If you're looking for a day trip with exciting opportunities for your entire group of travelers, look no further than Montserrat! This mountaintop monastery has something for everyone including the nature lover, the spiritually inclined and even the art enthusiast.
Located about an hour drive from Barcelona's city center, Montserrat is a multi-peak mountainous region known for the unique structure and formation of the rocks. The area has nothing short of breathtaking, sweeping views. With a rich history, the sanctuary of the Virgin Mary of Montserrat dates back to the year 888, but it wasn't until 1025 that the new monastery was founded.
What to do in Montserrat
Aside from its historical and picturesque draw, Montserrat has lots to do including self- or privately guided tours, a museum, a monastery and basilica, a cafeteria and overnight lodging. On site there are several hiking trails with clear paths that will lead your group to gorgeous panoramas of the neighboring cities in Spain. For the great adventurers, you can spend the day hiking or take the funicular railway to the starting points of some high-altitude trail routes, avoiding the steepest parts of the terrain.
Artwork of Montserrat
If a trail is not for you, seek contentment in the Masterpieces of Montserrat Museum, where you can see credible artwork including that of Caravaggio, Monet, and Picasso. Located under Santa Maria square, one can mosey around the museum in admiration of the beauty for only a small fee.
Our Lady of Montserrat
In addition to the museum, two main attractions are located within the Monastery and basilica. The first being the image of Our Lady of Montserrat, popularly known as La Moreneta (the Dark One), due to the dark color of her skin. This Romanesque carving displays baby Jesus on her lap entirely encased in a sheet of glass with the exception of the globe La Moreneta holds. This globe, which represents the universe, is believed to give luck to those who rub or kiss it.
Escolania of Montserrat
The second main attraction of the Monastery is the Escolania, one of Europe's oldest boy's Choirs. Boys are selected to be a part of this group based upon their voice and musical theory, school performance and sociability. The choir of talented musicians can be heard at designated times throughout the day. When exiting the Monastery, don't hesitate to light a candle and say a prayer.
On your way out don't forget to visit the souvenir shop and pick up a scenic post card, magnet of La Moreneta or a sentimental rosary. For other tips and advice on planning a trip to Montserrat, be sure to contact us for additional suggestion or check out their official web page here.