Last month, I posted a blog on the activities that tourists can do in Barcelona, and spend a day at Montserrat was one of those I mentioned. Montserrat is a rocky mountain where you can find a Benedictine Monastery named Santa Maria de Montserrat. There are different reasons why a lot of people visit this place. Some goes here to see the statue of the Black Madonna, some wants to watch the performance of the Montserrat boys choir as they sang Gregorian chants, some goes for a hike to the peak of the mountain while others just want to roam or see the view of Barcelona. But whatever your reason is, you will surely enjoy the time that you will spend here.
From Barcelona, we took a train and cable car to reach the place. We were in awe of the beautiful surroundings and views.
Upon our arrival, we instantly went to the Monastery. There’s a Basilica in there as well which holds regular services (mass, confessions) during the week. The famous Statue of the Black Madonna can also be found inside, she sits at the middle of the Basilica’s altar. If you want to touch or see her closely, then you will have to queue on a line (it took us 30 minutes). The daily performance of the Montserrat boys choir is also a must see for all the visitors. Make sure to go inside the Basilica at least 30 minutes before they start, which is at 1:00 pm and 6:45 pm (click here for their schedule), so you can reserve a seat since it gets packed easily.
Facade of the Basilica, Basilica’s Altar, Montserrat Boys choir and the people waiting for the choir’s performance.
The queue I am talking about, Statue of the Black Madonna and the Ave Maria Path, which you will see once you leave the statue.
If you fancy going further to the peak or down the side of the mountain , you can either hike, walk or use the two funiculars (see below). We preferred doing the latter as it is more convenient plus we were not wearing the proper attire for hiking (I guess my excuse is acceptable.. haha)
Funicular de Santa Cova – from the Monastery, this funicular will go down the side of the mountain, and will take you to the point where you will begin your walk (around 30 mins) going to Santa Cova Cave (also a Chapel). This cave is a special religious site since it is where the image of Mama Mary was seen.
Some of the religious statues we saw while walking to reach the Santa Cova Cave.
Outside the Santa Cova Cave Chapel and the Altar inside.
Funicular de Sant Joan – from the Monastery, this funicular will take you up the mountain. Upon reaching the top, you will already be amazed with the view. Some people starts their hike or walk from here, which usually take an hour or two, depending on the walking/hiking route that you will choose. Can’t say anything much with the walk (obviously, we didn’t do it.. haha) but you may visit this website for more info.
Kindly note that there’s a fee every time you will ride these funiculars. But there are different ticket options for you to choose which will enable you to ride these as many times as you want. For more info on the tickets and timetable, please click on this link.
Food is not a problem once in Monserrat as there are restaurants and cafeteria. But I would suggest doing a picnic. You can bring your own food or buy from the small supermarket or from the market stalls there that sells local produce such as cheese, breads, fig cake and others (the vendors offered me to taste some, love the cheese so much).
We spent almost a day wandering in Montserrat, and I would say that it was a very tiring (despite of no hiking) but pleasant, spiritual and fun trip. Afterwards, we made our way back to Barcelona.
Things you need to know:
- From Barcelona, you can reach Montserrat by car, coach, train and train + cable car. For a detailed information to help you choose which mode of transportation suits you, kindly click on this link. I would suggest taking the train, as this is the fastest way to get there (around 1 hour), and ride the cable car afterwards, as you will be rewarded with a very stunning view.
- There are different ticket options that you can choose from. We bought the Trans Montserrat which already includes return ticket to the train, cable car and the funiculars. It’s affordable and very convenient. There is also TOT Montserrat, which aside from the transportation, already includes a buffet lunch. For more information on this, visit this website.
- Be always mindful of the timetable for the train, cable car and funiculars.
- If you plan to go hiking, wear comfy shoes, bring water and put on some sunscreen. It can get really hot during the summer.
- There’s also a museum there that people visits. We were not able to go inside, but based on the reviews I’ve read, it is worth seeing. Visit their website for more information.