Julie Spain 108 Comments

Visiting Montserrat is one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona. It’s easy to get to and gives you an opportunity to see the Spanish countryside. The views from the monastery are breathtaking, well worth a day of your time while you are in Barcelona.

What is Montserrat?

Montserrat is a rocky mountain range in Catalonia, Spain. “Montserrat” translates to “saw mountain” in Catalan, owing to this mountain range’s jagged, sawtooth appearance.

Sitting atop the mountain range is Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine monastery. Located inside of the monastery is a statue of the of the Virgin of Montserrat, one of the few black madonnas of Europe. This is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat, as many people make an overnight hike to watch the sunrise from the peak of Montserrat.

Montserrat Spain

The view from Montserrat | Montserrat Day Trip from Barcelona

Why You Should Take a Day Trip to Montserrat

For some people, a visit to Montserrat is a religious pilgrimage. For others, it’s a visit to a unique mountain range offering views over Catalonia.

Be whisked to the top by a scenic cable car ride, take short hikes through the mountain peaks, and take a funicular higher up onto the mountain for even better views.

Those who enjoy hiking can walk to Sant Jeroni, the highest peak of Montserrat.

Montserrat Monastery Spain Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

Montserrat Monastery

How to Get to Montserrat

Getting from Barcelona to Montserrat is quick and easy. You have numerous options…train, bus, rental car, or tour. But first, here is a map of Barcelona and Montserrat. There are two different train stations that you can use to get to Montserrat and it will help to see them on a map. 

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the transportation options). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
 
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Train and Cable Car

This is the quickest and most scenic option. From Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, take the R5 line to Aeri de Montserrat. The journey by train takes approximately one hour and costs €6.15 one way (€12.30 for a round trip ticket).

From Aeri de Montserrat, take the cable car to the top. This costs €8.95 one way, €13.50 for a return ticket. The cable car typically runs every 15 minutes but can run as frequently as every 5 minutes depending on number of passengers. It closes from early January through late February for maintenance.

Riding the train and cable car round trip costs €25.80. Combined tickets can be purchased at the Plaça Espanya station in Barcelona.

Get updated prices and check the cable car timetable here.

Train and Rack Railway

This option is slightly longer than taking the cable car, since you go ride the train from Barcelona one station farther than Aeri de Montserrat. From Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, take the R5 line to Monistrol de Montserrat. The journey by train takes approximately one hour and five minutes and costs €6.15 one way (€12.30 round trip).

Change to the rack railway, a green railway that runs to the top of the mountain. This costs €8.40 one-way or €14 for a return ticket (these are high season prices, which includes the summer months, some holidays, and some weekends). 

The train and railway round trip starts at €26.40. Combined tickets can be purchased at Plaça Espanya.

For timetables and ticket prices, click here.

Important Note: It is the same price to take the cable car or the rack railway to Montserrat. When you purchase your round trip ticket from the Plaça Espanya station in Barcelona, make sure you specify whether you plan to take the cable car or the rack railway. These tickets are not interchangeable.

Trans Montserrat Ticket

This is a combination ticket that includes round trip transportation from Barcelona, a round trip ride on either the cable car or the rack railway, two round trip funicular rides on Montserrat, and two metro rides. Prices start at €45. Tickets can be purchased on the Barcelona Tourism website.

ToT Ticket

The ToT Ticket is a combination ticket that includes your round trip transportation from Barcelona, lunch, and free admission into the Montserrat Monastery Museum. Ride the train from Barcelona and take your pick between riding the cable car or the rack railway to the monastery. While at Montserrat, you get unlimited rides on the Sant Joan funicular, admission into the Montserrat Museum, and one meal at the self-service restaurant. To return to Barcelona, take the cable car or the rack railway, and then ride the train back to Barcelona.

Tickets can be purchased from the Barcelona Tourism website. Ticket prices start at €68.25 per person with children under 4 being free. The last time we checked, the GetYourGuide tickets were slightly more expensive but they offer a more favorable, and easier, cancellation and refund process.

Once you purchase the ticket online, from either source, you will receive a voucher that will need to be exchanged for the actual Tot Montserrat Card. This can be done at the Tourist Information Office located in Plaça Catalunya.

Train and Hiking

This is the healthiest and most cost effective way to the monastery. 

