Updated: Mar 8
Montserrat means "jagged mountain" due to the pointed tops of its peaks. The legend states that an angel came down from heaven and carved out these jagged peaks to become a throne for the Virgin Mary.
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Why Visit Montserrat?
Our day trip to Montserrat is one of our favorite travel memories to this day. Not just in Spain, but of everywhere we have traveled. The hike to San Jeroni summit is truly breathtaking, rewarding, and awe-inspiring. Not for the faint of heart, yet this hike truly inspired us to search for EPIC VIEWS on all of our adventures. There is nothing more rewarding than hiking to the summit of a mountain that allows you to feel higher than the clouds. If not for the amazing hiking opportunities, Montserrat is also home to many religious attractions. If time allows while in Spain, be sure to add Montserrat to your list.
Top 5 Things to Do in Montserrat
Depending on your time and skill level, all trails to the Sant Jeroni Summit are great options and require a moderate amount of hiking. We chose to hike in-and-out via the Escales dels Pobres trail due to our limited time and willingness to conquer a steep elevation gain to the summit. As long as you take your time and bring lots of water, the trail is well-marked with minimal scrambling. Fair warning, there are A LOT OF STAIRS, but believe it or not, we almost forgot we were climbing them due to how incredible they are.
Trail & Alternate Routes
Completing the entire Sant Jeroni Summit Loop is 5.8 miles round-trip with 1,978 feet in elevation gain. The trail is a loop and is rated as "moderate" difficulty. Plan at least four hours to complete the entire trail. The starting point to begin this trail clockwise is by getting on the Cami de Sant Miquel trail located in front of the Sant Joan Funicular. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails.
You can take the Sant Joan Funicular to Sant Joan Superior which cuts off about a mile of hiking. You could also begin your hike on Escales dels Pobres trail located behind Bar de la Placa and make it an in-and-out hike which also cuts off about a mile. Please note, this route has a steeper incline to the summit which is why most people hike this trail heading down the mountain to the Monastery on their return trip.
After only a couple minutes of hiking, this was our view of the Monastery. We hope you have your camera out this entire hike, because the spectacular views sure make the elevation gain worth every second.
0.5 miles from the top of the mountain you will come across the Ermita de Sant Jeroni, which is a small hermitage located at the base of Sant Jeroni summit. Prepare yourself, there are only EPIC VIEWS from this point on.
Also Read: 4 Days in Barcelona Spain
You may think you've reached the summit when you get to this point, but you still have a few more stairs left to go (reference the cover photo of this article). However, there is only a small platform at the summit, generally with people waiting their turn to take incredible, above-the-clouds photos.
J&L Tip: bring on your hike a lightweight stove, pot, & coffee filter to enjoy a celebratory coffee, brewed at the peak!
The below platform signifies that you have reached the Sant Jeroni summit at 4,055 feet elevation above sea level. With Barcelona being a basis elevation for sea level, you spent the day gaining over 4,000 feet of elevation. While your feet may feel like that's the case, your fingers will be snapping pictures left and right as there are incredible 360 panoramic views from this summit.
2. Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey
This houses the Lady of Montserrat or Virgin of Montserrat's statue of the Black Madonna. This statue was created based upon the image first known to be La Jerosolimitana (the native of Jerusalem) that was given to the Bishop of Barcelona. Hidden and protected for many years, both the statue and image are housed in the chapel that has been dedicated to the Virgin of Monserrat. The Statue consists of the Virgin Mary holding the child Jesus and is said to be blackened due to the number of candles and lamps used to commemorate the statue.
J&L Tip: Attire to enter the Basilica is close-toed shoes, covered shoulders and covered knees
Opening Times & Entry
Entry into the Basilica is free of charge. Be sure to review the hours of the Basilica before arrival, as it is best to arrive early in order to avoid long lines to view the Black Madonna statue. The line to get into the Basilica is usually short, while the line to get up close and touch the Black Madonna statue can get quite long.
