Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey

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Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey

Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery (map) situated high up in the unusual rock mountain is very popular among Catalans, and Catholic pilgrims come from far and wide to see the Black Madonna. The monastery was founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between the 19th and 20th centuries, and still functions to this day.

The monastery is Catalonia’s most important religious retreat and groups of young people from Barcelona and all over Catalonia make overnight hikes at least once in their lives to watch the sunrise from the heights of Montserrat.

Montserrat is about 48 km away from Barcelona, and is easily accessible by train, car and bus.

+ More information > WikipediaWikivoyage • UNESCO
Official website
+ TOURIST INFORMATION > SPAINSPAINCATALONIA

Museum of Montserrat showcases a selection of the most outstanding artistic and archaeological heritage at the thousand-year-old Abbey of Montserrat. The museum contains six very different collections. More than 1300 pieces are exhibited in the museum, embracing a vast chronological period.

  • Modern painting, with works by artists from Catalonia such as Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas, Isidre Nonell, Joaquim Mir, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró and Antoni Tàpies, and non-Catalans like Pablo Picasso or the painter Darío de Regoyos, Asturian, who was the only painter linked to the European impressionist and neo-impressionist movements; as well as a representation of French impressionism, with authors such as Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley and Edgar Degas.
  • Archeology of the biblical East, showing objects of Egypt, Cyprus, Mesopotamia and Holy Land.
  • Ancient painting, showing works by authors such as El Greco, Caravaggio (from this author, an important St. Jerome), Luca Giordano, Giambattista Tiepolo and Pedro Berruguete.

There are four main hiking trails that can be done around the monastery. These lead to the hermitage of Santa Magdalena, and to Sant Jeroni, the highest point of Montserrat. At an altitude of 1,237 m, almost all of Catalonia can be seen from Sant Jeroni, and on a clear day, the island of Majorca is visible. The trails are well marked with signs along the way, but you may still want to pick up a map at the tourist information office first (map).

 !  It’s a great idea to bring your own lunch, especially if you plan to walk away from the central area or go up the funicular to the top of the mountain. If you’re coming from Barcelona, a good plan is to get up early and head to La Boqueria (map), the big open marke, to stock up on sandwich ingredients and snacks – bread, cheese, meat, olives, wine, etc. Pack it up and bring it with you.

Public transport

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Most public transit options will take you to the Montserrat-Aeri (map) or Monistrol de Montserrat (map) terminals at the foot of the mountains, where you transfer to cable car (Aeri de Montserrat) or rack railway to reach Montserrat and its monastery, high up in the mountains.

+ Getting around the city (barcelonaturisme.com) • Getting around Spain (spain.info)

Always check whether the bus or the train is more convenient. The least expensive way to get around most parts of Spain is by bus.

 BUS >   Virtually all companies operating Intercity buses in France including Ouibus and even German players Flixbus offer buses to/from Spanish destinations. ALSAGrupo AvanzaSocibus and Secorbus. You can also see what is all available on Movelia.es.

 RAIL >   The city’s main Inter-city rail station is Barcelona Sants railway station (map). The main train operator is RENFE, including AVE (Spanish high speed train) or Talgo intercity services. (*Rail travel in Europe)

 AIRPORTS >   Barcelona is served by Barcelona–El Prat Airport, about 17 km (11 mi) from the centre of Barcelona.  Information about Spanish airports > aena.es.

 WATERWAYS >   Some of the largest shipping companies includes Baleària • Grimaldi LinesTrasmediterranea. +Spain’s main sea connections (spain.info)

::: Source: Rick Steves’ Europe

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