Explore the holy mountain of Montserrat
The 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.
While many of you reading this article have likely seen your fair share of mountains, these are a completely unique site.
Curved, spiked, stunning rock with its long, sharp edges is on the horizon as you approach this mystical mountain. The drive itself is nature at its finest, as the views are beautiful and the nature is serene.
The highest peak of this mountain is 1,235 meters high. There is a tranquil, untouched beauty to be discovered at Montserrat. Along with many legends, folklore and religious history, this is a very special place that you are sure to fall in love with.
Although you aren’t that far from Barcelona, you certainly feel like you are in a new world. You will have a true appreciation for the natural beauty in this region. Montserrat is a place you will not regret exploring.
Montserrat- Vila is the town situated on the eastern flank of the mountain above the valley of the Lllobregat River.
This town is connected with the monastery as well as the railway station in the valley by a rack railway. This village has 2,945 inhabitants.
In this article, we will share our expertise on the holy mountain as well as the different tours we are offering.
1. Things to see (or do) in Montserrat!
1.1 Montserrat Monastery
It wouldn’t be a holy mountain without the Benedictine Abbey at Montserrat. This is at an altitude of 725 meters. The monastery’s terrace reveals spectacular views of the rugged mountain peaks and the green, luscious valleys below.
You can reach this monastery via car and use the paid parking lot, but we definitely recommend a more relaxing and impressive journey on the rack railway or the cable car.
If you aren’t behind the wheel, your attention is on the jaw-dropping views rather than the windy road ahead as you climb up higher and higher.
The monastery was built in 1025 after the vision of a virgin. Unfortunately, the original building was destroyed by Napoleon in 1811.
Even without this original structure, you can still feel the history pulsing through this region. Today’s monastery dates from 1858 when it was rebuilt.
Not only is this a holy mountain, but it attracts pilgrims from all over the world seeking the Black Madonna. The Black Madonna has become the official patron of Catalonia. This can be seen in the basilica of the monastery.
Even if you choose to forego the up close and personal vision of the Black Madonna, the basilica is gorgeous and worth a visit. Check out the massive organ piano, which is one of the biggest in Europe.
Due to its secluded location, Montserrat monastery was a major stronghold of Catalan culture during the dark years of the Franco regime until 1975. This sanctuary helped to conserve Catalan’s distinct language, customs and traditions.
It provided a safe haven and today is considered a Catalan icon. In addition, this is a popular name for girls, which is usually abbreviated to Montse.
The geographical landscape, historical significance and magnitude are some of the many reasons tourists and Catalans flock to this holy mountain.
1.2 Montserrat Boys Choir
The Montserrat boys choir consists of around fifty escolanets aged 10-14. These students live in the monastery’s boarding school.
The Escolania music school in this monastery is one of the oldest of its kind in Europe. You can listen to their performances in the basilica nearly every day.
They do not perform on Saturdays or the July and August holidays.
1.3 Holy Grotto of Montserrat
According to legend, in 880 local shepherds saw a mysterious, allusive light shining from the sky above the holy mountain of Montserrat.
These shepherds followed the light up the mountain. They also heard heavenly music as they climbed before finally arriving at a cave.
Under the presence of the bishop of Manresa, they explored this cave and found an image of the Virgin Mary.
The grotto today is a holy place locally known as Santa Cova. This holy place is frequented by pilgrims. To reach the holy grotto, take the Funicular de Santa Cova and follow the signs.
1.4 Hiking on Montserrat
If you are interested in enjoying the beauty of Montserrat on your own or with a small group, there are many hiking options. There are various hiking opportunities whether you want to hike for 2 hours or spend an entire day hiking.
For those of you with at least a moderate level of hiking experience and fitness, climb your way to the peak of Sant Jeroni at 1,236 metres. The easiest way to hike this is to take funicular Sant Joan to the top.
From there it is about an hour to Sant Jeroni. You will be rewarded with 360 degrees of breath-taking views. On the southern horizon, see the shiny Mediterranean Sea and overlook the bustling city of Barcelona.
