If you ask the locals which place is worth to visit outside Barcelona, one of the very first destinations they will recommend is Montserrat.
Montserrat, Catalonia in Spain. I've heard a lot about the monastery at the peak where you can get only through the winding and narrow roads. About the city among the mountain ranges, which is not readily accessible, but the view that you can observe at the top is worth the efforts. I must admit that this place amazed me even more than I suspected before the trip.
Montserrat is a mountain range in Spain just about 40 km from Barcelona. The hallmark of the Montserrat mountain range, and at the same time this, what attracts travelers the most, is a unique shape of rocks. Just take a look at the pictures below!
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The highest point of Montserrat is the Sant Jeroni peak rises to a height of 1237 m above the sea level. It's also the highest point in this region which offers an exclusive view of entire Catalonia. In 1987, Montserrat was declared as a natural park (Parc Natural de Montserrat).
The monastery located among the rock formations
The Benedictine Monastery (El Monasterio de Santa María de Montserrat) is situated in the mountains of Montserrat. It's the most important religious center in Catalonia and second, after Santiago de Compostela, the most famous pilgrimage center in Spain. In the monastery, there is located a wooden statue of Virgin of Montserrat (La Moreneta) which has an important religious significance.
In the 20th century, in the monastery was established the museum of art (Museo de Montserrat). What you can see there, is a collection of paintings of many world famous Spanish and foreign artists, e.g. Pablo Picasso, Dali, Caravaggio, and Monet.
Every year, tourists and pilgrims from different parts of the world travel to Montserrat. As one of the most famous tourist destinations in this region of Spain, Montserrat has an extensive transport system including two cable cars (Aeri de Montserrat), a rack railway (Cremallera de Montserrat) as well as funiculars (Funicular de Santa Cova, Funicular de Sant Joan). You can also get there by car or bus.
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Hiking trails in Montserrat
The Montserrat massif offers a lot of well-marked mountain trails. Some of them are artificially hardened so everyone can find good paths for themselves. On your way, you can quickly notice many historical or natural attractions including monuments, shrines or small streams of water.
How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona
The most common way of transport from Barcelona to Montserrat is the R5 train which goes directly to the beginning of the mountains. Then you have to change to a rail train. There is also a bus service between Barcelona and Montserrat. However, it runs only once a day.
If you prefer to choose a car, it'd be a great opportunity to experience an adventure and get to the monastery through the narrow mountain ranges. We did this route once - it was a very winding mountain road, but the landscape we could observe was truly breathtaking.
A winding and very scenic road to the top combined with amazing landscapes from the summit offer a unique adventure and many memorable moments. A journey to Montserrat is worth to recommend not only for hiking fans but also for those who appreciate long walks through forests with family or friends. A few hundred meters above the sea level, you can observe calm and grandeur mountain rocks. Take a deep breath and simply enjoy your time.
Have you ever been to Catalonia, Spain? If so, which place is your favorite so far?