This is a sample itinerary for our Private Montserrat and Colonia Güell Tour. Final itinerary and timings might vary due to many factors (traffic conditions, your location and pace, your main interests…)
DRIVE TO THE COLONIA GÜELL
Meet your guide & driver
Your private tour guide and your driver will pick you up at your hotel or apartment and drive you to the Colònia Güell, an industrial complex with housing that was once owned by Antoni Gaudi’s best friend and most important patron.
COLONIA GÜELL CRYPT
Gaudi's other unfinished church
After getting your tickets at the Visitor Center of the Colònia and checking out quickly the interesting exhibit they have there about the life in the factory, you’ll follow your guide to the Cripta to admire Gaudi’s creativity and engineering technique. You’ll be fascinated by the colors of the stained glasses, intrigued about the recycled materials that were used, and wowed at the simplicity of the catenarian arches he designed.
- Note: In this tour there is no time to walk around the rest of the Colònia Güell.
DRIVE TO MONTSERRAT
Up the Llobregat River
Back to the road, you’ll follow the Llobregat river all the way to the foot of the Montserrat Mountain, where you can stop for a picture before taking the winding road that takes to the Monastery.
Things to do in the Monastery area
The Monastery area offers lots of activities to choose from. Here are some ideas:
- Hike to the Cross of St. Michael. An easy hike that provides wonderful views over the Monastery and the mountain (1 hour round trip).
- Art Museum. If you like art, you will be impressed by the beautiful collection the monks have gathered throughout the centuries! The visit takes at least 1 hour.
- Via Crucis path. This shorter walk with decorative panels describing Jesus Path of the Cross takes around 30 minutes and despite a few steps here and there, it’s quite easy to walk and it takes you into the nature and away from the pilgrim and visitors crowds for a while, with also some nice photo opportunities.
- Audiovisual and Exhibit. A 10 minute audiovisual explains what the Mountain and the Monastery of Montserrat mean for the locals, from its history, its religious significance, the art and the nature. Then the visit continues through a nice exhibit that explains how the monks and the children of the choir live (about 20 minutes more, after watching the video).
- Shopping. There are two gift shops and a small farmers market with a dozen stalls selling local food products such as cheese, honey, fig bread and caramelized nuts.
You’ll discuss the options with your guide, and spend your time focusing on your favorite activities. Your guide will stay with your during the entire time.
ENTER THE BASILICA
Waiting for the Choir
The Basilica gets packed, so for the best experience we recommend arriving 30 minutes earlier to get a good spot standing as close to the altar as possible (or one hour if you wish to be able to seat). During the waiting time your guide can continue whispering you explanations, and as the Choir time approaches, a monk will read some passages of the Gospels in different languages.
Oldest Boy Choir in Europe
The Escolania Choir sings every day except Saturdays and school holidays at 1PM (Sundays at Noon) two songs: the Salve and the Virolai, two hymns to the Virgin Mary. The Basilica gets packed, so for the best experience we recommend arriving 30 minutes earlier to get a good spot standing as close to the altar as possible (or one hour if you wish to be able to seat). During the waiting time your guide can continue whispering you explanations, and as the Choir time approaches, a monk will read some passages of the Gospels in different languages and encourage people to join him praying the Our Father.
The singing is considered a sung prayer – not a concert. This is why it is not appropriate to clap at the end. It is also free of charge for this reason.
The food options in the Monastery area are terrible. This is why we want to take you somewhere else for lunch (unless you prefer to stay longer and are OK with a sandwich or some reheated cantine food).
There is a 10 minutes walk from the Basilica to where drivers are allowed to pick up passengers. Before we head there, you’ll have some time for last-minute shopping and pictures, and to use the toilet if you need it.
Alternatively, you can take the cablecar or the cog wheel train to get down. Note that this needs to be agreed with your guide BEFORE the Choir, as she needs to give instructions to the driver, so he can pick you up at the right place.
DRIVE TO THE RESTAURANT
Down the mountain road
Back to the car, you’ll take the road that goes down through the other side of the mountain, with beautiful scenery and if the day is clear enough, you’ll even get to see the Pyrenees mountains in the distance. There’s time for a few photo stops of the curious rock formations of Montserrat.
Time to Eat!
Enjoy your lunch in a local masia farmhouse that houses a traditional Catalan restaurant where you’ll be able to taste local specialties.
DRIVE BACK TO BARCELONA
Wrapping up a beautiful day
After lunch you’ll get back to the car and head to Barcelona. You can continue discussing with your guide what you’ve seen during the day, ask more questions, or just take a nap during the ride.
At the end of the tour, you’ll be dropped off back to your hotel or apartment, after a great day out of town.