Discover All the Secrets of Montserrat
Our tour of Montserrat from Barcelona takes you 45 minutes from the city to the magnificent working monastery nestled high up in the iconic mountain of the same name. Unlike where you have a private guided tour of the Basilica by one of the Monastery’s specially trained guides.
The majority of visitors on a tour to Montserrat arrive in the morning, which is why, if possible, we recommend an afternoon tour when the abbey is quieter and most of the crowds have gone home. There is another very good reason for going in the afternoon as it means you can also get to see the Escolania boy’s choir sing at evening vespers in the Basilica.
During your tour, you visit Montserrat’s incredible museum and its impressive collection of artworks and artifacts from biblical lands. The museum houses works by Picasso, Dali, Miro, the French Impressionists, and Caravaggio. The museum is generally missed by the vast majority of visitors and sometimes you have it almost to yourself, so you can relax and enjoy its art at your own pace with no distractions.
After the tour, you take the funicular railway to the top of the mountain to visit a hermitage and enjoy the spectacular views of Catalonia.
Montserrat literally means “serrated mountain” because when seen from a distance, its outline resembles the teeth of a saw. The mountain dominates the landscape around it and covers a large area and there is evidence of people living on Montserrat 12,000 years ago.
The best way to explore the mountain is with a guide who can tell you about its history. We work with an expert mountaineer guide who is also a qualified guide for the monastery. If you spend a night at Montserrat, we can include a guided hike of the mountain for you in the morning.
Amazing Views From the Cable Car to the Abbey
To get you to Montserrat we can either drive you to the monastery itself or drop you at the cable car that ascends the mountain.
Taking the cable car up gives you fantastic views of the mountain, getting you up close to its unique geology, and halfway up you pass the Santa Cova and its chapel on your left. If you are lucky you may see its Spanish mountain goats, a large animal with impressively big horns.
The Peak of St Jeromi
Due to its size and unique shape, Montserrat has numerous peaks, the highest being St. Jerome at 1236 metres. There is a path from the monastery to St. Jerome from the abbey, and the walk takes around an hour. Once you are at the summit, the views of Catalonia, the Pyrenees and the Meditteranean are spectacular, especially at sunrise. And on a good day, you can even see Mallorca.
The Hermitages of Montserrat
Hidden all over Montserrat are 15 hermitages and chapels which were in use from early Christian times up to the early 19th century, when the hermits were evicted or killed during the Peninsula War.
The life of a hermit was not easy and they had to follow very strict rules. The day started at 1:45 am when each hermit rang a bell to call in the new day. They were not allowed to communicate with anyone or even leave their hermitages for more than 15 minutes a day. the rest of the time was spent in prayer and work and food was delivered from the monastery by mule twice a week. The tradition was reintroduced in the 1960s by Fathers Estanislau and Basisli, but now there are no longer any hermits on Montserrat. It’s possible to visit all 15 hermitages on one of our walking tours of Montserrat.
The St. Joan Funicular Railway
The easiest way to get to the top of Montserrat is by the St Joan funicular, or rack railway. The funicular takes you from the monastery up to the Pla de les Taràntules where you have great views of the monastery and most of Catalonia. If you’d like to explore further there is a 35-minute hike from the Pla de les Taràntules to the peak of St. Jerome or you can take a route to some of the hermitages that were built on Montserrat.
Santa Cova Chapel and the Legend of Montserrat
The funicular also runs a little below the monastery, down to the Santa Cova Chapel.
The history of Montserrat begins with the story of the Santa Cova or Holy Cave. The legend states that in the year 880, a group of boys herding sheep at the foot of Montserrat saw a bright light and heard heavenly music coming from halfway up the mountain. Over the following weeks, they persuaded others to come, and on each Saturday, the spectacle repeated. The Bishop of Barcelona sent a group up the mountain to investigate and they discovered a cave and the carved wooden statue of the Black Madonna inside it.
On trying to bring her down the mountain the group found that the further they went, the heavier the statue became until it was impossible to proceed any further.
This was interpreted as a message from God saying that the Virgin’s place was on the mountain, and so a shrine and chapel were built rfor the statue at Santa Cova.
The Black Madonna was eventually moved to the new monastery in the 11th century, and a copy of was carved for the Santa Cova.
Lunch on your Montserrat Tour
If you’d like lunch on your tour, we offer you two alternatives.
Catalan Masia Restaurant
The first is to take you to a fantastic Catalan masia restaurant in a lovely location with spectacular views of Montserrat. The restaurant specialises in traditional, locally sourced Catalan dishes and it has a seasonal menu.
Abat Cisnero Restaurant
If you’d prefer to have lunch at the monastery, we include a three-course lunch with wine pairings at Montsrrat’s Abat Cisnero restaurant, housed in the 16th-century stables
How We Get To Montserrat From Barcelona
For our Montserrat tour from Barcelona, we can either drive you to and collect you from the monastery, or we can drop you off and collect you at the Montserrat Aeri cable car. The cable car offers spectacular views of the mountain and the abbey, though there is a little further to walk at the top.
Contact us today for enquiries and bookings for this tour.
Montserrat Tour from Barcelona
Tour duration 6 hours
Tour price From €680. Please contact us for a quote . Price will vary depending on length of tour and group size.
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