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General Information

The Monistrol de Montserrat (Monastery of Montserrat) is one of the most famous attractions in Spain, it is visited by many tourists. It is an ancient Benedictine abbey. Alongside to its religious significance, the monastery is surrounded by an amazing landscape due to it’s location on a beautiful mountain close to Barcelona. The name “Montserrat” means “saw mountain” (a visit to the place will easily explain why). The abbey is situated on the highest mountain of the region.

There is also a national park in the area, so one can combine the visit to the monastery with a nice mountain trip. There, you can admire the interesting stone textures which are characteristics of Catalonia, go up the mountain by a cable car and visit the breathtaking Catalan countryside that is different from such urban areas as Barcelona.

History of Montserrat

The Monastery of Montserrat has a long and fascinating history which started approximately in 800 CE when a group of young shepherds saw a bright light descending from the sky to the mountains. Simultaneously, they heard angels songs which filled the shepherds’ heat with great joy (for additional information – History of Barcelona).

Amazed by this experience, the young boys ran home quickly and told the hallucinatory experience to their parents. Their parents were skeptical at the beginning but finally decided to believe what the generally trustworthy children said and went to the mountain to see what it was all about. There, the parents witness the same events, so finally they declared that this was a sign from the heaven.

After a priest had seen the revelation, some religious persons investigated the cave where it took place and found there a statue of Virgin Mary (named as Black Madonna-La Moreneta). From that moment the site has become an important pilgrimage place. The cave was sanctified and was named as the Holy Cave of Montserrat (Santa Cova de Montserrat). The site is also referred as the Holy Grotto.

Throughout the centuries the monastery and monks who lived there were disturbed many times, for example by the army of Napoleon or during the Spanish Civil War.

Today the monastery still serves as an important pilgrimage site for Christian believers but it is visited by many other curious tourists.

What do you see in Montserrat?

The way to get to the Montserrat is quite an attraction by itself. The most experiential route (from Barcelona) includes a train and a cable car with amazing views, or a train and a rack railway. For more thorough information about the means of transportation to the monastery, check out our page Getting to the Monastery of Montserrat.

The Monastery

The church of the Monastery of Montserrat is a dim and ornate basilica from the 16th century. Above the main altar you can see the Black Madonna statue.

Besides this, one can visit a museum where works of such Spanish modern artists as Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso are exhibited. A farmers’ market also takes place there, where you can buy agricultural products that were made locally. In addition, every Sunday afternoon a Sardana dance is performed in Plaça de Santa Maria.

The Funiculars

Once you have reached the monastery, there are two funiculars that can take you further along the touristic route. A funicular is a cable railway that has a pair of vehicles similar to a tram, that takes people up and down a slope. When one of the vehicles slides down the railway, the other one counterbalance it and climbs up.

Santa Cova Funicular

This funicular will take you slightly down the mountain, to a point where you walk to the cave of “Santa Cova”. This is the cave where according to the tales, the statue of the Black Madonna was found. The cave can also be accessed by foot without using the funicular, it’s a 20 minutes walk but some people choose the funicular instead of walking because the walk is quite strenuous.

There are exhibitions about the legend of the cave and about funiculars in the lower station of the funicular. Unfortunately, the funicular is not accessible for wheelchairs.

Sant Joan Funicular

This funicular will take you even further up the hill to a good viewpoint at the peak of the mountain. From there you can admire the birds-eye views that include the whole monastery from above, the montserrat mountains from another side and on a clear day even the views of Catalunya. This is also an entry point to walks to the natural park. There is a nature museum close to the funicular station.
It is possible to purchase combined tickets for the funiculars and the Cremallera which is one of the means of getting up to the monastery.



Montserrat Choir

Another popular attraction in the abbey is the boys’ choir of the basilica which performs Gregorian songs typical in the Catalan region. Every day at 13:00 they perform for free (exceptions are Christmas, July and other feasts, for additional information – Public Holidays in Barcelona). In the last few years the choir has become very popular and has recorded more than 100 albums, all of them are very successful.

