Located in the Catalonian region of Spain just outside of Barcelona, Montserrat is a stunning mountain range that offers breathtaking views and plenty of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy. In this guide, we will share a detailed Barcelona to Montserrat day itinerary with all the possible transportation options to help plan your journey.
Montserrat brings in cultural and natural delights with ease at the top of the mountains.
Day Trip from Barcelona to Montserrat: Day Trip Itinerary Guide
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Montserrat, located just an hour away from Barcelona, is a spectacular mountain range and monastery that cannot be missed! With its breathtaking views, vibrant culture, and landmarks, Montserrat has long been a popular destination for tourists looking to explore the Catalan region.
You can enjoy hiking trails amidst unspoiled nature, take in the magnificent views of the Sanctuary of Montserrat, and explore the religious history of this unique mountain range. The monastery is home to a basilica, museums, and a cafe.
In addition to that, you will find a winery and more museums in the area.
How to get from Barcelona to Montserrat Spain
Where is Montserrat located?
The road distance to Montserrat from Barcelona is 58.5 km (36.5 miles). It is located northwest of Barcelona, via A-2.
The nearest airport to Montserrat is located in Barcelona – Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN).
You can get to Montserrat in a variety of ways – from using public transportation like trains, cable cars, and buses to guided tours, private transfers (taxis), and by driving yourself.
It will take about one to one and a half hours to get to Montserrat, making it one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona.
Best Montserrat Barcelona Tours | Visiting Montserrat on a guided tour
One of the most popular ways to experience Montserrat is to take a guided tour that includes multiple with a local expert. There are tours available with varying duration – you can book a full-day tour or a half-day excursion.
Because you can join either a full or a half-day tour, it makes it easy to blend into your Barcelona itinerary. It is also possible to book a combo tour of Montserrat and other attractions such as Sagrada Familia, and Girona.
Typically, on these guided tours you will arrive at a meeting place where the tour operator and guide will pick you up and take you to Montserrat.
Duration is the same as driving – around one hour (because visitors will be arriving at a meeting place it saves time).
To experience the best of Montserrat with religious sites and wine and dining, then a full-day tour lasting 9 to 10 hours is what you need! This small group tour takes you sightseeing at the Montserrat National Park and the highlights of the Sanctuary.
After visiting the Abbey and the museum, you will explore wineries nearby. The excursion also includes a multi-course meal and 3 premium wine tastings.
Quickly, this is what is covered,
☑ Round trip transportation from Barcelona
☑ Montserrat’s National Park and Sanctuary
☑ Multi-course meal
☑ Guided visit to the wineries (3 premium wines)
☑ Small group full-day tour (9 to 10 hours)
Half-day tours are a great way to explore Montserrat from Barcelona. You can choose from a morning guided tour or one that takes off in the late afternoon/evening.
As part of the half day tour, a visit to the monastery is included, which is one of Spain’s most important pilgrimage sites for Catholics. And at a minimum, you will have time to enjoy a short hike and hang out at the cafe and souvenir shop.
Typically these guided tours last 5 hours, and of course, it includes round trip transportation and the following,
☑ Tickets to see “Black Madonna”
☑ Main landmarks covered with a local guide
☑ Free time to explore on your own
Barcelona to Montserrat by Car
You can rent a car in Barcelona and drive to Montserrat. The driving distance is 58.5 km (36.5 miles) and will take about 50+ minutes in normal traffic.
We recommend adding extra time when you are starting in the late afternoon when traffic could be high/busy.
Once you arrive in Montserrat, you can park your car for free at the Rack railway station, and then ride the cable car for a fee. You can also drive to the monastery and park your vehicle there.
You can park your vehicle at the
- Cremallera de Monistrol Vila Rack railway station (free). Disabled parking spaces are available
- Monserrat Monastery (free for the first 30 minutes, then €6.50 per day). Open 24 hours
Private car transfer from Barcelona to Montserrat (Taxi)
If you prefer flexibility, but do not wish to drive by yourself then private car transfers like taking the uber are possible.
The journey duration is about 50 minutes. This is one of the quickest ways to get from Barcelona to Montserrat. The cost of a taxi ride is about 90+ euros, one way.
