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T he most popular day trip from Barcelona is to the Montserrat Mountain Monastery. I rarely cover popular touristy attractions, but Montserrat is genuinely worth visiting. While most people make this journey from Barcelona to see the Montserrat Monastery, the surrounding Montserrat Natural and Geo Park features fantastic hiking opportunities and breathtaking nature that is worth a trip on its own.  Admittedly, I spent most of my day hiking and exploring the mountains. Montserrat’s unique combination of geology, nature, and cultural heritage attracted me to this stunning landscape in the Catalonian mountains.

Montserrat monastery and the surrounding mountains and nature park

For that reason, this guide covers the cultural tourism opportunities, such as visiting the monastery; but I also focus on the ecology, hiking, and outdoor adventures in the Montserrat Natural Park. Nature and culture are intertwined, as many hiking and walking trails lead to religious sites like crosses, chapels, and holy caves. Taking advantage of both the natural and cultural wonders provides you with a more fulfilling experience. The wonderful blend of nature and history makes Montserrat an excellent option for those interested in nature-based and cultural tourism.

Montserrat Natural Park and hiking

As someone not religious, I certainly appreciate Montserrat for its historical and cultural importance. Still, I chose to skip certain things, such as waiting in line to see the Black Madonna so that I could spend more time outdoors. That shows that Montserrat offers something for everyone – from the history buff, religious pilgrim, architecture nerd, and nature lover. I aim to help you customize your day to help you maximize your day or overnight trip to Montserrat from Barcelona in a way that is meaningful to you. 

In this comprehensive guide to exploring Montserrat from Barcelona, we will cover the history and cultural aspects of the monastery and religious compound, discover the unique nature and outdoor activities, learn about the best ways to reach the mountain retreat, things to do, where to stay, and lots of other helpful tips.

Montserrat Nature Park and Monastery Day Trip from Barcelona

QUICK LOOK

  • Montserrat is famous for both its cultural and natural heritage
  • Visiting the Monserrat Monastery is the most popular day trip from Barcelona
  • But, the natural park is often overlooked, offering hiking, and other outdoor adventures
  • Take time to enjoy both aspects with this comprehensive guide for a more enjoyable experience

Sustainability & Mass Tourism in Montserrat

Barcelona and the surrounding region of Montserrat are some of the most visited places in the world. Barcelona received 8.5 million pre-pandemic people, with about 3 million passing through Montserrat. Considering Monserrat Natural Park is a relatively small area, this is a sizeable number of people visiting. Thankfully, the tourism infrastructure developed alongside rising numbers of tourists, so the area can generally accommodate high levels of tourism. 

Monserrat Monastery Complex and Nature Park

That being said, it is essential to note that with mass tourism comes a more significant impact on a site’s cultural and natural heritage. These few simple tips will help ensure your visit has a lower impact.

  • Please visit respectfully – following all guidelines and signs. Do not wander where you are not supposed to; stay on the trail; do not cross into protected areas; do not deface or disrespect art and religious spaces; and be mindful of your surroundings. 
  • To help diffuses mass tourism, you can visit off-season, during the week, stay overnight, or stay longer.
  • Visit utilizing public transportation if possible. Personal cars and large motorcoaches have the moar significant impact.
  • Take time to learn about the natural and cultural significance of the region.
  • If you book a guided tour, ensure they support small groups and meaningful educational opportunities. Large groups that visit in mass are found to be more detrimental to the environment. With a smaller group, you will have a more meaningful experience while minimizing any adverse effects of tourism at Montserrat.
  • If you venture out to go hiking, make sure you pack in what you pack out and mind all your litter and belongings.
  • Do not touch, collect or feed wild and plant life.

History and Culture

Archaeologists discovered Neolithic pottery in caves that dot the mountainside, highlighting the ancient human history of the region. Some of the caves that are part of the limestone network under the monastery are still accessible today!

It is believed that sometime in the 9th century, four chapels were built into the Montserrat mountainsides. They were dedicated to St. Mary, St. Iscle, St. Peter, and St. Martin. Hermit monks lived in these chapels and mountains, living a life dedicated to prayer and solitude.

