One of the most incredible aspects of visiting the vibrant and bustling city of Barcelona is how well connected it is to other parts of Spain. Because Barcelona (and Spain as a whole) has a great public transportation system, possibilities of places to go and things to do, both within and outside the city itself, are endless. There are many incredible day trips that can easily be done from Barcelona, but perhaps one of the most popular is a trip to the beautiful mountain range of Montserrat, situated in the Catalonia region of Spain. Montserrat translates to “Saw Mountain”, which is an absolutely accurate description of the jagged, saw-like terrain. Because of its proximity to the Catalonian capital, it is very easy to do a Montserrat day trip from Barcelona to see this incredible place for yourself.
The Montserrat mountain range is absolutely beautiful, full of different activities for all different types of travellers to engage in, and quite conveniently, only about an hour from Barcelona, making it incredibly accessible. If you’re wondering how to do a Montserrat day trip from Barcelona, read on to get information on how to get there, what activities you can do there, and information on various tours you can book from Barcelona.
How to Get To Montserrat from Barcelona
Barcelona to Montserrat by Train
The easiest and most affordable way of getting to Montserrat from Barcelona is by train. The train leaves from the Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, which can easily be reached from wherever you happen to be in town by metro. Once arriving at the stop, take the R5 line to Aeri de Montserrat. This train leaves once every hour, so you should have no problem getting on one that suits your needs, but it is a good idea to buy your train tickets ahead of time online so that you don’t have to wait in any lines and risk missing the train you want. It takes an hour to arrive at the base of Montserrat and you can view timetables and prices here.
However, even after you arrive at the train station, you’ll have to decide how you want to get to the top, where the famous Monastery is located. You can opt to take either a cable car or the rack railway. The cable cars leave every 15 minutes and cost €7.50 for a one-way ticket and €11.50 for a return ticket. The views from the cable car itself are stunning, which makes this a fun and novel way of getting up into the mountain range. You can view timetables here.
The train to the top is called the Cremallera, and it costs €7.50 for one way, €12.50 for a return ticket. It is completely up to if you take the cable car or the train to the top, but the cable car is the more popular option.
If you do choose to travel to Montserrat by train, you can consider purchasing a ToT ticket, which is a combined transportation ticket that includes round trip transportation from Barcelona (metro fare to train station, initial train journey + cable car or additional train journey to the top), lunch in the Montserrat restaurant, and entry to the Montserrat Museum. This ticket costs €52.90.
Barcelona to Montserrat by Bus
Another option is to travel by bus. Generally, there is one bus per day, that leaves the Sants coach station at 9:15 and drops you off in the Plaza del Funicular in about an hour and a half.
The bus departs from Montserrat at 5:00 pm exactly and drops you back off at the coach station in Barcelona. Tickets for the bus cost €5.10 each way, and while it is a convenient option, it isn’t extremely popular because travelling by bus doesn’t allow for the same flexibility that the train does, since there is only one per day.
Barcelona to Montserrat by Car
Additionally, you can opt to rent a car while in Barcelona and drive yourself up to Montserrat in order to have the most flexibility. While this option is much more expensive than public transportation, it is definitely not a difficult drive, and you will find plenty of parking options upon arrival.
If you do drive, you can choose to either park at the base of the mountain and then take the cable car/ train to the very top, or drive all the way to the top and park in the Monastery parking lot.
If you plan on renting a car for your Montserrat day trip or your Spain itinerary in general, using RentalCars.com will allow you to find the best deal on a car hire. Taking out an excess insurance policy with iCarHireInsurance is also a good idea to make sure that you’re affordably covered for any deductible should any damage happen to your vehicle.
Barcelona to Montserrat by Private Transfer
And finally, another option would be to hire a private driver to take you to Montserrat. There are many private options you can find online that could help alleviate the stress of trying to navigate the public transportation system, like this private transfer that offers round trip transportation in a comfortable van and entry to the basilica of Montserrat Monastery. Click here to view latest prices.
As you can see, there are plenty of transportation options ranging in price and style, so you don’t need to worry about how to get to Montserrat from Barcelona.
Montserrat Tours from Barcelona
If you are interested in going on a Montserrat day tour from Barcelona with a knowledgeable guide and not having to plan your day trip stop-for-stop by yourself, there are plenty of both half-day and full-day options that could be great for travelers who want to make the most of their time in Montserrat.
This half-day budget option includes round-trip transportation and a guided tour of the monastery complex of Montserrat, along with a few hours of free time to explore the town before heading back to Barcelona. This is truly a great deal and a good option for travellers who want the experience of touring with a knowledgeable guide. Click here to check availability
This half-day tour option includes everything listed in the first tour, in addition to a scenic ride on the Sant Joan Railway to Montserrat Natural Park, where you’ll then embark on a hike to the top of Montserrat. Click here to check availability
For the adventurous traveller who wants to experience the natural beauty of this region, this tour is an incredible option. It includes transportation to the top of Montserrat on the rack railway, a visit to the Benedictine Abbey, the Santa Maria de Montserrat, and the option to watch the world-famous Montserrat boy’s choir perform at the monastery. Click here to check availability
If you’re interested in combining a visit to Montserrat with the opportunity to sample some of the region’s incredible local wines, you’re in luck! This full-day tour option includes half a day of exploring the town and monastery with a knowledgeable guide before getting on a bus and visiting a boutique local winery to taste the incredible wines while enjoying a multi-course lunch. Click here to check availability
This half-day tour option includes a visit the beautiful historic sites of Montserrat, a visit to a winery located inside a 1,000-year-old castle, and a tasting table of traditional Spanish tapas. Click here to check availability
And finally, you could opt to embark on a luxury tour. This one is definitely the most expensive but will provide you with an experience you will never forget. This tour begins with an hour-long ride on a hot air balloon over the stunning Montserrat mountain range with a glass of sparking wine, before touring the monastery and surrounding area with your expert guide. Click here to check availability
Montserrat Day Trip from Barcelona Itinerary
Now that we’ve covered all the basics, ways to get to Montserrat and available tour options, we can discuss what you can actually do on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat.