From Plaça Espanya, take the R5 line to Monistrol de Montserrat. From the train station, walk through the town of Monistrol to trails winding their way up the mountain. It takes about an hour and a half to do this hike, the views are wonderful, and there is something special about arriving at the monastery on your own two feet. We hiked to Montserrat and have a detailed guide on how to do this hike.

Montserrat hiking trail

Looking up at Montserrat from the Drecera dels Tres Quarts (GR 96) | Montserrat Day Trip from Barcelona

Take a Tour that Includes Your Transportation to Montserrat

You can also visit Montserrat on a day trip from Barcelona by tour. This takes out the hassle of arranging your transportation and you can visit the monastery with an experienced guide. Some tours also include a visit to a winery.

 

 

By Bus

This is a less popular option, since most people make the journey by train. Buses leave the Estacio Sants train station for Montserrat. For more information, click here.

Private Transportation

This is the most expensive option. Taxis and private drivers can be hired to get to Montserrat.

Best Things to Do at Montserrat

Enjoy the View

From the mountain top, the views are stunning!

Montserrat Barcelona

View from Montserrat

The Benedictine Abbey and the Basilica

The Black Virgin of Montserrat (also called Our Lady of Montserrat and La Moreneta) is located inside of the basilica. It is said that the statue of the Virgin Mary and her infant son have healing powers. The Benedictine Abbey dates back to the 9th century and legend has it that this was once was home to the Holy Grail.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: To see Our Lady of Montserrat, purchase a timed ticket in advance. Visits are made in 15 minute intervals during the morning and afternoon. You can purchase a ticket to visit just the Basilica and Our Lady of Montserrat (€18) or a ticket that also includes the Museum of Montserrat and/or the Boys Choir. For all of your options and pricing, visit the official website.

The Famous Boys Choir at Montserrat

L’Esconia Montserrat, the Boys Choir, is famous for their world-renowned performance. The first performances date back to 1223. There are now 50 boys in the choir, and they perform here on a daily basis, and around the world.

There are two daily performances that are typically held in the afternoon. They perform in the Basilica of Montserrat. You can learn more about the Boys Choir on the official website and purchase tickets online in advance here.

Montserrat Museum

In 1811 and 1812, the monastery was attacked and burned down twice by Napolean’s troops. All of the artifact and historical treasures were lost in this attack. After a long restoration process, the monastery reopened in the mid-19th century. 

In the early 1900’s, this museum opened. It contains artifacts from Egypt, Cyprus, and Mesopotamia, as well as artwork by Catalan artists and French Impressionists such as Renoir, Monet, and Degas.

Since it does not contain any historical artifacts from the monastery, a visit to this museum may not be worth it for most people.

Hours: 10 am to 5:45 pm, longer hours on weekends and in the summer months
Cost: €8
Website: museudemontserrat.com

Santa Cova Chapel

The Holy Cave of Montserrat once housed the Virgin of Montserrat. Three hundred years ago a chapel was built at this spot.

From the monastery, take the Santa Cova funicular down to the walking trail. Follow a winding, paved trail along the mountain cliffs to the chapel. The views from the chapel are stunning. Allow an hour for the entire walk.

Santa Cova Chapel

Santa Cova Chapel | Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

 

Montserrat Santa Cova Trail

If you look closely, you can see the trail to the Santa Cova Chapel snaking its way along the mountainside.

 

Santa Cova funicular Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

Santa Cova funicular | Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

Sant Miquel’s Cross

This is another beautiful walk. This walk takes you to a higher point than the Santa Cova Chapel, for more stunning views of the valley and an awesome view back to the monastery.

Finding the trailhead can be a little tricky. Here are the GPS coordinates for the start of the trail: 41.592064, 1.835830.

Sant Miquel's Cross Montserrat Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

A view of Sant Miquel’s Cross | Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

 

Sant Miquel Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

Tim at Sant Miquel’s Cross

 

Montserrat Monistir Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

The view back to the monastery

Funicular de Sant Joan

This funicular takes you to a very high observation point. From here, you can start the hike to Sant Jeroni.

Sant Jeroni

Sant Jeroni is the highest peak on Montserrat. For the best views while at Montserrat, consider doing this 3 hour return hike. This hike gives you the best views over Catalonia.

We did not hike to Sant Jeroni, but I wish we did. Tim was racing Ironman Barcelona in just a few days so we didn’t want to hike too much. Here is a post that does a good job explaining the hike, if you are interested.