Montserrat Mountainside Chapels and Monastery

Over the years, the Montserrat region grew to include a monastery in the 11th century and a Romanesque church in the following centuries. The boy’s choir, which still exists today, was first mentioned in the 13th century. 

Unfortunately, a bit of dark history is associated with the Montserrat Monastery. One of the hermits from Montserrat sailed with Christopher Columbus, infamous for his abhorrent colonization and terror among Indigenous Peoples in the Americas.  

The 1800s were not so kind to the monastery, as Napoleon’s army destroyed most of the compound. The Spanish Civil War disrupted operations, with most monks fleeing the region.

Montaserrat Mountain and Monastery

The Catalonian government managed to preserve the site, allowing the monks to return. Today, it still functions as a Monastery and Basilica. Because of its long religious history, many visit the site today as part of a pilgrimage. The Black Madonna statue, which was hidden for safekeeping in these mountains, and later re-discovered, is a highly coveted item for religious believers to see and touch in person. 

Ecology and Geology

Montserrat translates to the serrated mountain in English. A quick look up, and you’ll observe the jagged peaks looming over the monastery from which the name originates. The mountain is a unique geological feature, jutting straight up from El Llobregat, the winding river that borders the nature park.

Montserrat Monastery and Nature Park Day Trip from Barcelona

Millions of years ago, the mountain was part of the basin of a river delta connected to the ocean. The conglomerate limestone of Montserrat mountain was submerged under water, and over time, as continents and plates shifted, it was eventually exposed to the elements. Wind, erosion, rain, and geological events shaped the area into the distinct serrated feature we see today. The limestone of Montserrat is stronger than in other parts of the region, which is why it is one of the tallest and most prominent features still standing today.

However, limestone is still shaped by the elements, which is part of what makes the caves in the mountain so numerous. Earlier humans and monks likely found these caves suitable for use, including the development of cave chapels.

The mountain contains unique microclimates that work together to shape the region’s overall ecology. It mixes a warm, humid Mediterranean climate and a cooler alpine climate. As we hiked to Sant Jerome, I noticed various alpine flowers, birds, and oaky vegetation. You might also be lucky to spot wild goats, salamanders, and snakes.

How to Get to Montserrat from Barcelona

Montserrat is easy to access as a long day or overnight trip from Barcelona. There are plenty of public transportation options and ways to customize your trip. Though, to be honest, all the customization options and combo passes can be overwhelming. If you are unsure about your plan, just stop by the Tourist Information center at Plaça Catalunya. I’ve visited them on numerous trips to Barcelona, and they are helpful! But, I provide as much information as possible to help you plan a self-guided trip – while offering suggestions for top small group guided experiences.

The most common way to reach Montserrat from Barcelona is by taking the R5 train from Plaça Espanya in Barcelona. This train does not take you to the monastery. Instead, you have two options: 

  1. The Cremallera Rack Railway 
  2. The Cable Car 

You will disembark from the R5 train at different stations depending on your chosen option.

Train and Cremallera Rack Railway

This is the option Ganesh, and I choose, as we are both big fans of mountain trains. It takes about 15 minutes more than the cable car, but we weren’t in a hurry. We purchased a basic combo ticket from the Plaça Espanya metro station for about 23 that included RT transportation on the R5 from Barcelona and RT ride on the Rack Railway, which departs from the Monistrol de Montserrat train stop. We enjoyed the slower train pace, and the view on the way up got better every minute. 

Rack Railway Montserrat Train

You can not purchase tickets online. Instead, you can purchase them from Plaça Espanya or the Cremallera stations once you arrive. If you are coming from Barcelona, get the combo ticket. To learn more about the Cremallera Rack Railway and see their timetables and departure points, visit their website. Generally, the trains leave every 20 minutes, with limited operating hours during the low season.

Cremallera Rack Railway Montserrat

The train stops at a mid-station and picks up anyone that arrives via motorcoach or car. Make sure you get off at the correct station on your way down. If you are on a road trip, you will park at Monistrol Vila and catch the train from the parking lot, buying tickets on the spot.

