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Book best day trips to Montserrat from Barcelona | Guided tours

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BarcelonaMontserrat MonasteryBarcelona to Montserrat tours

Barcelona to Montserrat day trip | The best way to explore the city

Montserrat in Catalonia offers a lot to the travellers. For some, it's a monastery where you can catch the famous choir singing in the basilica every day. Others see it as a natural park, perfect for a hike and climb. And then there are those who are drawn to its unusual architecture (Nature works in mysterious ways!).

No matter why you're interested, Montserrat won't disappoint. If it's your first time visiting Montserrat and the famous Montserrat monastery, figuring out what to see and do, or how to get there, might be a bit confusing.

In this guide, get all the essential information for your visit to Montserrat from Barcelona. Read more to know what you can expect!

Know before you book your Barcelona to Montserrat Day Trip tickets

Choose Your Experience:

First things first, decide what kind of experience you're after. Are you someone who loves to wander at your own pace, soaking in every detail? If so, the might be your best bet. With flexible timing and an informative audio guide, you can explore the monastery and museum at your leisure.

Alternatively, if you prefer a guided tour that takes care of all the logistics, opt for one of the guided tours with transfers. These tours usually include round-trip transportation from Barcelona, a knowledgeable guide, and access to key attractions like the Basilica of Montserrat. It's a hassle-free way to engage in the history and beauty of Montserrat.

Consider Transportation:

Now, let's talk about how you want to get there. If you're a fan of scenic views and enjoy a bit of adventure, consider booking a tour with . The journey up the mountainside offers stunning vistas that you won't want to miss. On the other hand, if you prefer a quicker and more straightforward journey, the bus or train transfers might be more your style.

Dress Code and Access:

Before you head out, remember that Montserrat is a place of worship. To show respect, ensure your attire covers your shoulders and knees. Flip-flops, tank tops, and shorts are a no-go. Also, keep in mind that access to the Black Madonna La Moreneta may require adherence to a dress code and, in some cases, involves skipping the line. Be sure to check if your ticket includes this perk.

Food Options:

Are you a foodie looking to indulge in some local delights? Consider opting for a tour with food inclusions. Whether it's a or a tapas brunch with wine, these tours offer a delightful culinary experience that complements your Montserrat exploration.

Flexibility vs. Guided Tours:

Finally, think about how much flexibility you want during your visit. If you prefer to explore independently and at your own pace, choose a ticket that allows for flexibility. On the other hand, if you value the insights and knowledge of a guide, a guided tour might be the way to go.

What's Montserrat all about?

It is basically a beautiful mountain situated about 50 kilometers northwest of Barcelona. The name "Montserrat" means "serrated mountain" or "saw mountain" in Catalan. The mountain has these amazing and unique rounded rock formations that look like they've been shaped by wind and rain over thousands of years! It's mostly made of a pinkish rock called conglomerate (a sedimentary rock).

Throned at about 725 meters on the slopes of this mountain is the Santa Maria de Montserrat, an ancient Benedictine monastery. Inside, you'll find the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat, which is extremely special—it's one of Europe's rare Black Madonnas. This monastery is a significant religious site in Catalonia and draws countless Catholic pilgrims each year. So, visiting Montserrat is a top choice for a day trip from Barcelona.

Why take a Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery Day Trip?

1/5

Transportation included

The best part? Montserrat Monastery is super close to Barcelona, like an easy day trip distance. You can travel there by train, funicular, or even cable car, or if you opt for a day trip, transportation is taken care of. So you can spend the morning exploring the bustling city and then chill on a mountaintop monastery by the afternoon!

Spectacular Views (that go all the way to the BEACH!)

Perched up on a mountaintop, Montserrat Monastery offers some seriously incredible views. On a clear day, you can even see all the way to the Balearic Islands, which are like these gorgeous island chains off the coast of Spain.

Is the Holy Grail possibly in Montserrat?

Legend has it that the Holy Grail is hidden in a mountain called Monsalvat, which means "mount of salvation." Some people think that Monsalvat could actually be Montserrat! Interesting, right? In fact, it's said that even Himmler, who was in charge of the Nazi S.S., came searching for the Holy Grail in Montserrat. This happened during a trip when Hitler went to see the Spanish dictator, Franco. Think you can find it? Trying never hurts! Give it a go on your Barcelona to Montserrat Day Trip

The Monastery - A Millennium of History

The Benedictine Monastery is almost 1000 years old! It's perched halfway up the mountain, snugly tucked among its peaks. The monks there also run a boys' school focused on music. Did you know around 70 monks live in the monastery?

