Ash
Written by Ash

Barcelona to Montserrat Day Trip Guide + 11 Local Tips

| 41 comments

Call me a wimp for fearing the grand heights of the cable car or a homebody for not leaving my city safe space but it’s taken me 62 months of living in Barcelona to finally do it.

I’m finally ready to help you plan your day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat.

Here you’ll find what to see when you visit Montserrat, some cool tips and tricks, and how to save time with my list of the top all-inclusive Montserrat tickets.

Already eager to get started? Buy your basic Montserrat ticket package clicking the button:

MONTSERRAT EXPRESS
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Index

1 – What is Montserrat?
2 – Why do people visit Montserrat?
3 – Getting to Montserrat from Barcelona
4 – Montserrat tickets online + discounts
5 – Montserrat hacks

What is Montserrat?

It’s a jagged multi-peaked mountain.

The great thing is it’s only about 50 km (30 miles) from Barcelona to Montserrat.

The name Montserrat literally means ‘serrated mountain’ in Catalan, a reference to the defining saw-like features of the mountain and its many peaks including Sant Jeroni and Montgrós.

At 4055 feet (1236 metres) above sea level it’s the highest point in the Catalan Lowlands.

For both scenic and historic purposes it is arguably the most important mountain in Catalonia: Montserrat is actually Spain’s first National Park.

The views from Montserrat are incredible and you can even see the Balearic Islands on a clear day.

The mountain is made up of pink conglomerate sedimentary rock.

Montserrat Barcelona Spain Attractions

The Abbey + Montserrat Monastery

Going up the mountain to see the Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey is one of the top day trip options for tourists visiting Barcelona.

Here you find a Benedictine monastery and a basilica famous for the Virgin of Montserrat aka the Black Madonna (La Moreneta, patron saint of Catalonia).

Montserrat monastery dates all the way back to the 10th century and is still home to some 150 monks.

One great thing as well: entrance to the monastery is free.

The long line to the right of the monastery is for the basilica and the Black Madonna statue, which is the main attraction for many of the pilgrims.

While this is certainly worth visiting (visitors always kiss the Virgin’s hand) if you’re looking just to go to the monastery don’t get caught up in this huge line! You should be able to walk straight in.

During the war the Abbey was a sanctuary for scholars, artists, and politicians and in fact the Museu de Montserrat now houses works from Picasso, Salvador Dali, and more.

Entrance to the museum costs €7.00 (students/retired €6.00, children 8-16 €4.00).

The basilica is also home to the legendary Montserrat Boys Choir (La Escolonia), one of the oldest choirs in Europe. Visiting without seeing one of these powerful counterpoint and Gregorian Chant performances is a sin.

There are two daily performances at the basilica at 1:00 pm and 6:45 pm. It’s advised to arrive 30 minutes early for the performances.

Keep reading for my list of all-inclusive tickets that’ll take care of your transport and all Montserrat sights.

The Hikes

Once you’ve arrived at Montserrat monastery with the cable car or funicular you can start your hiking adventure. Just get yourself to the tourist information booth, grab a map with a list of trails, and head for nature!

It’s also the best place for hiking because of the sheer variety of trails. With 5 different options ranging from 2.7 km to 7.5 km you’ll find the hike for your level of difficulty.

The Santa Cova and Sant Joan Funiculars

Once you’ve gone from Barcelona to Montserrat monastery you have two options to continue your ascent.

The Santa Cova funicular actually brings you a bit back down the mountain and drops you off at a path to Santa Cova Cave – the cave where local shepherds saw the image of the Virgin Mary.

Expect about 20 minutes walking to the chapel.

The Sant Joan funicular takes you to the very peak of the mountain. The steep climb is as gorgeous as it is frightful. The glass ceiling really puts the climb into perspective. It’s said that on a clear day you can see all of Catalunya.

It’s from here that you can take the most gorgeous walks of the entire mountain.

Tickets for these funiculars can be bought on site but are also included in some of the tickets I’ll be mentioning below.

How to Get to Montserrat from Barcelona

Though the trip to Montserrat is fairly simple it involves two parts:

  • The trip from Barcelona to the foot of the mountains
  • The ride up to the top.

For the second part of the journey there are two options: the cable car and the funicular.

Make sure you read the parts about the cable car/funicular carefully – once you’ve bought tickets for one of the options you won’t be able to redeem them for a trip on the other.

I strongly recommend you buy a day trip ticket package with all your transport included because it’ll save you time and stress – look for the links below.

Car

By far the easiest option to visit Montserrat is to rent a car and leave it at any of the free parking spaces at Monistrol-Vila or Aeri de Montserrat stations.