Train and Cable Car

Similar to the above, this route starts in Barcelona on the R5 train from Plaça Espanya. But, you embark earlier at the Aeri de Montserrat. From there, you can catch the cable car up the mountainside. This is a fast option, taking only 5 minutes to summit with gondolas departing every 5 to 15 minutes, depending on the crowds. 

Montserrat Cable Car

You can also buy a combination ticket at Plaça Espanya for 23 if you come from Barcelona. Alternatively, you can buy tickets for the Gondola online, including single or RT tickets. Visit their website for more information.

Looking for a Good Deal?

Aside from purchasing a basic combo ticket that includes RT travel on the R5 train and one method of transit up or down the mountain, you can also purchase the Trans Montserrat Ticket or the TOT ticket for additional perks.

Trans Montserrat Ticket

If you are always on the hunt for a good deal, I suggest getting the Trans Montserrat Ticket. The combo is a bang for your buck that includes Barcelona metro access, RT transit from Barcelona, an RT ride on the rack railway OR cable car, unlimited use of the funiculars, and an audiovisual exhibit. This will set you back about 43.80. You can purchase tickets on the Barcelona Tourism website. You can also buy Trans Montserrat on Get Your Guide for the same price but with a generous cancellation and pay-later scheme. 

Combo Ticket Tip: While it makes sense to buy the combination tickets in advance from a budget perspective, you will need to choose your mode of transportation ahead of time. For example, if you buy the Trans Montserrat Ticket or a combo ticket that includes the R5 train from Barcelona, you must choose whether you’ll take the rack railway OR the cable car ahead of time. You are then committed to this option. 

Montserrat Monastery and surrounding Nature

However, if you want to customize your day a bit more, you can pay as you go. For example, you can purchase RT tickets for the R5 from Barcelona, get off for the cable car, and purchase a one-way ticket up the gondola. To return, you can purchase a one-way ticket down the rack railway from the Montserrat station. If you are paralyzed with indecision, then take it easy and pay based on how you feel. You might also get up to Montserrat and realize you want to walk or do more hiking, so you might not need to use the funiculars.

Alternatively, you can also purchase a TOT combo ticket, which offers more flexibility. 

TOT Montserrat Ticket

If you are looking for a bigger and better deal, you might be interested in the TOT. This is a comprehensive and flexible ticket that offers metro access, RT transit from Barcelona, your choice between the cable car or rack railway up to down (that’s right, you can choose different options up or down), lunch at a self-serve restaurant, unlimited rides on either of the two funiculars at Montserrat, entrance to the Montserrat museum and an audiovisual experience.

Montserrat Nature Park and Mountains

You can buy the TOT on the Barcelona Tourism website for €64.30

IMPORTANT: Simply buying the TOT online will not allow you to access any listed services. You MUST exchange your printed voucher for a TOT ticket. 

You can exchange your voucher at the Plaça Catalunya Tourist Infomation Center, The Barcelona Airport Tourist Center, or the FGC Catalan Railway station at Plaça Espanya.

Go City Barcelona

If you already purchased the Go Barcelona pass for admission to the Sagrada Familia or other attractions, you can use it to get to Montserrat. 

Train and Hiking

If you prefer to get your hiking in early, then you can hike from the Monistrol de Montserrat train station. The trail is called the Camí de Montserrat, following the Camí de les Aigūes. It is a little less than 5km one way and should take you about 1.5 hours. There are two trails. Since I haven’t done this hike, I suggest you reference the All Trails guide for the route – reading through the comments for how best to prepare. 

Montserrat Mountain and Natural Park

We chose to save our hiking for once we were at Montserrat, but I would 100% choose this option if I returned in the future. 

Guided Tours

If logistics aren’t your thing, and you’re on holiday to sit back and relax – I get it. Booking guided small-group tours are not only a way to travel stress-free but also to get expert knowledge and insight into the place you are visiting, enhancing your cultural and environmental education. These high-rated tours offer a lot of variety depending on your travel style.

Montserrat and Foodie Experiences

For all my fellow wine connoisseurs, you’ll love this Montserrat and wine-tasting combo tour. After visiting Montserrat, you’ll visit a nearby family-owned vineyard, a boutique winery for a walking tour, and a local restaurant for a meal. This is a great way to see Montserrat and support small local agritourism within the surrounding communities.

