Getting from Barcelona to Montserrat Mountain, Catalonia

For anyone visiting Barcelona, making a day trip into the Montserrat Mountain is a MUST. I am pretty sure the majestic beauty of the place played a part in inspiring Gaudi’s architecture (an unproven fact, but still…) Thanks to the efficient rail networks, getting to the small town of Montserrat is as easy as ABC and very do-able for a day tripper.

First of all, you have to get to Barcelona-Plaça Espanya Station where you will notice English signs directing you to a special ticketing area to purchase your return tickets to Montserrat. Due to the regularity of tourist visits, there are staffs on hand to help you should you not know what to purchase at the machines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We had to get to Plaça Espanya at 7.30 am in the morning to make sure we had ample time to find the correct place to buy tickets and get on the first train!

Do note that there are various ticketing options depending on what you intend to do up in the mountains or how you intend to get there:

1. Just the train ticket to the Monistrol de Montserrat = from €14.10

2. Train ticket + Cremallera (Rack train)/Aeri (Cable Car) + Funicular+ Audiovisual Show = €27.50

3. ToT Montserrat ticket which includes everything in option 2 + entry to the Motnserrat Museum + Lunch = €43.70

(Click here for a downloadable PDF of the transportation timings to get up to Monserrat)

You can choose the Option 1 if you intend to hike up to the mountain area. For the more unfit tourists, you can purchase the Option 2 where Funiculars from Montserrat town brings you even higher into the mountain and you can follow well marked trails. I purchased option 2 as I was planning to skip the museum

Credits to Cremallera de Monserrat (Website)

Get there early and give yourself some buffer time, We were confused as to which platform to be on since trains to similar sounding areas left from the same station. If in doubt just ask around, I have yet to meet anyone unhelpful 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Getting dragged out of bed at 5.45am in the morning is a good reason for a hangover look. This was where we took the train from Plaça Espanya.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Switching transport at Monistrol de Monserrat. FRESH AIR!

We wanted to take the cable car option but it stops early so we took the rack train instead to give ourselves more time in Montserrat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Changing to a smaller green rack train. Don’t worry about finding your way cause EVERYONE will be heading in the same direction 🙂

Once you get out of the train station you will be faced with this gorgeous view of a town set in the cliffs of a beautiful mountain.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Monserrat as we see it today is highly modern since it was mostly destructed during the 19th century Napoleanic Wars and was rebuilt in the late 1800s. As you stroll down the well paved roads, do take time to enjoy the feeling of newness found in a place with a history that stretches back 1000 years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Montserrat is most famous for Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery, a Benedictine Monastery (Communities that observe the rule of St Benedict) founded in 1025 at the Hermitage of Santa Maria de Montserrat. The opulent church is most famous for 2 things, the Black Madonna of Montserrat as well as the Monserrat Boy’s Choir (L’Esclonia), one of the oldest Boy’s Choir in Europe.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
In the Courtyard of the Church

The famed Black Madonna of Montserrat was recorded to have been brought to the hermitage some time in the 8th or 9th Century but others have argued that it was made sometime during the 12th century. Today, it sits at the back of the church behind a clear glass adorned with ornate gold carvings. I visited off-season, and even then I had to queue almost an hour to see the statue. The good thing is that the queue snakes around the side gallery of the church so you get to enjoy beautiful paintings and brightly colored stained glass windows.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

???????????????????????????????

I seemed to have queued at the correct time as when I entered the church, they were just about getting ready for Mass. Singing at Mass is one of the daily duties of the Boys Choir will be to sing at Mass which is held at least once a day. There are records showing that the Choir was in existence as far back as the 14th Century. Since then, the music school has produced many famed composers and musicians. There are days when the Choir doesn’t perform so do check their schedule here before you go.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The picture is a little shaky, but it really looks like the Great Hall in Harry Potter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the afternoon we took the St Joan Funicular which takes us up to about 1000m above sea level. From there we begun our hike up to Sant Jeroni, one of the highest peaks (1236m above sea level).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We had lunch with a great view of the surrounding area.

???????????????????????????????

It looks like fun but it is really not that easy of a climb so do ensure that you are properly attired. It took me a good 2.5 hours and a lot of ups and downs to get up to the highest point. I was told that the views was breathtaking but unfortunately I came when the entire area was shrouded in mists 😦

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Freaking tired…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
We really couldn’t see anything from the lookout point but another more seasoned traveler told us that when the skies are clear you can see all the way down and realize how high up we actually are!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Going back down…Look at how misty it is!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
This should tell you how high up you actually are among the mists.

It took us about 5 hours to reach the peak and get back down to Montserrat and it was a truly tiring climb. The only reason we could accomplish this was through pure grit and false hope provided by random signs along the trail informing you that you are “45 minutes from Sant Jeroni”. Don’t believe them! We figured that they were using Spanish walking speed which is waaaay faster than normal human speed (We witness it firsthand with a bunch of elderly ladies who out-paced us).

By the time we reached Barcelona, we were a little worse for wear but at least we had a great nights sleep.


 Related Post:

???????????????????????????????
Budapest Zoo and Szechenyi Baths in 1 Day
???????????????????????????????
Visiting Singapore’s Pulau Ubin
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Europe Trip Part 2: Finding Accomodation

3 thoughts on “Getting from Barcelona to Montserrat Mountain, Catalonia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s