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Montserrat, Barcelona Overview

Montserrat is a range of mountains close to Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. It is one of the most popular day-trips from Barcelona situated 30 miles from the city. Not only are the views absolutely breath-taking, but the trip to Montserrat is also an extremely convenient one to make. This epitome of Catalan's natural beauty can be visited all around the year.

Towering over Barcelona at 1.236 metres above sea level, the Montserrat mountain range is 50 km away from the centre of the City, between the regions of Anoia, Baix Llobregat and Bages. Part of the Catalan pre-coastal range, the main peaks of this multi-peaked range are Sant Jeroni, Montgrós and Miranda de Les Agulles.

The word Monserrat literally translates to ‘saw mountain’ signifying the peculiar saw-like topography of the mountains. The vivid red colour of Montserrat arises from its composition of pink conglomerate sedimentary rocks. Montserrat was designated a National Park in 1987.

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Sightseeing in Montserrat, Spain

1. The Benedictine Abbey and the Basilica

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Also known as the Montserrat Monastery, the structure is known to have existed since pre-Christian times. It was rebuilt in 1811 after being destroyed in the Battle of Montserrat. It is particularly famous for the Black Madonna or La Moreneta, the Patron saint of Catalonia. Legend has it that the Abbey was once home to the holy grail.

The Basilica itself is free of charge, but there may be long queues to get in, especially during peak tourist season.

2. Sant Miquel’s Cross

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A beautiful walk from the Santa Cova Chapel, the Cross is situated a little higher from the Benedictine Abbey and other attractions. One can get an incredible view of the valley and the Basilica from here.

The trail requires a fair bit of walking, but there are relatively fewer people up here.

3. Sant Jeroni

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The highest peak in Montserrat, the return hike from Sant Jeroni promises some of the best views. The entire trek takes three hours, but the trail is suited for beginners. You will be able to see the Abbey as well as Sant Miguel’s Cross from the top of Sant Jeroni. But be sure to check weather conditions before leaving since this trek may become dangerous during the rains.

Places to Eat in Montserrat, Spain

While there aren't many places to eat out in the ranges of Montserrat, there are a few nice restaurants where tourists can catch a bite whilst sightseeing.

On the pricier side, there are two sit-down restaurants - Restaurant Montserrat and Restaurant Abat Cisneros, which offer a variety of Spanish cuisine.

For those looking for something affordable, self-service options like La Cafeteria and the Self-Service Restaurant are recommended. There is also a bar - Bar de la Plaça in Montserrat which serves food. Additionally, there is a picnic area with tables and chairs where travellers can enjoy their own food.

Tips

  • Leave early for the trip to Montserrat as the Monastery, and surrounding attractions can get extremely crowded as the day progresses.
  • Train tickets to Montserrat should be booked online well in advance to avoid the queues at the railway station.
  • One can consider buying a ToT Montserrat Ticket, which is an all-inclusive ticket for your day trip from Barcelona.
  • Carrying one's own refreshments and snacks is highly recommended as there are hardly any food joints higher up in the ranges and the shops are quite expensive.

How To Reach Montserrat, Spain

One can reach Montserrat from Barcelona by taking an hour-long train ride from Plaça Espanya, followed by either:

Cable Car
One of the most scenic options, tourists can take the cable car from Aeri de Montserrat. Combined tickets can be purchased at Plaça Espanya itself.

Rack Railway
This option takes slightly longer but is cheaper. The Cremarella is a green railway that runs on these mountains; one can change to it from Monistrol de Montserrat station.

Hiking
An option for the more adventurous, tourists can get off at Monistrol de Montserrat and hike through the town of Monistrol to reach the mountains. While this option is the most time consuming, it is the cheapest one of the three.

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