A short journey from Barcelona, the majestic Montserrat seems like it belongs to a different world than the cosmopolitan Catalan capital. From a distance, the mountain’s jagged ridge line stands out against the sky—it’s no wonder its name translates to “saw mountain.” The peak is popular among young Catalans and Catholic pilgrims for stunning sunrise hikes, but is worth the trip for every traveler. Read on for our tips for having a great visit to Montserrat during your tour of Barcelona.
How to get there
We recommend taking the cable car (departs hourly) for panoramic views of the surrounding Llobregat Valley. On a clear day, you may even be able to spot the Pyrenees in the distance.
Other options include the funicular, which takes a bit longer than the cable car, allowing for more time to take in the scenery, but walls along the side of the track will obscure your view in some areas.
What to do
Visit Santa Maria de Montserrat
This Benedictine abbey is the home of Our Lady of Montserrat, the statue of Virgin Mary known as the Black Madonna. Representing the patron saint of Catalonia, the origin of the statue is unknown—it is believed by some to have been carved in Jerusalem and legend has it that it was discovered when local children heard music coming from the mountain.
Explore Santa Cova de Montserrat
This hillside cave served as the hiding place of the black Madonna during Moorish invasions until it was rediscovered in the ninth century.
Hike San Jeroni
The most popular peak of Montserrat, San Jeroni offers stunning views to travelers looking for a more active visit.
Browse the Montserrat Museum
Learn more about the mountain’s religious history and see painting from big-name Spanish artists like Picasso and Dalí at the Montserrat Museum.
Where to eat
The open-air market
Local vendors sell, honey, cheese, jams and more outside the monastery when the weather permits.
Restaurant Abat Cisneros
If you’re looking for more upscale Catalan fare, head to the Restaurant Abat Cisneros. The hotel it’s located in was once a monastery and the dining room features the arched ceilings and stone walls of the former stables—but with better ambience.
Bar de la Plaça
This busy, no-frills snack bar is a great place to grab a sandwich or a cafe con leche. In the warmer months, the outdoor patio offers the opportunity for people watching.
More than just a functional eatery, La Cafeteria features wall-to-wall windows for spectacular views of the surrounding scenery along with your coffee break.
Would you visit Montserrat on your trip to Barcelona? Did you take part in an excursion that was the highlight of your trip? Let us know in the comments!