Montserrat Monastery and Natural Park

The best day trip from Barcelona

Man taking a picture of Montserrat mountain range near Barcelona.

A day trip is ideal for those who look for a fun countryside city break from Barcelona. Boost your travel experience with a Montserrat Monastery and Natural Park tour.

Barcelona, our favorite city, doesn’t need introduction. The most vibrant and best city of Spain for its Mediterranean lifestyle, Barcelona ranks among the top cities to visit in Europe. Regardless the cool atmosphere, many visitors are looking for a place to relax and explore the countryside of Catalonia. For them, an excursion to Montserrat, a tour into the Monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat and a hike is our best suggestion.

The view of the Montserrat monastery during a walking tour of Montserrat hill.
The monastery, over the clouds.

What is considered the holiest and most emblematic mountain of Catalonia is a tempting scene-changer for a day tour. An extremely popular stunning site of natural beauty in the region, for many it’s an once in a lifetime journey. An absolutely unique natural setting: breathtaking rock formations and the enticing Mediterranean scents and colors. As a result, it’s one of the most photographed places in Spain just an hour away from city center, airport and cruise ship port in Barcelona.

The altar inside of the Monastery of Montserrat church.
The altar of Montserrat chuch.

Why is Montserrat so famous then? 

Geologically, the formation of Montserrat dates back some 45 million years ago. Its unique natural setting is the result of mass movements of land and water that shaped the local landscape. It’s a rocky range with many peaks. This unique characteristic gave the name “Montserrat”, which in Catalan translates as “serrated mountain.” It has very distinct rock formations, composed of conglomerate of sedimentary rock. 

MONTSERRAT’S AMAZING MULTI-PEAKED ROCK FORMATIONS SEEN FROM ABOVE

As a result, the land was exposed to air, leaving the formation of rocks to suffer the effects of the weather. Over the course of the next few million years, the rainwater carved shapes into the rock we see today. The rock was soft compared to the stone, producing the incredible system of curves and peaks that is Montserrat today. 

Iconic cable car ride of Montserrat monastery near Barcelona.
The iconic cable car to the monastery.

But how Montserrat became a site full of sacred meanings? 

Legend has it that in the year 880 aC, shepherd children saw lights and heard songs coming from the mountain. They traced the activity to a cave, where they found a statue dubbed “La Moreneta”, “the Black Madonna”. Called Black because of its darker look. The monastery quickly became a pilgrim magnet. The small wooden Virgin of Montserrat is behind protective glass in the Montserrat basilica. Inside the royal orb she cradles in her hand is exposed, ready to receive the venerating touch of the faithful. Montserrat has a library with over 300,000 volumes, many of them from the 14-15th centuries. 

They are divided into different fields of study like religion, humanities, science and music. Moreover, there is an Art Museum in the complex with extended collection of paintings and sculptures. Visitors can buy souvenirs or gifts in one of the many shops located around the monastery. For those who prefer local food products they can buy some regional specialties from the farmers market. A few step from the parking you can find the stalls of the market. 

Inside the library of montserrat monastery near Barcelona.
The library.

So, what is the best and most efficient way to discover this unique place?

A private tour to Montserrat Monastery and Natural Park is for most visitors the best option. Travelling in a luxury van with a private tour guide and a private chauffer. BrightSide Tour´s guests will explore with their tour guide the mountain’s secrets. After the arrival to the mountain, we’ll jump on the iconic cable car for a ride up to the hilltop. The tour includes all the main halls of the temple. The abbey of the Order of Sant Benedict, the Black Madonna and L’Escolania. L’Escolania is a famous boys choir, dating as far back as the XIII century. An easy-level hike around the mesmerizing Natural Park is the cherry on top of this fantastic Barcelona day tour

The famous Black Madonna, virgin Mary of Montserrat in Barcelona.
The famous Black Madonna, locally known as “La Moreneta”.

Up top, the views are spectacular, sweeping from the Mediterranean to the Pyrenees on a clear day. From the trailhead here, well-signposted hikes radiate out and downwards. The most popular one is mostly downhill back to the monastery – the Sant Miquel Trail.

Lit up candles in Monstserrat monastery near Barcelona.
The Ave Maria path.

A day trip to the Catalan countryside and a tour to Montserrat Monastery and Natural Park is essential for those looking for a nature getaway during their trip to Barcelona. BrightSide Tours offers an outstanding private tour that guarantees to become the highlight of the trip in Spain.

For more information on our Montserrat tour: www.brightsidetours.com/tours/montserrat-tour/

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