Combine your Montserrat tour with lunch at a farmhouse for an authentic meal and a glimpse into rural Catalan life.

This Montserrat Tour offers half or full-day tour flexibility. For the half-day adventurers, you’ll get a guided tour of the Monastery, including free time to explore or ride the funicular. If you opt for the 7 or 9-hour upgrade, you’ll get a tapas or 3-course lunch for an authentic foodie and cultural experience catering to all dietary needs.

Montserrat and Hiking Experiences

Hiking in a new country can be intimidating, but Montserrat is the perfect place to try something new. These guided tours with experienced mountain guides will help boost your confidence. You’ll learn lots about the natural environment to boost.

For those who want a more leisurely hike to stretch your legs close to the Monastery while learning about local flora and fauna: check out this tour that includes a small hike following the trails of early pilgrims, or this other option focused on learning about Montserrat’s cultural and biodiversity.

If your main priority is hiking the Montserrat Natural Park, then a few tours offer lengthy hikes with an expert. This four-hour guided hike takes you to the summit, which follows the same hiking trail I took! Trust me; it’s worth it!

This guided hike with a local starting at the Monastery might be a great option if you want a medium challenge.

Getting Around Montserrat

When I talked about the TOT, and Trans Montserrat combo passes, I mentioned they both come with access to two funiculars. Whether you take the rack railway or the cable car up, once you arrive in Montserrat, you’ll have options for getting around the Monastery and surrounding areas.

We mostly walked, doing several hikes, including a few short ones and a longer hike. However, we took advantage of the Sant Joan Funicular in just one way. There are two Funiculars; both cover ground that can be made on foot.

Montserrat Monastery Day Trip from Barcelona

If you did not purchase the TOT or Trans Montserrat combo passes, you must buy separate one-way or RT tickets for each funicular. While the combo tickets are a great deal, we only used the Sant Joan Funicular one way, so I am glad we didn’t lock ourselves into anything so we could customize our day a bit more. 

  • Sant Joan Funicular: goes farther up the mountainside. It is a great option to access numerous hiking trails or get a different view of the monastery below. 
  • Santa Cova Funicular: goes slightly down the mountain to access the Santa Cova or the Holy Grotto. 

Accessibility: There are a few options for those with limited mobility. Be aware that there are a lot of stairs outside the main complex, and the funiculars are not accessible. Most of the Monastery is accessible, but those unable to climb stairs cannot touch the Black Madonna; they can only get close. Aside from that, most of the transit up the mountain and the main complex is accessible. However, I am not someone who relies on accessibility infrastructure; please visit this website for more accessibility information.

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Things to do at Monserrat Monastery and Nature Park

Explore the Basilica and Abbey 

The Montserrat Basilica and Abbey is probably the most notable site of interest. It is still a working church and Benedictine Monastery that hosts regular, daily mass and spiritual retreats. So, it is essential to remember this as you explore, including modest dress and quiet respect. If you are religious, you can attend one of these masses, receive confession, light a candle, or make an appointment to visit the library. The world-famous Boy’s Choir called L’Escolania performs 2x daily singing.

Montserrat Monastery and Abbey

The entire Abbey, Basilica, and Black Madonna are free to explore. Certain areas, such as the library and personal residences, are restricted, and museums require tickets.  You can learn about mass times, opening hours, choir schedules, and events on the Montserrat Abbey official website.

Touch the Black Madonna

If you are willing to wait in line to see the Black Madonna, it is located inside the Basilica. The line moves as most people don’t linger at the statue, and there is plenty to look at while in line. This statue is believed to have been carved in Jerusalem at the start of the Catholic faith around 50 CE. The statue was brought to Spain and hidden, rediscovered in the 9th century. This is the pinnacle attraction for holy pilgrims and can be very popular. Since most people visit during an early half day, sometimes the late afternoons can be the quietest. But wait times can be anywhere from 20-45 minutes. 

