Montserrat is a multi-peaked mountain range not far from Barcelona. It’s known as the site of the Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat. Montserrat in Catalan means serrated mountain, and the mountains appear to have sharp edges. The Monastery of Montserrat which houses the virgin that gives its name to the monastery is also on the mountain.
To get there I took the Metro to the Espana (also the stop for the circular Plaza de Espana and Montjuic castle) on the L3, then got lost long enough to miss my train…what I needed to do was go up into the Plaza and follow the signs to L1 Metro line (and the green/white swirly icon below)…when I finally did that there were signs for the R5 train which goes directly to Montserrat. Tickets can be bought at a ticket machine there…you have to decide whether you want to take a funicular train up to the monastery or a cable car. The cable car is quicker so I chose that option.
After I exited the train, I took the cable car up to the monastery (and it’s straight up the sharp face of the mountain, a five minute ride), then another funicular, St. Joan, up to the top of the mountain. At the top there are some hiking options. I took a short hike which had very nice views, to St. Joan. There is a further 15 minute hike to Santa Magdalena, which is pretty steep…I went part way but stopped at the bottom of the stairs…they were pretty crumbly and I didn’t have hiking shoes on. I went back and then part way up the other side before taking the funicular back down and viewing the monastery.
The monastery is right on the edge of the mountain…it’s amazing that something was built so long ago in such a seemingly inhospitable place. The outside was not too fancy, but the interior courtyard was pretty and the church was gorgeous. Beautiful lanterns on either side, and gorgeous stained glass windows.
The trip back was easier but still took a while…cable car to the train, wait 30 minutes, then a one hour plus ride back to Espana, then Metro back to my stop and a 10 minute walk
Montserrat is a special place. It’s worth a visit…preferably with a friend who owns a car! (By car. it’s only 40 minutes to the bottom of the cable car).