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.
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.
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!