L'Escolania de Montserrat - Boys' Choir Performances

When you visit the monastery, don't miss the angelic voices of the Boys' Choir, known as l'Escolania. They mainly sing Gregorian chants and other religious music. Fun fact: this choir is one of the oldest in Europe, with records dating back to the 1300s.

Your Barcelona to Montserrat day trip options explained

Tour
Duration
Access to Black Madonna
Audio Guide+Languages
Museum Entry
Food Inclusions
Attractions Included
Transfers
Price
Montserrat Monastery Experience Tickets with Audio Guide
Flexible
Multiple Languages (Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Dutch, Russian, Japanese)
X
Monastery, Museum
X (Optional Purchase)
Montserrat Monastery Experience Tickets with Train Tickets
Flexible
Multiple Languages (Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Dutch, Russian, Japanese)
X
Monastery, Audiovisual Space
✓ (Train)
Montserrat Monastery Guided Tour with Bus Transfers
5 hr.
English, Spanish
✓ (Basilica)
Optional Culinary Tasting
Monastery, Basilica, Culinary Tasting
✓ (Bus)
Montserrat Monastery Guided Tour with Transfers and Cog-Wheel Train
4 hr. 30 min. - 5 hr. 30 min.
Multiple Languages (Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Dutch, Russian, Japanese)
✓ (Basilica)
X
Monastery, Basilica, Liquor Tasting, Audiovisual Space
✓ (Bus, Cogwheel Train)
Montserrat Guided Tour with Optional Lunch
8 hr.
English
✓ (Basilica)
Lunch/Tapas Brunch with Wine (Optional)
Monastery, Basilica, Lunch/Tapas Brunch with Wine
✓ (Bus)
Montserrat Monastery Guided Tour with Farmhouse Lunch
7 hr. 30 min.
English, Spanish
✓ (Monastery)
3-Course Farm-to-table Lunch, Petting Farm
Monastery, Farm-to-table Lunch, Petting Farm
✓ (Bus)

Barcelona to Montserrat Day Trip map

How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona?

Train and Funicular (Cremallera)

  • Who’s this for: This is the most popular and convenient option, offering a scenic journey with good travel times.
  • Take the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) R5 line from Barcelona's Plaça Espanya station to Monistrol de Montserrat (around 1 hour). Here, transfer to the Cremallera cremallera train, a rack railway that takes you up the mountain to the monastery (20 minutes).

Train and Cable Car (Aeri)

  • Who’s this for: Great choice for those who want a more exciting ascent with scenic views. Fear of heights? Um, maybe, sit out of this?
  • Similar to option 1, take the R5 line to Barcelona's Plaça Espanya station to Aeri de Montserrat (around 1 hour). Here, transfer to the Aeri cable car, which whisks you up the mountain to the top (5 minutes).

Bus

  • Who’s this for: This is a budget-friendly option, but it's also the slowest and requires transfers.
  • Take the Barcelona Metro to Espanya station. From there, catch the Montserrat bus, line eTour Montserrat. The journey takes approximately 1.5 hours.

Car

  • Who’s this for: If you prefer flexibility and control over your journey, driving to Montserrat is an option.
  • Take the A-2 or AP-7 motorways, exiting at Martorell and following the C-55 to Montserrat. The drive takes about an hour.

Hiking

  • Who’s this for: Active travellers seeking a budget-friendly adventure with stunning scenery.
  • Take the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) R5 line from Barcelona's Plaça Espanya station to Monistrol de Montserrat (around 1 hour). Once there, explore the town and follow marked trails leading up the mountain towards the monastery. The hike takes approximately 1.5 hours and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.

Take a tour that includes your transportation to Montserrat

  • You can also visit Montserrat on a day trip from Barcelona by tour. This takes out the hassle of arranging your transportation and you can visit the monastery with an experienced guide. Some tours also include Farmhouse Lunch.
  • Choose the one best suited for your needs!

Montserrat Monastery explained

How to enter

Entering the Montserrat Monastery can be a bit tricky. Entry to the basilica and the famous Black Madonna statue is often timed, with limited tickets available. However, if you book a guided tour, you'll bypass the lines and get direct access to the monastery, ensuring a smooth and efficient visit.

