What Is Montserrat Known For? A Day Trip To Explore A Benedictine Monk Mountain Retreat

Are you heading to Montserrat for the first time? Check out my travel guide and learn how to get there from Barcelona, the best travel pass, and great activities.

Nguyen Oanh

Dubbed the Saw-Toothed Mountain, Montserrat beckons the attention of ardent photographers and view seekers thanks to their dramatic, unique volcanic landscape. Such incredible terrain happens as a result of many eruptions and natural disasters in modern days.

Montserrat has a scenic viewpoint on its mountaintop, known as the Benedictine monastery of Santa María de Montserrat. If you have more than a day to spend here, check out the sun-kissed beaches and tropical islands not far away from the foot of the Saw-toothed mountain. 

In this article, I’ll be showing you how to plan a hassle-free day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona.

How To Get To Montserrat From Barcelona?

You need a train and a funicular ride to reach the top of Montserrat. Here’s the easiest, fool-proof way to do it.

First, hail the train for an hour’s ride from Plaça Espanya in Barcelona on the R5 line to Aeri de Montserrat. From there, you will see a funicular station to take you to the top of Montserrat. The cable car leaves every 15 minutes, sometimes as fast as five minutes during the high season.

You can choose to buy separate tickets at each station or opt for a combo ticket which is available for sale at the Plaça Espanya station in Barcelona or online to save time and dodge the queue.

This combo ticket also serves as a travel pass that grants you a round trip from Barcelona to Monistrol de Montserrat or Aeri de Montserrat cable car as well as unlimited use of the Santa Cova funicular rides.


If you wish to explore each attraction in Montserrat to the fullest, opt for a guided tour as I did. Keep on reading as I’ll be listing down what’s included in the tour and what to see at each attraction in this guided tour.


But first, take a look at the best recommended organized tour you can consider:

What Is There To See And Do In Montserrat?

Soak In The View At Apòstols Viewpoint

Undoubtedly one of the most scenic points of interest in Montserrat, Apòstols Viewpoint becomes a dramatic backdrop with its face facing the lush mountains and valley. The eight rectangular stone blocks lining up spirally invite the gorgeous sunlight to pierce through when the sun is out.

Apòstols Viewpoint also houses a famous restaurant serving authentic Mediterranean food on the ground floor of the building. The restaurant is a stellar rest stop to enjoy tasty bites with a view of Santa Cova and the Llobregat Valley.

Pay Tribute To The Black Madonna And Enjoy Choirs At the Abbey of Montserrat

Though marvelous, the abbey has a humble beginning as a small chapel standing atop Mount Montserrat. The original cathedral was once destroyed by the French troops in the early 19th century before it was rebuilt a few decades later.

This notorious holy shrine enfolds a famous story that relates to the Lady of Montserrat. The locals believe that her image was discovered by a group of shepherds in 1881. Today the image is worshiped in dignity at the back of the main hall where people call her Black Madonna due to the dark color of her skin.

The famous carving boasts a unique Romanesque style dating back as far as the 12th century. The statue is perched above an altar, carefully shielded by a thin glass wall. Look closer and you will see a sphere held in one of her hands, which represents the universe. The locals have a tradition of kissing her other hand while opening their hands to Jesus as a ritual during their pilgrimage to the abbey.

If you stop by the abbey somewhere around 13:00, linger for a while to contemplate the enchanting performance of the all-boy choir. This is the oldest boys’ choir in all of Europe. And as its reputation keeps spreading, lots of visitors flock here to admire the great performance. For that reason, it’s better if you arrive about 20 minutes before the choir begins to find a spot closer to the boys for a better view.

On the way out, stop by the small grotto where they set up dazzling blessing candles along the grotto hall. Candles are available for sale here at EUR 2.

Be In Awe At The Museum of Montserrat

First opening its door to the public in 1996, the museum houses a huge collection of various topics related to the chronological period, with over 1300 items on record.

One of my favorite finds here is the  Egyptian sarcophagus which dates back to the 13th century BC. The sarcophagus opens a great insight into the archaeology of the Biblical East collection.

There are the latest works of art added to the museum since 2010 brought by talented local artists.

Explore Incredible Keepsakes And Traditional Goods At La Botiga

As your trip comes to an end, it’s about time to explore some of the best traditional goods for souvenirs. There is no shortage of stellar gift stores in Montserrat but La Botiga is some of the coolest spots to browse your stuff, offering everything from arts, crafts, and wines produced by the monks. The wines come in four unique flavors marked Crema Catalana, Avellana, Ratafia, and Aromes del Montserrat.

Call it a trip of a lifetime as the extreme topography and landscape at Montserrat is too good to miss out on. From the rich history of medieval times to regional keepsakes, Montserrat is definitely a highlight of your getaway to Spain.