Look north and see the sprawling Pyrenees Mountains.
From the top of the funicular station Sant Joan, you can walk down to the monastery. This hike is around three hours. While it is not too technically demanding, factor in the hot sun and heat.
Summers are very hot here and that can surely impact hiking. There are also many sections of rock stairs, which can be exhausting.
You will get chills down your spine at the overwhelming beauty in the Montserrat natural park.
2. Half Day Tours from Barcelona to Montserrat
2.1 Montserrat Morning Tour
Your morning tour to Montserrat starts with a visit to the Royal Basilica. This stunning interior space will take your breath away. Here you can also see the Black Madonna from the distance.
If you are lucky, it is possible that you may see a performance of the boys’ choir of Montserrat.
After this tour, you will have free time to visit the audio-visual exhibition that dives into the creation and history of Montserrat. Taste the authentic liquors of Montserrat.
These liquors are all handmade by the monks. Check out the farmer´s market stalls where you can sample mouth-watering cheeses and locally grown treats.
- Montserrat Morning TourFrom: 55,00€
2.2 Montserrat & Hiking Experience
After arriving in beautiful Montserrat, your exciting day will begin with a tour of the Monastery of Montserrat. Soak up the beauty and the history as you wander around this majestic mountain.
The natural beauty and tranquillity this mountain offers are some of the reasons it is so popular and coveted. After your tour, you will receive a one-way ticket to the Sant Joans Rail-Rackway.
This ride will take you through the lush natural habitat in Montserrat. Once you arrive at the National Park of Montserrat, your hike will begin. The hike is approximately one hour.
If you aren’t an avid hiker, do not worry, as this is not a demanding hike. A specialized Montserrat Natural Park guide will be taking care of you on this journey.
- Montserrat & Hiking ExperienceFrom: 69,50€
2.3 Easy Montserrat Tour
Feel like laying back and enjoying the ride? This is a great tour for those of you who want to take it easy, but still experience the magic of Montserrat Mountain.
You will take the Rack-Railway to the top of the mountain where a stimulating tour awaits. Learn about the Monastery and the Black Madonna as you observe the beauty and peacefulness on this holy mountain.
During your visit, you will be delighted by the lovely voices of the Montserrat Boy’s Choirs: Escolania de Montserrat.
If you book now on our website, receive a 10% discount!
3. Combined Tours
If you are looking for a full day excursion but only a half day in Montserrat, these combined tours are a great option.
Not only will you have the opportunity to see this holy mountain and all it has to offer, but you will learn even more about the history of Cataluña in the combined excursions.
We have already gone into detail in regards to the magical wonders of Montserrat, therefore in these combined tours we will focus on detailing the additional experiences.
3.1 Montserrat & Santa Cecilla Tour
After visiting Montserrat, you will be taken to the hidden treasure of Montserrat: the ancient monastery of Santa Cecilia de Montserrat.
Located in a peaceful place, the breath-taking views of the Montserrat cliffs showcase the sloping valleys and jagged Pyrenees Mountains. Experience the diversity of landscape in Cataluña.
From the sea to the pointed mountain peaks and luscious green valleys, you will experience the natural splendour outside of the hectic city.
Your audio tour through the church displays one of the most outstanding examples of Romanesque architecture in the region.
After you have looked around you will enjoy delicious treats paired with wine in the courtyard.
3.2 Montserrat & Colonia Guell Tour
After gliding up the mountain with the Rack-Railway, you will visit the Royal Basilica as well as the audio-visual space Montserrat Portes Endins, as you learn about the legends surrounding this sacred mountain including the Black Madonna.
In the afternoon, the tour continues to Colonia Guell. This is where Guadí’s world heritage crypt awaits.
Expect to be blown away by the authentic architectural genius. Every tiny detail of this crypt showcases the magnificent unique style of Gaudí; expect to be dazzled.
