Montserrat, also known as the Magic Mountain, is located about 30 miles to the West of Barcelona, Spain. It is easily accessible by train, cable car, road, or even a scenic hike to the top and entry prices will vary depending on the visitors mode of transportation (about 7 euro for the cable car to the top of Montserrat). This beautiful mountain is most famous for Benedictine Abbey of Santa Maria de Montserrat as well as a museum where visitors are able to see works of many famous artists, from Dali and El Greco to Monet and Giordano. On a clear, sunny day, visitors are able to see magnificent views of Catalonia, and sometimes even the island of Mallorca, from the pristine mountain top. Montserrat is one of the most visited tourist attractions to see when visiting Barcelona, and there are many reasons why. The main reasons for visiting the Magic Mountain are to explore the amazing architecture, learn about the history of Montserrat and Spain, and to enjoy the amazing views that Montserrat has to offer. According to Castle Experience, the name Montserrat means “serrated mountain”. It is called this because if you look at the shape of the rocks that surround Montserrat, they are sharp and jagged, as if someone sawed them into these unique rock formations. Legend has it that “Angels came down from the sky and serrated the mountain with the golden saw to create a throne for the Virgin Mary”. You will definitely not be disappointed with your visit to Montserrat.
Here is a short interview with a visitor, Jordyn Duncan, who highly recommends that visitors take the cable car, also known as the Aeri de Montserrat, up to the top of the mountain because it has fabulous views and it is quick and efficient. Aside from all of the tourist attractions at Montserrat, there are also many places to cure your hunger. As Jordyn mentioned, right off of the exit from the cable car is a delicious cafeteria where you can get all types of food for a cheap price. There is also a small farmers market where visitors are able to try many different cheeses, fruits, and vegetables. Aside from the cafeteria and farmers market, there are a few cafes and restaurants scattered throughout Montserrat.
Although she decided to take the cable car up the mountain the first time, she said in a later interview that next time she would like to try the hike, which takes most people several hours to complete and is a grueling, yet scenic, hike. If visitors decide to do the hike, there are many different routes to choose from, so choose wisely and do your research before hand. Throughout the hike, hikers will have magnificent views of Catalonia as well as the intense rock formations of Montserrat. Saint Jerome is the highest peak at Montserrat, measuring in at 1,236 meters above sea level, so one can only imagine the views from the top and throughout the hike. To get to the tip top of the peak, it takes hikers an average of 2-3 hours to complete, but it is all worth it in the end. Along the hike there is a popular rock formation called the Cavall Bernat, so be sure to look out at the view from time to time, no matter how exhausted you might be.
Alongside many of the walls at Montserrat are picturesque tile paintings along with flowers that really catch the eye. All of the architecture at Montserrat is breathtaking. The Basilica was built between the Gothic and Renaissance time periods, and was then damaged during a war and was unable to be reconstructed until the late 19th century. The church was built with Gothic arches, which marks the transition from the Gothic to the Renaissance time period, but was later destroyed by Napoleon’s army, so there are very few original walls still standing there today. Another piece of beautiful architecture at Montserrat is the Atrium of the Basilica. When visiting the Atrium, be sure to look down at the ground and admire the gorgeous black and white marble floors. There is also an iron sculpture of St. Benedict sitting at the entrance of the Monastery where the monks live, although visitors are forbidden from entering this area. Throughout the walls of the Atrium, there are designs on the right hand side of the wall that signify the most important shrines and Basilicas throughout Christianity, where as the left hand side of the wall has designs that show a brief history of Montserrat. All of the architecture is astonishing and visitors can truly see the history within the monuments. If you are a big fan of architecture, there is even an option to take an architecture tour of Montserrat.
Here is a short video of a glimpse of the amazing views that you can see from Montserrat. As you can see from the video below, Montserrat has a “Stairway to Understanding”, also known as “the Stairway to Heaven” monument that overlooks all of Catalonia on a clear day. The Stairway to Understanding/ Heaven sculpture was inspired by a Majorcan philosopher. The sculpture contains eight stairway blocks that climb in a spiral-like shape. Each step represents a diverse being: stone, flame, plant, beast, men, angel, and God. The steps are named in a hierarchal manner, with God being at the top of the statue. Many visitors enjoy climbing to the top of the monument to take pictures, but it is not recommended, due to safety reasons.
There is so much to do and see during a visit to Montserrat, so bring your hiking shoes, a camera, and get ready to learn all about the history of Montserrat. Spending a day at this magical mountain will bring you fun memories and some breathtaking pictures to look back at once the day trip comes to an end. Grab your friends and family and start planning your trip to Montserrat, the Magic Mountain of Catalonia.