Hey everyone! Now that I’ve shared some fun things about Gaudí’s Barcelona, I wanted to share with you a hidden gem outside of the city that’s worth a visit. Montserrat is a abbey hidden high in the mountains outside Barcelona.
In a previous post, I mentioned that both Mark & I went to Saint Anselm College, which was founded by Benedictine Monks. Montserrat was also founded by Benedictine Monks in 1025 (much, much older than St. A’s). The full name of the abbey is Montserrat de Santa Maria.
Now, since this abbey is high up in the mountains, there are a few different ways to get there. You can hike, take a train or cable car, or even do a group tour from Barcelona! If you’re short on time, the bus tour is a great option so you don’t have to worry about any of the details. For more information on how to get there, check out this link here.
To this day, Montserrat de Santa Maria is the home to over 70 benedictine monks. One of my favorite parts of this trip was visiting the small shops outside the abbey where you can purchase cheese, chocolate & liqueur that the monks make!
If you have time while visiting Montserrat, you can hike to the tallest point of the mountain by following the path titled Sant Jeroni. Although I did not have the time for this hike, it is rumored that on a clear day you can see as far as the island of Mallorca.
While visiting Montserrat, you will probably make your way inside the church. Keep in mind to have your shoulders covered or you may be turned away. While inside, you may notice people lining up to enter a side door. This leads to the Black Madonna (also know as the Virgin of Montserrat). It is said that this wooden statue was carved back in Jerusalem. Many people pilgrimage to see her from all over Spain & the world.
The line takes about 10-20 minutes depending on the time of the day to see the Black Madonna. The sphere she holds in her hand is the only thing not protected by glass, which you can touch or kiss.
Another fun fact about Montserrat is that it’s home to a very famous school. If you happen to be there in the early afternoon, you can usually hear the famous boy’s choir sing around 1:00pm every day. Unfortunately the boys were on summer break when I visited so I didn’t get to hear them.
Unless you plan to hike, it really only takes a day to visit Montserrat. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. Plus, you can buy some really amazing chocolate to bring home!
Stay tuned for our upcoming posts about the French Riviera!