Montserrat Day Trip

Last Friday, we took a day trip out to Montserrat, a multi-peaked rocky range one hour outside of Barcelona in Catalonia. Montserrat literally means “saw mountain” in Catalan, and we definitely witnessed the saw-like effects of the mountain.

After a train ride, we rode a cable car up to the mountain. The day started out cloudy, but then the sun broke through and lightened up the scenery. It was spectacular. The views were breathtaking, and we had such a great time exploring up there.

The Basilica

Montserrat Basilica sits at the top of this mountain range, which hosts the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary and known as the location of the Holy Grail in Arthurian myth. The Basilica itself is a beautiful structure. Pictures are allowed outside but not inside the cathedral itself. However, they did allow pictures without the use of flash taken of the Black Madonna.

Right outside of the Basilica

The Courtyard of the Basilica

The Virgin Mary of Montserrat (Black Madonna)

Montserrat was built facilitated around worshipping the Black Madonna in the Basilica. This wooden sculpture of the Virgin Mary is black because she has darkened over time. And a long time ago was the carving done — at the beginning of religion in Jerusalem.


There are some hiking trails around the mountain. We explored some of the trails but did not make it to all of them. Despite so, it was a marvelous time spent!

Want to go?

If you’re visiting Barcelona, I highly recommend this day trip. It’s well worth it. Take the train at the Placa Espanya train station, on the R5 line heading to Manresa. You can purchase your tickets at the ticket station or at the Montserrat counter. Either way, it’s simple. You’ll need to purchase the ticket for either the cable car or the funicular up to the mountain. It’s the same price, but we chose the cable car because you can see the view as you go up the side of the mountain. Well worth it! With the funicular, you get to sit down but no views.

Travel time takes about 3 hours total round trip, and you must allow for at least 3 hours up there if you want to explore. Best time to go is actually in March and during the weekday. We went on a Friday, and it wasn’t that busy. To see the Black Madonna, go in the afternoon. Lines are long in the mornings and on Sundays when there are mass and choir.

Food information…there is a cafeteria up there, but if you can, I highly recommend packing your own food unless you want to eat fried, greasy food. Plus, with the beautiful weather, you can find a spot and picnic out up there. We packed our own food and appreciated the scenery. Regardless of what you decide, you’ll enjoy your visit!


4 thoughts on “Montserrat Day Trip

  1. OH wow, this is my kind of adventure!! As I continue to read your adventure recaps, I realize I don’t know if I know why you’re abroad? Are you there for work? I know you’re leaving your current spot soon, right?

    • Yes!! I LOVE adventures like this and crave it more and more.
      No, not for work. We’re just on a sojourn. Ever since 2013, I left my job in science and research to pursue a writing career and to travel. I am now a freelance writer, mostly doing ghostwriting for clients and am working on a YA paranormal novel. My husband Nick is a software engineer, and he works remotely, so it all works out for being professional nomads.
      Yes, you’re right about us leaving soon. We leave this Saturday to go to Toronto. This whole moving around is starting to wear on us a bit now, and we’re daydreaming of life on Bainbridge Island in the future. We love the travel but not the living outside of a suitcase. And frankly, we’re so persnickety about diet and lifestyle that it’s a constant struggle while we’re living in other places and traveling.
      I’m not sure yet when we’re going to stop what we’re doing, but I think it could be 2018 if plans don’t change. Bainbridge may be our home base while we travel in the future. After all this traveling, no place feels like home like the PNW. It could very much change, though because nothing is yet set in stone. We’re just swaying that way. If we end up back in WA, I’ll definitely let you know!

      • Oh my goodness, you are living the dream. I’m so enthralled by this! Yes you must let me know if you get a home base here, I visit Bainbridge multiple times a week. 😝

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