Stairway to Heaven

The Stairway to Heaven is a stack of nine large concrete blocks arranged in a helical pattern. At one time, this was a popular object to climb. People would travel to Montserrat just to take a photo on top of the Stairway to Heaven. Now a fence surrounds it, both for safety reasons and because it is a work of art. Its intention was never to be a jungle gym.

Stairway to Heaven in Montserrat spain

Stairway to Heaven

Numerous people visit Montserrat just to see the Stairway to Heaven. In our opinion, this is an overrated attraction. There are much better things to see while in Montserrat, such as the Monastery, the views from the various viewpoints, and the Santa Cova Chapel. During our visit, the Stairway of Heaven was protected behind a hastily erected construction fence. It was hardly worth the visit.

If you have plans to visit Montserrat for the sole reason of climbing the Stairway to Heaven, you should know that it is illegal to do so.

The Stairway to Heaven is located just east of the Mirador Restaurant. On Google Maps, the Stairway to Heaven is called Escala de l’enteniment (click here to see the location on Google Maps). Come take look if you are curious but don’t expect to climb it.

How Much Time Do You Need to Visit Montserrat?

A Montserrat day trip from Barcelona takes a good part of a day. Travel time takes about 1.5 hours one way (roughly one hour for the train and 30 minutes for the cable car or rack railway). Once on Montserrat, you can visit the main sites and viewpoints in just a few hours. This adds up to 6 hours (3 hours transportation time + 3 hours at Montserrat). Expect to spend all day here if you want to hike the trails and/or sit down to lunch or dinner.

Where to Eat

Restaurant Hostal Abat Cisernos. This is the most expensive option but has a wonderful setting in a 16th century building.

Cafeteria. There is a cafeteria that offers a lunch buffet. There is a wide variety of food, all of it is mediocre and nothing special. 

Bring your own picnic. The best option may be to assemble a picnic lunch at Boqueria Mercado before making the journey out to Montserrat.

Montserrat town Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

Another view of Montserrat | Montserrat day trip from Barcelona

Montserrat Day Trip Tours from Barcelona

Here are several highly rated tours from Barcelona that include your transportation. Several of these tours also include a visit to a winery or farmhouse for a local meal.

 


 


If you have any questions about how to plan your Montserrat day trip from Barcelona, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information for Your Trip to Spain

BARCELONA, SPAIN: Start with our guide to the best things to do in Barcelona. Plan your visit with our 3 Day Barcelona Itinerary, our guide on Where to Stay in Barcelona, and get recommendations on where to eat in Barcelona.

GIRONA: Here are 9 reasons why Girona makes a great day trip from Barcelona.

ANDALUSIA: In our guides to Andalusia, Spain, we cover the best things to do in Seville, have a one day itinerary with a walking tour of Ronda, and a guide to the Caminito del Rey, one of the most famous walks in Spain.

EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more great ideas on where to go in Europe, check out our article 30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe and the 20 Best Hikes in Europe. You can also get more travel ideas in our 10 Days in Europe itinerary guide, which has 10 great itineraries for your next trip to Europe.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: For more information about the camera gear we carry, check out our Travel Photography Gear Guide. And tips and tricks for taking great photos in our article How to Take Better Photos while Traveling.

Are you planning a trip to Barcelona? Read all of our articles about Barcelona, including more ideas for day trips, on our Spain Travel Guide.

 

Montserrat Day Trip from BarcelonaMontserrat Day Trip from Barcelona

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these affiliate links, we get paid a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Day Trip Barcelona to Montserrat Spain

All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

Comments 108

  1. Avatar for CB
    CB

    We are planning on hiking up Monsterrat but wish to take the funiculars back down. Is there an option to buy a one-way funicular ticket?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Yes, you can get a one way ticket for the rack railway or cable car. We hiked up and took the cable car back down. Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Vic
    Vic

    If I travel by train and cable car, how can I ride on the funicular? Is that a separate ticket that I need to purchase when I get Montserrat?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Yes, the funicular tickets can be purchased at the funicular station in Montserrat, it is a separate ticket from the cable car and railway.

  3. Avatar for Kelly Oesterblad
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      There are tours to Montserrat that include a winery visit. I’m fairly certain you could also visit the winery if you aren’t on a tour. I recommend researching which winery to visit and then inquiring with that winery if you need a reservation in advance. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Julie Amoroso
        Julie Amoroso

        If I took the train to Montserrat from Barcelona, how would I get to a winery from there and back to Montserrat to catch a train back to Barcelona? Are there taxis at Montserrat?

