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Monastery on Mount Montserrat

The Kingdom of Spain shares the Iberian Peninsula with Portugal. The number of mountains in this country is astounding. Mysterious and sacred to the locals Montserrat hill especially loved by visitors to Spain. On a bright sunny day it can be seen from afar. The top of the mountain rests against the clouds, hiding behind them. The height of the array – 1236 m, the length – tens of kilometers.

But tourists come here not only to enjoy the beauty of nature. The Benedictine monastery of Montserrat is built on the mountain and receives pilgrims from all over the world.

Location of Mount Montserrat

The famous place is located 50 km from Catalonia. It is easiest to reach it by personal or rented vehicles. If you are traveling by car, you can leave it in a paid parking lot.

Mount Montserrat in Spain

The most common is to take the bus. Alternatively, you can buy a train ticket from Plaça Espanya Square in Barcelona. You will need direction R5 or R50. It is necessary to get off at the stop Monistrol de Montserrat and take the funicular, which follows from the railroad tracks. For the convenience of commuters, these routes are synchronized. Transportation operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There are also cabs in Spain, but the prices are quite high.

Those who want to climb, but climbing without special equipment is associated with a certain risk, in addition, it will take a long time. It is better to stop at one of the paved hiking trails.

Location of Montserrat Monastery on the map of Spain

Parking for personal vehicles

There are only two parking lots for cars. The lower one at the foot of the Montserrat hill has a capacity of 900 cars. Parking is free. Leaving the car, you have to buy a ticket for the cable car. The upper parking lot is smaller in size. Cost from 5 to 60 euros with no time limit. Then you have to go on foot.

Between the upper and lower parking lots about 10 km of mountain serpentine. On the way there are closed corners designed for cyclists.

The cableway to the Montserrat Monastery in Spain

If you go to the monastery in the morning, you can leave your transport at the upper parking lot and do not worry about your car.

If you want to climb to the very top of the mountain on an extra elevator, find appropriate transportation to the top.

Options for excursions to Montserrat

Most tourists choose to visit the shrine with a tour guide. You can book the service in advance or upon arrival in Spain. Duration of the tour – from 5 hours. This includes time for lunch.

If you wish, you can order an individual guide for one person or family.

History and Legends of Montserrat Monastery

In Spanish the name of the mountain range and the monastery of the same name translates as cut rocky mountains. Here many centuries ago there was an endless sea, which has been transformed into mountain ranges. After the collapse of the glacier the Pyrenees were formed. The breakaway mountain of Montserrat remained separate from the main ridge.

History and Legends of Montserrat Monastery

The elevation is so beautiful and unusual in its appearance that it simultaneously arouses feelings of admiration and fear. Narrow mountain channels look like drawings and ornate patterns, and large cliffs without vegetation resemble the appearance of idols. The gloomy caves of Montserrat are especially alarming.

The beauty of local nature has inspired artists, writers, and musicians for centuries.

Legend has it that at one point, angels descended from the heavens onto the mountain range. They became bored, bored with the dull appearance of the mountain. They sawed it in two and decorated it with all kinds of stone figures. The mountain was named Montserrat, and the formations made of stone were also given names. These include the Face of the Holy Virgin, the Finger of God, the Elephant’s Head, the Camel, and the like.

Monastery of Montserrat - Spain

The second legend is no less fantastic. According to residents about 1,000 years ago, children of shepherds saw a bright blinding light from the top of the mountain. At the same time, everyone heard the pleasant singing of the angels and the incredible melody. The children immediately went after their parents to share what they had heard. Some adults didn’t listen and stayed home. And those who believed heard music and visions for a long time in that place.

The renowned Vicar Priest also told of witnessing a real miracle. He managed to find a realistic image of the Virgin Mary in one of the caves. After telling people about what he had seen, he attracted a flood of pilgrims. In memory of this event there is a holy grotto.

More about Montserrat Monastery


The date of the foundation of Montserrat is considered to be 1025. The temple building was rebuilt for several years after violent attacks during the wars. After the invasion of Napoleon’s army, the monastery was almost completely destroyed. At the beginning of the last century there were new buildings. There are about 100 local Benedictine monks. Especially for the faithful tourists there is a hotel.

Today, historians state the fact that the ancient buildings have not survived. Only fragments can be seen in the museum. The oldest sculpture is the Madonna, which has been hidden from destruction.

Most of the buildings date from the 19th and 20th centuries.

Black Madonna

The Black Madonna at the Montserrat Monastery (Catalonia, Spain)

The statue kept in the monastery is considered the most valuable exhibit. There is an opinion that it was carved by St. Luke himself. Later St. Peter carried it to the top of the mountain, saving it from the Saracens. It is believed that’s when she was lost.

By chance the shepherds found the Madonna in one of the caves, where divine singing and ringing of bells led them. And in this place they built a chapel called Santa Cova.

The statue for modern-day pilgrims was erected in the 12th century. The black color of Madonna’s covering gives birth to many legends related to this fact. But according to the generally accepted version – it is darkened by the many candles that burned over the centuries near the monument.

Various historical figures have visited these places in the history of the monastery. St. Ignatius Loyola hung up his gun in the Madonna’s and became a man of the world. Pope Leo XIII canonized the landmark, listing it among the patron saints of Catalonia.

