Ash
Written by Ash

Barcelona to Montserrat Day Trip Guide + 11 Local Tips

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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
  • October 3, 2018 at 8:35 pm
    Chris
    Hey there, I'll be heading to Barcelona in a few weeks and wondered about doing a combo Montserrat and wine or cava tour - can you provide any good recommendations? Thanks, Chris
    • October 4, 2018 at 11:58 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Chris, I unfortunately haven't been on one myself nor heard of anybody taking such a trip (strange, eh?) but I would tend to trust the Barcelona Turisme website for the quality of their recommendations and tours. The Montserrat Food and Wine tour might get you going in the right direction. Cheers, Ash
  • September 17, 2018 at 8:28 am
    lisa
    Hi, We are a family of 5 traveling first week in April 2019. Do you think it will be more cost effective and convenient for us to rent a car and drive up to the monastery than buy all the train tickets, cable tickets, etc to get there? If we took the car all the way to the top, does that mean we will skip the hikes and cable car up the mountain? Would that take away from the experience? Or would we still enjoy the great views inside the car going up as well?
    • September 17, 2018 at 9:38 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Lisa, Without knowing what exactly you plan to see up there I can only compare it to a very basic ticket package, in this case the one that's €35.30. I don't know if you have any children under 4 but they would go free... assuming 4-5 people pay the full package we're looking at a minimum of €140. You could indeed rent a car for cheaper than this. As for the cable car and the views... naturally, taking this type of transport straight up the side of a mountain provides a much more dramatic and visual experience than winding your way up in a car. If you're really looking for that impact trip, which is a tremendous experience in itself, I would opt for this. However, if it's not a big deal for you and you're more interested in saving a bit of money I'd go for the car option. Ash
  • August 21, 2018 at 4:35 am
    MT
    Hi Ash, Firstly, I just want to say how amazing your website is!! Very easy to navigate, lots of great content - it's becoming my main source in my Barcelona research :) I am heading there end of September for 5 and a half days with my boyfriend. One of the day trips we want to take is to Montserrat. I'm thinking of buying the basic all-inclusive ticket (website cost is 35.30 euros) and noticed it's the same cost for both the cable car and rack train. Which option do you suggest for us to take since it's same cost. We are a couple in our late 20s and we also want to do some hiking trails there. Thank you!
    • August 21, 2018 at 9:26 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi MT, Thanks so much for the kind words on the site, I am very glad to help :) As for the difference between the two options, cable car is much steeper, more exciting, and faster. The rack train is a more chill version, takes slightly longer (it's only 15 minutes' difference so quite negligible though), and is less steep. I wouldn't worry about either one having a big affect on the outcome of the day... but I'd simply choose which seems more appealing from a tourist standpoint. The views are amazing with both. Ash
  • July 12, 2018 at 3:00 am
    Mariana Maghames
    Your website is AMAZING !I am visiting barcelonaa and your site was very useful to me ! Keep up the great work and thanksss
    • July 12, 2018 at 9:47 am
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Mariana, Thank you so much for the compliments Mariana! :) Ash
  • March 31, 2018 at 8:26 pm
    Karen Bradshaw
    Hi Ash WOW, spents hours reading your blog. Fabulous!!! Weve been before but need advice of when/how to fit in our bucket list for Barca, for our 25th Anniversary. Now we have more questions than answers!!! Arrive Gerona Airport 19.30 Sat 26/5/18. Depart 15.40 Gerona Wed 30/5/18. Staying on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, not far from Estacio Nord. Looks like we will miss the dancing waters Saturday night at Montjuic. Really wanted to see those.Such a shame its not on another night of our stay. Sunday what to do??? We were looking/booking tickets independently before i read about The Barcelona City pass. Now im thinking this might be our best option. But which days sun/mon or mon/tues or just one day bus turistic?, weve used the bus turistic before. Really would love to fit in day at Monserrat, is Sunday the best option or not for this. Need to fit in Sagrada F, Parc Guell...my favourite place, sorry to see its under part construction. La Pedera & Casa Batllo(which both look walkable to,from our hotel.) Looking for your advise Many thanks Karen
    • March 31, 2018 at 10:05 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Karen, I see you posted this here as well and just wanted to respond to make sure you got my Facebook message :) Cheers, Ash