        1. Avatar for Julie Post
          Author
          Julie

          That’s a great question. I’m not sure if there are taxis in Monistrol or Aeri de Montserrat. There is Uber and Bolt in Spain so there is a chance you could hire a driver from one of these companies to get you to and from the winery. Another option would be to reach out to the winery for transportation options. Good luck! Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Joanne
    Joanne

    Thank you for the detailed post, very informative! We are planning to visit in January. I think the cable car is closed from Jan, so we will take the rack railway instead. Do you know if the St Joan funicular and Santa Cova funicular is closed as well?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Off the top of my head I do not know if they are open in January. I recommend checking the official websites for the most accurate and up-to-date info. Have a great trip to Montserrat! Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Andreas C
    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
  6. Avatar for L
    L

    I have been referring to your blog for all my hiking trips; appreciate all the detail you guys put into it. I will be visiting Monserrat this September and was wondering if paid tickets/reservations are needed to see the boy’s choir or enter the monastery. So far I’ve referenced your blog and a local YouTuber and there doesn’t seem to be a mention of needing any. However, when I email through, what seems to be the official website for Monserrat, they reference to https://tickets.montserratvisita.com to by tickets. Thank you so much for your help!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Thanks for writing in. Yes, I see that too. It must be a recent addition to help control crowd levels. Based on this, I recommend making a reservation for a time slot to visit the Throne of Our Lady and to see the Boy’s Choir, since there appears to be a limited number of time slots to do this (if it interests you). Cheers, Julie

  7. Avatar for michelle
    michelle

    Hi Richard.

    very useful article!
    where should I park my car if I take cable car? is the parking very limited? and how long is the trail from superior saint joan furnicular station to Sant Geroni viewpoint (top)?

    thanks.
    Michelle

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Looking at a map, I don’t see much public parking at the bottom station for the cable car. There looks to be more parking in Monistrol (closer to the rack railway). We used public transportation to get here so I am not familiar with the parking situation for the cable car and rack railway. For the hiking stats to Sant Geroni, click the link in this article for info on the hike, distance, etc. Cheers, Julie

  8. Avatar for Isabelle
    Isabelle

    Thanks for your reply Julie! 🙂 Did you have any issues with line-ups? We’re a group of 7 (3 who are seniors) and I’m concerned with long line-ups in the heat. Do you think we can explore by ourselves without a guide? Where do you suggest we go first – monastery, cable car, funicular?
    Great job on your reviews and suggestions on your site – very informative and helpful!
    Cheers,
    Isabelle

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      We did not have any lines but we did this in early October 2016, so it’s been some time now. I imagine there could be some sort of line during the busier season of June through early October. It helps to go early in the day to get up to Montserrat before the bigger crowds arrive. Take the cable car or funicular up, then visit the monastery and other sites, and to get back down, do the other mode of transportation, so you get to experience both. We only did the cable car (we hiked up) and that was very nice. Cheers, Julie

  9. Avatar for Isabelle
    Isabelle

    Hi Richard,
    My family & I are planning on doing the same – driving ourselves to Montserrat in Aug. I’d also like to see if there’s a guided tour once there so we can skip the lines, take the cable car and funicular.
    Did you find any good company that took you around Montserrat?
    Thanks,
    Isabelle

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      We did it all independently so we don’t have experience using a tour company. Most of the tours of Montserrat that I have seen start and end in Barcelona, so they also include your transportation. In this guide, we have links to some of the highest rated tours of Montserrat that you could take a look at. I don’t think guided tours would have skip the line access to the cable cars and funiculars, as I don’t remember there being a special line or group access points. Cheers, Julie

  10. Avatar for Richard Pratt
    Richard Pratt

    Looking to DRIVE to Montserrat but then need a guided tour once there–all tour packages seem to include transport from Barcelona. Any recommendations for just an afternoon tour guide/skip the lines for Montserrat itself with no transport or wineries etc? 4 adults and 1 child. We are planning on leaving for Andorra or near to there afterwards.

    Thanks for any advice or tips.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      I don’t know of any tours that don’t include transportation. On GetYourGuide, the tour companies are listed for each tour (the activity provider). You could reach out to the tour company directly about setting something up. Maybe you can join a tour but skip the transportation part of it or the tour company can help you modify one of their tours. Cheers, Julie

Load More Comments

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *