Montserrat in December. An adventurous day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat

Montserrat is a beautiful oasis of peace in the middle of nature and a lovely escape from the noisy and crowded Barcelona. It is a religious place (a Benedict Monastery is located there) far away from the bustle of everyday’s life. After being in a rush in Barcelona for 3 days, this trip was a welcomed antidote: amazing scenery, quietness, relaxation. Just sitting on rocks and admiring the landscape.

For me, Montserrat is like a little brother of Meteora (Greece): while the 2 places are religious and located in a unique hilly place, the rocks from Meteora are truly breathtaking (they are also giant! in comparison with the ones from Montserrat). This does not mean that Montserrat isn’t beautiful. I liked Montserrat but Meteora stoled my heart.

How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona

First of all, you should take the R5 train (direction: Manresa) from Placa Espanya station. Once arrived in Placa de Espanya, follow FGC (it is an orange sign) on the indicators. The tickets can be bought from the ticket machines or from the internet. In order to get to Montserrat, you will have to combine a train + either cable car or a specific train called “cremallera”. When buying the ticket, choose the option that better suits you (we chose train + cremallera).

The price can differ depending on the season! We paid 10,50 euros/person (train + cremallera) return ticket. This price didn’t include the funicular, which we paid there – 13 euros/person/return.

On the official website, you can see all the options and prices: https://www.cremallerademontserrat.cat/en/rack-railway/timetable-prices/

Important! Depending on what you have chosen (cable car or cremallera), you will get off in a different train station!

  • For cable car – the station is Monistrol del Aire
  • For cremallera – the station is Monistrol de Montserrat

Our adventure

It had been too easy to get on R5 and to get off to Monistrol de Montserrat, right? So let’s complicate the things, let’s add a service cut between 2 stations of R5! As early December is not a touristic period, we had the luck to encounter such a thing.

Sooo route reconfiguration: took the train to L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, then a bus to Sant Boii, then R5. When I heard this, I was confused and disappointed. I was thinking that we couldn’t make it but in the end, it was very easy – in all stations, there were people meant to help the passengers, so before asking them anything, they guided you to the right exit, to the bus, to the train station… I really appreciate Spaniards for their impeccable organization.

We took R5 from Sant Boii – first issue solved. Second issue: along the way, the sunny sky from Barcelona was getting more and more cloudy. At Monistrol de Montserrat, it was cold and the sky was cloudy. On the way, everything got worse: it was foggy so I could not see anything on the window! I was so disappointed and sad.

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After half an hour, suddenly, we started to see the beautiful hills and… a clear sky above us!! In 2 minutes, we were in the train station: Montserrat. Behind us, the foggy abyss – in front of us – the sun! I couldn’t believe it!

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What to see in Montserrat

  1. Wander around the monastery area. The rocks formations are really lovely! The region is pretty small, you can see it in maximum half an hour.

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2. Visit the monastery (the entrance is free!)

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3. Take the funicular to the highest peak – Sant Jerome (1236 m).

Depending on the ticket that you bought, this can be included or not. We didn’t have it included, so we bought 2 tickets (26 euros!). The road is spectacular, you can admire the rocky landscape. Once arrived, you can wander around or hike on the marked trails.

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As we were not attentive to the indicators, we didn’t hike on the trails as we didn’t know the time that will take. So we wandered around, admiring the nature, the clear sky, the interesting rocks. The weather was just perfect, around 15 degrees!

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The below image is part of one trail that lasts only 35 minutes! We saw that the road is crossing the rocks so I am pretty sure that the final viewpoint is worth the effort! We didn’t have water with us, so we limited ourselves to take some photos and then we got back to the main road.

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We were soooo close to the sky!!

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After we returned, I saw that the fog had disappeared and in its place, a stunning landscape could be admired. I took some photos and then approached the train station.

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Tips! Sit on the right side of cremallera for spectacular views!

The journey is so impressive, the train is crossing the hills, passing through a lot of tunnels, the view will let you speechless!

We believed that our adventure had finished but guess what: No! We got off in a wrong station: Monistrol Villa and not Monistrol de Montserrat. We got confused as almost all the tourists from the train took off in that train station. After getting off and passing by the access gates, we saw that all them were approaching 2 buses (their buses!). After a couple of minutes, they left, and we remained alone in the empty parking, without being able to access the station (as our tickets were consumed).

We were lucky to have found someone at the tickets office and they gave us access to the station, informing us that we were in the wrong station. We waited for another train and got safe home.

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The return way was also well organized, the Spaniards guiding us to the buses and taking care of us. After all this experience, I am more than convinced that if one day, I would have the chance to move to Spain, I would do it without second thoughts!

Travel. Enjoy. Repeat,

Pal

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