Montserrat is a monastery on a mountain outside of Barcelona, easily reached by train. A friend of mine had originally recommended this to us, and it is definitely a great day trip to do from Barcelona. Before getting on the train, we had to decide if we wanted tickets to go up the mountain by gondola or by smaller train – we thought that the cable car would be much more fun, so we chose that. The cable car took us up a very steep mountain to where the monastery and surrounding buildings were located.
We decided to firstly do a walk down from the monastery to Santa Cova. Santa Cova is a little chapel famous for having an image of Mary seen there. On the way we passed different statues representing the stations of the cross. You can take a funicular part of the way but as it was such a gorgeous day we just walked both ways.
We got back to the main monastery in time to hear the 1pm performance of the boys’ choir that is trained there. The church was packed for this – we decided to come back and see it later that afternoon.
After a picnic lunch, we walked up the hill to see ruins and the St Joan church. There is a funicular that you can take up, but it was a beautiful (slightly steep!) walk and we got great views on the way.
When we got back down we were able to see the “Black Madonna” statue of Mary at the back of the church without any waiting before heading back to Barcelona by gondola and train.