Julie Spain 76 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

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

Getting 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 €5.25 one way.

From Aeri de Montserrat, take the cable car to the top. This costs €7.50 one way, €11.50 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.

Riding the train and cable car round trip costs €24.00. 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 €5.25 one way.

Change to the Cremallera, a green railway that runs to the top of the mountain. This costs €7.50 one-way or €12.50 for a return ticket (these are high season prices, which includes the summer months, some holidays, and some weekends). 

Riding the train and cable car round trip costs €24.00. Combined tickets can be purchased at Plaça Espanya.

For timetables and ticket prices, visit the Cremallara de Montserrat website.

Important Note: It is the same price to take the cable car or the Cremellara 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.

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. Ticket prices start at €52.90. Click here to learn more.

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.

To read our post on how to hike to Montserrat,click here.

Take a Tour

Join a half to full day tour of Montserrat. You also have the option to add on 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 used to get to Montserrat.

Best Things to do at Montserrat

Enjoy the View

From the mountain top, the views are stunning!

Montserrat Barcelona

The Benedictine Abbey and the Basilica

The Black Virgin of Montserrat is located inside of the basilica. A visit here is free and 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:  Midday, lines can be long to enter the monastery and see the Black Madonna. To avoid waiting in a long, plan to arrive to the monastery at or near opening time. For hours of the monastery, click here.
Depending on the time of your visit, there can be two lines to enter the church: one to get up close to the Black Madonna and touch the sphere that she is holding, and one to enter the church. If you have no desire for a close up view of the Black Madonna, make sure that you are in the correct line. The queue to see the Black Madonna moves very slowly and you can literally wait hours in line. 

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, at 1:00 pm and 6:45 pm. They perform in the Basilica of Montserrat. You can learn more about the Boys Choir on the official website. 

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 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

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

Montserrat Santa Cova Trail

Santa Cova funicular

Santa Cova funicular

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.

A view of the cross

Sant Miquel's Cross Montserrat

Sant Miquel

The view back to the Monastery

Montserrat Monistir

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.

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.

Where to Eat

Restaurant Hostal Abat Cisernos. This is the most expensive option. For lunch or dinner you can have a three course meal for €27.50.

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

How Much Time Do You Need to Visit Montserrat?

A visit to Montserrat 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. Expect to spend all day here if you want to hike the trails and sit down to lunch or dinner.

Planning a day trip Montserrat from Barcelona? If you have any questions, comment below!

More Information for Your Trip to Spain:

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.

You Might Also Like:


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 76

  1. Hi Julie – thank you so much for all the information on your blog! My sister and I are taking our elderly mother to Barcelona in March, and your blog has been extremely helpful in planning our trip. As she requires access to a bathroom regularly, do you happen to know whether there are bathrooms on the R5 trains to Montserrat? Thank you in advance!

    1. Post

      I am not sure if there are bathrooms on the trains. I don’t recall seeing a bathroom but that does not mean that there aren’t any. Most likely, you will have to get off at a station at the halfway point to use the bathroom. You could confirm this before you get on the train in Barcelona. Cheers, Julie

  2. We are two retired ladies, pretty fit but not athletes. Do you think we could do the longer walk you discuss from Monistrol to Monserrat (near the Abbey)? Are there sheer drop offs with no barricades? We’re not afraid of dirt paths! Thanks SO much fort your great site.

    1. Post

      Hello Cecilia. Yes, I think that you can hike to Montserrat from Monistrol. It’s a nice climb to get up there, but if you are fit, you should be fine. There are 2 paths up to Montserrat. Cami de les Aigues (GR 5) is the easier, wider trail. Drecera dels Tres Quarts (GR 96) is the steeper, narrower trail. This is the one that we took but I do not recall seeing any drop-offs along the way. GR5 is the easier trail, so you have the option to take that one instead. There will be a sign at this fork in the trail and you can make the decision at that point, depending on how you are feeling. I hope you have a great time in Montserrat! Cheers, Julie

    1. Post
  3. thank you for posting this information – i’ll be in Barcelona in about a week and was wanting to do something like this on my own -traveling to Monserrat and then hiking and all the tours i saw weren’t leaving enough time to really enjoy and photograph the views etc.

    the detail that you provide will be incredibly helpful.
    Thank you

    1. Post
  4. We will be visiting Montserrat in a couple of weeks. I really enjoyed your article. I would love to hike to Sant Jeroni but I am afraid we will not have enough time to take in the main sites and also complete the hike. I know you said you did not do the hike to Sant Jeroni but do you have any thoughts on this?