  • March 26, 2018 at 2:54 am
    Cherie
    Hi Ash, Fabulous information! You ARE really great! My dear friend and I will be visiting Barcelona several days prior to our 12 day Italy cruise. We are staying at the Hotel Colon de la cathedral. I think there is a metro close that we would take to Place Espanya headed to the wonderful Montserrat! Looks like your advice is to purchase the day trip ticket. This will be our 2nd day adventure allowing the entire day to take all of it in. Our first day arriving, if travel goes well, we will be arriving 11:00 am and hopefully after arriving at the Hotel from BCN we will try to visit the Sagrada Famila Temple? Do you have advice on Gothic Sorter, La Becca Ria Market or Spanis Village? Any restaurant reccomendations or advice? Again, your site is really great! Looking forward to our visit in the last week of May! Hugs, Cherie
    • March 26, 2018 at 4:17 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Cherie, Thanks so much for the kudos, YOU are really great too ;) Let's see, arriving at 11:00 am should leave you more than enough time to get checked in and then go to the Sagrada Familia (I mean, you have to! It's like going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum)... just make sure you buy your tickets in advance or the long lines could end up putting a wrench in your plans. As far as the Gothic Quarter, La Boqueria, and Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village) go I have articles dedicated to both of them that are full of advice, discount ticket links etc. so I suggest you read them if you haven't: https://www.barcelonahacks.com/gothic-quarter-barcelona/ https://www.barcelonahacks.com/poble-espanyol/ https://www.barcelonahacks.com/la-boqueria-market-barcelona/ If you're a morning person I suggest getting up early and going for breakfast at La Boqueria Market, specifically at the restaurant Pinotxo or El Quim de la Boqueria. The Gothic Quarter is where you'll be staying so I suggest checking out the Cathedral and surrounding square... you'll have to dodge a lot of tourist trap restaurants in the area but for a great brunch try out Milk Bar & Bistro, a great seafood lunch can be had at La Paradeta, and my favourite Italian restaurant in the city is Sports Bar (bad name, amazing pizzas). Anyway, if you need something a little more custom/specific please let me know! Enjoy your holiday :) Ash
  • January 10, 2018 at 1:07 am
    Alicia
    Hi Ash I enjoy reading your informative and entertaining comments. My hubby and I (both 65years) are going to Barcelona from Madrid by train after our Spain/Portugal tour, arriving Barcelona in May 13 Sunday around 11am staying in Villa Emilia until 14 May then leaving on 15th May to El Prat airport. We only have 1 and a half days to see Barcelona. What places would you recommend? We are interested in doing a guided tour of Sagrada Familia and Montserrat and probably the Parc Guell and Casa Batlo if we have time. Is it worth getting a Barcelona city pass for discounts? What guided bus tour would you recommend that includes Montserrat (one that doesn't involve too much walking and hiking as we both had joint surgery) and Sagrada Familia on a Monday? Is Sagrada Familia too crowded on Sunday afternoons, we're thinking of going there maybe Sun pm or Mon. Thank you.
    • January 10, 2018 at 8:59 pm
      ashley
      Team Member
      Ash
      Hi Alicia, First off thanks for writing in and thank you for your compliments :) Let me say that I don't know anybody who has gone on a guided bus tour that includes Sagrada Familia and Montserrat. So I can't comment about that, only that it would save money booking both independently. With your 4 main attractions it is doable in 1.5 days but it'll have to be done fairly briskly. On the day of your arrival I would check into the hotel and head straight for Casa Batllo. Spend a couple hours there then head up to Park Guell to get the sunset... it'll be spectacular. The next day I would head to Montserrat early following my instructions... if you leave around 8 or 9 am you'll be back for 4 or 5 easily... then you can slot in to a Monday evening Sagrada tour which will be less crowded. The City Pass is your best option. Other passes are more tailored to people spending 48+ hours in the city. The great thing about the City Pass is that in addition to saving you so much time on the bookings, guaranteeing you spots, giving you Sagrada and Park Guell, and saving money... in your case it'll give you a chance to see a lot more on day one. The Bus Turistic (included) can be used for transport on day one as it does connect Park Guell and Casa Batllo, it'll take you to a ton of places in between and on limited time that's a god send. Also for people who don't want to do a lot of walking it's the perfect option. Once you get it they'll send you a 20% huge discount package and that will include some Montserrat options. Make sure to take a good look. Anyway, hope that has been a help. Let me know if you have any more questions :) Ash
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