Julie Spain 77 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. 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.

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.


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

More Information about 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

 

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 77

  1. Hi, Suz and Lillian. We are super grateful for the directions because both of us are quite illiterate when it comes to finding our way. You made it so easy and we had a lovely birthday.
    Much love.
    Suz.

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  2. 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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      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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  3. 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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      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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      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

  4. 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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      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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  5. 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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    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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  6. Hello

    IF we were to hike to the top of the peaks. Are you able to buy tickets for the funicular and cable car from the top station? Therefore just paying for one ticket down the mountain

    Thank you

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      Yes, once on the mountain, you can buy tickets for the funicular and the cable car back down the mountain. Cheers, Julie

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  7. Muchos gracias! My dear friend I did took your advice and caught the trail from town. We were absolutely amazed by the natural beauty along the ascent. We arrived at the monastery in time for a beautiful choral concert. The setting was stunning. A million thanks! The descent was equally gorgeous.

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  8. Hi, thanks so much for this guide! My friend and I are visiting next week Montserrat next week but from what I saw online, I was confused as to whether there was an actual entrance fee for the Monastery. Is it only if you do a tour? Does the entrance fee change if you’re a student? Let me know 🙂

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      There is no fee to visit the Monastery, meaning the entire complex of buildings including the Basilica, the hiking trails, and the small chapels. And you do not need to take a tour, you can do it all on your own. However, there are some sites that have an entrance fee, such as the Montserrat Museum and Saint Cecilia. Santa Cova Chapel is free to visit, although donations are accepted. Cheers, Julie

  9. Hello there!

    I am going to Monserrat in April and would love to print this guide out. However, I am unable to print it as the file is too large?
    Is there any way you could send it to me so that I could have it on hand for our hike as it looks extremely informative and helpful!
    I appreciate it.
    Liz

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      Hello Liz. Unfortunately, the only version we have is what is on the website. You should be able to just print the “most important” pages. Cheers, Julie

      1. Hello!
        I am so grateful that I came across your amazing blog and this awesome trail information for our hike in June. Just like Julie mentioned, I am unable to print any of this content. I’m not sure why, since I was always able to print everything on any website. Is there a way to print any of this of your page?
        Please help! I’d love to have this with me so we don’t get lost 🙂

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          Sorry, we don’t have a way to print this (no PDF). However, you should still be able to print a copy, it might be long, but you should still be able to do it (I print a copy of every post after I publish it). From the browser (I use Chrome), go to File, click Print, click Open PDF Preview, and you should be able to print this version. Have a nice hike! Cheers, Julie

  10. Hey guys, I just wanted to say a massive thank you for this guide. Me and my partner have just come back from a trip to Barcelona and we decided to hike up to Montserrat only because I had stumbled upon this post while planning the trip. We didn’t have a single trip-up, your directions were very easy to follow and made it extremely clear on the day. Thanks so much for sharing this as it saved me hours of research before our trip as well as saved us from trying to find the trailhead ourselves. Thanks again for this brilliant guide!

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  11. I’ll be in Barcelona next week, and Montserrat is at the top of my list! I really want to do this hike without paying for a guide (which can cost up to $80!!)

    This post is so helpful, especially considering how difficult finding the trail head was for you! Thanks for all of the photos and the clear explanations 🙂

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  12. Hello,

    We’re on our way back to Barcelona from a great day at Montserrat. The guide worked perfectly, and it was such a lovely (cold) hike… Thanks for sharing. The pictures were so helpful!

    Regards,
    Stephanie

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  13. Thanks for directions! I just did it with great December sun. For anyone driving it looks like there’s a small car park when the trail crosses the road. I didn’t use it but saw some hikers there and think it looked more convenient than where I parked.

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  14. Thank you so much for your insight. It was a beautiful hike and with your guidance, it was very easy to access. Keep up the good work!

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