Once your guided tour of the crypt is complete, you will be invited to enjoy a glass of refreshing cava before heading back to Barcelona.
3.3 Barcelona & Montserrat Tour with Poble Espanyol, Cable Car and Liquor Tasting
Your day will start with a sightseeing tour of Barcelona. You will travel by bus and by foot, as you explore the city highlights, from the Arc de Triomf to the mountain of Montjuic.
The Gothic Quarter is known for its tiny, windy streets, history and eclectic shops and cafes. You will be enjoying this enchanting neighbourhood on a walking tour.
Your journey continues on a bus to Montserrat from Barcelona. Although it is tempting to take a power nap, the drive into the mountains is exquisite and not to be missed!
Once you arrive, you will go up the mountain with the Cog-Wheel Train, which takes you right into the Monastery. This is a 15-minute trip with panoramic views of the remarkable sloping valleys and mountains surrounding you.
The Royal Basilica in all its glory awaits you when you reach the top. Enjoy the tour of this stunning and intricately detailed basilica before you take some free time.
Check out the audio-visual exhibition about the creation and history of Montserrat. Excite your taste buds in tasting the typical liquors of Montserrat, which are handmade by the monks.
4. Food & Wine tours in Montserrat
Catalonia has a rich, vibrant culture, colourful history, artistic significance and stunning geography. All of these desirable factors in a traveller’s checklist contribute to the millions of visitors flocking to Barcelona every year.
In recent years, the gastronomic industry and culinary arts of Spain have swept the world with traditional tapas and Spanish style restaurants popping up globally.
Why not go on a gastronomic adventure where you can delve into the authentic food and wine culture of this region? If you observe any wine store around the world, you will undoubtedly see lovely varieties of Spanish wines.
Catalonia is the birthplace of cava, the refreshing sparkling wine. It was invented here in the early 1870’s. As a leader of Spain’s quality wine production on a global scale, Catalonia is a region of significance in the worldwide wine industry.
4.1 Torres Wine Cellars, Montserrat & Sitges
Starting in Barcelona, this tour will first lead you to the Torres Wine Cellars. Here you will learn about the history and admire the vineyards, rounded out with a delightful wine tasting.
Your journey continues on through the stunning scenery, mountain landscapes and rolling green valleys of the Montserrat region. When you arrive, the Royal Basilica is waiting for you.
This holy mountain has treasures to explore; create your own experiences and have a leisurely lunch with three hours of free time.
Included in the tour is the audio-visual exhibition, which delves into the creation and history of Montserrat; be sure to taste the typical liquors of Montserrat.
After your magnificent mountain adventure, you will head to Sitges. This stunning coastal village is a famous destination for its sandy beaches and laidback vibe. Sitges is one of the most beautiful coastal villages of Barcelona. Enjoy the views, the sea breeze and the beachy feeling!
4.2 Premium Montserrat Food & Wine Tour
Your tour starts in Placa Cataluña where you will make your way to the lovely Montserrat. Once arriving at this majestic mountain, you will have a guided tour through the iconic Montserrat Monastery and the captivating Basilica.
After your enchanting tour, indulge in two hours of free time. Visit the museum, shop at the local farmer’s market for scrumptious treats or make your way to the mysterious Holy Cave.
After unlocking legends, intrigue and stories from this holy mountain, you can relish in the lovely sound of the famous Boys’ Choir. After this musical performance, you will travel to Oller de Mas vineyard.
Now it is time to eat! You will delve into a multi-course authentic Catalan meal with wine. Once your belly is full and your taste buds are happy, a guided visit awaits.
The visit includes a tour of the Oller de Mas vineyards, cellar and castle. Before departing back to the bustling city of Barcelona, you will indulge in a wine tasting at the vineyard.
- Premium Montserrat Food & Wine TourFrom: 99,95€
4.3 Montserrat Tapas & Wine Tour
Once you arrive in Montserrat, you will visit the Montserrat Natural Park as well as the Sanctuary, which is home to the Benedictine Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery.
