Day Trip to Montserrat
Updated: Jan 7, 2020
Visiting Montserrat while in Barcelona is the perfect escape from hustle and bustle of the city. The meaning of Montserrat in Catalan is “serrated mountain” or jagged in simple words. The mountain range is beautiful and serene. And the Benedictine Monastery, Santa Maria de Montserrat is the crown to this mountain range. It is one of the easiest day trips we did during our time in Barcelona.
How to get there: You can visit Montserrat via train, car, private taxi, bus and of course with an organized tour. We visited Montserrat via train.
Train: Montserrat is the approximately one-hour train journey from Barcelona. You can take the line R5 from Plaça d'Espanya to reach there. But Plaça d'Espanya is huge and has many entrances. It was a bit confusing for us to find the R5 line at first. But once we entered the station through the entrance, we went underground and looked for line R5. Eventually, we found it and we bought tickets from the yellow ticket machine. There is also a ticket information office and attendants. They explain the ticket prices and also help you to buy the tickets.
Which ticket to choose: Time to decide which ticket to buy. There are a couple of options:
Trans Montserrat: It is a special combo ticket which includes:
Return journeys from Barcelona to Montserrat which includes cable car or Cremallera rack railway.
Return journeys on two different funiculars once you arrive at Montserrat. This gives you access to different parts of the mountain.
Two free Metro rides
Access to the audiovisual area on Montserrat
ToT Montserrat: This ticket includes everything available in Trans Montserrat ticket + visit to Montserrat museum + buffet lunch in the restaurant. It is a kind of "All Montserrat" ticket.
Now for Barcelona to Montserrat:
You can either take the train + cable car or take the train + Cremallera rack railway. Based on your choice, you need to get down at different train stops.
If you take the train and Cable car: Take R5 line from Plaça d'Espanya and get down at Aeri de Montserrat. Take the cable car from there to the top. It takes 5 minutes to reach the top. You might have to wait in the queue for a few minutes depending on the number of people. We took this option while visiting.
If you take the train and Cremallera rack railway. : Take R5 line from Plaça d'Espanya and get down at Monistrol. Take the Cremallera rack rail to the top. It takes around 15 minutes. The journey is more suitable if you are not comfortable with the cable car.
***In case you plan to buy Trans Montserrat ticket, you need to specify first whether you want to take train + cable car or train + Cremallera rack railway option since the tickets are not interchangeable.
We took a map that has marked the entire cable car or rack railway route with nice pictures. I liked it very much and found it handy.
Information for taxi and Bus here.
Since the timetable for R5 line keeps changing always check the updated information here
Timetable for the Cable car (Aeri) can be found here
What to see:
The mountain range overlooking the landscape is surreal. Once you are up there enjoy the magnificent view.
The beautiful Benedictine Monastery: It is just five minutes of a walk once you reach the top via cable car or the rack railway.
Many people visit this monastery as a part of pilgrimage or to listen to the Montserrat Boy’s choir. Even if you are not religious, I think, it is a must-visit. The inside view of the Monastery is as beautiful as outside.
Once you are inside the basilica, make your way to visit Black Madonna: one of the few in Europe and it is said that she has healing power. You might have to wait in a queue for a few minutes there. Montserrat Museum is also situated inside the basilica. Tickets must be purchased separately for that. As mentioned earlier, the ticket for this museum is included in TOT tickets.
Sant Joan: Once you have already visited Monastery, you can take the Sant Joan funicular which takes you to another observation point. From there, you can follow the hiking trail and hike up to Sant Jeroni. Sant Jeroni is the highest peak on Montserrat. Hiking could be a great option here since this mountain range is full of hiking trails. We did not hike though since we did not have that much time.
Santa Cova Chapel: There is also another funicular train which takes you down (partially)called the Santa Cova funicular train from the Monastery. From there you can walk and visit Santa Cova Chapel. Unfortunately, the funicular train was under maintenance during our visit and will suppose to be open at the beginning of 2020. But it is also possible to reach there from the Monastery on walking.
**It is also possible to reach all those places by hiking without taking the funicular trains.
Where to eat: We found two places very close to the Monastery. One is Restaurant Abat Cisneros and the other one is the cafeteria with the lunch buffet. We had our lunch in the cafeteria. The food is mediocre, but I liked the dessert. You can always bring your own food and have a little picnic up there.
Small Tips: In my opinion, the followings could be handy while in Montserrat:
Avoid arriving too late in Montserrat. There is plenty to see and time could be pressing if you are too late
Keep enough time for finding ticket office and buying tickets while in Plaça d'Espanya.
Have an idea what you want to do (whether you want to go hiking or take the funicular) and buy a ticket based on your plan
Keep time for lunch or snack or coffee