About the “Un día de lluvia en Barcelona” series
This article is the third chapter of the “Un día de lluvia en Barcelona” series. We would like to give you some ideas about what people could do on a rainy day in Barcelona city. Or where they can go within a day to explore the surroundings. The plan is to provide you with a complete itinerary for a day when the weather is not that pleasant, so we could dedicate more time to less obvious things. In this article, we share with you the perfect itinerary of a day trip to Montserrat!
Here you can review the previous episodes of this series for more inspirations, ideas, tips & tricks to Barcelona, even on a rainy day.
This article is the second chapter of the “Un día de lluvia en Barcelona” series. We would like to give you some ideas about what people could do on a rainy day in Barcelona city. The plan is to provide you with a complete itinerary for a day when the weather is not that pleasant. So we could dedicate…
Aka a rainy day in Barcelona, to rephrase Woody Allen. 🤓 Just because I woke up today for the heavy rain, it couldn’t mean that I’m spending the entire day at home. Barcelona has so much to offer even on a rainy day, besides the obvious. 😉 I. First, some culture and history, let’s visit Plaça de Sant Felip…
The Montserrat mountain is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular places in Catalonia and fortunately, it is very close to Barcelona, so it is an ideal destination for a day trip. Cultural tourists, nature lovers, pilgrims, hikers, alpinists all come to visit Montserrat. So be prepared that usually, it is very crowded, and all the facilities are given to fulfill tourists desires.
Montserrat, whose name means ‘serrated mountain‘, is ideally located to play an important role in the cultural and spiritual life of Catalonia. It is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat and groups of young people from Barcelona and all over Catalonia make hikes at least once in their lives to watch the sunrise from the heights of Montserrat. The Virgin of Montserrat is Catalonia’s favorite saint and is located in the Sanctuary of the Mare de Déu de Montserrat, next to the Benedictine Monastery nestling in the towers and crags of the mountain. The Escolania, Montserrat’s Boys’ Choir, is one of the oldest in Europe, and performs during religious ceremonies and communal prayers in the basilica.
For most people it is essential to visit Montserrat for three main reasons.
- Firstly, it is, in itself, a Gothic building of architectural significance.
- Secondly, it is the home of Montserrat’s masses and choral concerts.
- Thirdly, it houses what is arguably Montserrat’s most important feature, the statue of the Black Madonna.
What to visit during your day trip to Montserrat
Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey
The Benedictine Abbey or the Santa Maria Abbey of Montserrat has always had a mighty status during all the historical periods of Catalonia and is still in force. You can easily enter its Basilica. However, the other sacred spaces of the monastery are closed for the public or have a special schedule. The monastery was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between the 19th and 20th centuries, and still functions to this day, with over 70 monks. There have always been roughly 80 monks in residence.
The Black Virgin in the Basilica of Montserrat
Our Lady of Montserrat or the Virgin of Montserrat (Catalan: Mare de Déu de Montserrat) is a Marian title associated with a statue of the Madonna and Child venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery. She is the patron saint of Catalonia, an honor she shares with Saint George (Sant Jordi in Catalan). She is also called La Moreneta (“the little dark-skinned one” or “the little dark one”). The famed image once bore the inscription ”Nigra Sum Sed Formosa” (Latin: I am black, but beautiful).
The colorful candles on Cami de l’Ave Maria
On leaving the area where you have seen the Black Madonna you will exit via the Cami de l’Ave Maria. This area is a moving place where you will be given the opportunity to pay homage to the statue that you have just seen. Each candle that you will see has been lit as a prayer to the Virgin Mary. An entire wall of candles is evidence of all of the people who have come to ask their prayers to the Virgin Mary. However, sadly the candles are not for free. You need to pay 2 EUR / candle if you want to lighten up and place your own.
The facade of the Cathedral
The Cathedral is a Gothic structure that also uses Renaissance shapes and traditional Catalan architecture. It was severely damaged during Napoleon’s war (1808 – 1814). This meant that it had to be reconstructed at the end of the 19th century.