You can easily find a taxi from your Barcelona hotel or city centre. Most tourist attractions and bus stops will also have taxis available.
Once you are in Montserrat take the time to explore the monastery and other sites, and then return when you are done.
Keep in mind that there are no taxi stands at Montserrat Monastery. So you will have to either call a taxi company or set it up prior so that they can come to pick you up.
Trains from Barcelona to Montserrat
Regular trains are available to take you to Montserrat from Barcelona. You can catch a train from Plaça Espanya to Barcelona.
Use the earliest metro ride to get to the Placa Espanya stop. Allot enough time to find the R5 line platform for Montserrat.
The signs are not very clear or obvious for Montserrat, but as you pass through the underground metro exit, you will see signs for the R5 trains.
You can book train tickets at the station in Plaça Espanya at a kiosk or counter.
Train route overview:
- Take the train to Placa Espanya
- Look for the R5 line to get to Aeri de Montserrat (at the foot of the mountain) or near the Monastery (Monistrol Montserrat)
- The journey will take about an hour. Round-trip transportation tickets cost €11.50 euros
- Once you reach either of the mountain stations (Aeri or Monistrol) you have to get on the cable car or funicular ride to the top
Two options when booking the train tickets:
There are two train route options to get to Montserrat. They are
- Aeri Montserrat (Cable Car): This ticket includes a cable car ride from the foot of the mountain to Montserrat. You will arrive at the cable car station using the R5 line
- Monistrol Montserrat (Rack railway Cremallera Funicular): This ticket includes a funicular ride to the Benedictine Monk monastery. You will ride the same R5 line but get off at the next stop – Monistrol de Montserrat
When you buy your ticket ensure you pick your desired way to get to the Montserrat Monastery – cable car or funicular – as you won’t be allowed to change later. The costs are the same for both tickets.
- If you want to use the cable car ride > choose the Aeri ticket (amazing scenic views)
- Or if you wish to ride the funicular > opt for the Cremallera ticket
Depending on the chosen ride and ticket, your get-off stop will be different.
Note: Not only the ticket price but the name/route on both tickets are also the same so it is important to specify when you buy it.
Both the cable car and the funicular rides will allow you to enjoy the scenery from above. It takes you up to the summit of Montserrat, offering incredible views along the way.
Barcelona to Montserrat Train available packages
There are 2 ticket packages available for sightseeing and transportation in Montserrat. These tickets cover the train, cable/funicular ride along with Sant Joan funicular and Montserrat museum and exhibition as well.
Trans Montserrat Ticket
Trans Montserrat ticket is a popular train ticket option for most visitors on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat. In this package, you have round-trip tickets from
- Placa d’Espanya (metro ride),
- Barcelona metro station to the Monistrol de Montserrat stop (R5 line),
- ticket on the rack railway or cable car (choose one option),
- use of the Saint Joan funicular for hiking rails, and
- access to the Monserrat exhibition
TOT Montserrat Ticket
The TOT Montserrat ticket has more options. It includes all the above options plus
- entry to the Montserrat Museum, and
- a meal in the self-service Montserrat restaurant.
Barcelona to Montserrat Train Schedule
Trains run every hour to either of the railway stations near Monserrat.
Yes, there are direct trains available from Barcelona to Montserrat.
The distance from Barcelona and Montserrat Rack Railway is around 48 km (29.8 miles).
You can make the entire trip from Barcelona El Prat airport to Montserrat.
Take the Aerobus shuttle bus service from either terminal 1 or 2 of the Airport. These buses stop at Plaça España.
Get down at this bus stop, and then take the train to Montserrat. Once you are at the base of the mountain take the cable car or funicular ride to the monastery.
Barcelona from Montserrat by Bus
There are buses available to take you from Barcelona to Monserrat. It takes about one hour and 25 minutes to get there.
These buses are operated by Autocars Julia, and they are a direct route.
Bus tickets are 5.10 euros per person. You can hop on the bus near the Barcelona Sants station.
One thing to note is that there is only one scheduled bus per day on the Barcelona to Montserrat route. Do factor this in, as you depart in the morning, and return to Barcelona in the evening.
