Montserrat means “Teeth Mountains”, and it is not hard to guess why they are called that. These mountains were formed due to the sea water polishing in prehistoric times.
Home to the Monastery, Montserrat is of religious and historical significance. Montserrat was destroyed in 1811 when the French invaded Catalunya. In 1844 the Monastery was rebuilt. The Monastery is set in a picturesque location, at the very heart of Montserrat mountain. The geology, flora and fauna that forms part of this landscape make hiking up the mountain very fulfilling.
It was certainly an unplanned trip when we decided to take a day trip out of Barcelona to visit Montserrat.
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Weather in Montserrat
Montserrat’s weather can be classified into 2 periods – a wet, warm period from June to January, and a dry, cool period from February to May. Temperatures range from 13 – 14 degree Celsius on average.
Keep in mind that Montserrat is at the top of a mountain, so compared to ground temperature, it can either be colder, windier or warmer.
If you are up for hiking up Montserrat like us, be prepared to be exposed to the Spain weather, as there is not much shade en route. Do dress adequately – slap on sunscreen or cover up!
How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona:
Make your way to Plaza Espanya train station in Barcelona. The train station is in the same building as the metro station. Once at Espanya, look for Line R5 headed towards Manresa.
Train duration from Barcelona Espanya station to Montserrat is 1 hour.
You have two options to reach the Monastery after the train ride. You would have to select which ticket you buy when you’re at the station:
i) Cable Car (Aeri de Montserrat)
The cable car ride from the train stop Aeri de Montserrat is only a 5 minute ride. You will have breathtaking views on the cable car ride up to the monastery however you would have to stand throughout the journey.
ii) Cremallera Funicular – Rack Train
This rack railway service that will take you from the bottom of Montserrat Mountain to arrive at the Montserrat Monastery.
If you opt for this option, get off one stop after Aeri de Montserrat called Monistrol. The Rack Train ride will take 15 minutes to the Monastery and is a more comfortable ride than the cable car offers however you wont have as good views as you would from the cable car. You can, though, sit down throughout your journey and is thus suitable for the wheelchair-bound.
What ticket to buy to Montserrat
1) Single (Adult – €11.40; Child – €8.50; Pensioners – €10.75)
Single journey to Montserrat. Includes €2.15 train fare from Barcelona Espanya to Montserrat . You have the option of buying a ticket for either:
- the cable car ride up to the monastery (Get off at train stop Montserrat Aeri) or
- the Track Train ride up to Montserrat Cremallera funicular, a funicular from Barcelona to the monastery (Get off at train stop Monistrol)
2) Return (Adult – €20.20; Child – €15.65; Pensioners – €19.20)
3) Trans Montserrat Ticket (€29.30)
The ticket includes the following:
a. Return train fare from Barcelona to Montserrat, either with the Cable car ride option to the monastery, or if you prefer the Track Train mountain train ride – but remember you need to specify which when you buy this ticket because they are not interchangeable. You either buy a Cable Car version or you buy the Cremallera version (funicular from Barcelona to the monastery) of this ticket.
b. 2 return journeys on 2 different funicular rides – Funicular de Santa Cova & Funicular de Sant Joan. You catch these funicular rides once you arrive at the monastery, which brings you to different parts of the mountain, including the top of Montserrat mountain and the Santa Cova cave.
This ticket saves you from €10.30 (return)/ €6.50 ( single) for the funicular from the Monastery to the top of Montserrat mountain and/or another €4.00 (return)/ €2.60 (single) for the funicular ride from the Monastery to Santa Cova Cave.
c. 2 free metro rides with this ticket. Each metro ticket costs €2.15 each.
d. Access to the audio visual area on Montserrat.
4) ToT Montserrat Ticket (€46.20)
An all-in-one ticket, it includes everything that the Trans Montserrat ticket mentioned above and in addition you have:
a. Entry into the Montserrat museum (€7.00 for adult/ €6.00 for pensioners)
b. Lunch at the restaurant at Montserrat. The restaurant offers a buffet lunch.
We found the most value in the Trans Montserrat Ticket option at €29.30.
First thing to do when you arrive? Grab a Monserrat map from the tourism office to get your bearings!
There are a few options to go about while you’re at Montserrat.
1) By foot:
Instead of taking the funicular or cable car, we took off on foot, hiking up the steep slopes of the mountain towards the Sant Jeroni peak, at 1,236m high. Hiking to the peak took us 3-4 hours.
En route, we were greeted with sights of the teeth formations. The clear sky accentuated the already picturesque landscapes.
2) By the Funicular de Santa Cova:
Apart from visiting the monastery, take some time to visit Sant Joan’s peak via the Funicular de Santa Cova. Catch the viewpoint of the entire Montserrat Monastery. The views are impressive. You can return with the funicular again, or can hike down the monastery. It is a scenic but long walk which takes about 3 hours.
3) By the Funicular de Santa Cova:
The Funicular de Santa Cova takes you slightly back down the mountain to the starting point of Montserrat. Here, visit the cave chapel Santa Cova. Legend has it that this is the cave where the image of Mare de Deu de Montserrat (the Virgin Mary) was seen by shepherds. The cave sits about 20 minutes walk from the funicular station or you can choose to walk directly from the Montserrat Monastery to the cave.
Don’t miss this viewpoint on the monument Escala de L’Enteniment dedicated to the Catalan philosopher, Ramón Llul too!
If you want to try out some hiking trails, or even hike to the peak of Sant Jeroni like us, dedicate a full day to exploring Montserrat.
You can look for other ideas on day trips out of Barcelona here.
2 April 2015, Thursday