Montserrat Basilica Day trip from Barcelona

Chaples

Throughout the complex, numerous chapels are dedicated to different saints, such as St. Peter, and St. Ignatius. Some of these chapels are inside the Basilican on your way to see the Black Madonna. The original chapel to St. Iscle is inside the lovely gardens. The gardens are certainly worth visiting for a stroll. 

As you hike through the nature park, there are dozens of small chapels and hillside areas for prayer and reflection. Keep an eye out for small churches and chapels on your hikes. Some of the operate as shelters for long-distance pilgrims or climbers. It is a reminder that the entire mountain is considered holy, with a long history of harboring pilgrims, monks, and religious believers. 

Montserrat Mountain Chapels

On our hikes, we passed by Ermita (chapels) dedicated to Sant Joan, Sant Martí, Santa Anna, Sant Miquel, and Sant Antoni. 

Admire the Architecture

If you are not religious, you might enjoy visiting to appreciate the fantastic architecture. The basilica is mostly reconstructed after the Napoleonic wars, but you’ll see Gothic and Renaissance designs. The hanging candles inside the Basilica were donated by surrounding Catalan towns, representing a niche jewelry-making style from the region. 

Montserrat Abbey Architecture

Visit Museums

The Montserrat Museum 

In the Monastery complex, the Monserrat Museum was originally a biblical museum housing works from monks and an extensive iconography collection featuring images of Mary, the mother of Jesus. However, over the years, it has become quite an impressive museum with exhibits on ancient human history, Catalan paintings and art, and contemporary and modern pieces. The museum is constantly changing, with many rotating exhibits. 

Montserrat Abbey and Monastery near Barcelona Spain

Unless your pass allows entry into the museum, tickets are 8 for adults.

The Espai Audiovisual Experience 

The second museum is the Espai Audiovisual immersive experience, providing insight into life in and around Montserrat. There are different sections where you can learn about the mountain and place history of the natural surroundings and the significance of the mountain. Other sections provide insight into the culture, academia, religion, and monk’s life. 

Unless your ticket includes admission to the Espai Audiovisual museum, it will cost 5.50 for adults.

Aula Nature Museum

At the top of Sant Joan Funicular is the nature museum. This is a naturalist museum that explores and explains the biodiversity and geology of the region. The Aula de la Natur has impressive views from the balcony. Inside is plenty of information about the wildlife and plant life you might encounter while hiking. This museum is important for environmental education. While it is free to visit, you will need to pay to ride the funicular unless you hike up or it is included in your pass.

Montserrat Natural Park

Traverse to the Santa Cova Chaple

One of the most impressive architectural features is the Santa Cova Chaple. From the central Abbey, you can look off the cliffside and see a chapel perched on edge. This holy site is supposedly where the Black Madonna was hidden from the Moors. According to legend, children saw a great light fall from the sky and heard a beautiful song in the mountains. This happened several times until the statue was rediscovered in a cave. The Chaple was built around the cave; despite some battle scars, it is still standing since the 17th century. 

Santa Cova Chapel in Montserrat Mountain

You can hike down to Santa Cova, which is what we did. The trip is about 3km and should take over an hour RT. There is some elevation gain. Along the path are statues where you can stop and observe. The path is well-maintained and secure. I recommend this option for people who can walk comfortably.

You can also ride the funicular. It will not take you directly to the chapel but does traverse most of the way. 

Hike to the Sant Miquel’s Cross

Another short walk we prioritized was a walk to Sant Miquel’s Cross and the observation deck. The views from this area are just stunning. You can reach the cross in a few ways. First, you could start at the bottom of the Sant Joan Funicular, walk up to the cross, and then return the way you came. You can also continue winding the path until you reach the top of the Sant Joan Funicular. From there, you can explore the top and walk or ride the funicular back down for a short trip – or continue to Sant Jeroni peak for a long half-day hike. 

Enjoy the Art

Outside the museum, the Montserrat region is full of art for appreciating as you explore. One of the more notable pieces is the Stairway to Heaven. This piece is located at the top of an impressive view overlooking the valley and mountains.