In addition to these historical and captivating sites, you will also see the outdoor museum. The property on this holy mountain is beautiful from every angle.
From its green valleys and mountains, the nature here is truly spectacular. Be sure to indulge at the Farmer’s Market and check out the palate pleasing liquor, which is handmade by the monks.
After you have explored the wonder of this mesmerizing mountain, it is time for you to head to Oller de Mas. Here you will visit the lovely vineyard with the jagged mountains in the distance.
A tour of the vineyard, castle and property will showcase the fascinating history of this property and the wine making process.
This tour would not feel complete without the final treat! After the tour, enjoy local tapas served while you are tasting the different wines with your guide.
- Montserrat, Tapas & Wine TourFrom: 74,95€
4.4 Montserrat & Cava Small Group Tour
Once you arrive in Montserrat, your tour guide will explain the various options that Montserrat has to offer. You will have free time on this majestic mountain, therefore you can create a tailor-made experience based on your interests.
You could visit the Monastery, the museum of Montserrat, and if you are lucky, listen to La Escolania de Montserrat: one of Europe’s oldest boy choirs.
While there are plenty of historical sites and enriching experiences, there are also many options for walking and hiking. Whether you choose a challenging hike or a relaxing stroll, you will be rewarded with breath-taking 360 degree views of natural beauty.
If you aren’t up for a hike or walk but you still want those enthralling views, there is also the option of taking the cable car or the Rack-Railway up the mountain.
After visiting Montserrat, you will head to Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, home to the famous cava, a sparkling wine not to be missed in Cataluña. You will visit the Codorniu winery, where vast, expansive underground wine cellars wait for exploration.
The cherry on top of this lovely day is of course a tasting of the best cava.
- Montserrat & Cava Small Group TourFrom: 89,00€
5. Exclusive Tours to Montserrat
While tours surrounded by other travellers can be a fun experience, sometimes it is nice to have a more intimate tour. If you would like a more personalized, exclusive feeling in your Montserrat experience, we have offers for you.
5.1 The Montserrat Hot Air Balloon Experience
Rise and shine! This one requires you to get up early, but we promise it is all worth it. After your hotel pick up you will drive to the flying zone close to Montserrat.
Get ready to fly in the air over the Monastery of Montserrat and the surrounding areas. This hot air ballon ride lasts approximately one hour. The views from above will captivate and mesmerize you!
After your flight, you will meet with a local guide on Montserrat Mountain. You will visit the monastery you observed from the sky.
Depending on the season and timetable, you may have the opportunity to listen to the boys’ choir singing the famous “Excolania de Montserrat.”
- Montserrat Hot Air Balloon ExperienceFrom: 219,00€
5.2 Private Tour to Montserrat
Hop in a stylish, modern and air-conditioned 7 seater Mercedes. Explore Montserrat with a private tour that is 100% customised to your wishes that includes your own private guide and transport.
There are two options you can choose from:
Driver Guided Private City Tour
Your driver will speak both English and Spanish (other languages on request). He or she will walk you through the history and fun facts about the city as well as the enchanting sites along the way.
Just note that when you decide to get off and explore, he will have to stay with the car.
Private City Tour with Local Guide
You will not only be accompanied by the driver, but also one of our local professional guides. Learn about the rich history of the holy mountain of Montserrat, as the guide has an expansive and detailed knowledge of this tranquil and majestic region of Cataluña.
The guide will also accompany you to the attractions of your choice, making this tour truly designed for you.
Since you are the boss of this exclusive adventure, the tour can start and end whenever you like. You can also choose how long the tour will last and what you would like to see.
If you are a larger group and/or if you prefer another language, please just contact us.
5.3 Montserrat Monastery Horse-riding Experience
Get ready for a thrilling horseback ride along the Natural Park, offering breathtaking views of Montserrat.
This exciting tour is half a day, traveling to Catalonia’s most emblematic mountain. Topped by a Benedictine Monastery, Montserrat is an ideal half-day trip to spend a lovely day in nature, just a few kilometers away from Barcelona.