Plug the stations into Google Maps/GPS and expect about an hour from Barcelona to Montserrat.

Advice: leave your car in the parking lots mentioned above and not in strange places – you may end up going for an extra long walk. You won’t wanna be all tired out on some windy country road before the scenic walk begins!

If you’re looking to go all the way up via car there is a parking lot right next to the monastery, albeit slightly downhill. Elderly visitors or tourists with disabilities may find this challenging.

Make sure you arrive early on weekends, especially in high season – there are only 400 spots and you run the risk of having to go back down!

The best prices for renting a car in Barcelona can be found on Rentalcars.com.

Train

Most tourists visit Montserrat using the train from Barcelona. It’s as easy as heading to the famous Plaça Espanya and grabbing the R5 ‘Ferrocarril’ train to Manresa.

You’ll get off at Aeri de Montserrat or Monistrol de Montserrat station.

You can buy the tickets directly from the automated machines in the station or at ticket windows. It’s here that you’ll also be able to buy tickets for the cable car/funicular that takes you the rest of the way.

If you don’t get cable car/funicular tickets in Barcelona don’t worry! You can get them at Monistrol de Montserrat or Aeri de Montserrat.

Trains depart about once an hour and take 1 hour and 10 minutes – make sure you get to Plaça Espanya early because it can be confusing finding the right track.

You can get the Montserrat train timetable here.

The Cable Car (Aeri de Montserrat)

The fastest and most majestic way to get to the top of the mountain.

Here you’re letting a hanging cable car drag you 1350 meters up the side of a mountain at 5 meters per second. Below you’ll get amazing views of the Llobregat River and Llobregat Valley.

The heart-pounding and ear-popping trip is worth the price of admission alone.

The cable car departs from just outside Aeri de Montserrat station.

Cable cars depart every 15 minutes and in all the trip takes five minutes.

  • Adults: €7.50 (€11.50 return)
  • 60+: €6.00 (€9.00 return)
  • Kids (4-13): €4.00 (€6.00 return)

Advice: this method is not recommended for disabled visitors who visit Montserrat nor those with a fear of heights.

Caution: for the return train to Barcelona Aeri de Montserrat station is the second stop so you may be boarding with tons of tourists coming from the funicular. It’s unavoidable but you can increase seat odds by arriving 20-30 minutes early for the train.

The Funicular (La Cremallera)

The cremallera is a type of mini-train (called a ‘rack train’) that’ll bring you all the way up to Montserrat monastery from the foot of the mountain. Prices vary depending on age and season and can be found here. Expect to pay €6.90 (€7.50 high season).

In all the journey takes 20 minutes.

You’ll wind your way up the mountain in a more relaxed way than the cable car though there are still some great views to take in.

The cremallera departs from Monistrol de Montserrat station (one stop after Aeri de Montserrat) and coincides with train arrivals from Barcelona on the R5.

Advice: do not exit the platform/station once you’ve arrived at Monistrol. The cremellera departs from the same platform you arrive (platform 4). Leaving the station could mean paying another ticket to get back in.

Sit on the left hand side for the best views of the mountain and town.

If you’re looking for disabled access this is the transport for you.

Montserrat Tickets Online

As mentioned you’ll save a lot of hassle booking Montserrat tickets from the comfort of your own home rather than juggling multiple ticket machines or practicing your Spanish at ticket windows.

Basic

For the typical visit there’s a great basic all-inclusive ticket offered by Barcelona Turisme.

It’s called Tot Montserrat and it includes:

  • Return bus transport from Barcelona to Montserrat
  • Return trip on the rack railway
  • A full guided tour to the Benedictine Monastery and the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat (aka the Black Madonna)
  • Recital of the hymn to the Virgin, the Virolai, and the Salve by the Escolania de Montserrat
  • A complete guide

At only €50.00 this is a great option because you’ll barely have to give your day trip to Montserrat another thought once you’ve arrived in Spain and it’ll allow you to focus on the other major Barcelona attractions.

EASY MONTSERRAT
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Montserrat Express

For those looking for a quick and easy Montserrat trip Barcelona Turisme has a great offer including:

  • Return train transport to Montserrat from Barcelona.
  • Return rack railway transport up the mountain.
  • A welcome pack/rucksack with a guide to the shrine of Montserrat “Open-air museum”, discount vouchers to use on site, a box of local carquinyolis (biscuit), and a liqueur tasting.
  • An audio guide on the area/monastery.

All of this is only €36.85.

For more information on the tickets with Barcelona Turisme click the button below:

MONTSERRAT EXPRESS
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Premium (Guided Tour of Montserrat + Colonia Guell)

Here you’ll be able to double your fun with a guided tour of both Montserrat and the legendary Utopian village-vision Colonia Guell.