How long to spend

Well, you'll need at least half a day. The travel time alone is about 3 hours (1.5 hours each way), and you should budget at least an hour for your visit to the Montserrat Monastery. If you want to explore a bit more around the area and walk to St. Michael's Cross, add another half hour to an hour to your trip.

And if you're thinking of taking one of the funiculars and doing more hiking, plan for a full day for your visit.

Things to keep in mind while visiting Montserrat Monastery

  • You are allowed to take pictures inside the Basilica as long as there is no mass service taking place, but please refrain from using flash.
  • Please do not take pictures while visiting the Virgin's throne to avoid disrupting the queue or congregation.
  • If you do not wish to participate in religious ceremonies, kindly avoid entering the basilica while they are ongoing and wait until they conclude.
  • Access to the virgin's throne is restricted during mass.
  • The Crypt, the Chapel, and the area of the Holy Sacraments are designated for devotion and prayer. Please enter these areas only if you are willing to spend a few moments in reflection.

Tips for your Barcelona to Montserrat Day Trip

  • Best time to visit: When you visit the abbey, they do let visitors in during certain hours. The best time for you to go is when the famous Boys Choir (the Escolania) performs - usually at 1pm and 6:45pm from Monday to Friday. The monastery is open on weekends too, but the Boys Choir doesn't sing then.
  • Which queue to Black Madonna?: The Black Madonna sits atop a gold altar above the chapel. There are two lines: one to enter the basilica and another long one to get close to the Black Madonna for wish-making. Make sure you choose the right line because the Black Madonna line can be really long!
  • Sant Jeroni: Another popular thing to do in Montserrat is hiking to Sant Jeroni. It's the highest peak at 4,055 feet above sea level. You can start the trail from the top entrance of the Sant Joan funicular. On clear days, you can see most of Catalonia and even spot Mallorca island, but the view of the monastery isn't as great as from St. Michael's cross. Remember, Montserrat is chilly compared to Barcelona, so dress warmly for your day trip.
  • Stairways to heaven: There are some sculptures near the abbey, close to the farmers' market. Next to the Mirador restaurant, there's the Stairway to Heaven. It's a stack of concrete blocks that used to be climbed by influencers for Instagram pics. Now, it's fenced off for safety. While it might look cool in photos with the right angle and editing, it's not that impressive in person. For better (and safer) pictures, head to the open circular courtyard with arches next to the parking lot, where you can capture yourself with the mountains in the background.

Need a little help planning your visit? Here’s an itinerary for you!

Morning-Mid morning
Afternoon
Evening
  • Morning: Take the FGC train from Plaça Espanya in Barcelona to Montserrat. The journey takes about an hour. You can also take the cremallera, a rack railway, which is a more scenic option but takes a little longer.
  • Mid-morning: Once you arrive at Montserrat, you'll be greeted by stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visit Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. The Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey is the highlight of any trip to Montserrat. The abbey is home to the Black Madonna, a statue of the Virgin Mary that is said to have miraculous powers. You can also visit the basilica, the cloisters, and the museum.
  • Tip: Be sure to dress modestly when visiting the abbey. Shoulders and knees should be covered.

After lunch, you have a few options. You can take a hike to the top of Sant Joan Peak for even more incredible views.  Have lunch at one of the restaurants in Montserrat. There are a variety of restaurants to choose from, serving both traditional Catalan cuisine and international fare.

  • Nearby restaurants: Restaurant Abat Cisneros, Montserrat Buffet, La Barca Restaurant
    Explore the Montserrat Museum. The Montserrat Museum is home to a collection of religious art, including paintings, sculptures, and goldwork. There are also exhibits on the history of Montserrat and the surrounding area.
  • Hike or take a cable car to the top of the mountain. There are a number of hiking trails that lead to the top of Montserrat. The views from the top are even more spectacular than the views from the monastery. If you're not up for a hike, you can take the cable car or the funicular railway to the top.

You can either conclude your trip here or explore further.

  • Attend the Montserrat Boys' Choir performance. The Montserrat Boys' Choir is one of the oldest boys' choirs in Europe. They sing every afternoon (Mon-Fri) at the basilica.
  • Do some souvenir shopping. There are a number of shops in Montserrat where you can buy souvenirs, such as religious items, food products, and handicrafts. Some shop options near Montserrat monastery are: La Botiga, De Moi à Toi - Online.
  • Depart from Montserrat and return to Barcelona. The train ride back to Barcelona takes about an hour.