The Environment of the Monastery

Besides the abbey, Montserrat is also famous for the great hiking possibilities. On the mountain tours you can see unique plants, animals and rocks. Moreover you can also admire the islands of Ibiza and Majorca from a great distance.

It is recommended to inform yourself before the tour about the actual possibilities. One can do that at the local tourist office. There are at least three great options: the tour to an observation point, the tour to the cave of the monastery and the tour to the Torrent de la Font Seca and Camí de Les Bateries. The difficulty level of these routes is variant.

If you would like to take a pleasant walk in the area of the monastery but you are not an impassioned trekker, there are two easy and not too difficult routes. Those who are keen on trekking and hiking can choose from other, more difficult options.

Tips and Recommendations for Visiting Montserrat


  • Together with Teatro-Museu Dali (Museum of Salvador Dali), the area of the Monastery of Montserrat is one of the most popular attractions outside Barcelona.
  • Take into consideration that the area of the Monastery of Montserrat is usually a very overcrowded place!
  • When you arrive to area of the Monastery of Montserrat it is recommended to go to the visitors’ center at the exit of the Montserrat Train Station and take a map of the area which includes the recommended hiking routs.
  • Since there are many family-friendly attractions, such as the church, the story of the Black Madonna, the Sardana dance show, the funicular and many others, the area of the Monastery of Montserrat is a very attractive site for children and it is visited by many tourists with kids (for additional information – Kids and Families in the Monastery of Montserrat and Kids and Families in Barcelona).
  • Most of the area of the Monastery of Montserrat is accessible by wheelchair. But be aware that there are some problematic attractions, for instance, the cable car is not accessible and people on wheelchairs are not able to get near enough to the Black Madonna to touch it (for additional information – Accessibility in the Monastery of Montserrat and Accessibility in Barcelona).
  • Visitors in this landmark who owns the iVenture discounts card are entitled to a discount in the entrance fee (for additional information – iVenture Card – What is included?).

Tips for Timeout in Montserrat:

  • Since the area of the Monastery of Montserrat is an important hiking site in the mountains, it is extremely important not to forget your walking shoes!
  • The visit of the Monastery of Montserrat and a tour in the nearby mountains takes approximately half a day. It is suggested to stock up in the Arena Mall.
  • For those who want to listen to the famous boys’ choir of the Monastery of Montserrat, we recommend to arrive there at least half an hour before the starting time because changes in the schedule might occur.

Tips for Transportation in Montserrat:

  • If you are visiting only Barcelona, it is not recommended to rent a car only for the monastery, in that case Public transportation is a better option. There is an option to purchase a combined card for the metro, train and cable car, by booking it at the stand of the Catalan Tourist Office on Placa Catalunya. As opposed to that, if you would like to go for a road trip outside the city, for example, in the Pyrenees, in Andorra or in the Basque region, it is recommended to rent a car. In that case, you can use the parking area at the train station near the monastery (for additional information – Parking Near Montserrat, Car Rental in Barcelona and Car Rental in Spain).
  • There is only a small number of guided tours inside the monastery itself, and none of them are run by the monastery staff. But there are many guided tours in the whole complex, and extremely popular are the day trips that start in Barcelona and include the transportation to Montserrat from the city, a tour in the compound including the monastery and the nature park that surround it, and then a transportation back to Barcelona. This is a convenient and not too expensive way to visit the site and in most of the cases more recommended than renting a car or using public transportation (for additional information – Attractions and Tours near the Monastery of Montserrat, Attractions and Tours in Barcelona, Parking Near Montserrat and Getting to the Monastery of Montserrat).

Tips for Hotels near Montserrat:

Recommended Blogs and Articles About Montserrat


Useful Information

Getting there

Take the N-2 highway to the direction of Tarragona. At the intersection with the highway N-11, turn left and follow the signs. The car must be parked in a paid parking lot such as Monistrol (for additional information – Parking Near Montserrat).


08199 Barcelona

Opening Times

Monday to Friday:

Official Website

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