    1. Post

      The hike to Sant Jeroni takes roughly 3 hours. You will need another 3 hours to see the other main sites. Add in time to get lunch so you are looking at roughly 7 hours on Montserrat. Of course, if the idea of Sant Jeroni sounds very interesting to you, you don’t have to do everything else, just pick and choose from the other sites. Personally, I’m bummed we didn’t do the hike, but that’s just me (hiking is one of my favorite things to do when I travel). Cheers, Julie

    1. Post

      You can see and do a lot in Montserrat without getting near “the edge.” You will have to walk up and down hills more if getting on a cable car or funicular bothers you. You should skip the walk to the Santa Cova chapel and some of the viewpoints. That leaves you with visiting the Monastery and you can still enjoy the views from the top of the mountain. I guess you have to decide if it’s worth the journey out there if you can’t do everything. Cheers, Julie

  5. Hi, thanks for the great information regarding the trailhead. I plan on doing this hike alone (mid june 2019). Is it safe? I am a fairly experienced hiker/outdoor enthusiast.

    1. Post
  6. Thank you for your help.
    I will be going to Barcelona 17 April to 24 .Do u know if Montserrat will be closed in any of these days because of the Easter vacation?

    1. Post
  7. Hi Julie,

    Thanks for the lovely share.

    I just need to ask if we hike to St. Jeroni form the monastery, or we have to take the funicular either way. Also, which funicular offer better views from the top.


    1. Post

      You take the Sant Joan funicular and then hike the trail from the top of the funicular. Check out the article I link to because it does a great job explaining how to get to St. Jeroni. You can get a very nice view from the top of Sant Joan and from St. Miguel’s cross. Cheers, Julie

  8. Thanks Julie so much for the information! I’m looking into going next weekend, with the plan to hike up the mountain and then taking the cable car down. Do you know if you can buy the tickets from the top and also how much a one-way ticket is? (or even round-trip, just trying to get a sense of the price).

    1. Post
  9. Hello Earth Trekkers!

    This comment has nothing to do with this particular blog but I just want to express my gratitude to you for sharing very informative blogs. You do not have any idea how you helped me a LOT! 🙂 As a newbie on adventures like trekking/hiking , I am very discreet on looking for informations on how, where or when to get to my destinations since I am usually travelling alone and budget is also a huge factor. I honestly find your blogs as extremely useful guide for people like me. (here’s a short story to share 🙂 I went to Trolltunga (troll’s tongue) in Odda, Norway and I know that wouldn’t be an easy hike since I’ve heared a lot about it, so 2-3 months before my hike (talkin’ bout early prep. haha), I already start searching and reading so many blog sites, web links etc., but your blog stands out that I have read it so many times and took notes the details you wrote there. Your blog really helped me so much to finish/enjoy my hike and catch the transpo on time (thus, saving money to pay for hotel accom.) .
    Anyway, thank you again and hope that you continue blogging/sharing your knowledge, tips and experience. Many more adventures to you and your beautiful family.

    1. Post

      Hello Jasmin. Thank you so much for writing in to us. This is so nice to hear. I am glad you had a wonderful hike to Trolltunga and I hope you can find more inspiration and great tips on our website. If you ever have any questions, feel free to write back to us. Happy travels! Cheers, Julie 🙂

  10. Hi, when you get out of the cable car, is everything on relatively flat ground. If you choose not to do the hikes, would this still be a good day trip for someone that is a little older?

