Barcelona – Daytrip to Montserrat

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Europe, Montserrat, Spain

Barcelona – Daytrip to Montserrat


November 2018


The train to Monserrat takes about an hour or so. But before you go, you need to decide which way you're going to get to the top of the mountain. There's a gondola-style cable car (Aeri) and a train option (Cremallera) called a funicular. The cable car, or Aeri, is the quickest way to get from the train stop at Aeri Montserrat to the top - not for those timid of heights! If you take the Cremallera funicular option, go one stop further than the Aeri stop, to Monistrol Montserrat.  The Cremallera will add another 23 minutes to your trip. We chose the Cremallera. Both options begin at Plaça d'España on the R5 railway line heading toward Manresa. We found Espanya station to be a bit confusing frankly. There are multiple levels and many entrances. The signs leading you to the Manresa-Montserrat L5 line are there, but you have to look up to see them and some are blocked by lights and arches. Finding the ticketing machines was another test of skillful observation and patience. Be aware that not all ticketing machines took credit cards. Be prepared to spend some time looking for the right train and the right ticketing machines. These are combined round-trip tickets, so follow the instructions carefully.

Montserrat is actually a monastery serving Catholic pilgrims wanting to see the Black Madonna, as well as a place for avid hikers and rock climbers. As you can see from the photo, the weather was wonderful, not something you can count on during the late fall and early winter months. We had intended to hear the boys choir, but there were massive crowds in the church that day and decided against it. As it turned out we were there on an auspicious day; the mass was being preformed by not just one, but two, Cardinals, not an every-day-occurrence.  We did squeeze our way into the church though and managed to catch a glimpse of the Black Madonna high above the main alter. There is another funicular (Funicular San Joan) at the end of the main plaza that takes you up to near the top of the mountain. Actually, there are several funiculars taking hikers to various peaks surrounding the monastery. It climbs up a very narrow crack between two sections of the mountain. Again, not for the faint of heart. We decided to take a stroll up to the Cross of St. Miquel. Breathtaking views, but a steep climb. Take your time, take is slow, stop off at one of the several overlooks, and you'll be rewarded with views of the entire region from Barcelona and the sea to the snow capped Pyrenees.

View of the Benedictine Monastery of Montserrat.

Another view looking back at the monastery from the path toward San Miquel overlook.

Inside the monastery church. The Black Madonna is barely visible above the alter.


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