The contrast of nature & architecture
On your visit to Montserrat you can take a stroll or take one of the funiculars and get up closer to the nature and geology of the mountain itself. If you like outdoors or in wildlife you will be amazed. The unique surroundings and the contrast of extraordinary nature & ordinary architecture are amazing assets.
Arches & corridors
While you are waiting for your turn to get into the Cathedral or to the Sanctuary, it’s worth taking the time to admire all the details of the patio and the corridors. We can find surprisingly old and of course, beautifully renovated details as well.
How to get to Montserrat
From Barcelona it is super easy to reach Montserrat, but get ready for traffic to be huge.
- Via Martorell: on A-2 is approx 1 hour
- Via Terrassa: on C-16 is approx 1 hour too
- Via Sabadell: on C-58 is also approx 1 hour
You can travel to Montserrat by train which you catch from Plaza España rail station. The Plaza España rail station is on the green and red metro lines making it accessible from any part of Barcelona city center that has a metro stop. Once you are at Plaza España look for Line R5 headed towards Manresa. It’s advisable to arrive at Plaza España station in plenty of time as it can be a little confusing to find the R5 track. The Plaza España rail station is quite large and the directions to the R5 track could be clearer. The journey time to Montserrat from Barcelona Plaza España station is approximately one hour by train.
If you come by train you will have to options to continue your ride to rich the Abbey. You need to select which ticket you buy at the station.
- Via cable-car from Aeri de Montserrat train station
- Via cremallera from Monistrol train station
Via cable car
The cable car ride from the train stop Aeri de Montserrat is only a 5-minute ride to get up to the Abbey. You will have breathtaking views on the cable car ride up to the Monastery however you will need to stand for the journey.
For the cremallera ride, you will need to get off one stop after Aeri de Montserrat called Monistrol. The ride will take 15 minutes to the Abbey and is a more comfortable ride than the cable car. However, you won’t have as good views as you would from the cable car. The other advantage to taking the cremallera is that you can sit down during the journey and the train is also suitable for those with wheelchairs.
How to move around in Montserrat
There are two funiculars functioning on Montserrat to move up further onto the peaks from the Abbey: Santa Cova and Sant Joan. Even though the tickets are kind of pricey (14 EUR / person for a return ticket – price info 06.2021) must be an unforgettable experience during your day trip to Montserrat.
Funicular de la Santa Cova goes to the Holy Cave, where happened the discovery the Black Virgin. There you may visit a chapel and a picturesque Rosari Monumental, a park of religious sculptures created by the key architects of Catalan Modernism. Among them are works by Gaudi, Puig i Cadafalch, and Llimona.
Funicular de Sant Joan will bring you higher to the other observation platform. There you will find the other hiking routes which lead to the tallest mountain peaks and a tourist walk towards the Chapel of Sant Joan.
Hiking in Montserrat
If you are not up to queuing in lines with the tourists to visit the cultural and religious buildings, it is still worth visiting Montserrat only to walk around or hike among the extraordinary rocky peaks. You can find numerous routes of various complexity levels. You can breathe the fresh mountain air and enjoy the spectacular views of Catalonia during your day trip to Montserrat. The landscape is indeed a miracle!
Where to stay in Montserrat
There are several options to spend the night in and around Montserrat. Feel free to book them via our discount code for special prices! ✌️
- Hotel Abat Cisneros Montserrat – A three-star hotel housed in a historic building next to the Monastery. Click here to book it immediately!
- Apartamentos Montserrat Abat Marcet – click here to book it immediately.
- Alberg Abat Oliba – Highly versatile accommodation, perfect for solo travelers, backpackers, families, and groups. Click here to book it immediately!
- El Celler de la Guárdia – click here to book it immediately.
Best program options in Barcelona if you decide to stay in the city on a rainy day
Enjoy our discounts in the place
Dear Traveller, hope you liked the latest article from Besides the Obvious! If you would not like to miss any of our travel stories, destination ideas, vacation plans, holiday inspirations, do not forget to subscribe here!