to Friday); from 9:00am to 8:00pm (weekends);
- Prices: Adults: 5,50 €; Pensioners and groups: 4,00 €; Children(from 8 to 16 years): 3,00 €
Our Lady of Montserrat
Also at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery you will see Our Lady of Montserrat, also known as La Moreneta, Black Madonna or the Virgin of Montserrat (Mother of God) – is a 12th century Romanesque Polychrome wood sculpture of the Madonna with the infant Jesus on her lap, and the globe in her right hand, a symbol of the Universe.
According to legend present sculpture is a replica from original statue of ‘Our Lady of Montserrat’, which dated back to 50 AD (1st century) and having been carved by St. Luke while he lived in Jerusalem. With the escape of the Holy Family, from King Herod’s troops, statue was moved from Jerusalem to Egypt. Again in 718 AD, to escape from the Moorish invaders, it was later hidden in a cave at Montserrat – Santa Cova, the Holy Grotto, where it was rediscovered in 880 AD (9th century) by shepherds of the region.
Black Madonna is one of the most popular attractions in Montserrat, at peak times, you will wait 20 to 45 minutes to see this sculpture.
- Hours: from 8 am to 10.30 am and from 12 pm to 6.15 pm.
- Free entrance
The Art Museum of Montserrat
At Museum of Montserrat you will find a great collection of art masterpieces from 13th to the 20th century. It presents works from Berruguete, Caravaggio, Dali, Degas, Monet and Picasso, among other artists. The museum also hosts art pieces from ancient Egypt and jewelry from 15th to 20th century.
The Art Museum of Montserrat has been designed by the Modernist architect Joseph Puig i Cadafalch.
- Hours: from 10:00am to 5:45pm – low seasons; from 10:00am to 6:45pm – high seasons | Daily
- Prices: Adults: 8€; Students, retired and groups (at least 20 person): 6,50€; Children (age 8 to 16): 4€
Monastery of Santa Cecília of Montserrat
Get to know the Monastery of Santa Cecília of Montserrat, located in one of the best locations of the mountain of Montserrat, and only a five minute drive from the Sanctuary. Here you will see a Roman Church dating back from the 11th century with abstract art inside, which had a restoration in the early 20th century by the famous modernist architect Joseph Puig i Cadafalch.
Monistrol de Montserrat
Stop at Monistrol de Montserrat, known as well as Montserrat-Vila, is situated on the eastern flank of the massif above the valley of Llobregat river. It is connected with the monastery and railway station Cremallera de Montserrat. Here you will also find great restaurants to get to know the local gastronomy.
See the landscape views from the viewpoints Monolith of Cavall Bernat and Plaça de la Font Gran. Nearby is the Palace Prioral with one of the most beautiful cloisters of Gothic architecture. If you continue along the Paseo de la Canaleta you will arrive at the Cal Pla Aqueduct, from 16th century, the Church of Sant Pere from the 9th century and the Chapel of the Angel, from the 17th century.
Visit the local market at Monistrol de Montserrat, besides its cultural and natural attractions, Montserrat is also remarkable for the catalan gastronomy, associated with the mountain and produced by local farmers.
2- Hiking in Montserrat
You’ve plenty of walking routes and trails to explore on Montserrat mountain. The wide variety of tracks has attracted hikers from around the world for several years. We encourage you to discover them while enjoying the beauty of the surroundings, respecting the nature, the Park rules and only walking on the marked trails.
Montserrat mountain reaches over 4000 feet/1236 meters high and many times there is a strong wind. Dress warmly, according with weather conditions, and ready for a great outdoor experience!
The Cami dels Degotalls
The Cami dels Degotalls is an itinerary of 3.6 km available to everyone, it is the starting point for the Camino de Santiago from the Montserrat Monastery. The Cami dels Degotalls is very close to the walls that collapse from the plans of the trinity, located 200 meters above the road. Below, with the Pyrenees in the background. you will see great views from surrounded areas.
The route is ornamented with monuments from renowned artists in memory of some illustrious men: Jacint Verdaguer, Joan Maragall, Pompeu Fabra, among others.
Regarding the Flora you will see trees such as Holm Oaks (Quercus Ilex), Yew (Taxus Baccata) or the Oak (Do Opalus).