"In all ages the sinful, the suffering, the sorrowful, have laid their woes at the feet of Our Lady of Montserrat, and none have ever gone away unheard or unaided" - Historian
The Boy's Choir at Montserrat is a world renowned choir that dates back to the 11th century. The choir consists of 50 boys who are some of Spain's most musically talented youth. They perform twice daily at the Basilica. To check performance times when you are visiting please check the L'Escolania website.
Performance Times: 1PM & 7PM [Not in July or Saturdays]
This trail starts on the Cami de Santa Cova trail located outside the Sant Joan Funicular. This is a great option to get some amazing Montserrat views while leaving time for additional activities around the Monastery. This chapel was placed outside a cave of religious significance.
Legend has it that a statue of the Virgin Mary was found within this cave that was interpreted as a divine signal for the Virgin to be honored on Montserrat. Santa Cova Chapel was built in the 15th century and is placed just beneath the grotto where the original statue was found.
Completing the entire Monasterio al Santa Cova Trail is 2.0 miles round-trip with 892 feet in elevation gain. The trail is an out & back and is rated as "moderate" difficulty. Plan at least 1.5 hours to complete the entire trail. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails.
An easy hike with amazing views of Catalonia starting by the Sant Joan Funicular. This hike leads to Saint Michael's cross and takes about 20 minutes each way. Along your hike, you will be able to take in incredible views of the Catalonia valley, as well as, a wonderful vantage point of the Basilica and Monastery. Keep in mind, if you plan to do the Sant Jeroni Loop trail, it will also pass by Saint Michael's cross.
J&L Tip: If planning to do the Sant Jeroni Summit Loop, be sure to take the 0.1 mile off-shoot trail along the way that takes you to Saint Miquel's Cross.
Completing the entire Cruz Sant Miquel via Cami de Sant Miquel Trail is 1.4 miles round-trip with 675 feet in elevation gain. The trail is an out & back and is rated as "easy" difficulty. Plan at least one hour to complete the entire trail. For more information and to download the trail offline on your mobile device, visit AllTrails.
Getting to Montserrat from Barcelona
Most Economical Route Cost: Roughly €22 (published 2021)
Train to the Base of the Mountain
It costs roughly €10.50 for a round trip ticket from Placa d'Espanya train station to Aeri de Montserrat via the R5 line. Plan for a one hour train ride each way with extra time to get to Placa d'Espanya train station from your lodging. While it is difficult to find the live timetables for this route online, we recommend searching this route via GoggleMaps ahead of time. It will inform you when the next R5 leaves Placa d'Espanya when searching your route under public transportation.
J&L Tip: Get to Placa d'Esplanya early. Trains leave less frequently to Aeri de Montserrat (about an hour apart) and you will want to maximize your time on the mountain.
Base of the Mountain to the Monastery
From Aeri de Montserrat, you can take a cable car (€11.50 round trip) up the mountain to the Monastery. You can also take the rack railway (also referred to as the Funicular, Cremallera, or green railway) up to the monastery if you prefer to stay on a metro, however, the cable car is the same ticket price and we thought more fun! The ticket station at Placa d'Espanya allows for you to purchase your round trip ticket to Aeri de Montserrat and cable car ticket all at once. This prevents you from waiting in line at Aeri de Montserrat and allows you to get on the cable car upon your arrival.
J&L Tip: When purchasing a round trip ticket including cable car, be sure to specify cable car vs. rack railway. Although the same overall price, these can not be interchanged once arriving at Aeri de Montserrat.
If you prefer not to worry about logistics and timing, you may consider purchasing a tour ahead of your trip or renting a car and making the drive yourself.
How much time should I spend at Montserrat?
J&L Recommended: One full day-trip from Barcelona will allow you to see the the highlights of Montserrat.
What food is at Montserrat?
We would recommend packing a lunch. While there are food options on the mountain, you are better off packing some hiking snacks and sandwiches to best utilize your time on the mountain.