    1. Post

      It’s a bit hilly once you get off the cable car. However, there are funiculars that you can ride to eliminate most of the steep hills. I think it would be a good day trip for someone who is older. They can enjoy the view, see the monastery and main sites, and maybe even walk out to the Santa Cova Church. Cheers, Julie

  11. Hi Julie! I am purchasing a HOLABCN! card for my visit to Barcelona and I think it’s good for the R5 train to and from Montserrat. If this is the case, do you recommend that we purchase cable-car and funicular tickets (one way as needed) at the Aeri de Montserrat station? Or at Placa Catalunya in Barcelona? From what I can tell, all of the combination or tour tickets include the train, and we won’t need that component. Any advice? Thanks!

    1. Post

      Hello Heidi. We did not use the Hola BCN Card, so I am not familiar with how it works. However, I took a quick look and it does not look like the R5 line is included. The card covers the Rodalies de Catalunya, Zone 1 but on the Rodalies website, the R5 line is not listed. Maybe I’m missing something, but the trip to Montserrat is probably not covered with the card. And Montserrat is so far away from Barcelona I’d be surprised if it was still in Zone 1. Take a look at this, also, a website stating that the card does not cover Montserrat. So you could buy the combination ticket at Placa Espanya in Barcelona. Here is another link with train timetables. Cheers, Julie

  12. Hi! Thank you for your guide, it’s very useful 🙂 Last time we were in Barcelona we didn’t have enough time to go there and we regretted it. Now we have another chance, but I’m worrying about the weather, I’ve heard it’s much colder there than in Barcelona. Do you think November is a good time for visiting Montserrat? I’m afraid it will be too windy and unpleasant to stroll around 🙁 Also, is there possibility to get to the Chapel only by funicular (no hiking)? We probably won’t be able to hike but still would like to see it and enjoy the views.
    Thank you!

    1. Post

      I don’t think the weather will be too bad. We have only visited Barcelona at the end of September and the weather was warm and sunny the entire time. But I do know that 6 – 7 weeks can make a difference. I found these weather averages for you for Montserrat in November. If it’s accurate, it looks like it could be very nice. The only way to get to the Santa Cova Chapel is by walking the trail to it. It’s really not a hike, just a walk on a paved trail. You can take the Santa Cova funicular up and down from the Monastery to bypass the steep trail down to the Santa Cova walking trail. Cheers, Julie

      1. Thank you for replying and explaining everything Julie! I have to check that trail to Santa Cova Chapel, maybe we’ll be able to get there if it’s not a hike (we’ll be traveling with 3 kiddos) 🙂 I think we have to wait to see if the weather is nice and book all the tickets few days before.

        1. Post
  13. Hi Julie – Thanks for this post! I’m thinking of visiting Montserrat in February ’19 en route from Barcelona to Pamplona with my husband and two small girls (they’ll be 4 and 16 months at that time). My husband and I are in good shape and pretty adventurous. Do you have a recommendation for how we should approach Montserrat? We will be arriving by car and would definitely want to take a funicular for the 4 year old, see some of the history, and do a walk that would be workable with the 4 year old walking and 1 year old in a pack. Oh and in winter … Any ideas would be so appreciated! Thank you!

    1. Post

      Hello Sara. An easy to moderate walk is to Sant Miquel’s Cross, since it gives nice views back to the monastery. I also liked the walk to the Santa Cova chapel. It’s easy to do with nice views from the trail along the way. By car, you can drive all of the way up to the monastery. Or if you like the idea of taking the cable car, you can park at Aeri de Montserrat and ride the cable car up and down the mountain. Both ways are fine, it’s just whatever you prefer. Have fun! Cheers, Julie

      1. Hi Julie,
        Thanks so much for this great post, we are looking at going in July and are in a similar Family situation as Sara above with a 4yr old and 8 month old baby, so this reply was super helpful.
        Would love to hear from Sara how she went with the kids and the two short hikes to Sant Miquel’s Cross & Santa Cova Chapel, as that is what we’re looking at doing and are unsure if it will be too much for the 4yr old to handle?
        Loving your blog, thanks again. Nadia

Leave a Reply

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