Hiking Montserrat

Hiking Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain

Julie Spain 37 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 (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.


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 37

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  1. We just finished the hike and we were thrilled that we found this article as it made our trek so easy to find the trailhead. The pictures were the best and were very much appreciated. Incredible views and some steep parts but well with the hike. It’s the cable car down for us 😀. Thanks for posting this!

  2. This was incredibly helpful, thank you! One further clarification for those reading, yes, follow the stripes to the top. If you see an “X,” that indicates the wrong direction. We made that mistake early on not realizing we weren’t just looking for the colored markers!

  3. Hey! I plan to take the R5 from Placa Espanya to Monistrol and then hike from there to the monastery like you’ve shown. I plan to stay a night, or two at the monastery and either continue to trek some of the Camino to Manresa or simply come back down. My question is, did you hike back down the way you came up or take another route down back to Barcelona? Let me know what you suggest. Thanks.

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  4. Hi! This is such a great and detailed description. My husband and I are going to Barcelona this summer and I’d love to do this day hike. We’re thinking to do the r5 and then then hike you detail out. Once we get to the top, is there another hike to do that you mention? The one with really great views? I want to make sure I know where to go after this hike. Thanks!

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  5. Hi there,
    If I were to get off at Monistrol de Montserrat station and hike from there to the Montserrat, and then on my way back later, I decide to take either the cable car or the rack railway. To us either of these, would I need to buy a ticket before hand, or will I be able to purchase it from Montserrat?

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  6. Hello,

    My question is, along the hike, would I be able to see L’escala de l’enteniment (Stairway to Heaven) or is there an alternate path I must take?

    Please advise as I would like to do both the L’escala de l’enteniment and the hike that you have done.

    Thank you in advance.

    Merry Holidays

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      1. Hello,

        I have now looked into hiking a trail.
        My questions are:
        1) From the train station Aeri, to the Monastery is 1h30 long?
        2) If i would like to consider hiking to Sant Jeroni(highest point), what must I know and prepare for? I have read about the cremallera, funicular, cable car(what are all these?) and then a up-and-down hike that takes 2h30 round-trip back to the Monastey? Please enlighten up on all that’s required for this to happen.

        Also on this page, http://www.cremallerademontserrat.cat/en/rack-railway/timetable-prices/, the funicular is not running due to renovation works, are there alternate ways to do so?

        Really appreciate you taking the time out! 😀

        Thank you so much and Happy New Year!

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          Author

          Hello Cyrus. It takes 1h30 to get to the monastery from the start of the trail, which is about a 10 to 15 minute walk from the train station. So in total, it takes 1h45 to 2h to do the hike, depending on your speed. I don’t know if you have seen it, but we have a second post that describes the 3 cable cars/funiculars. The cable car and cremallera get you from the train stations in the valley to the top of the mountain. The funiculars are on top of the mountain and take you higher to the highest peaks. As for the Sant Jeroni hike, there are alternate ways to do the hike if the funicular is closed. Read this post for more details. It looks like you can hike directly there on an alternate trail or detour around the funicular (but this adds several hours to the hike). Cheers, Julie

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