How to Plan a Montserrat Day Trip from Barcelona

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by Ella Kilroy

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If you’re looking for the perfect escape from the Catalonian capital, then you cannot go wrong with heading on a Montserrat day trip from Barcelona.

Montserrat translates to “Saw Mountain”, which is an absolutely accurate description of the jagged, saw-like terrain. 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.

Getting to Montserrat from Barcelona

By Organised Tour

If you want the easiest possible way to visit this beautiful natural area, then an organised Montserrat tour from Barcelona is going to be your best bet. There are several options to choose from that can suit all kinds of travellers.

This half-day 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 half-day tour option is similar to the option listed above but allocates some free time at Montserrat so it’s a great option if you prefer to enjoy more of the area at your own leisure.

For the adventurous traveller who wants to experience the natural beauty of this region, this tour is an incredible option. It includes a guided hike to the top of Montserrat, a visit to the Benedictine Abbey, the Santa Maria de Montserrat, and a picnic lunch.

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.

Alternatively, this day tour option includes a visit to the beautiful historic sites of Montserrat along with a farm-to-table lunch at a beautiful farmhouse.

Finally, if you’d like a similar tour but prefer to have the privacy of your own guide, then this private tour is an excellent choice.

Santa Maria Monastery in Montserrat
Santa Maria Monastery

By Train

The easiest and most affordable way of getting to Montserrat from Barcelona independently 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 €8.95 for a one-way ticket and €13.50 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 €8.10 for one way and €13.50 for a return ticket (prices are lower outside of the high season). 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.

Visiting Montserrat by cable car
Cable car up to Montserrat

If you do choose to take the train from Barcelona to Montserrat, 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.

By Bus

Another option is to travel by bus. Generally, there is one bus per day, that leaves the Sants coach station in the morning 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. The bus can be a convenient option, but 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.

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 will allow you to find a great deal on a car hire.

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.

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 visit Montserrat from Barcelona.

Montserrat view
Montserrat is worth visiting regardless of which transport option you choose!

Montserrat Day Trip Itinerary

Now that we’ve covered all the basics, ways to get to Montserrat and available tour options, we can discuss all of the things to do in 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.

Enjoy the view from the cable car or the rack railway

As we’ve already discussed, once you arrive in the Monistrol de 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.

Seeing Black Madonna in Montserrat
Black Madonna

Listen to the Famous Montserrat 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 Museum of Montserrat 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. Michael’s Cross, Sant Jeroni

If hiking in the scenic mountains of Montserrat National Park appeals to you, there are many different trail options of varying difficulty to choose from. One of the easiest and most 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.

Cross of Saint Michael near Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery
Cross of Saint Michael near Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery

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.

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 your budget allows, you can even take a hot-air balloon ride for unforgettable views of the area!

If you do decide to stay in Montserrat for a night or two, staying at Hotel Abat Cisneros Monteserrat is a great option. It is located in the town centre and has many clean and comfortable rooms available.

Where to Stay in Barcelona

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 its central location means the main sites of the city are within easy reach.

Hotel Condado – Another great hotel option, this centrally-located hotel is a clean and comfortable place to rest your head. Ideally located for sightseeing and for going on a day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona, there are numerous rooms available and a great breakfast is included in the price.

Fabrizzio’s Petit – This hostel is a great option for both budget and solo travellers. Located in the city centre close to the city’s main attractions, they have both private and dorm rooms and even include breakfast in the nightly rate.

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Barcelona hotels!

Arc de Triomf in Barcelona
Barcelona is a great base for exploring Montserrat!

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.

Are you planning to visit Montserrat? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ella is a writer for The World Was Here First. She is an American living in Dublin, Ireland, and when she isn’t writing, you can find her jetting off to countless destinations across Europe and beyond. Ella fell in love with travelling while studying abroad in Galway, which is what prompted her to come back to Ireland and start writing about her experiences.


  1. Hi Guys,
    we are headed to Barcelona in late April. We have 4 days. Would you use one of those days to see Montserrat or Girona?
    Ps Love your site


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