I visited Barcelona some years back with my aunt, just the two of us. And we had some really fun time. It was summer in Barcelona. As you know, B for Barcelona, B for beaches, bicycles, bods, and you know …
During our stay in Barcelona, we decided to do an excursion to Montserrat, which is a monastery on top of a mountain range.
The Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat, especially for Catholic pilgrims who would come from all corners of the world to see the Black Madonna.
The peak (Sant Jeroni) is 1,236 m above sea level.
From Barcelona, you can travel to Montserrat by either Train + Cable car, or Train + Funicular. You need to decide in advance whether you are taking the Cable car or Funicular, because they depart from different stations.
We took the scenic route, i.e. Cable car option. We bought the Trans Montserrat ticket, which included return trip for the entire journey, i.e. Metro from Barcelona to Plaça d’Espanya, and then FGC train to Montserrat-Aeri, followed by cable car to Montserrat.
Check out the latest prices in link. You can buy the Trans Montserrat ticket at Plaça d’Espanya FGC station.
CAUTION: Be mindful of the train schedule back to Barcelona. Last train from Monistrol de Montserrat (at the foot of the mountain) is 1841 hrs.
Monastery and Black Madonna
The Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery houses the Virgin of Montserrat (Black Madonna), which is a black coloured statue of Virgin Mary and Christ, dated back to the 18th century. Catholic pilgrims travel the world to come see the Black Madonna. Hence, the very long queue.
Outside the monastery, people were dancing to music.
Montserrat also has one of the oldest boy’s choir in Europe, dated back as far as the 14th century. They are called the L’Escolania choir.
Check out the official website for the singing time. Unfortunately, we were stuck in the queue to see the Black Madonna when the choir started singing. But, we were still able to hear them, and they sounded like angels. I will come back again just to take my time listening to them sing.
Sant Jeroni, the peak
Sant Jeroni is Montserrat’s highest point. To hike to the top, we took the funicular up to Sant Juan station. And from there, it is about 45 mins hike to the top.
The hike is not the easiest. But, it is most definitely worth it!
The descent back to Sant Juan station has also plenty of things to see.
Santa Cova, The Holy Grotto
We later did the walking route to Santa Cova, passing The Path of the Rosary. There are 15 sculptures along the paths, dedicated to the 15 mysteries of the rosary. Some of these sculptures are the works of the infamous Gaudi.