There are two options for your Montserrat Tour from Barcelona. You will ascend the Montserrat mountain by coach.
The excursion leaves at 0915h (09:15am) and you will travel in a comfortable air-conditioned coach accompanied by a multilingual guide (or guides) speaking English French, Italian and Spanish.
The scenic journey from Barcelona to Montserrat lasts about 50 minutes. It takes you along a river and through pretty villages to the foot of the Montserrat Mountain, which rises majestically to 4,051 feet (1,235 meters).
Long before you reach Montserrat, you will see the jagged silhouette of the great peak, and understand how it got its name (‘serrat’ means ‘serrated’). This massive rock fortress is dotted with paths, stairs, caves, chapels and hermitages. For the standard option you will drive through the Montserrat Natural Park and up to the Sanctuary, around 725m (2380 feet) above sea level. On a clear day you will see breath-taking panoramas of the Pyrenees.
You will arrive at the Sanctuary, where you can visit the Royal Basilica and the Chapel of Our Lady of Montserrat. Inside the Chapel is the famous 12th century Romanesque carved wood statue of La Moreneta (the Black Virgin). La Moreneta is the patron saint of Catalonia, and is a presence strongly felt and revered. This celebrated statue has made The Royal Basilica one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Spain.
Interestingly, the image of the Virgin was originally multicolored. The carving acquired its dark color with the passage of time. The Basilica is full of the most beautiful paintings, gold lamps and decorated chapels.
The monastery at Montserrat runs a music school, which has the oldest boys’ choir in Europe – La Escolania de Montserrat. On some days you may be lucky enough to hear the children singing.
Your tour also includes entrance to an interesting audiovisual exhibition (“Montserrat Portes Endins”) and the chance to taste four locally produced liquors.
The monastery complex has a fascinating museum (charges apply) – with paintings by El Greco, Picasso and Dalí among others – as well as treasures from ancient Egypt.
At the end of the tour, you will be dropped back at the starting point.