Montserrat which literally means saw-toothed mountain is about 60km from Barcelona and we decided to take a day trip there. It is definitely worth doing a bit of reading and research to work out the various options and pitfalls. We decided on all-inclusive tickets for just over EUR50.00 each. While this may sound excessive, it was much cheaper than buying all of the individual tickets separately and it included a substantial buffet lunch.
The train leaves from Plaza Espanya for the 1 hour journey to the village of Monistrol de Montserrat from where you can ascend to the monastery by either cable car or rack railway. We chose the latter as I am definitely not a fan of cable cars.
The view from the station where we transferred to the rack railway.
A close-up of the track as we waited for the descending train on the passing loop.
While Montserrat is primarily a religious site and pilgrimage destination, there is a selection of things to see and do. You can take the funicular even further up the mountain where there are walks of varying lengths and the Nature Centre with displays about the flora, fauna, climate and geological history of the area.
The funicular approaches the lower station.
Views from the funicular as we ascended at an incline of approximately 65 degrees.
I could not help but be reminded of Hanging Rock in Victoria, except on a much larger scale.
A 15 minute walk afforded even more views.
On our return to the main complex we stopped for lunch before exploring a bit more. Our ticket also included an audio-visual presentation about the monastery and entry to the museum/art gallery. The basilica was our final stop before we left the mountain. Naturally, no photographs were permitted inside the basilica, however, here is a view of the exterior from the enclosed courtyard.
Then it was time to retrace our steps and return to the bustling city of Barcelona.