Explore the holy mountain of Montserrat
The mountain of Montserrat is situated roughly 40 kilometres north-west of Barcelona. Its name was derived from the Catalan term translated as serrated (sawed) mountain.
Approaching Montserrat from Barcelona you can clearly see the large rock with its long sharp cuts on the horizon.
The Benedictine Abbey at Montserrat is at an altitude of 725 metres. From the monastery’s terrace you got spectacular views on the rugged mountain peaks above and the valleys far below.
To get to Montserrat Monastery, you can choose between the road with a payed parking lot and the more impressive and relaxing journey on the rack railway or the cable car.
The monastery was built in 1025 in the same place after the vision of a virgin. The original building has been destroyed by Napoleon in 1811. Today’s Montserrat monastery dates from 1858 when it has been rebuilt.
It is a very important destination for pilgrims from all over the world. They come for the black madonna, which can be seen in the basilica of the monastery. This black madonna has become the official patron of Catalonia as well.
During the dark years of the Franco regime until 1975, Montserrat monastery was a major stronghold of Catalan culture and helped to conserve its distinct language, customs and traditions.
Today Montserrat is not only a Catalan icon but also a popular first name for girls, which is often abbreviated to Montse.
Montserrat Boys Choir
The Escolania music school in Montserrat’s monastery is one of the oldes of its kind in Europe. The Montserrat boys choir consists of around fifty escolanets aged 10-14 who are living in the monastery’s boarding school.
You can listen to their performances in the basilica almost every day except saturdays and the July and August holidays.
Holy Grotto of Montserrat
According to the legend, in 880 some local shepherds have seen a mysterious light shining from the sky above Montserrat mountain. Following the light up Montserrat they heard havenly music and finally got to a cave.
When the cave was explored under the presence of the bishop of Manresa, they found an image of the Virgin Mary. The grotto today is a holy place that is locally known as Santa Cova. It is frequently visited by pilgrims. To get to the holy grotto, take the Funicular de Santa Cova and follow the signs.
Hiking on Montserrat
If you would like to escape the masses in order to enjoy the beauty of Montserrat on your own or in a small group, hiking on Montserrat is a great option. There are various hiking oportunities from 2 hours to whole day trips.
A popular and scenic hike for those with a moderate level of hiking experience and fitness is the way to the peak of Sant Jeroni at 1,236 metres. The easiest way is to take funicular Sant Joan to the top and from there it is about one hour to Sant Jeroni.
You are rewarded with a beautiful uninterrupted 360 degree view up to the Pyrenees to the north and Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea on the southern horizon.
From the top of the funicular station Sant Joan you can walk down to the monastery. It is a 3-hour walk that technically is not too demanding. But especially on hot summer days, hiking on Montserrat can be exhausting as there are many sections of rock stairs. But the tranquility of the wilderness of Montserrat natural park will overwhelm you.
Tours to Montserrat from Barcelona
Please browse the range of bus tours to Montserrat. To check availability during your stay in Barcelona, please select your dates below.
Montserrat mountain – quick facts
Admissions: The Natural park is free.
Parking below the monastery is 5 Euros.
Montserrat’s Basilica including the Black Madonna are 5 Euros.
Opening times of the Basilica: 09:00 to 20:00 during summer, other seasons earlier closing
How to get to Montserrat mountain?
By car: Take C-16 (Autopista de Montserrat) from Barcelona until the exit Montserrat. Follow C-55 to Monistrol de Montserrat and change to the train or go all the way up to the car park on BP-1121.
By train: Take a regional train from Barcelona Sants to Monistrol de Montserrat and change to the rack railway. Download the timetable for the rack railway here: Cremallera de Montserrat Timetable (pdf-file)
By cable car: Take a regional train from Barcelona Sants to Montserrat Aeri and change to the cable car. Information and a timetable for the cable car you can find here: Aeri de Montserrat Timetable