The first stop is Colonia Guell – a 19th century purpose-built village envisioned by the industrialist Eusebio Guell, the man behind Barcelona’s legendary Park Guell.

It was here that Guell moved his textile mill and created a village with the aim of improving workers’ quality of life.

The architect chosen to design the church? None other uber-architect Antoni Gaudi of Sagrada Familia church and Casa Batllo fame. In fact the village is where he plied his trade and became the genius we know. The church (now known as Gaudi’s Crypt) is arguably his first masterpiece.

From here on you’ll move to Montserrat and its famous Benedictine monestary.

The cost of this premium ticket is €63.90 after a 10% online discount and includes:

  • A flesh and blood guide throughout the entire tour (in English)
  • A guided tour of the Gaudi Crypt at Colonia Guell + a glass of cava
  • An informative handbook with extra information on the attractions
  • Admission to Montserrat + funicular
  • An overview tour of Montserrat
  • A guided tour of Escolania of Montserrat (where the choir practices)
  • A performance of the Escolania Boys choir

Children under 8 go free with a paying adult.

Tours leave Plaça Catalunya at 8:30 am from El Corte Ingles department store (return at 5 pm).

To get more information on the tour click the button below to be transported to Barcelona Turisme:

MONTSERRAT PREMIUM TOUR
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Tour hours:

  • November 12th to April 7th 2019: Monday and Friday
  • April 8th 2019 to November 11th 2019: Daily except Sunday

Tours return to Plaça Catalunya for 5:oo pm

Montserrat Hacks

  • Allocate 4-6 hours to visit Montserrat properly
  • The earlier you arrive the less chance you’ll be lining up for things
  • Avoid your day trip on public holidays due to crowds
  • Always check Barcelona weather beforehand to dress accordingly
  • Double check the last train departures to Barcelona or you’ll have a long walk back!
  • Bring your own lunch to save money
  • Just past the funicular station there’s a convenience store to buy snacks and drinks for your hike
  • Bring a good pair of shoes and leave the flip-flops at home
  • Try the Aromes de Montserrat liquor (a 12 herb liquor invented by the monks)
  • Women must have their shoulders covered and dresses below the knee at the basilica
  • Believe it or not there are pickpockets in the area so be on your guard

Get at Me in the Comments Below

If you’ve got any more questions about maximizing your visit to Montserrat that haven’t been answered make sure you harass me in the comments below 😉

Also, have I missed anything? Could I do something better? Make sure to write me below and I’ll be sure to put things right.

