Can you think of a better way to spend a 70° October day in Spain than eating Catalan cuisine, touring the Monastery of Montserrat and hiking the surrounding trails of the peaks of Montserrat?
We were able to do all of this and more on our Spanish Trails Montserrat Day Trip. Here are my Top 10 Reasons to add a day trip to Montserrat to your Barcelona itinerary
- This View – The views from Montserrat are right up at the top of the list my favorites. This picture was taken only a 15 minute walk from the monastery, along a winding paved path through the woods to the cross of Sant Miquel, one of the many stops for people on pilgrimages and hermitages in Montserrat.
- The Black Madonna – legend says the Black Madonna was carved by Saint Luke and brought to Spain. The Benedictine monks who found the Madonna were unable to move it, so decided to build their monastery around it. People have been making pilgrimages to see the Black Madonna since the 12 century.
- The Monastery – the original Santa Maria de Montserrat Monastery built on this site was demolished during the Napoleonic wars. Fortunately, the new Basilica was designed by Gaudi and his school of architects and artists. While less opulent than the Sagrada Familia, the monastery is striking and full of interesting details.
- Market – local vendors set up a farmers market / craft market on the road leading to the monastery daily. We tried Spanish goat, sheep and cow cheeses, ricotta with honey, fig bread, nuts and more
- Boys Choir – most days at 1 PM the L’Escolania Choir, School Boys Choir, performs in the basilica. The performance is precious and very impressive!
- The town – Monistrole de Montserrat is an adorable, not at all touristy town about a 20 minute drive from the monastery. It’s exactly how I imagined a small Catalan town should look, which sunny alleys and homey restaurants!
- Hiking – there are miles and miles of hiking trails around Montserrat! We explored the trails heading up above the monastery, which were quite steep, a good workout and provided gorgeous views.
- Museum – Our guide described the Museum of Montserrat as one of the most underrated museums in Barcelona. It is packed full of select works by masters as diverse as Monet, Caravaggio, and Picasso.
- Courtyard outside the Monastery – it makes a statement!
- Saint Ignatius of Loyola spent time at Montserrat before founding the Society of Jesus, my favorite Catholic religious order. Yay Holy Cross.