Girls and women come to Madonna to ask for offspring. It is used to save a marriage or to find a soulmate. The fame of the miracles spread all over the world. Today, Mount Montserrat is visited by residents of the former Soviet Union.


Montserrat Monastery Architecture

Many sculptors and architects worked on the creation of the monastery and bringing its appearance to its modern form. Much effort and energy was expended by the artists to paint the walls from the inside. Several architectural styles are successfully intertwined, bringing modernism to the forefront. Antonio Gaudi did the work in the chancel. The throne of the Black Virgin is cast in pure silver with money raised by the people. State communities have allocated money for lighting. The altar is made of rock and decorated with enamel and silver.

The Chapel, despite its outward simplicity, holds many secrets. It is of great value to people of faith. The handles attached to the doors of the chapel convey the story of the Immaculate Conception of the Son of God. The statue of St. George and the bronze panel recreate a coherent description of a fragment from the Bible.


The singing of the local choir is something that is sure to remain in the memory of every visitor to Montserrat. A choir of boys to organ music is heard during the service. Students learn their skills at the local music school at the temple. At exactly 1 p.m. the hymn to the Virgin Mary is heard in the monastery. People compare the sounds that are heard at this time to the singing of angels.


Museum on the Territory of Montserrat

The idea of the museum at the monastery belongs to the architect Puç-i-Kadafalk. Many visitors to these sites have no idea what value the relics collected here hold. Most of the exhibits were handed down from private collectors. In addition to stationary exhibitions, there are temporary exhibitions every six months. The permanent ones include:

  1. Jewelry art of the Middle Ages, by which you can trace the change of styles.
  2. Objects of the cultures of Cyprus, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and archaeological finds from the Biblical period.
  3. Exhibition of Byzantine and Slavonic icons.
  4. Paintings by famous Spanish artists. Among them are Morales, Tiepolo, Caravaggio, El Greco.
  5. Iconography with various depictions of the Black Madonna.
  6. Sculpture and painting by such famous masters as Picasso, Degas, Miró, Casas, Dali.

The tour with the museum staff will last about 2 hours. Admission is 12 euros. Children under 14 years of age visit the museum for free. In addition, it is worth stopping by the audio-visual room “Behind the Doors of Montserrat”.

Important monuments in the area

Every visitor should definitely take the time to go through “The Way of the Chapel. The first section of the path is called “Masters Alley.” There are steles and monuments to famous cultural figures. On the rest of the road you will see majolica dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

Walking on the grounds around the monastery, one can see the statue of the abbot with drawings of the first church in his hands, the stone Jesus condemned to death, the Chapel of Mourners, the Gate of Saint Michael and the figure of the Archangel, the sculpture of Saint Dominic and sculptures dedicated to the life of the Son of God in different times.

Cost of visiting Montserrat Monastery

Cost of visiting Montserrat Monastery

A ticket for the train or bus will cost 50 euros. For a ride on the cable car will have to pay about 20 euros each way. In order to save money, you can buy a comprehensive pass for two modes of transport at once. The entire service, including a visit to the monastery, will cost 28 euros. For 48 euros, an extra hearty lunch will be included.

Entrance to the Montserrat Monastery is free. But experienced travelers are advised to use a guide for the first time. Outings with a group from the Costa Dorada and Costa Brava are especially popular.

Please note that the children’s ticket for transportation and sightseeing tour will cost half as much.

Montserrat Monastery Hours

Montserrat receives tourists all year round. From June to December you can visit the temple from 7 a.m. to half past 9 p.m. In winter, the monastery closes at half past eight.

Useful Tips for Visiting

Useful Tips for Tourists Going to Mount Montserrat

For a trouble-free and enjoyable trip, we advise you to read some tips. They were left by ordinary people and pilgrims who were familiar with the area and the people. What to pay attention to:

  1. The monastery is the territory of the reserve. For disturbing the integrity of buildings or encroaching on the natural beauty will have to answer to the Spanish government.
  2. Souvenir shops sell small trinkets that would make a wonderful gift for your loved ones.
  3. To attend services, it is necessary to find out in advance about the schedule of the monastery. Mass for visitors begins at 11 o’clock sharp.
  4. During sacred rites, photography and videotaping are prohibited. It is not possible to approach the Black Madonna at this time either. Without a flash, you can take some pictures inside the basilica.
  5. It is forbidden to talk loudly, smoke, drink alcoholic beverages on the territory of the shrine.
  6. They won’t let you in on a bicycle. Animals cannot be brought into the monastery.
  7. Snacks are allowed only in strictly designated places. Crouching on the hill, it will be a pleasure to eat and watch the splendor of nature from above.
  8. Despite the fact that there is no strict dress code, it is advisable not to wear too revealing outfits. You risk attracting the attention of the clergy and being judged by the stares.
  9. Food from the locals is expensive. It is better to find a supermarket and buy the same products much cheaper.
  10. Stock up on a container of holy water.
  11. The earlier you go to the temple, the more likely you are to get close to the Black Virgin. Between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., amidst the influx of tourists, it is almost impossible to get close to the monument.
  12. It’s bad form to be photographed on the Circle of Fame.
  13. Up in the mountains, the temperature is lower than in Barcelona. Take care of warm clothing so you don’t get cold and ruin your excursion.

Montserrat is an opportunity to see a large number of unusual things at the same time. This spiritual center is a place that should be visited at least once in a lifetime.

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