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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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