The mountain Montserrat with the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat lies about 45 km northwest of Barcelona. Already from afar, the about 1,200-meter-high mountain is a grand sight. Even from above, you can experience a view far into the landscape of Catalonia.
Even arriving by car or motorcycle on well-developed hairpin bends and curves is a foretaste of what you can expect on the summit of Montserrat.
Once you have arrived in the Montserrat monastery, it offers an indescribable view up to Barcelona. The city itself is lagging hidden behind the Tibidabo mountain.
The monastery of Montserrat is no specific architectural landmark, however excited the backdrop in which the ruins are build. Many of the tourists travel alone because of the statue of the Black Madonna, patron saint of Catalonia. The figure of the 12th century throne on the high altar in the basilica of the monastery. Her to honor Gregorian chants will be sang daily by about 50 choir boys (every day 12.00, Sat sang by the monks).
In the Museum of Montserrat monastery, you can see work of major artists such as Dali, El Greco, Monet or Giordano. In addition, you see liturgical and archaeological exhibits.
There is a restaurant in the lower parts of the grounds of the monastery where you can get food and drinks at a fair price.
From the monastery, it is another 300 m up to the peaks of the Montserrat. A funicular goes almost all the way up to the summit. From there several good and well-marked hiking trails lead through the nature park Montserrat. Several hiking trails of different lengths lead from the summit station of the funicular to the deserted hermitages. It is well worth the effort - you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of Catalonia. Though the trails are well-developed, you should wear sturdy boots and be a little trained in order to manage the hike. Please don't leave the marked hiking trails so as to protect the fragile and austere vegetation.
The mountain Montserrat has been of religious significance since pre-Christian time. Before Christ a temple to worship Venus was built by the Romans. In the first written mention of 888 was reported the adoption of the construction by the first monastery of 880 AD. There were hermit monks, the various hermitages the Montserrat had built. The monastery was founded then by expanding of the hermitage of Santa Maria 1025.
Then in the 12th Century Black Madonna, still the target of pilgrimages, things were attributed to miracles. These miracles owed the monastery a strong growth period.
Numerous famous personalities’ pilgrimage to Montserrat: Pope Benedigt XIII., Columbus, Cervantes, von Humboldt, King Fernando and Isabella, Carlos I, Felipe II. and Louis XIV..
Columbus named on his second trip 1493 an Antilles island to Montserrat.
In 1811, the monastery was largely destroyed by Napoleonic troops. The Benedictine monastery was rebuilt.
At the time of the Franco dictatorship the monastery made resistance. It was still there despite the ban on Catalan spoken and fairs held in Catalan, there were many hundreds of persecution of the Franco regime hiding here. More than 20 monks were so executed.
This resistance makes the monastery now an important symbol of Catalan self-evident and the fight against oppression. The Catalans are still grateful.
Whoever is arriving by car or motorcycle, truly enjoys one of the most beautiful serpentine streets of Spain.
The approach is quite simple: A2 motorway, exit Martorell, then the National Road N II, to the junction Montserrat. From Barcelona's centre about 70 km to go.
You can see from the highway the peculiar shape of the mountain. Montserrat is English for "sawed mountain".
If you are not using your own car, but still prefer a car, a rental car is a cheap and convenient solution.
The trip by train to Montserrat takes about 1.5 hours. A special highlight of the Route is certainly the trip by cable car or cog railway "Cremallera" on the hill.
Get off at the subway station in the Plaça Espanya train the FGC (Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat) in the R5 line in the direction of Manresa. The train departs hourly from 08:36.
At the station "Aeri de Montserrat", in orbit around the cable, or you drive a station to "Monistrol de Montserrat". From there, every 20 minutes a cog railway runs up to Montserrat, directly to the monastery. The 15-minute ride is worthwhile. The price for adults for the cog railway is € 8.45 (return ticket), for the cable car €10 (return ticket).
The two combined tickets Trans Montserrat (€ 26.60) and Tot Montserrat (€ 42.65) are ideal for day trips from Barcelona. You can buy them at the vending machines inside the stations of the FCG, the Catalan railway, at Plaça Espanya and Plaça Catalunya. The ticket includes two metro rides, the train ride to Montserrat and back, the ride with the funicular (Aeri) or rack railway, the continuation with the funicular and the entrance to the audiovisual exhibition. The Tot Montserrat ticket also includes the entrance to the museum and a menu at the restaurant.
When you buy the tickets, please note that there are two different types: a ticket "Aeri" for the funicular ("Montserrat-Aeri" station) and the ticket "Cremalla" for the rack railway (stopping at the other station "Monistrol de Montserrat").
The monastery of Montserrat viewed from a hiking trail.
Salve Regina, sung by the choir boys of the Escolania de Montserrat.
Virolai - the Hymn to Our Lady of Montserrat.
Distant view from the chapel of Sant Joan.
View from the Montserrat Natural Park in the Catalan countryside.
Combined tickets TransMontserrat and TotMontserrat.