There are many different activity options, and if you are visiting Montserrat independently (i.e. without a tour group), it is a good idea to have an idea of your itinerary so that you can plan timing and logistics. Here’s an idea of a Montserrat day trip itinerary that includes many of the most popular sights and activities.
Enjoy the view from the cable car or the rack railway
As we’ve already discussed, from the base of Montserrat, the main square can be reached either by cable car or rack railway. While both of these are practical ways of reaching the top of the mountain range, taking a ride on either is an amazing experience itself. Enjoy the stunning views on your ride up and really take in the scenery of beautiful Catalonia as you prepare for the day ahead.
Visit the Benedictine Abbey and the Basilica
Out of all the things there are to see in Montserrat, perhaps the most famous is the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. The Abbey dates back to the 9th century, and is still active today, housing around 80 Benedictine monks.
Though some parts of the Abbey are closed to the public, the primary point of interest for travellers is the Basilica, which includes the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat. The statue is said to have healing powers, and many people from all over the world come to Montserrat just to see the Black Madonna.
Listen to the Famous Boy’s Choir
If you time your visit to the Basilica just right, you could be lucky enough to catch a performance from L’Esconia Montserrat, the world-renowned boys’ choir that performs twice daily. Hearing the choir perform in the basilica is sure to be a once in a lifetime experience and is definitely worth sticking around for.
Visit the Montserrat Museum
The Montserrat Museum is located just across the plaza from the Basilica and is home to an incredible permanent collection of paintings by incredibly famous artists, including Dali, Monet, and Picasso. In addition to the art on display, the museum also houses an impressive collection of historic artefacts and exhibits that focus on the history of the Abbey and Montserrat.
The Funiculars of Santa Cova and Sant Joan
From the main plaza where the Abbey is situated, you can continue your journey even further up in the mountains by taking either of the funiculars. The funiculars are cable cars that take passengers to various points of interest.
The Funicular of Santa Cova takes travellers to the Holy Cave, where the Black Madonna on display in the Basilica was supposedly discovered. There is also a chapel and a sculpture park in this area. The Funicular of Sant Joan transports adventurous visitors high into the mountains where there are many trails and climbing routes.
Take a Hike: St. Micheal’s Cross, Sant Jeroni
If hiking in the Montserrat mountains appeals to you, there are many different trail options of varying difficulty to choose from. One of the most easy and popular hikes is to Sant Miquel’s Cross. The trail begins at the Santa Cova funicular station and is about 20 minutes each way.
The view from the Cross is absolutely stunning and provides you with the opportunity to take in the Abbey from a higher vantage point. For a more seasoned hiker, consider climbing Sant Jeroni, which is the highest peak. This three-hour hike is definitely a time and labour investment, but you will get the absolute best view possible from the top of the highest peak.
Visit the local market stalls
Before you head back to Barcelona, make sure to check out the local market stalls in the main plaza. Here you’ll find many delicious regional specialities to sample or bring back with you, including honey, cheeses, cakes and pastries.
Have More Time?
If you choose to stay in Montserrat for more than just a day trip, take full advantage of all the trails and hiking the area has to offer! You could easily spend a day or two simply exploring the terrain by foot. In addition, you could opt to explore the vineyards in the region and do some wine tastings in the surrounding areas of Montserrat. Additionally, you could visit some of the other small charming towns in Catalonia, including Girona, Rupit, and Besalú, just to name a few.
If you do decide to stay in Montserrat for a night or two, staying at Hotel Abat Cisneros Monterserrat is a great option. It is located in the town centre and has many clean and comfortable rooms available. Click here to check availability
Where to Stay in Barcelona
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Barcelona before you embark on your day trip to Montserrat, you have a lot of options to choose from. If you’re wondering where to stay in Barcelona, check out our top recommendations:
Fabrizzio’s Petit — This hostel is a great option for both budget and solo travellers. Located in the city centre close the city’s main attractions, they have both private and dorm rooms and even include breakfast in the nightly rate. Click here to see their latest prices
Room Mate Anna — A quaint boutique hotel that is perfect for those looking for a bit of romance in Barcelona. There are a number of cosy rooms available and it’s central location means the main sites of the city are within easy reach. Click here to see their latest prices
Hotel Condado — Another great hotel option, this centrally-located hotel is a clean and comfortable place to rest your head in Barcelona. Ideally located for sightseeing and for going on a Montserrat day trip, there are numerous rooms available and a great breakfast included in the price. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Barcelona hotels!
As you can see, there is so much to do on a day trip to Montserrat, and it is definitely worth seeing on any trip to Spain.
When travelling in Spain, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads
Are you planning a Montserrat day trip from Barcelona? Have you been recently? Let us know in the comments below!