Hiking Montserrat

Hiking Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain

Julie Spain 19 Comments

A visit to Montserrat is one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona. Many people come here to view this unique, jagged, sawtooth mountain range and its views over the stunning countryside. Montserrat truly is a beautiful place to visit. One of the best ways to get to the top are on your own two feet. Keep reading to learn more about hiking Montserrat.

Getting Here

Montserrat is easily accessible from Barcelona. The distance between Barcelona and Montserrat is 54 km. Most people take the train out to Montserrat, connecting with either the cable car or rack railway to get to the top. For details on how to do this, read our post How to Guide: Day Trip to Montserrat from Barcelona.

To start the hike, you need to get to Monistrol de Montserrat. From Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, take the R5 train to Monistrol de Montserrat. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to get to Monistrol.

Hiking Montserrat

Distance: 5 km
Duration: 1.5 hours
Start: Estacio de Monistrol
Finish: Monistir de Montserrat

Finding the Trail

Finding the trailhead can be a little tricky. We found very little information on the internet before attempting this hike, so we were in for all kinds of surprises. After asking for directions from several people in town, we eventually found our way to the start of the hike. Here’s how to get from the Monistrol de Montserrat train station to the trailhead.

Exit the train station and walk downhill towards Monistrol de Montserrat. Cross this bridge to the other side. The mountain range of Montserrat is looming in front of you. Eventually, you will standing way up there!

Monistrol de Montserrat bridge

Once on the other side of the bridge, cross the street, passing between the two buildings in this photo.

Monistrol Street

Continue on the wide sidewalk into town.

Walking through Monistrol

Monistrol Spain

The sidewalk ends at a small plaza in town. Walk through the plaza, keeping the mountains to your left. You will see a staircase off to the left. Take this to the road above you.

To the Montserrat hiking trail

Red, white, and green painted stripes mark the trail all the way up to the monastery. As long as you follow these stripes you are going in the right direction. From the top of the staircase, turn left and walk along the road.

Road through Monistrol

After walking approximately 100 meters on the road you will arrive at the trailhead. In this photo, it is the small, paved trail to the right.

Start of the trail

On the concrete wall there is a sign identifying the official trail. From this point it takes about an hour and half to get to the monastery, a little less if you are a fast hiker.

Cami de les Aigues

Most of the trail is a rocky, dirt single track trail. Occasionally there will be small sets of stairs when the climb is a little steeper. It may come as no surprise that the trail is a steady, uphill climb all of the way to the top.

montserrat-hiking-trail-spain

Another sign on the way up the mountain.

Hiking trail signs

About a third of the way up to the monastery, the trail will split. Here you have two options. The easier option, staying on the Cami de les Aigues (GR 5), veers off to the left. This wide trail slowly meanders up the mountain. It ascends less quickly, making it easier, but it also takes five to ten minutes longer to get to the top. Or, you could take the Drecera dels Tres Quarts (GR 96). This trail is narrower, steeper, and more direct to the monastery.

We chose the GR 96, preferring the quicker option.

Drecera les tres quarts

Here’s a view of the trail before the real climbing began.

Montserrat hiking trail

Just before reaching the monastery, both trails link up again. From here, enjoy the view. You can walk out to the Santa Cova Chapel (you can see it in the photo below, way off in the distance), hoof it up higher to the monastery, or choose to take the Santa Cova funicular if you’re all out of energy.

Montserrat Spain

Best Things to do on Montserrat

For a full list of what there is to do once you’re at the top, check out our post How to Guide: Day Trip to Montserrat from Barcelona.

Getting Back Down

You have three options to get back down the mountain…retrace your steps and hike back down, take the cable car to Aeri de Montserrat, or take the Cremallara to Monistrol de Montserrat. From Aeri de Montserrat and Monistrol, take the R5 train back to Barcelona. Tickets can be purchased in the train station.

Print This Before You Go!

If you are planning on doing this hike, print this out beforehand or cache it on your phone so you can follow the photos to the trailhead.

Post updated November 2017.


 

Read Next: 9 Reasons Why You Should Visit Girona, Spain

 

Hiking Montserrat Spain

Comments 19

  1. Thank you for putting this together, that is a very good starter! I think it would have been helpful to have GPS traces posted with the article too.

