I have a huge revelation to make! So far, I’ve been to Barcelona hundreds of times and never made it to Montserrat. Did it happen to you as well? – When there´s literally the coolest place almost in your neighborhood, but somehow you never reach it!
Montserrat is one of the prettiest monasteries in Spain I’ve ever visited, especially when you take into consideration the landscapes of the area. 1000 years of history, scenic views, gorgeous basilica… Visiting Montserrat from Barcelona is a perfect day-trip idea!
Montserrat from Barcelona day trip
1000 years of history and a unique natural setting make Montserrat your spiritual must-stop in Catalonia. Let’s face it: there’s no Spain itinerary without Barcelona. However, if you’re willing to escape that buzz of the Big-city-life in the famous Catalan capital – a day trip to Montserrat should be your bucket list no.1!
Heading to Montserrat from Barcelona is the easiest way to visit. You can go by train or by car.
Also read: Top Valencia Day Trips by train
Beautiful, magical and peaceful, Montserrat definitely has some unique vibes. After waiting in line for a while, you can touch The Virgin Mary “La Moreneta” and ask for a wish. Locals believe they really come true… (Mine is still on its way through). However, the moment I touched the hand of a Virgin Mary to make a wish, I had a sort of out-of-this-world feeling, as everything stopped for a moment.
How to get: Montserrat from Barcelona
There are several ways to reach Montserrat from Barcelona:
- by car, going all the way up to the Monserrat Abbey (keep in mind the parking is crazy there – most likely you´ll need to wait)
- by car, and park at Rack Railway (Cremallera de Montserrat) or Cable Car (Aeri de Montserrat) and then go all the way up with one of the following
- train from BCN and then again either a Cable Car or Rack Railway
Driving to Montserrat from Barcelona: the day I went to Montserrat, the Rack Railway didn’t work because of the strike. Check your route a day before, just in case. If traveling by car – there also are 2 roads to take you from BCN to Montserrat: A2 and A2+C55, the second option seems shorter, but the road itself is worse and full of radars.
Montserrat: What not to miss?
- The panoramic views and hiking trails
- Local cheese and honey, you´ll find the market by the entrance
- “La Virgen de Montserrat”, the statue of the Virgin Mary, the patron saint of Catalonia. People wait in line to see her and make a wish. Some say it may take you 2hrs, so I was afraid of it. But luckily the line went on very fast, once you´re in the Cathedral – you get distracted by its beautiful architecture. Moreover, it felt like 10 min wait, but was more or less 30 min.
Montserrat from Barcelona: More tips
- Go early in the morning! I went there on a holiday Friday, and they were supposed to open from 10 a.m. Around 10.20 I was by the parking entrance and waited for 1h just to access the parking. And I guess, it was even fast comparing to people who arrived around 1 p.m, the line went even crazier later on!
- Check the official web a day before, just in case ( for ex. the day I went to Montserrat, the Rack Railway didn’t work because of the strike)
- Buy tickets in advance from the official Barcelona tourist office. There are three main options: Trans Montserrat Ticket, TOT Montserrat Ticket and Montserrat Express. You can also buy your tickets the same day. There are ticket machines at the train station. But there might be a line and you’re most likely to arrive in Montserrat from Barcelona later.
- If you plan traveling to Montserrat from Barcelona by train – check train schedules in advance. Your train to Montserrat will leave from Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, R5 line. Then you’ll need to take either a Cable Car or a Rack Railway to get to the monastery. If choosing a Cable Car – you get off your train earlier at Aeri de Montserrat, with Rack Railway – its the next train stop Monistrol de Montserrat
- Cable Car vs Rack Railway: note that it´ll be the same train taking to Barcelona from either Cable Car or Rack Railway. So, if you choose a Rack Railway you’re most likely to get a seat on the way back. With a Cable Car option, you get off the train earlier on your way to Montserrat from Barcelona, but at the end of your visit, while heading back to Barcelona, you’ll get on your train after those coming with Rack Railway.
- Note that food and drinks at Montserrat are overpriced
- If you plan to hike you´ll need Sant Joan funicular tickets to go further up the mountain (it´s included with the combined tickets you buy from the official Barcelona tourist office)