Contrary to its name, it is art and not a stairway. Unfortunately, security has fenced it off due to vandals and people posing on top of the art piece. This is why we can’t have nice things. The art signifies the monastery’s importance as the climb for those on a pilgrimage to be closer to heaven. Remember to respect the religious site and art, and do not climb or deface art for pleasure. Certainly, DON’T do it for the gram.

Abat Oliba statue in Montserrat Spain

Another exciting piece is the Abat Oliba, a bronze statue behind the abbey on a trail leading up the mountains. The piece was created in the 1930s to honor the founder of the Monastery, Abbot Oliba. 

As you hike through the region, keep an eye out for more statues, sculptures, icons, and art installations.

Take in the Views 

Montserrat is not short of impressive views. While the view from the main Monastery is impressive in its own right, there are dozens of observation decks or miradors (viewpoints).

The Mirador of the Apostles is a lovely lower-elevation viewpoint. Higher up, there are viewpoints at Sant Miquel’s cross, the Sant Joan Funicular, and Sant Jeroni peak for the hikers. Each observation point has a unique view to offer. 

Ride the Funiculars

Hiking in Montserrat with Impressive views

Even if you are like me and prefer walking most of the time, riding the funiculars is an enjoyable experience. If you have the TOT or Trans Montserrat Pass, you can ride as many times as you want. Otherwise, I recommend riding the Sant Joan one way to optimize your time during the day and get the experience.

Go Hiking

The area is fantastic for hiking opportunities. There are plenty of easy walks around the Monastery. One I already mentioned is down to the Santa Cova Chaple. But that is just a tiny taste of what you can experience. 

Ganesh and I hiked to Sant Jeroni from the Monastery and back again. You can take the funicular up, hike out to Sant Jeroni peak and then hike down directly to the monastery or return to the funicular. You can also combine this with a hike to Sant Miquel’s Cross. 

Hiking in Montserrat Sant Jeroni peak

Sant Jeroni is probably the most popular half-day hike, but even then, at times, we were the only ones on the trail. The hike is about 8 km and can take a few hours, depending on your pace. There are a lot of stairs, some scrambling, narrow walkways, and a total ascent of over 300m. 

Hiking Montserrat Natural Park

Other popular hikes include taking the GR5 or the GR 96 from the base to the monastery.

For a shorter walk, you can also walk from the monastery down to Els Degotalls along the Camí dels Degotalls, which is just over 2km.

Hiking in Montserrat Natural Park Day Trip from Barcelona

You can review more hikes on the All Trails website, ask the nature center atop Sant Joan Funicular, or the Barcelona Tourism Center.

If you are not a confident hiker, book a guided tour to see Montserrat’s cultural and natural side with a exert that will get you home safely. If your main priority is hiking, I suggest you book this 5* tour with customization options so you can hike to your fitness level and get the most out of your experience. 

Rock Climbing

For more extreme adventurers and expert climbers, Sant Jeroni and the entire Monsterrat nature park is a very popular mountain for rock climbing. The unique geological features make this an excellent spot for technical climbing. 

Rock climbers in Montserrat Natural Park

Birding and Wildlife

Some more popular trails, especially in the afternoon, are void of animals. But for the early morning hikers or those that take trails with lower traffic levels, you’ll have the chance to see mountain goats, all sorts of bird species, small mammals, and more. Bring your binoculars to see if you can spot anything from a distance. 

Explore Limestone Caves – Coves del Salnitre

Just near Callbató, there are impressive and vast limestone caves and caverns. This is the same cave system where the Archaeologists found neolithic tools and remains. While some caves are blocked for research, you can certainly enter a few. You need to reserve your visit ahead of time. The Caves are open from Wednesday to Sunday, and a guide must accompany you. The caves involve a lot of stairs and walking more than a kilometer. Visit the website to learn more and plan your visit. 

Visit Small Villages

If you are interested in more authentic cultural tourism experiences, then the Montserrat Nature Park is also home to four small villages that offer accommodations and unique cultural experiences.

Montserrat small villages in the Natural Park

I would suggest visiting or staying at Collbató, for easy access to the limestone cave and adventure tours. You can also look at El Bruc or Marganell Sant Cristòfolor. Monistrol de Monserrat, is another town on the R5 train line and the trailhead to hike to the monastery. These small communities offer an authentic experience while surrounded by nature and impressive views of Montserrat. 

