Montserrat Day Trip: How to get from Barcelona to Montserrat
April 25, 2020
Planning a Montserrat Day Trip has always been on my bucketlist when visiting Spain. The views at the top are simply amazing and so stunning, it will definitely be worth your time for a visit. In this post, I will be writing detailed information on the following topics:
Table of Contents
All About Montserrat
Montserrat is a rocky mountain in Catalonia, Spain. The name Montserrat means “jagged mountain” because of its many pointy peaks that were formed. The mountain is commonly visited for its walking paths and it is also a setting of religious substance. At Montserrat, there is a monastery that has been in existence since the 11th century and is a residence for the community of Catalan people.
At Montserrat, you can find the Black Madonna, who is regarded to have conducted numerous miracles. The Black Madonna attracts thousands of devotees annually who arrive for prayers and touch the ball that the Virgin is holding as an act of commitment and devotion.
Worshipping the Virgin and its surrounding magnificent views is the reason why many come to the mountain each year. If you value nature and have outdoor interests, there are walking paths around the mountains where you can wander into to get a glimpse of these views.
Why Travel to Montserrat?
For me, climbing to the uppermost block of the stairway to heaven to take a picture was my aim when planning the Montserrat Day Trip. However, it is now illegal to do so due to safety reasons, which we will talk about later in this article.
However, there is still a host of other things to do on Montserrat despite this and even if your key objective for coming here is to climb up the stairway to heaven (like me!), believe me that you can still highly anticipate for the views at the top of St. Joan.
How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona?
Option 1: Taking the Train and Cable Car
This is the most efficient and most scenic option. This is the option I took when I last visited Montserrat.
Step 1: At Plaça Espanya Station in Barcelona, take line R5 train to Aeri de Montserrat (Duration: 1 hour; Cost: €5 – €6) *Trains run 3-4 times every hour. See schedule here. Step 2: Head to the lowerCable Car station right outside of Aeri de Montserrat station.
Step 3: Take the Cable Car up to the top to reach Monsterrat (Duration: 5 minutes; Round trip ticket: €11.50 per adult). *The Cable Car has a frequency of 5 minutes. See prices of cable car here.
Step 4:Lastly, if you want to hike around the mountain, board the Sant Joan Funicular Station at Monsterrat to go up. *See prices and timetable here.
As another option, if you’re afraid of having to queue for any tickets, you can opt to buy a combined ticket in beforehand online. There are 3 passes to choose from:
1. Trans Monsterrat Ticket
– 2-way trip for the following: To Plaza España by metro, Barcelona to Monistrol de Monserrat and cablecar or railway* up to Montserrat. way trip by train from Barcelona to Monistrol de Montserrat. – Unlimited use of the Saint Joan funicular. – Entrance to the audiovisual space “Montserrat doors inside”.
Price: €33.45. Purchase your ticket here. *Get off at Aeri de Montserrat station to board the Cable Car. *Get off at Monistrol de Montserrat to board the railway.
2. TOT Monsterrat Ticket
– 2-way trip for the following: To Plaza España by metro, Barcelona to Monistrol de Monserrat and cablecar or railway* up to Montserrat. – Unlimited use of Sant Joan Funicular. – Entrance to the audiovisual space “Montserrat doors inside”. – Entrance to the Museu de Montserrat. – Restaurant meal at Montserrat.
This ticket is for travellers that are NOT anticipating do any hiking in Monsterrat as it does not come with the use of the funicular, where all the walking paths are at.
– 2-way transport by train from Barcelona to Monistrol de Montserrat. – 2-way trip by cable car or railway up to Montserrat – Welcome pack that includes a guide to the shrine, discount vouchers, some food – An audioguide with information about the train journey and monastery
What is there to see during your Montserrat Day Trip?
Here is a list some of the main things you can do while you explore around Montserrat.
1. Visit the Basilica to see the Black Madonna
Upon reaching Montserrat, head in to explore the basilica to see the Black Madonna. Pilgrims have faith that this figure of the virgin has healing powers and that many miraculous cures have been attributed to this holy sculpture of wood. The entrance to the Basilica is free for all.
Travel tip: Try to be at the Basilica by 7.30am as afternoon queues get very long.
At the Sant Joan Funicular Station, take the Funicular up to relish the magnificent views at the top. At the top, facing the view, you can either walk towards your left or right. Both trails will lead you to amazing view points, but if you want to reach the highest point, head to the right. Alternatively, you can also hire a local guide to hike with you.
We took about 2 to 3 hrs to trek all the way up and back to the funicular station. As are some parts where it gets steep, it is advised to wear proper footwear.
Travel tip: It is important for you to check the last departure timing for the Funicular back down to Monsterrat Monastery. The last departure is either at 4.50pm, 5.50pm or 6.50pm depending on season. Hence, you will have to plan your time to hike back accordingly. The timetable can be found on their website here.
Here are some of the amazing views you can expect to see:
These are what the trekking paths will look like:
3. Stairway to Heaven
The Stairway to Heaven became famous after people started posting instagram photos of it online. However, it is now illegal to ascent the sculpture. The stairway to heaven was built as an artwork and not for you to use it as a playground. Furthermore, it is dangerous to climb especially on a windy day.
When I was there in 2017, a wired fence had been built around it. It was still possible to roll under the fence to get in and climb it. I did not know it was an art piece to be respected and followed the other tourists to climb it (I thought it was fenced up just for safety reasons).
However, in 2018, when my friend visited it, they had changed the fence to something sturdier, which made it impossible to climb over or under. So if you’re thinking you can still sneak your way in, it is no longer possibleto do so.
Nevertheless, you can still take nice photos of the sculpture and crop out the fence below later.
Things to bring along for your Montserrat Day Trip
Lunch or snacks (have a picnic at the top)
When is the best time to visit Montserrat?
The best time to visit Montserrat is actually between December to April. We visited in January previously. The sun was shining, the skies were clear and the temperature was about 10 degrees celsius.
Between May to September is when it gets very hot, at an average of 28 degrees celsius. While July and August is the peak summer season when there are more visitors and it gets crowded.
Trip Recommended Itinerary for your Montserrat Day Trip
Stay in Barcelona city for a minimum of 3 days. Take 2 days to tour the city of Barcelona itself and reserve one day to visit Montserrat.
For other cities to visit in Europe closer to Spain, look up my itineraries for the best things to do in Amsterdam, Austria, France and London!