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Montserrat monastery

Magnificent views of Catalan's landscape

The mountain Montserrat with the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat lies about 45 km northwest of Barcelona. The about 1,200-meter-high mountain is a grand sight from far away already. From the top, you can experience a view far into the landscape of Catalonia.
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, you can experience an indescribable view up to Barcelona. The city itself is hidden behind the Tibidabo mountain.

The monastery of Montserrat is no specific architectural landmark, however exciting is the backdrop in which the ruins are build. Many of the tourists travel there only to see the statue of the Black Madonna, patron saint of Catalonia. The figure of the 12th century thrones above the high altar in the basilica of the monastery. In honour of her Gregorian chants will be sang daily by about 50 boys from the "Escolania de Montserrat", the monestary's boarding school (Monday-Friday 12.00 by the boys' choir , Sat sang by the monks and Sunday by the boys' choir again).

In the Museum of Montserrat monastery, you can see works of major artists such as Dali, El Greco, Monet or Giordano. In addition, you can 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.

Hiking in the Montserrat nature park

From the monastery, it is another 300 metres up to the peak 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 worth the effort - you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of Catalonia. Though the trails are well-developed, you should wear sturdy shoes and be in good condition in order to manage the hike. Please don't leave the marked hiking trails so that the fragile and austere vegetation doesn't get destroyed. 

History of Montserrat

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 the adoption of the construction by the first monastery of 880 AD was reported. They were hermit monks, who built various hermitages on the Montserrat. The monastery was founded by expanding the hermitage of Santa Maria 1025.

Miracles were attributed to the in the 12th Century found Black Madonna. It is still the target of pilgrimages. A strong growth period of the monastery is due to those miracles.
Numerous famous personalities pilgrimage to the Montserrat: Pope Benedigt XIII., Columbus, Cervantes, von Humboldt, King Fernando and Isabella, Carlos I, Felipe II. and Louis XIV..
Columbus named an Antilles island Montserrat on his second trip in 1493.
In 1811, the monastery was largely destroyed by Napoleonic troops. The Benedictine monastery was rebuilt.

At the time of the Franco dictatorship the monastery put up resistance. Despite the ban, Catalan was still spoken and fairs were held in Catalan, many hundreds of persecutees of the Franco regime were hiding there. More than 20 monks were executed as a result. 
This resistance makes the monastery an important symbol of Catalan self-evident and the fight against oppression. The Catalans are still grateful today.

Getting to Montserrat monastery

Arriving by car

Whoever is going there 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 the peculiar shape of the mountain from the highway. 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.

Arriving by train

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" up 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" change to the cable car, or go one more stop to "Monistrol de Montserrat". From there, every 20 minutes a rack railway runs up to Montserrat, directly to the monastery. The 15-minute ride is worthwhile. The price for adults for the rack railway is € 8.45 (roundtrip ticket), for the cable car €10 (roundtrip ticket).

Combined tickets Trans Montserrat and Tot Montserrat

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").

Montserrat from the air

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