Are you planning a day trip to Montserrat Monastery in Catalonia, Spain, and wondering how to get from Barcelona to Montserrat? You’ve come to the right place!
Montserrat Monastery is one of the best Barcelona day trips you can take. Though it takes a bit of work to get to Montserrat, it’s a journey worth making.
The trip from Barcelona to Montserrat is not only stunning, but it’s an experience people from across the world have taken on pilgrimage for centuries. This active abbey is home to the Black Madonna and is considered one of the most prominent places in the world for the Catholic Church.
If you’re wondering how to get from Barcelona to Montserrat, this blog will share your four options for getting there. Now, let’s dive in!
Montserrat Monastery History
Montserrat Monastery is a part of the Order of Saint Benedict in the Catholic Church. It’s a practicing Abbey home to 80 monks along with the world-famous Escolania boys’s choir.
While commonly referred to as Montserrat Monastery because of its location on Montserrat Mountain, its official name is Abadia de Montserrat or Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey.
This church has been a sacred place of worship for Catalonians for nearly 1,000 years and is where the cherished Black Madonna, or La Moreneta in Spanish, rests.
There are many legends about why this monastery was built here in the late 9th century. However, the legend we were told relates to the discovery of the Black Madonna in the mountains.
Supposedly, the Black Madonna was discovered by a Spanish shepherd in a cave around 888 A.D. The shepherd believed the Madonna had healing powers and shortly after people began making pilgrimages to visit the statue. The church below the mountain was becoming frustrated that people were passing by to visit the Madonna.
The priest attempted to take the Black Madonna from the cave to his church. As he attempted to retreat down the mountain, the statue became inexplicably heavy. The weight became too much to bear forcing him to stop halfway down the mountain. That’s when he decided to build the Montserrat Monastery to protect the Madonna there instead.
Is Montserrat worth visiting?
We believe Montserrat is without a doubt worth visiting. The breathtaking views surrounding the Monastery are a reason to come on its own. Many people come here to hike since there is a robust system of trails out here as a part of the famous pilgrimage to the abbey.
We aren’t particularly religious people and really knew very little about the Madonna before visiting. But we loved diving into the culture, tales, and history here.
What fascinated us the most though, was learning about the important role this abbey has played in the evolution of Spanish civilization.
It’s where the printing press was held, was a battleground during the French-Spanish War, and where the Catalan language was secretly protected and preserved when it was banned during the dark days of the Spanish Civil War. It’s been burnt to the ground and rebuilt countless times over its 1,000-year history.
How to get from Barcelona to Montserrat
Montserrat Monastery is about an hour to an hour and a half outside of Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. Nestled high in the striking Conserolla Mountains, the monastery resting against the backdrop of the rugged rocky mountains is breathtaking.
🤓 Fun Fact: Montserrat translates to “saw mountain” in Catalan, the language spoken in this region of Spain.
Most visitors take a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat on a guided tour (like we did). These tours include round transportation from Barcelona to Montserrat and a tour guide to help you better understand the history of this important sanctuary.
|~ An hour and a half
|7€ + fuel costs
|Train from Barcelona + cable car
|~ Hour and fifteen minutes
|21.60€ round trip
|Train from Barcelona + cogwheel train
|~ Hour and a half
|25.50€ round trip
|Train + walking
|~ 5+ hours (good idea to stay overnight)
|11.50€ round trip
|~ 5 – 6 hours
We’ll share some of the best Montseratt tours below, but if you prefer to DIY your experience below are the four ways to get from Barcelona to Montserrat.
If you have a rental car or other mode of transportation with you, you can drive to Montserrat. The drive takes about an hour and a half to get to the top. Google directions should get you to the Monastery easily, just make sure you put “Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey” in on Google Maps.
🚗 We did not rent a car during our trip to Barcelona and used public transportation (metro) and walking primarily. However, if you want or need to book a rental car check out the prices below.
Prices will depend on the type of vehicle you are driving and the length of time you are staying there. In 2024, it cost sedans 7€ to park for up to 24 hours and the parking near the monastery can handle around 400 vehicles at a time.
