The Monastery of Pedralbes or Monestir de Pedralbes is certainly one of the most beautiful gothic buildings in Barcelona. Built in the early 14th century, it shows the everyday life of the nuns, while the Museum of the Pedralbes Monastery exhibits objects of ecclesiastical art from the 14th to the 20th centuries. Especially beautiful are the three-story cloister and the gardens inside the monastery.
The exact times can be found on the notice board on the buses. The buses run every 5-25 minutes, depending on the season and occupancy.
If you receive a voucher by e-mail, you need to pick up the Barcelona Cards and the Bus Turístic tickets at the following pick-up points (tourist information) at the following opening times:
You will receive the tickets for the Teleféric de Montjuïc presenting the printed voucher at the ticket office.
The Pedralbes Monastery is just outside the city center, but is easily accessible with the hop-on hop-off bus. It is not as spectacular as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Milà or the cathedral, but the monastery is very beautiful and has a lovely well kept park. Especially in the summer, it is nice and cool and you can enjoy a peace that hardly exists in Barcelona.
With the Barcelona Card you have free admission to the monastery.
The monastery was founded by Queen Elisenda de Montcada. She was supported by her husband King James II (Jaume II), who dedicated the Monastery to Saint Mary. Since then, the monastery has been run by nuns of the Sisterhood of the Clares.
Construction of the monastic buildings began in March 1326. The location within the village of Sarrià, back then still far outside of the city walls of Barcelona, was chosen by Queen Elisenda. The foundation stone for the apse is a white stone. The name "Pedralbes" derives from the Latin Petras Albas (white stones). On May 3, 1327, the nuns moved into the monastery.
The result of the short construction period of just one year is a particularly consistent and harmonious example of Gothic architecture in Catalonia, no other architectural styles can be found at this building. It was not until the 15th century that the third and lowest floor of the cloister was added.
On the eastern side the single-nave church is located. On the right, next to a presbytery, a choir room reserved for the clergy, you will find the tomb of Queen Elisenda, which has a peculiarity: the sarcophagus is curiously divided into two parts. The part facing the cloister shows the queen as a mourning widow, the part lying in the church shows Elisenda as queen.
From the church there is no direct access to the interior of the monastery. The entrance is a few meters next to the church. From there you can enter the cloister. It makes sense to choose the tour that leads counterclockwise through the monastery.
The first sight is the small chapel of Sant Miquel on the right side of the church wall. Here the painter tells of Jesus' and Mary's life in his 1343 frescoes. The peculiarity is the plastic representation with which he emulated the Italian painter Giotto, who marks the beginning of modern painting.
In the next room of the cloister you can see the grave of Queen Elisenda described above. On this side other graves of superiors of the monastery are located. This is followed by several utility rooms and cells on the northern side of the cloister and the staircase to the second floor, which is half accessible. The third floor is not accessible.
Here you will also find the museum in the former dormitory of the monastery. In a tour it shows sacred art and everyday objects of the monastery of the 14.-20. century. In the middle cloister you will also find a number of tiny prayer cells.
When you go back down the stairs of the museum, you can continue the tour around the monastery in the lower cloister. On the western side are the utility rooms, such as the dining room, the kitchen and in the basement the storerooms of the monastery of Pedralbes.
In the basement there is a very remarkable diorama show that tells the life story of Jesus.
The monastery would certainly not be so beautiful and impressive if the garden in the courtyard didn't exist. Here you will experience a silence that you will not find anywhere else in Barcelona. Apart from the chirping of birds and the lapping of the Renaissance fountain in the middle, you will not hear anything here.
Large palm trees and cypress trees provide pleasant shade. To the park you have access from the lower cloister several times.
Francis of Assisi took Clare of Assisi, a nun of noble lineage, in his community of Franciscans in 1212. It was the sisterhood of the Clares, later called the "Second Order" of the Franciscans. The monastery is still managed by the Clares nuns, but they are in a more modern outbuilding.
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Baixada del Monestir, 9
Phone: +34 932 563 434
Regular: €5.00, reduced: €3.50
Children until 15 years (an adult companion required): free admission
Disabled persons: €3.50
Free admission: 12 February (Santa Eulàlia), 18 May (International museum day), 24 September (Mare de Déu de la Mercè).
Tips for the visit of the Monastery of Pedralbes
If you are in Barcelona in summer, you can visit the Monastery of Pedralbes during the midday heat. In the church, the monastery and the garden it is pleasantly cool. For visiting you should plan about an hour.
You have free admission with the Barcelona Card and you can get directly to the monastery with the Bus Turístic.