Julie Spain 74 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 just over one hour to get to Monistrol.

Below is a map of Barcelona, the train stations near Montserrat, and things to do on Montserrat. To find the trailhead from Monistrol de Montserrat, keep reading. 

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 walking route). 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.

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 be 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 (the cable car), or take the Cremallara (the rack railway) 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.


If you have any questions about hiking Montserrat, let us know in the comment section 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.

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Hiking Montserrat Spain

Comments 74

  1. Hello! I’ll be heading to Barcelona next month and found your site very helpful. Definitely bookmarking it. How far in advanced did you guys buy your tickets? I’m thinking of getting in the first train out of Barcelona but not sure if i should buy tickets in advanced. Seems like the only tickeets available are the three combo tickets..

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      Author

      We bought our tickets right before getting on the train. Unless you purchase a combo ticket, you can buy your train ticket the same day (but a return train ticket). And if you plan to hike to Montserrat, there is no need to buy a combo ticket, since you won’t get the benefit of the first cable car/rack railway ride to Montserrat. Just so you know, I just made a PDF version of this post and it will be printer friendly. We will be adding it to the post soon. It will be free, or $1 USD, just working out the details of that as we speak. So, if you are interested in a PDF, check back soon. Cheers, Julie

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  2. Hi,

    I will be visiting Barcelona this coming week with 5 friends. We would like to have a guided tour of Montserrat on Wednesday, Feb 12. Four of us would like to hike from Monistrol de Montserrat the other two in our group would prefer to take the R5 line to Aeri de Montserrat meet us at the monastery. I figured the hikers could take an hour earlier train. Once together we’d like a guided tour of the monastery and the area . . to include tapas and wine. Is it possible to start a guided tour once at the monastery? Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Paul

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      Author

      The only tours that I know of are through Get Your Guide. Here is the link to a Montserrat tour that includes a winery visit with tapas. And here is just a guided tour of Montserrat. Once you click in to the Get Your Guide website, you will see more options. These are affiliate links, so we make a small commission if you book your tour using this link. I recommend picking a tour that has a lot of reviews and at least has 4 stars. Also, check the transportation options. The wine and tapas tour might include round trip transportation from Barcelona so I’m not sure how you could also do the hike. I hope this helps! Cheers, Julie

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      Author

      Yes, take a look at our article on Montserrat. Under the section with tours, there is a wine tour and day trip from Montserrat that starts and ends in Barcelona. This is the only wine tour that I know of. Cheers, Julie

  3. Hi there!
    I’m revisiting Montserrat, but last time I took the Cable Car up and back down. I’m considering training from Barcelona, hiking up from Estacio de Monistrol, taking the Cable Car back down, and then the train back to Barcelona. Do you have any suggestions on when/where to buy tickets for this schedule? I was going to purchase rountrip Trian+cablecar from Pl. Espanya, and just eating the cost of the cable car up, but figured I’d reach out to see if you have any tips.

    Thanks for the detailed trail instructions!

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      Author

      You can piece this altogether, rather than buying one package ticket. That’s what we did. In Barcelona, we bought round trip train tickets from Placa Espanya. To get back down to the train station, we bought our cable car tickets right before we got on the cable car and didn’t have any issues (although this was October 2016). That saves you from paying one cable car ride. I hope you have a great time in Barcelona! Cheers, Julie

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  4. Thank you so much for your detailed post – I just did the hike today, all by myself, and it was incredible! Your directions were great 🙂

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      Author
    2. -Julie! I discovered your website while looking for advice for a day trip to Kamakura a few years ago. Now I am planning a trip to Europe and am loving searching around here for advice and ideas. Thank you for sharing your informative and well organized information.

      -Rhiannon, I am happy to see your comment because I am planning to do the Montserrat hike during my upcoming visit!

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        Author

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