On the way to the Monastery, admire the Massif of Montserrat, a spectacular multi-peaked rocky range, sprawling with needle-shape formations.
Upon arrival, visit the Monastery, which was founded in the 10th century and still functions to this day, with over 150 monks. It is also well-known for hosting the figure of La Moreneta (the dark one), who is the patron saint of Cataluña.
Next, descend to a nearby equestrian center on the Montserrat Cable Car as you enjoy the beautiful views on the way, located at the foothill of the Massif.
Buckle up for a thrilling horseback ride along the Natural Park, offering breathtaking views of Montserrat.
Horseback-riding is a great way to feel the freedom and tranquility of the vast and beautiful Catalonian countryside.
Led by experienced guides, the route is suitable for everyone. Enjoy the ride and the spectacular sight of the mountain!
What is included?
- A half day tour guided by a knowledgeable and bilingual tour guide, ensuring top quality service and great destination information.
- A guided horseback ride with an experienced monitor.
- Visit to the Monastery.
- Montserrat Cable Car descent with beautiful views.
- Views of a unique landscape, a perfect getaway for nature lovers.
- Private transport from/to Barcelona in a luxury Mercedes Cabrio Minibus.
- Montserrat & Horse RidingFrom: 99,00€
6. General Tips, Recommendations and Advice
Before embarking on your Montserrat adventure, keep in mind that correct dress code is required to enter the Basilica. Entrance is not permitted if you are wearing tank tops, strapless shirts, short shorts or sandals.
As you likely read in our tour descriptions, some of these tours require walking, therefore we recommend to come prepared wearing comfortable clothes and shoes.
On this stunning mountain, expect a mountain climate. Depending on the season you will need protective clothes, layers and waterproof attire.
6.1 How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona by public transport?
If you prefer to explore Montserrat on your own, you have got the chocie between a (rental-)car or a publis train:
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.
You can pay the parking fee at the spot, but watch out for the signs at the bottom, whether there is still availability at the car park!
By train: Take a regional train from Barcelona Placa Espanya to Monistrol de Montserrat and change to the rack railway.
By cable car: Take a regional train from Barcelona Placa Espanya to Montserrat Aeri and change to the cable car. Information and a timetable for the cable car you can find here: Aeri de Montserrat
7. Book them now!
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Discover the national park of Montserrat. Enjoy a multi-course seasonal meal & visit Oller del Mas, a millennial Castle dedicated to organic wines.Duration: Departure 8:45am - Return 19:00h
Enjoy your holiday by wine tasting in Oller del Mas, a 10th century castle located outside of Barcelona, on a half-day tour.Duration: Departure 8:45am - Return 15:30h
Visit Montserrat. Breathtaking panoramic views and the Royal Basilica of Montserrat with the patron saint of Catalonia are waiting for you!Duration: 5.5h
Enjoy the breath-taking views on Montserrat in a hot air balloon. Visit the Monastery of Montserrat and get to know all its history and ventures.Duration: 7,5h
Montserrat is gorgeous! On this afternoon tour from Barcelona our comfortable bus takes you right up the mountain to the city.Duration: Departure 14:30h - Return 19:00h
This Tour provides cultural experience visiting the Monastery of Montserrat & nature experience with an hour hike through the Natural Park.Duration: 5h30
The day starts with a morning visit to Montserrat where you will explore the spiritual center of Catalonia, home to the famous black virgin.Duration: 10h
Get ready for a thrilling horseback ride along the Natural Park, offering breathtaking views of Montserrat.Duration: 5.5 h
We hope this article provided you with a clear and meaningful explanation of everything Montserrat has to offer.
The various tours are all unique in their own way, therefore we hope that you find one that suits your own traveling desires. Depending on the length of your stay and your personal needs, you will surely find a tour that fits in perfectly with your trip.
Now it is time to hear from you! Did you find this article helpful? Is there anything missing? Do you have any comments? Don’t be shy, we want to hear from you!