Wine Tasting

If you are on an independent road trip, you should take advantage of the rich agritourism opportunities surrounding the Montserrat nature park. The rural countryside outside of Igualada has wineries such as Celler Grau or Caves Bohigas. The region between Sant Sadurní d’Anoia and Vilafranca del Penedès is also home to plenty of cava producers. 

Tips for Visiting Montserrat

How Much Time Do You Need?

We spent a full day at Montserrat, leaving Barcelona early in the morning and catching one of the later trains back. If I were to visit again, I would stay overnight in one of the small villages inside the nature park to watch the sunrise/sunset and get a more authentic cultural experience. 

Ultimately we prioritized nature-based hiking activities and cut some monastery and cultural exhibits from our plan. I would suggest deciding what is most important to you? Summiting Montserrat’s highest peak? Or seeing the Black Madonna in person? 

Montserrat Mountain and Natural Park

You could prioritize what is most important to you and see how much time you have left. But, most tour groups visit in the morning and see the religious sites. The later you stay, the less busy it gets, so you can save the holy places for last and spend the morning hiking. 

When to Visit

Summer and shoulder season during the weekend will be the busiest. If you can visit off-season, be prepared for cold temperatures, especially on your hike. I traveled to Montserrat near the Easter holiday, and it was still cold. Not sure shorts was my best clothing choice, but at least I am rocking the fanny pack. 

Montserrat Hiking and Natural Park

Check Schedules

As a religious site, there are certain times, days, and seasons with changing hours. Check ahead to ensure that the things you want to see are open and operating. For example, the boy’s choir takes off for the summer holidays. 

All the funiculars, trains, and cable cars run on a strict schedule; make sure you are aware of the timetables, so you don’t get stuck on the mountain.

What to Pack

Plan to be out on your feet most of the day. Even if you aren’t hiking, you will want comfortable clothing with supportive shoes. The monastery and abbey are religious sites, and you must dress modestly, covering your shoulders and knees. I had to cover my legs with a scarf to enter the Basilica. 

The temperature in winter can be cold, dropping close to freezing. Summer can be pretty hot and humid.

Bring a small bag. Large bags are not allowed on some sites, but if you are hiking, you will need room for water, packed lunch, and maybe a cheeky wine – like we packed. 

Bring a reliable timekeeper. You will need to closely monitor the train timetables, funiculars, cable car, and rack railway. The last thing you want is to be stuck at the top of the mountain at sunset without booking accommodation. 

Don’t forget your reusable water bottle!

What to Eat

We packed a lunch for our hike, so I can’t comment on the food at Montserrat. There is a restaurant in Hostal Abat that offers a sit-down meal. The cafeteria is self-service food.

Where to Stay

We stayed in Barcelona in a location with easy access to Plaça Espanya to catch the train to Montserrat. Sixties Ramblas was an excellent option for us and our budget. It was in a great location near Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, and public transportation, but it was on a nice, quiet street.

Montserrat where to stay

Montserrat also offers accommodation options, including simple apartments and hostels. You can also choose to stay in Monistrol for a night in a Catalan town with easy access to Montserrat.

Discuss and Share

I hope that this nature and culture-focused guide to the Montserrat Nature Park and Monastery sparked your curiosity. This is definitely a well-justified popular day trip from Barcelona. As you visit take time to fully immerse yourself in both the cultural and natural heritage of Montserrat in Spain, for a more fulfilling and memorable experience. There are lots of ways to get to Montserrat from Barcelona, but hopefully, you have a better understanding of your choices and the best things to do in Montserrat once you arrive.

Montserrat Day Trip from Barcelona
Montserrat Nature Park and Monastery Day Trip from Barcelona
Visiting Montserrat Monastery and Nature Park from Barcelona
Montserrat Nature Park and Monastery - Day Trip from BarcelonaMontserrat Nature Park and Monastery - Day Trip from BarcelonaMontserrat Nature Park and Monastery - Day Trip from Barcelona