The earliest bus leaves Barcelona at 09:15 am and departs from Montserrat at 05:00 pm. We recommend checking the Julia Bus Website for the current schedule.
Things to do in Montserrat Spain
There are enough things to fill your one day in Montserrat with a mix of religious visits, hikes and amazing sights all the way.
Those wanting to spend a night or two overnight, can also embark on longer trails, spend time at the museum and attend the church choir!
We will share all the cool things to do in Montserrat here,
1. Abbey of Montserrat
Nestled atop the picturesque Montserrat mountain is Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey – a spiritual home to over 70 resident Benedictine monks since its founding in the 11th century.
In addition to their religious work, the monks also produce art and music, which can be heard every day at the Abbey.
This revered monastery has been meticulously remodeled between the 19th and 20th centuries, yet continues its ancient traditions enshrining the beloved image of the Virgin of Montserrat.
Visitors are welcome to enjoy the peaceful monastic atmosphere and observe the daily activities of the monks.
The Abbey is also home to a museum that showcases many important religious artifacts, including many works of art, and the oldest-running publishing house.
It is an amazing place to visit and an important part of Spain’s history. You can enjoy a guided tour, learn more about its art and architecture, observe the daily activities of the monks, and explore its rich cultural heritage.
2. Museum of Montserrat
The Museum of Montserrat is an art museum that is home to 6 permanent and 2 temporary exhibitions. This is one section that is often missed by day trippers or those on a guided tour.
But the museums have a treasure trove of many biblical and artistic exhibits. Inside the museum, you will find
- works of Catalonia artists like Santiago Rusiñol, Isidre Nonell, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Antoni Tàpies (Catalan Painting and Sculpture from the 19th and 20th centuries)
- It also includes artwork from painters such as El Greco, Caravaggio, and Pedro Berruguete, to name a few (Paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries)
- Other modern artists include Pablo Picasso and Darío de Regoyos. You will also find works of many European impressionist and neo-impressionist movements including French impressionism
- There are exhibits of the biblical East, brought from Egypt, Cyprus, and Mesopotamia (Archaeology of the Biblical Middle East)
- The iconography of Our Lady of Montserrat showcases the images of the Black Madonna over the years
- Collection of gold and silver works from over the years (Goldsmithery Liturgical Objects)
No photography or videography is allowed in museums. And the entry fee is 8 euros per adult (for all museum access). You can also add an audio guide for an extra fee.
3. Basilica of Montserrat | Basilica De Montserrat
The Basilica of Montserrat is a spectacularly beautiful church located at the peak of Montserrat. This is the heart of everything that Montserrat is known for.
It was built in Gothic design with many Renaissance and Catalonian elements.
The Basilica is home to several impressive works of art and architecture, including the statue of “Our Lady of Montserrat” which is also known as the Black Madonna. This sculpture has been venerated since the late 10th century and is believed to have miraculous powers that can heal any ailment.
The Black Madonna is located at the back of the church, where the altar is. In and around the church there are multiple chapels that you can visit.
The Basilica is open all hours. You can explore its magnificent architecture, observe the daily activities of the monks, and even attend Mass.
Additionally, many tours are available nearby that allow visitors to learn more about the history, culture, and spiritual significance of the Basilica.
Access is free. You can give a donation to the Monastery, if interested!
4. Montserrat Hot-Air Balloon Ride
Beyond the monastery, one of the coolest things to do in Montserrat is to go on a hot air balloon ride and soak in the views of the mountains and its unique attractions.
This unique experience includes round-trip transportation from Barcelona to Montserrat and then you get to ride on a hot-air balloon.
The ride is for an hour, during which you can check out the needle-shaped formations of Montserrat, and many other spectacular landscapes in Catalonia.
After flying you can also add a guided tour of the Benedictine Abbey, and learn about the history of this revered religious institution.
Depending on the season and timetable, you can also enjoy a performance of the boys’ choir singing.