Frequently asked questions about Barcelona to Montserrat Day Trip

What types of Barcelona to Montserrat day trips are available?

There are several types of day trips available to Montserrat from Barcelona based on your preference. If you’re an independent traveller, you can explore at your own pace with a skip-the-line ticket. There are numerous guided tours available for you to choose from- some tours have transportation available, while there are others with lunch inclusions and more. Choose the one according to your preferences.

How do I choose the right Barcelona to Montserrat day trip for me?

If this is your first time visiting Montserrat with your family, a guided tour will save you time and stress over things like getting around and finding places for meals. You can discover more with the help of your guide! These tours offer bus, train, or cogwheel transportation facilities (to and from Montserrat), and you don’t even have to worry about finding a restaurant nearby as you can choose a tour with an optional lunch. If you like to fly solo, however, choose an entry ticket with the added convenience of skip-the-line access and a multilingual audio guide. Catch the R5 train from Plaça Espanya to Montserrat-Aeri for the cable car or Monistrol de Montserrat for the cremallera (rack railway).

How do I get there?

The train is definitely the easiest and most common way to get to Montserrat from Barcelona. While there are bus tours, they can take longer because they typically make stops to pick up passengers at other hotels. The train is a direct shot from Barcelona to Montserrat, and the journey itself is pretty scenic. You'll catch the train from the España station in Barcelona (The ride takes about an hour). It's conveniently located right on the metro line, so easy to get to from anywhere in the city center. Once you arrive at the mountain base, you can either take a cable car or a cremallera (rack railway) up to the top.

Is there a big difference between the cable car and the cremallera (rack railway)?

For the Rack Train ride, you will need to get off one stop after Aeri de Montserrat (Cable car) called Monistrol. The Rack Train ride will take 15 minutes to the Monastery and is a more comfortable ride than the cable car. However, you won't have as good views as you would from the cable car, which covers the 1,350-metre journey comfortably within 5 minutes). Note: The cable car is not ideal for wheelchairs due to potential steps at arrival stations.

How long does the whole Barcelona to Montserrat day trip take?

A Montserrat day trip from Barcelona takes a good part of the day, with travel time taking about 1.5 hours one way (roughly one hour for the train and 30 minutes for the rack railway). Once in Montserrat, you can visit the main sites and viewpoints in just a few hours, approximately 3-4. Expect to spend more time here if you want to hike the trails and/or sit down for lunch or dinner.

Is the day trip manageable with young kids?

A day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona is totally doable with young kids. The train ride from Barcelona to Montserrat takes about an hour, and then you can either take a cable car or a cremallera (rack railway) up the mountain. The cable car ride is especially exciting for kids. However, there can be really long queues for the cable car, which might take away a lot of time from your itinerary. Thankfully you can also drive and park relatively close to the monastery (right next to Aeri de Montserrat station. You can park your car there for free).

What's there to do besides the monastery?

Besides the monastery, there's a bunch of cool stuff you can do on a Montserrat day trip from Barcelona. Montserrat is a hiker's paradise with trails for all levels. The highest peak is Sant Jeroni, which takes about 2-3 hours to reach. On clear days, you can see most of Catalonia and even spot Mallorca island, but the view of the monastery isn't as great as from St. Michael's cross. You can also visit the Montserrat Museum which houses a collection of Catalan art, including works by El Greco and Picasso.

What should I wear on my day trip to Montserrat?

Comfortable clothing is the way to go here. Having said that, no trip to Montserrat is complete without a visit to the monastery. There is a dress code in place- Shirts or blouses should cover your shoulders. Sleeveless shirts are acceptable as long as the neckline isn’t too deep. Shorts and skirts should at least reach mid-thigh. Avoid ripped jeans or anything too revealing (showing too much skin).

How can I see the Black Madonna on the Barcelona to Montserrat day trip?

To reach Montserrat monastery, take the FGC train from Plaza España station or drive on the A2 highway towards Lleida, following the signs. Free parking is available near the monastery. Inside, the Black Madonna is enshrined on a gold altar in the chapel. Expect two lines: one for the basilica and a longer one for close access to the Black Madonna for wish-making. Choose wisely, as the Black Madonna line can be lengthy. Alternatively, you can admire the statue from afar at the base of the stairs. You can also view the Black Madonna from a distance at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the statue.