    So, in case people are interested, they can find some Strava activities via this search: https://www.strava.com/activities/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&location=montserrat%2C+spain&%5Bcountry%5D=Spain&%5Bstate%5D=Catalonia&%5Bcity%5D=&%5Blat_lng%5D=41.5957765%2C1.829814199999987&keywords=monistrol&activity_type=Run&type=&distance_start=2&distance_end=50&time_start=0&time_end=10&elev_gain_start=1000&elev_gain_end=5000

    And this one https://www.strava.com/activities/365745840 is a good representation of your description.

    Alright, hiking/running the trail tomorrow, excited! Merci encore !

    Boris

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  2. We just did the hike yesterday, thank you for the very clear instructions on getting to the trailhead! GR96 had a broken sewer pipe that stunk to high heaven so I suggest GR5

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  3. Thank you for posting this information. It’s spot on! I did the hike on 14/9/17 and absolutely loved it. It was the highlight of my trip to Barcelona!

    I recommend others considering this hike to also consider going all the way to Sant Jeroni, which goes up to 1,236 metres and offers stunning panoramic views (on a clear day, of course). I believe it’s the highest point in the area.

    The beginning of the Sant Jeroni trail is found at the end of the road/pedestrianised way that runs below the monastery. When you reach the top of the steps which take you to the road/pedestrianised way, where all the tourists are swarming, turn left and walk past the funicular station on your left and the tourist information office on your right until you see the signpost for Sant Jeroni at the bottom of some steps. (The tourist information office can give you a free map with all the trails on it, including an alternative return route.) All you have to do is just go up and follow the signposts along the way.

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  4. Hi Julie,

    May i know if this route requires high fitness level? Also, I read that some ppl actually take the furnicular up some points. Did you take it as well?

    Is the terrain rocky or smooth? Am thinking if sandals are sufficient.

    Thank you

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      In order to hike from the town of Montserrat up to the monastery, you do not need a “high level” of fitness. You need to be able to walk uphill for about two hours, while taking breaks. Most people of “average” fitness can do this hike. It is a dirt trail that is rocky in some places. Running shoes and hiking shoes are ideal (I did this hike in running shoes). I would not recommend sandals unless they are sandals designed for hiking.

      Once you are up at the monastery, you then have the option to take the funiculars to higher viewpoints. We did not take the funiculars, choosing to walk to the viewpoints instead. Cheers, Julie

  5. Julie,

    We made the hike up Montserrat today and your directions proved invaluable. Thank you so much for providing this step-by-step guide, allowing us to easily find the trail head. The hike was extremely difficult for me and my wife, an admitted pair of amateurs, but we made it to the top and enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that came with that.

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  6. This looks very detailed I am happy I found you! I will take this road with my mother and sister, as I love hiking so I get them to hike with me. But I had trouble understanding how exactly we can get to the top (to Montserrat)? So after a while the trail we follow will meet with the train’s path? -and after that we should just follow the rail’s route?

    Thank you for your answer in advance! (:

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      Very close to the top, the two trails will join up. This will then join a paved trail that leads to the monastery, Santa Cova Chapel, cable car, etc. It will be very obvious (with signs directing you to all of the numerous places you can visit) once you get to the top. – Julie

  7. I am glad I found this post too. Not easy to find the practical information. We are driving from Barcelona. Did it look like you could park from the train station? Or any other suggestions?

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      The train station was very small. I do not remember seeing a place to park here (although I wasn’t honestly paying attention to that at the time). I think your best bet is to look for parking in the town of Monistrol. On Google Maps I see people parked along some of the main roads, but I do not know if you need a parking pass. There is parking on top of Montserrat, however, parking there would eliminate doing the hike.

      Sorry I don’t have more concrete info for you. If you do drive there, comment again and let us know how it went! I’m sure other readers would like to know. Cheers, Julie

  8. This was SUPER helpful – I am so glad I found your article!! Sitting at the top of Montserrat now enjoying the vista and a beverage. The trail was almost empty, I cannot believe more people don’t hike it! Looking forward to getting more tips from you on future travels! Cheers!

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