Montserrat Mountain: Journey to the Catalan Shrine
What is the connection between the world famous opera singer Montserrat Caballe and the spiritual center of the Catalan – Mount Montserrat? The Catalan tradition is such that every third girl is given the second name “Montserrat”, believing that this is a guarantee of future happiness and protection under the wing of the Holy Virgin. In this story, we share our impressions of visiting an amazing place in Spain – Montserrat Mountain, as well as tips, using which you will not make our mistakes.
This tour was, as they say, “for a snack” in our travel plan for Spain, on the last day before flying back to Russia. I must say that after traveling to Barcelona, the Salvador Dali Museum in Figueiros and several other towns of impressions were already over the edge, you can say too much. Therefore, we decided that an afternoon excursion to Montserrat would be quite enough, because on the last day I really wanted to swim in the sea.
After lying half a day on the beach in Salou, and even having time to relax a bit in the hotel room, at 14-30 we pulled ourselves up to the stop of our PLANA sightseeing bus. The ticket was purchased in advance for the tour “Montserrat and the Singing Fountains of Barcelona”. It should be noted that on this trip with a guide we were not lucky. The Russian-speaking girl did her job without a soul, just read something from a piece of paper, and still did not share the necessary information, and as a bonus, she had a hoarse voice. As a result, having already arrived back and having read the brochure purchased at the monastery, we tried to systematize the information on the sights and routes of Montserrat in our report.
1. General information
Literally “Montserrat” means “split mountain”; it really looks unusual, like a pile of different types of rocks. Mount Montserrat is unique in both its geological conditions and the ancient Benedictine monastery, which is more than a thousand years old. In the basilica adjacent to the monastery, the holy of holies of Catalonia, the figure of the Holy Virgin of Montserrat, known as the “Black Madonna” (La Morenetta) is kept.
2. How to get from Barcelona to Mount Montserrat
Mount Montserrat is just 40 km from Barcelona and 120 km from Salou.
If you go to Mount Montserrat on your own, we recommend that you do this early in the morning, since by 12 o’clock a huge number of tourists are brought here. If you nevertheless choose the option that we chose, that is, with a guided tour, then go to Montserrat in the afternoon – after 3 hours, the line to bow to the Holy Virgin Morenetta, to whom the place is dedicated, is the smallest.
– Alone on the electric train. A train departs daily from Barcelona from Plaza de España on a scheduled basis. The train to Montserrat leaves the FGC underground station, which is not so easy to find the entrance to. Here is a mini instruction:
you need to focus on the icon “FGC”, on the street of Tarragona
then we go down, our goal is to get to the R5 branch in the direction of Manresa.
we buy a ticket in the machine with a package: for the train + funicular. You need a ticket to the Monistrol de Montserrat stop, from which the Cremaer mountain train runs (not with Montserrat Aeri, the cable car leaves from there).
– Alone by car (not recommended), since countless tourist buses travel to Montserrat.
– With a guided tour (option chosen by us): from Salou we booked an evening tour “Montserrat + the Singing Fountains of Barcelona” from the local company PLANA, leaving Salou at 14-00 and returning to Salou about 24 hours
3. Things to do for a tourist on Mount Montserrat
– make a wish, standing in line for the “Smuglyanka” (she is the Black Madonna, she is the Holy Virgin of Montserrat);
-to study the monastery building and the basilica, listen to the organ in the main hall;
-to visit the Montserrat Museum, where you can see the early works of Dali, Picasso and Degas, various images of Mount Montserrat and the Black Madonna, learn the history of the monastery (do not forget the audio guide);
– at 13-00 in the main basilica listen to the unique choir of boys;
– admire the beautiful views by going through one of the four routes on Mount Montserrat;
-if you are fond of mountaineering, then Mount Montserrat is adapted for this;
– climb the funicular to the clouds and take beautiful photos.
Download monastery map
Map application (main attractions)
The Legend of the Black Virgin Montserrat
According to legend, the shepherds grazing sheep in the mountains saw a dazzling light and heard a delightful melody. They did not believe their eyes, but after some time, the phenomenon repeated again and continued for 4 weeks. Shepherds reported a strange incident to Bishop Manresa. A trip to this place was organized. What was the general amazement when a figurine of the Virgin Mary with a black face was discovered in the cave, from which the magic light emanated. The bishop made an attempt to move her from her place, but she was so heavy that all attempts were in vain. This was interpreted as the unwillingness of the Virgin to leave her place. Resourceful Catalans decided to build a chapel here.