Other recommended routes
Route name: El camino de Les Aigües – Route of Les Aigües | Duration: 1h 40 min
Points of interest: La Font Gran, Pla de Sant Bernat, Pla de les Bruixes, Tossal de Mullapans, Coll de les Baranes
Route name: El camino de Sant Jeroni – Route of Sant Jeroni | Duration: 3h 40 min
Points of interest: Mirador de la Creu de Sant Miquel, ermita de Santa Anna, mirador de la Serra de les Paparres, capilla de Sant Jeroni, cima de Sant Jeroni
Route name: El camino de L’Arrel – Route of L’Arrel | Duration: 1h 40 min
Points of interest: Área de Can Maçana, Coll de Guirló, la Roca Foradada, monasterio de Santa Cecília, Pla de la Trinitat
Route name: El camino de las ermitas – The hermitage route | Duration: 2h 00 min
Points of interest: Ermita de Sant Miquel, de Sant Joan, Sant Onofre i Santa Magdalena, Aula de Naturaleza
Route name: El camino de la Santa Cova – Route of Santa Cova | Duration: 0h 50 min
Points of interest: Exposición de la historia de la Santa Cova y de sus funiculares, el Torrent de Santa Maria, conjunto escultórico monumental al aire libre, miradores de L’Agulla de la Creu y de la Capella, la Capilla de la Santa Cova
3- Where to eat
– Restaurant Montserrat: Mediterranean food, located on the ground floor of the Mirador dels Apòstols building with panoramic views over the mountain, the Santa Cova (Holy Grotto) and the Llobregat Valley.
- Adress:Edifici MiradordelsApostóls, 08199Montserrat
- Average price: €25.00; menu €19.00
– Restaurant Guilleumes: Catalan and Mediterranean cuisine, made with local products. Packed lunches and celebrations for groups are available. Located 800 meters from the Cremallera station.
- Adress: C/ Escoles, 5 08691 Monistrol De Montserrat España
- Average price: €15.00
– Restaurant Braseria Can Ibars: Traditional cuisine, their speciality is grilled food – they offer a selection of great quality meats. This restaurant is accessible for people with disabilities.
- Adress:Carrer del Pla, 46 08691 Monistrol De Montserrat España
- Average price: €15.00
– Bar de la Plaça: serves hot and cold sandwiches, cakes, drinks, with friendly atmosphere.
- Adress: 08293 Monestir de Montserrat
- Average price: € 7.00
– Mirador dels Apòstols Picnic area: Visitors can also use the open-air picnic area, at Abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat, from where can be seen magnificent views over the mountain.
- Adress: 41°35’38.0″N 1°50’24.3″E
- Free entrance
4- Where to sleep
– Hotel Abat Cismeros***: the hotel’s building has provided accommodation for pilgrims since its original construction in 1563. The hotel location is at the heart of the sanctuary, near the basilica.
- Adress: Monasterio de Montserrat, Plaza del Monasterio, s/n, 08199 Montserrat
– Abat Oliba Hostel: is located in the building with the same name, constructed in 1952. This hostel presents a modern design concept at an affordable price.
- Adress: 08293 Monestir de Montserrat, Barcelona
– Cel·les Abat Marcet: The Abat Marcet Apartments building was constructed in the 1960s according to plans drawn up by Father Pere Busquets. It is dedicated to Marcet, abbot of Montserrat from 1912 to 1946. The present apartments are modernised versions of the cells where pilgrims were lodged for centuries.
- Adress: Monastir de Montserrat, s/n, 08199, Barcelona
5- How to get to Montserrat
Since there is so much to see and plenty of places to take pictures, you want to be there for a full day. From the top of the mountain the views are stunning! To discover this very unique place, you may choose different options, from Barcelona, to get to Montserrat:
- Montserrat Self-Guided Tour by Vespa with Barcelona Segwayday: 7-hour self-guided tour by Vespa Primavera 125cc – Barcelona Segwayday prepared to you this self-guided vespa tour, to explore Montserrat mountain by Vespa, at your own pace.
- By train: from Barcelona via the Catalan railway, at Plaza España Station or any of the stations on the Llobregat-Anoia line. Take any train from the R5 service towards Monistrol Montserrat. At Monistrol de Montserrat you can take the rack railway to the Montserrat Monastery. By train, from Plaza España, is around 1.5h journey, so the earlier the better to enjoy your journey.
- By car: take the N-2 southwest of Barcelona toward Tarragona, turning west at the junction with the N-11. The signposts and exit to Montserrat will be on your right. From the main road, it’s 14.5km (9 miles) up to the monastery. The Montserrat Mountain Trust provides attended car parking with rate price of €6.50 per day.
– Funicular of Sant Joan: from the Monastery, 1,000 m above sea level, carries visitors up to the mountains above the monastery.
– Funicular de Santa Cova: also from Monastery, carries visitors down to the sacred cove where the original sacred statue of the Black Virgin, was found in 890.
For more additional information visit official Montserrat website and ready for a great day trip in Montserrat!