When in Barcelona, there’s no better place for a day trip than to head to Montserrat Mountain, which itself is within Spain’s first ever designated national park. “Montserrat” literally means “saw mountain” in Catalan. It describes its peculiar aspect with multitude of rock formations which are visible from a great distance. The mountain is composed of strikingly pink conglomerate, a form of sedimentary rock. You can see this behemoth from miles around and it really makes the whole area stand out.
I took Barcelona Metro’s Red Line Espanya Station and then boarded the R5 Train that was heading for Manresa. Montserrat Mountain is enroute to this destination. My train journey took around 1 hour, although some trains stop at extra stations and this will increase the journey time. I would recommend purchasing the Trans Montserrat Ticket like I did, which at 29 EUROS is not cheap, but it works out better value than paying for a return ticket and then extra costs like the funicular ride.
The famous Benedictine Abbey which contains Gaudi’s crypt can be reached by the equally famous Aeri de Montserrat cable car, or by the Montserrat Rack Railway. From the Abbey, the Funicular de Sant Joan funicular railway goes up to the top of the mountain, where there are various abandoned hovels in the cliff faces that were previously the abodes of reclusive monks, whilst the Funicular de la Santa Cova descends to a shrine. As you get higher and higher in the mountains the views down below become all the more impressive.
One of the best things about my visit to Montserrat was the cable car journey. It may only last for a few minutes, but it was very enjoyable, and I think it compares well to cable car experiences at the likes of Table Mountain in Cape Town or at the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. It’s always good to make a comparison!
The highest summit of Montserrat is called Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome) and stands at 1,236 meters (4,055 feet) above sea-level. It is accessible by hiking trails which connect from the top entrance to the Sant Joan funicular, the monastery, or the base of the mountain.
If steamy Barcelona is getting to much for you then a nice day trip out to Montserrat could be what you’re looking for! After all, I can remember leaving the steamy cities of Kandy in Sri Lanka to get to the highlands at Nuwara Eliya, just to escape the heat and humidity. I know Spain is not as hot as Sri Lanka, but the principle remains the same.