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Montserrat Monastery - Barcelona Things To Do

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Santa Maria de Montserrat - Basilica | Barcelona Things To Do
Santa Maria de Montserrat - Basilica

Visit a revered place of pilgrimage in Catalonia Spain on a Barcelona day trip to Monserrat Monastery. The stunning Benedictine abbey is built atop the cliffs and domed peaks of the Monserrat Mountains. At the monastery, see the ancient Black Madonna and Montserrat Museum. Our Monserrat Monastery – Barcelona Things To Do travel blog post will help you plan an unforgettable day.

Sanctuary Viewpoint Apostle's Square at the Montserrat Monastery, Barcelona Travel
Sanctuary Viewpoint Apostle's Square
Montserrat Monastery - Barcelona Things To Do At A Glance

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Sta Maria Square at Montserrat Monastery on a Barcelona Day Trip, Catalonia Spain
Sta Maria Square


Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey was founded in the 11th century by Benedictine monks. The sanctuary was built to house the Black Madonna (aka “Our Lady of Montserrat”). The important roman catholic relic was discovered by shepherds in a cave high in the Montserrat Mountains.


LLobregat River Valley on a Barcelona day trip to Montserrat, Catalonia Spain
LLobregat River Valley

Legend has it that after its discovery, monks tried to move the wooden statue, but could not. Instead, they built a church around it. Through the ages many miracles have been attributed to Our Lady of Montserrat. Drawing pilgrims from around the world, the Black Madonna is revered as a symbol of healing and empowerment, and is the patroness saint of Catalonia.

The Black Madonna at Monserrat Basilica - Barcelona Things To Do
The Black Madonna Monserrat

Rebuilt and expanded over the centuries, the sprawling Montserrat Monastery has elements of Gothic, Renaissance, Romanesque architecture. Today, Montserrat is a working Benedictine abbey with a full calendar of religious services and some 80 monks living onsite. In addition to being a place of pilgrimage, the site has immeasurable cultural and historical value, great hiking trails, and spectacular scenery.

Montserrat Basilica Atrium and entry to the Black Madonna, Catalonia Spain
Montserrat Basilica Atrium


Montserrat Monastery is located about 37 miles (60km) north-west of Barcelona in the town of Monistrol de Monserrat. The abbey, 718 meters high, looks down upon the town.

Candle Passageway at Montserrat Monastery - Barcelona things to do
Candle Passageway


Most visitors will travel to Montserrat Monastery by car, train, or bus. The type of ticket you purchase will depend on your choice of transport. Check out the price of rental cars in Barcelona here.

Staircase to the Shrine of the Black Madonna, Montserrat Monastery, Barcelona Spain
Staircase to the Black Madonna


Montserrat is a 60-90 minute ride from Barcelona. When you reach Monistrol you can park (for free) at the bottom of the mountain and take the Cremallera de Montserrat (rack railway) or Montserrat cable car to the top of the mountain. Alternatively, you can drive to the car park at the top of the mountain. Fees depend on the size of your vehicle and the length of your stay.

Road to Montserrat Monastery on a Barcelona day trip to Montserrat
Road to Montserrat Monastery


Trains run between Barcelona’s Plaza Espanya and Monistrol de Montserrat roughly every 30 minutes. The trip takes about 1 hour. Once disembarked in Monistrol, you can walk to the Cremallera de Monserrat (rack railway) or Montserrat cable car.

Montrisol de Montserrat Railway Exhibit - Barcelona Day Trip in Catalonia Spain
Montrisol Railway Exhibit


Autocares Julia is a bus company with a Barcelona – Montserrat line that offers daily service. The bus departs once in the morning and returns in the afternoon. The journey takes 90 minutes one-way. The departure point in Barcelona is next to the Sants Train Station.


Montserrat Abbey Car Park on a Barcelona Tour in Catalonia Spain
Montserrat Abbey Car Park

Cremallera de Montserrat

Once in Monistrol, visitors can embark upon the Cremallera rack railway for a train trip to Monserrat Abbey. Parking is free, and the views from the train are spectacular. A rack railway tour is a very popular way to get to the monastery.

Cremallera de Montserrat Rack Railway in Montserrat Spain
Cremallera de Montserrat

Aeri de Monserrat Cable Car

The Monserrat cable car travels 1350 meters up the mountain in a gondola-type car. The car holds up to 35 people and the journey takes 5 minutes. Parking is free. The trip offers views of the River LLobregat, village of Monistrol, and Santa Cova shrine. You can book you cable car ticket ahead online.