2. Montserrat Barcelona Train
If you don’t have a rental car, you can take a direct train ride from Barcelona to the bottom of the mountain. The train ride takes just over 1 hour with routes starting as early as 7:26 am. The train departs from Barcelona to Montserrat every hour.
Go to the Barcelona-Plaça Espanya station and buy a train ticket for the blue R5 line Manresa-Baixador (toward Manresa). This is a massive station and it can be a bit confusing since there are also metro stops here. Just make sure you buy a train ticket with Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat and the following signs for the R5 train line.
🚨 The train does not take you all the way to the monastery. You will need to choose one of the other options to get to the actual monastery.
- 🚡If you want to take the cable car to the top, get off at the stop Aeri de Montserrat.
- 🚞 If you want to take the cogwheel train to the top, get off at stop Monistrol de Montserrat.
- 🥾 If you want to hike get off at Monistrol de Montserrat.
🎫 Train tickets at the time of this writing cost $6.30 or 5.75 € one way. You can check timetables for your exact dates and up-to-date prices by clicking here. Enter “Pl. Espanya” for the departure and the station you want for the last stop.
You can purchase roundtrip tickets at the station AND include the cable car or the cogwheel train ride in your ticket. Just make sure to indicate the additional ride (cable car or cogwheel) you want to purchase at the station.
You can also purchase “tourist packages” with the Montserrat website that include entrances to see the Lady of the Throne (go up to touch the Madonna) or hear the boy’s choir sing. These packages range from 47 € to 65 € per person with roundtrip transportation included. They can be purchased here.
3. Montserrat cable car
The fastest way to get to the top of Montserrat is to take the Aeri cable car. This cable car first began operation in 1930 traveling up 4,400 feet (1,350 meters) in just 5 minutes. If you’re afraid of heights and don’t do well in gondolas, you may want to take the train instead.
🚡🚞 You can also mix and match taking the train up and the cable car down to have both experiences. Prices for each can be sold as a one-way ticket.
The cost at the time of this writing for adults is 13 € or $14.50 round trip and 10.80 € or around $12 for those aged 65+. The cars depart every 15 minutes. You can purchase your tickets here, at the cable car station, or add them to your train ticket price at the Barcelona-Plaça Espanya station.
4. Taking the cogwheel train to the top
The most popular way to get to the top of the Monastery is by taking the cogwheel train. This train winds 5 kilometers up the mountain offering its passengers stunning vistas of the mountains and valleys. The train departs every 15 minutes and costs 8.50 € or $9.30 one way.
5. Guided tour (Barcelona to Montserrat tour options)
One of the most popular options for how to get to Montserrat is a guided tour. We took the half-day tour to Montserrat with roundtrip transportation and a tour guide.
This tour had an optional winery visit with wine tasting and lunch in the nearby wine region. But we didn’t include it since we wanted to make the most of our time eating in the city (check out where to eat in Barcelona in this post). We did briefly stop at a winery on our return trip to the city and the views were stunning! The wine we got to sample was also really good.🍷
If you’re into wine I would recommend adding that to your experience. We regretted not doing it!
We met at the bus station near the Arc de Triomf (which was perfect since we were staying near there). We checked in with the tour company which had a kiosk at the bus station. The bus ride took about an hour and fifteen minutes but flew by because our tour guide shared a ton of history about Barcelona, Catalonia, and Montserrat on the ride.
Our guide was great and helped us get the “lay of the land” and understand our options and activities during our hour and a half of free time before needing to meet back at the bus.
We definitely liked going with a tour guide but would have preferred taking a longer tour there. There was so much to do and see at Montserrat, we would have loved an extra hour or two for exploring.
You can also take a look at some of the other amazing tours in Barcelona below.
The last option for getting to Montserrat is by walking. Most tourists coming here on a day trip aren’t going to make the several-hour to several-day pilgrimage walking to the mountain. But it’s worth noting that it very much is an option.
If you’re wondering how to spend your time while at Montserrat, make sure to explore our day trip itinerary. This shares the top things to do at Montserrat, cost for entry to do things like hear the boy’s choir sing, touch the Madonna, or even do a wine tasting!