Walking in Montserrat, Catalonia, Spain
As you know if I’ve been here before, part of my mission is to show you all the dusty trails of Spain’s more rural areas.
So with that in mind, I took a day off this week to head up to Montserrat, a mountain landmark a bit outside Barcelona.
After all the fun with vaccines, it was nice to get out of town a bit.
And the scenery up there was great!
Check it out in the video…
As I mention there, the big attraction is the monastery or sanctuary or whatever where they keep the dark-skinned virgin.
Since I’m not super into Catholic stuff, I just took a walk along the Río Llobregat, had lunch in a small town, and got really sweaty in the hot hot heat.
The route I was on is called GR 270 and supposedly you can take it from the Pyrenees up on the French border all the way down to the Delta del Llobregat, following the river.
How to get from Barcelona to Montserrat
Some people have these things called “cars”, and I guess their experience would be different.
Mine involved standing around in the Arc de Triomf train station and being very confused for the better part of an hour. I think Google Maps was just wrong about the frequency of trains through there.
Anyway, after some frustration I hopped on a train to L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, and from there was able to get a once-every-20-minutes train to Martorell. In Martorell you can change to Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, and get a train called R5 or R53 up to Aeri de Montserrat. Here’s the FGC website.
Presumably you could do this from the Barcelona Sants station as well. I don’t know. There seem to be at least 7 competing train companies up here, and switching from one to another to then to another in order to get across Catalonia is sometimes confusing.
Anyway, they actually sell combined tickets for the train and the “teleférico” – at least in some stations. All you have to do is exchange your train ticket at Aeri de Montserrat and hop on the cable car. Or one of the funiculars that goes up the other side of the mountain. I’m just saying, there are definitely options.
Plus, if you’re big into walking, you can walk up to the monastery. I hear it’s hard, but there’s one trail marked from Aeri de Montserrat and another from Monistrol de Montserrat.
At least one reader of this humble blog, named Lucie, knows a lot more about this, and I’m going to copy her comment right here…
“Just a bit of advice for anyone else wanting to go to Montserrat from Barcelona. It is much simpler to go via the Plaça Espanya station. There is a designated Montserrat tourist information centre inside the station and they can explain your ticket options to you in several different languages. There are combined tickets which include just the train, or the train pluis the cable car and other options.”
Sounds good, and thanks, Lucie! I’ll try that myself next time I’m heading up there.
Where to eat in Montserrat
Supposedly there are some restaurants up at the top, around the monastery. I actually stayed down in Monistrol and ate at a place called BO2, which had an English-speaking (sort of) waiter and a good menú del día. Supposedly the rices there are very good, too.
There are a couple of other restaurantes and bars in that area, you can check them out too, if you’d like. I’m not an expert, I just open up Google Maps and look for “Restaurants Near Me”.
Other things I mention in the video… Here’s the article about why Spain has more elevators than other countries on The Atlantic. And here’s a bit more about the Black Madonnas of Europe, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Anyway, that’s about it.
Enjoy the scenery.
P.S. Can’t take off a random Wednesday to hike around beautiful Spanish countryside? Maybe you should start an online business. Or publish a few books on Amazon and live off the royalties… or hey, you could also achieve total financial independence, because why not?
P.P.S. More places you can visit in Catalonia: Guardiola de Berguedà up on the edge of the Pyrenees, wine country in Vilafranca de Penedès, and Walking to Matarò. Have fun!