Aeri de Montserrat Cable Car. Seeing the Montserrat Mountains on a Barcelona Day Trip
Aeri de Montserrat Cable Car


If you want to skip the hassle of coordinating transportation schedules and ticketing, book a tour. Tours to Monserrat are some of the most popular Barcelona things to do. A guided day tour will generally include transportation, tickets, and narration. Having visited the site, here are a few half-day, full-day, and combination tours we suggest:

Montserat Railway, Museum Tickets, & Audio Tour

Tapas & Afternoon Montserrat with Choir


Entry to Montserrat Basilica - Barcelona Things to Do
Entry to Montserrat Basilica


Montserrat Basilica & Black Madonna

The minimalist exterior of the basilica is in sharp contrast with its magnificent interior. On the first floor see the atrium, nave, alter, and side chapels. Then, climb a winding staircase to see the Shrine of the Black Madonna Montserrat, and touch her orb. Exiting the basilica, pause in the lovely candle passage on the Ave Maria Corridor.

Montserrat Basilica Alter at Montserrat Monastery in Catalonia Spain, Barcelona Travel
Basilica Alter

Montserrat Museum

The Montserrat Museum’s spacious gallery is home to one of Spain’s most valuable art collections including works by Caravaggio, Dali, El Greco, Monet, and Picasso.

Montserrat Museum - Barcelona Day Trip to Montserrat Monastery
Monserrat Museum

The Audiovisual Room

The Audiovisual Room has exhibits educating visitors on Montserrat’s monastery, mountain, and the sanctuary.

Escolania Boys Choir

The Monserrat Boys Choir is one of the oldest in Europe. The choir performs at many Monserrat Basilica ceremonies. On weekdays the choir sings at 1pm; on Sundays the choir usually performs at noon and in the evening. This afternoon tour take in a performance of the boy's choir.

Audiovisual Room Exhibit at Montserrat Monastery - Barcelona Things To Do
Audiovisual Room Exhibit

Shopping & Wine Tasting

On the monastery’s lower level, there is a large bodega with several other shops. These stores sell religious statues, souvenirs, clothing, and a line of wines produced at the Monserrat Monastery. Wine tastings are available upon request. This Montserrat Monastery tour includes a wine tasting and lunch.

Wine Tasting of Montserrat Monastery Wines, Barcelona Travel
Wine Tasting


Montserrat is popular destination for hikers and rock climbers. There are several short scenic trails that can be accessed from the monastery grounds. If you are interested in a hike, try the Sant Jerome (2 hours), Via Crucis (20 minutes), or the Creu de Sant Miguel (40 minutes). This hiking tour includes transportation, a tour of monastery, and a guided hike.

Hiking in the Montserrat Mountains - Things to see at Montserrat Monastery
Hiking in the Montserrat Mountains

Funicular Ride

There are two funiculars you can access from the monastery. The Sant Joan Funicular goes up the mountain to 1000 meters. At the top of the ride, you can disembark to enjoy the amazing views. Then, ride or hike back down the mountain. The Santa Cova Funicular travels to the cave where the Black Madonna is said to have been discovered.

Montserrat Monastery Funicular - Barcelona Things To Do
Montserrat Monastery Funicular


With its Mediterranean climate, the monastery can be visited year round. The site is busiest on the weekends and during the summer months of July and August. We think the best time to visit Montserrat Abbey is a weekday in the spring or fall when the weather is warm and the sky is clear.

Lunch on the patio at Montserrat Monastery in Monistrol de Montserrat, Catalonia Spain
Lunch on the Patio


Opening Days and Hours

Open every day. Opening Hours: Hours change seasonably. The Monastery Information Office is open Monday – Friday 9am-5:30pm; and weekends and holidays 9am-6:55pm.

Admission Tickets

Admission fees vary according to season, age group, and what you want to see at the abbey. There are admission fees to the Sanctuary (Atrium, Basilica, and Chapel), museums, parking, cable car, Cremallera train, and funiculars.

Visitor Information Center

Tickets, audio guides, maps, and site booklets are available in different languages.


Available in all public buildings.

Food & Drink

Onsite there are three restaurants and a supermarket.

Staying Overnight

There is a hotel, hostel, and apartments onsite for overnight stays.


It is often colder and windier on the mountain than in Barcelona.

Strolling to the Montserrat Basilica - Barcelona Things To Do
Strolling to the Basilica


  • Dress conservatively. Men and women should have knees and shoulders covered, and refrain from wearing flip flops.

  • Do not take photos/videos during religious services. Do not use a flash.

  • Do not enter chapels during a religious ceremony. Wait till the service concludes before entering the space.

Passage to Our Lady of Montserrat ( the Black Madonna) at Montserrat Monastery
Passage to Our Lady of Montserrat


The Montserrat Basilica, Museum of Montserrat, and Cremallera rack railway are fully accessible to wheelchairs and scooters. Those with mobility impairments should be aware the Montserrat Monastery is spread out over a large campus with many slopes and grade changes. 

Walking to Sta Maria Square at Santa Maria de Montserrat, Barcelona Travel
Walking to Sta Maria Square

Adios de las montanas (Goodbye from the mountains), Laura and Randy

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Working Joe Travel At Montserrat Monastery - Barcelona Things To Do
Working Joe Travel At Montserrat Monastery


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