Day tripping has become one of my new favourite ways to explore a region. I love the convenience of settling in a cozy apartment for several days and then taking mini day trips to explore sights outside the city limits. Some of the perks of having a home base include not having to pack up and move every couple of days, getting familiar with a neighbourhood (like I did in Gracia), and actually feeling like you have a home away from home.
When it came to my day trip to Montserrat, I was definitely excited to get out of the city. But if truth be told, I wouldn’t have complained about an extra day in my beloved Barcelona either. I didn’t know much about Montserrat but the interwebs highly recommended this easy half day excursion so the decision was made. And what do you know… I think it was quite possibly my favourite day of the entire trip.
For starters… we had amazing timing. We masterfully navigated the Espanya station and purchased our train tickets (sounds simple but not always so) allowing us to catch our train with mere seconds to spare. We enjoyed a peaceful one hour ride to the Montserrat Aeri station where we then took a cable car to the mountaintop. Can I just say how much I love cable cars?
Our early arrival time made for a thoroughly relaxing morning with relatively few crowds. In fact, we were pretty much the only people on the Degotalls trail. This scenic pathway lined with sculptures, wall frescoes, and other artistic works was the perfect leisurely stroll to start the day.
And then there was the monastery itself. It just so happens to be Catalonia’s most important religious retreat. Many make the pilgrimage to the sanctuary to visit the Virgin of Montserrat, Catalonia’s favourite saint. Make sure to get there early or be prepared to stand in an extremely long queue for time with the saint.
The impressive basilica houses a museum with works by many prominent painters and sculptors as well as one of the oldest printing presses still running. And if you happen to be there at 1:00pm you can hear one of the oldest boy’s choirs in Europe.
But more than the peaceful walk, more than the beautiful monastery, was the V I E W ! Montserrat could not have been more gorgeous. We got a bit out of control with all the photos but what else is new.
Do yourself a favour and visit Montserrat. On a clear day like we had, this is a must-see sight!