The tour concludes with a typical Catalan dessert mel i mató (cheese drizzled with honey) tasting from one of the local farmers. Book this amazing day tour (6 hours) here
5. Hiking in the Montserrat mountains
Another popular guided tour of Montserrat is a hike through the stunning landscape, up to the summit, and back down again. This experience allows visitors to explore the breathtaking views, take in incredible nature, and discover hidden gems along the way.
On this tour, you will get to explore the village of Montserrat and enjoy a hike in the Montserrat National Park. You will get to travel on the Sant Joan funicular. And of course, the visit to the monastery is included.
It is recommended to do this with a professional guide, as the terrain can be quite challenging.
The tour will usually include stops at various points of interest along the way, so visitors can get an in-depth look into the region’s unique culture and history.
Note: Without a guided tour, make a note to start early for your day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona, plus you will need a ticket to ride the Sant Joan funicular to get to various trailheads in the Montserrat mountain range.
6. Sant Jeroni hiking trail
Sant Jeroni is said to be one of the easiest hikes to embark on, in Montserrat. It has an elevation gain of 525 metres (1722 feet) and is the highest point of the mountains.
The trail has well-marked walking paths and promised gorgeous views all the way up to the Pyrenees.
The trailhead can be accessed using the Sant Joan funicular and completing the hike will take you about an hour and 10 minutes.
7. Santa Cova de Montserrat | Monastery Santa Cova Chapel visit
Known as the Holy Grotto, the Santa Cova is one of the most revered places to visit in Montserrat. It is believed that this is where the image of the Virgin Mary was sighted (text reference was made in the 13th century). And now it has been moved to the Basilica.
When you visit the Santa Cova, you can also step inside the Chapel of Holy Grotto, which dates back to the 17th century. Here you will also find another smaller chapel in the form of a cross and supported by the mountain rock.
Other architectural elements of the Holy Grotto include a cloister, a garden, and a resting place for monks.
Keep in mind that the Holy Grotto and the Monastery of Montserrat are not located in the same complex.
The Holy Grotto is situated at a lower level than the monstery/basilica. It is possible to hike to the Grotto. Alternatively, you can hop on the Santa Cova Funicular and then walk a bit to get to the Chapel.
Just like the Basilica, the Holy Grotto is also always open.
8. Attend the choir in Montserrat
One of the coolest things to witness at the Basilica of Montserrat is the Boy’s Choir. Dating back to 1223, the L’Escolania Choir is a well-known musical tradition in Montserrat.
About 50 boys (seven years and above) sing in the Choir. These young singers are trained to perform in concerts across the world while gaining education in Montserrat.
They sing counterpoint and Gregorian chanting, and the performances take place every day at 01:00 pm and 06:45 pm (except during the Christmas holidays and during the month of July).
Where to stay in Montserrat | Hotels and accommodation
It is possible to stay overnight in Montserrat surrounded by gorgeous mountain views.
You can choose from affordable hostels to homestays and apartments. Many suites will offer rooms with views and access to sites, hikes, and beautiful scenery.
- Agulles Montserrat Apartaments turístics: These apartments offer a comfortable stay for a night or two. You can choose a room with mountain views and go on walks and hikes from the property. Check availability here
- Hostal Abat Cisneros: Located in the heart of Montserrat, you can easily access trails, restaurants, and sightseeing attractions from the hostel. It is an affordable option when planning an overnight stay in Montserrat. Hostal Abat Cisneros also offers (paid) airport shuttle and free wifi. Book your stay here
How do you dress for Montserrat?
When visiting religious sites such as the Basilica and the Monsterery, ensure you are wearing proper clothing, and avoid tank tops, strapless shirts or blouses, shorts, or sandals.
We visited the Basilica first and then went out for a hike.
Don’t forget to wear comfortable walking or hiking shoes all throughout your day trip.
Best time to visit Montserrat
The best to visit Montserrat for hiking is during the warmer months. Late spring and early fall days also work very well. We also recommend visiting during the weekdays (Monday to Friday) to beat the weekend rush.
Because the Basilica is open 24/7, you can also visit in the evening to see the sites in peace, without a lot of crowds. Afternoon tours are available for that, or you can also drive there yourself.
We hope you found our travel guide on Montserrat useful in planning your upcoming day trip!
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