41 comments
  • September 16, 2019 at 1:16 am
    Martha Jolly
    Hi Ash, Are tickets required to hear the choir? Ans if so, can they be purchased at Montserrat or better yet in advance? We’d like to hear the choir but would like to arrive at Montserrat earlier than it sounds like we’d arrive if we buy the premium tout. Also, is the return time on the deluxe tour set or is it possible to just catch a return train whenever (before the last departure, of course)? Great stuff here and on the general Barcelona blog - thank you! Martha J
  • September 15, 2019 at 9:30 am
    Julia
    Hi Ash, thanks for such a helpful guide. I am going to Barcelona in November and was wondering what the weather conditions would be like for visiting Montserrat at that time of year? Thanks, Julia.
    • September 15, 2019 at 12:01 pm
      pietro
      Team Member
      Pedro
      Hi Julia, november can depend but if you'll be in a sunny week you can go at Montserrat for sure!
      • September 15, 2019 at 2:16 pm
        Julia
        Thank you Pedro.
  • July 23, 2019 at 8:30 am
    James
    Hi Ash, We want to book the Deluxe package for a trip today or tomorrow. Do we need to print the order to show to collect tickets or can we show on our smart phone? Also how long will it take Barcelona Turisme to process. Many thanks James
    • July 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi James, Indeed, you'll be given a voucher code and asked to pick up your ticket package at the Barcelona Tourisme information points at either FGC (Catalan Railway) station in Plaça Espanya (daily from 8am to 2pm) or in Plaça Catalunya (daily from 8.30am to 8.30pm). The voucher, which can be shown on a mobile, is sent immediately on purchase with all the relevant pick up info. Cheers, Ash
  • June 21, 2019 at 9:27 pm
    roberta falk
    Hi ash, I relied on your information for barcelona sites. Do you get credit from these various establishments if we order from you? I purchased sagrada familia etc from your site. I'd like to keep pushing any activity your way. thanks
    • June 22, 2019 at 12:02 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Roberta, Some of the links provided offer affiliate commissions while others do not... my goal is only to offer links that have the lowest possible prices for tourists (in my newly launched web shop for example) so in the event I have the possibility to make some money to cover server costs but the price is too high, I simply refer people to the official channels. At any rate thanks so much for this! Buying from here does help me a lot so if that's something you want to keep doing, I won't stop you ;) Ash
      • June 30, 2019 at 7:41 pm
        ROBERTA FALK
        Hi ash, I was about to get the deluxe trip to Monserrat and noticed the colonial quell and Monserrat tour. It doesnt say what they will be driving. Is it an air conditioned vehicle? Would you say going on our own by train would give us more time for Monserrat? We're not going to hike way up. Or does this guided tour take us to the top of monserrat plus get us into museum. and do we pack our own lunch? If we do decide on the doing the train route. When it says metro to and from Catalyn does that mean a bus from our hotel?
        • July 1, 2019 at 10:29 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Hi Roberta, It is a fully air conditioned modern bus with the combo tour with Colonia Guell, so not to worry! The tour takes you to the top (as far as you need for the attractions) and you get a tour of the area and the Escolania of Montserrat. This does not include a lunch. The deluxe tour does however include lunch. If you're going independently the metro refers to the two single metro tickets you'll receive in the package... which you can use to get to Plaça Espanya train station from your hotel or wherever else you are coming from. It's where you'll get the train to Montserrat. Ash
  • April 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm
    Peggy G Gustafson
    Great site, thanks. RE The Basic All-inclusive pass: The site doesn't ask for a date. Am I missing something or is it open ended that way?
    • April 25, 2019 at 9:02 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Peggy, Indeed, this basic pass includes open tickets for everything and they are not time dependent. Ash
  • April 23, 2019 at 5:46 pm
    Cleo Sims
    Hello, thank you for your time and help! We only can go this Sat or Sunday April 27/28 to visit Montserrat. Will there be plenty of tickets if we wait to buy them in Barcelona on either the morning of 27th or 28th ? Can we buy them there on Friday the 26th and what time does the ticket counter close? We plan on taking the train and don't know if we will take the aeri or cremallera. Where is the best place to buy them on Sat or Sunday morning?
    • April 24, 2019 at 11:42 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Cleo, Are you referring to the ticket packages or just buying all the stuff individually as you go? With Montserrat I have never heard of anything selling out, even the ticket packages... keep in mind the first two packages above are not timed tickets and are simply access to commuter train lines which serve a huge population of people. You should be fine buying day of... or even showing up to buy at the machines at Plaça Espanya. Either one is fine for me. Ash
  • April 4, 2019 at 2:21 am
    Julie
    Ash, Once again, let me say how extraordinarily helpful this guide is. We are in the final planning stages of our trip in May and I have a question about Montserrat. Usually, I am a do it yourself person, but I found an all day tour by a company called Castle Experience that includes transportation, a guided tour of Montserrat, lunch at a local winery/country club and a winery tour for about 95 Euro (10 hours). Have you heard of this company? Reputable? Any discount coupons if yes to the previous you could share. Looking forward to your valuable advice. Julie
    • April 4, 2019 at 9:06 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Julie, Thank you so much for the kind words on the blog, I am so happy to help :) Honestly I've never heard of this company... Montserrat is kind of new territory for me so I haven't been too ambitious on the collaborations etc. I am playing it safe with the Barcelona Turisme offer above. That said, after looking at it on Tripadvisor they have a 5 star rating with over 2000 reviews so I wouldn't be afraid :) Ash
  • March 30, 2019 at 8:09 pm
    Bill
    Hello Ash, Thanks for the all the useful information. I was checking your recommended basic all-inclusive ticket offered by Barcelona Turisme link (Trans Montserrat). After purchasing this ticket, it looks like I will still need to go to either Placa Catalunya or Placa Espanya to claim the actual ticket. Can this be done the day before we plan on going, or does this need to be claimed the day of our visit to Montesserat? The reason I ask is that we will be staying near Placa Catalunya and their office doesn't open until 8:30am. We were hoping to take the 8:36am R5 from Placa Espanya to Montserrat, so will certainly be leaving Placa Catalunya before this office opens that morning. Hope this question makes sense? Also this ticket includes two metro tickets? Can this be used any time? Of course if we can claim the ticket ahead of time, we would like to use these metro tickets for the round trip metro from Placa Catalunya to Placa Espanya. But if we cannot, can we save them to use at another time? thanks for any insight you can offer, Bill
    • March 31, 2019 at 12:24 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Bill, Thanks for writing in :) There won't be any problems whatsoever picking up the tickets the day before... that said, it will be impossible for you to use one of the metro tickets to get to Plaça Espanya... but to my knowledge the metro tickets loaded are open tickets and not dependent on time or direction so you should be able to use them for other rides on the trip. Ash
  • November 9, 2018 at 5:41 pm
    Jeanne
    Hi Ash! I have another question. Is it possible to take the Aeri up and the Cremallera back down...or vise versa? We would like to experience both and would be willing to pay extra if it can be done. Thanks, Jeanne
    • November 10, 2018 at 10:44 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Jeanne, You're certainly free to do that but just make sure you don't get one of those combined tickets which my get you a return ticket on one of them, because you'll be spending money for nothing! Grab individual tickets and you'll be fine :) Ash
      • November 10, 2018 at 5:19 pm
        Jeanne
        Thanks :)
  • November 7, 2018 at 12:58 pm
    Jasmine
    Hi Ash, My husband and I are travelling to Spain/Portugal after Christmas and will be spending 3.5 days in Barcelona in January. Have found your blog very helpful so far, thank you for sharing. I was thinking of taking a day trip to Montserrat but wondering how it'd be like in winter - will it still be possible to do the walks, or will there be snow/slippery? Kind regards, Jasmine
    • November 7, 2018 at 3:30 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Jasmine, Thanks so much for the kind words :) Winter has its advantages as typically lines are much shorter - also since you're still around the Med the weather is usually cooperative as far as clear skies. I haven't heard of any people slipping etc. but I've heard with the wind that it can get quite cold so make sure you dress accordingly. Also note that the cable car departs later in the morning than usual. You should still be able to enjoy the typical walks and the monastery/boy's choir though... I would recommend this on a sunny winter day for sure! Ash
      • November 9, 2018 at 9:00 am
        Jasmine
        Thanks Ash, I think we will stick to the plan to visit Montserrat then. Just a few more questions if you wouldn't mind. At the moment my plan roughly is: 9 Jan: Arrive in Barcelona from Granada at 2pm. Have yet to book accommodation but I'm thinking Gracia/Eixample areas based on what I've read so far, so will probably take the AeroBus from airport. After check in explore Las Ramblas. 10 Jan: Casa Batllo. Walk pass Casa Mila (closed). Old Gothic Quarter and El Born areas. I've booked dinner at Hisop as it will be our wedding anniversary. If you have any better suggestions please feel free to share. 11 Jan: Sagrada Familia, Recinte Modernista de Sant Pau, Park Guell. 12 Jan: Montserrat. Is it better to see Casa Batllo in the morning (with the daylight), or should we visit in the evening on the first day? The English tour of Sagrada Familia that you mentioned in your article, they run at 12pm or 2pm. Do you think then we should go to Park Guell in the morning, then do the tour at 2pm? Any suggestions for the afternoon of 10 Jan? Or should we go to Park Guell then? I thought of seeing Montjuic but we're not big history or art fans so I'm not sure if there will be anything of interest. Unfortunately the magic fountain will be closed. My husband watches football but he doesn't really care to do the stadium tour. Based on my above plan so far it seems like none of the passes will be worth it, do you agree? Sorry for so many questions and once again thank you for your help! :)
        • November 9, 2018 at 9:40 am
          ashley
          Team Member
          Ash
          Hi Jasmine, I would rather see Casa Batllo in the evening, maybe around dawn since the lighting at night is really quite spectacular. My two cents. As for the dinner I've heard great things about Hisop so I can't really fault you for that. For me Park Guell is better either really early in the morning for fresh/cool air with less people and better lighting or later in the evening. In your case I'd try and get there around opening time/9 am and then you'd have enough time for transport and lunch getting back to Sagrada Familia. The 2 pm tour gives you lots of time. Perfect. For the afternoon of the 10th why not check out one of the city's museums? The CCCB would be great if you're into more modern stuff, not so much art focused. You should also definitely go for a little stroll along the beach and try a vermut or some sangria. You could fit in one of these before heading to Casa Batllo. Another option would be to take a stroll through the Born area because it's got great local boutique shopping and some really cool squares and cafes. As for the passes if you're not into the Bus Turistic I wouldn't book the City Pass but just book everything individually. Just make sure you book in advance online for best prices and ability to skip the lines. I've got all the links to purchase on one page more or less. If you purchase using these links (still the best price) I get a little kick back on each ticket that helps me to grow this resource, host the site etc. Thank you! Ash
          • November 10, 2018 at 12:53 am
            Jasmine
            Thank you for your advice and time. I'll look into your suggestions and will use your links to prebook tickets :)
            • November 10, 2018 at 10:45 am
              ashley
              Team Member
              Ash
              no problem Jasmine! :)
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