Do you have a day to go out of town? To the question “Mountain or Sea?” your answer is BOTH!? Have you heard about the famous Montserrat Monastery and the village of Sitges and wonder if they can be seen in the same day?
Montserrat is the most popular destination outside of Barcelona: a scenic rocky mountain and a monastery where a Black Madonna is worshiped by a boys choir. And Sitges is a lovely seaside town with over 300 days of sunshine a year and a remarkable modernist past. They are just one hour away from each other, but unless you have a car it’s impossible to see both in the same day as there is no public transportation connecting them.
And yet, we think that being able to combine mountains and sea in the same day is such a unique plan! This is why we created this tour, that thanks to our private driver allows you to get to visit Montserrat and then conveniently arrive to Sitges for lunch.
Final itinerary and timings might vary due to many factors (traffic, your pace, your main interests, day of the week…)
Your private tour guide and your driver will pick you up at your hotel, apartment or the cruise pier and drive you to Montserrat, past the city suburbs, farmlands and industries, and along the Llobregat river, all the way to the foot of the Mountain of Montserrat, where you can stop for a few pictures before taking the winding road that gets to the Monastery.
NOTE. If you choose to start your tour one hour later, you’ll also have the option to take the cablecar to the Monastery, but you’ll be missing the Black Madonna Shrine. The cog wheel train is not recommended as guides can’t skip lines there and they are likely to be long.
Once in the Monastery area, you’ll be taken to the Basilica where after walking through the side chapels and climbing 50 steps you’ll get to the Shrine where the Black Madonna is worshiped. Following the tradition you’ll be able to touch her and make a wish. The view from there over the inside of the Basilica is quite stunning.
This must be completed before 10.30AM, when they close the doors until mass is over. When they reopen later, the lines are extremely long and guides are not allowed to skip them: this is why the visit of the Shrine is not available for tours starting at 9.30AM.
The Monastery area offers lots of activities to choose from. Here are some ideas:
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.
The Escolania Choir sings every day except Saturdays and school holidays at 1PM (Sundays at Noon). The Basilica of Santa Maria de Montserrat 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 kids of the Escolania Choir will perform two songs: the Salve and the Virolai, two hymns to the Virgin Mary. During the first one everyone listen in silence, while for the second one locals will devotedly stand up and sing along.
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.
After the Choir, you’ll head straight back to the car. We need to depart quickly in order to avoid the tremendous traffic jam that happens after the Choir when dozens of tour buses try to leave the Monastery at the same time via the single road that takes there. This is why toilet and shopping must be done BEFORE the Choir.
Hop on the car to drive across the Montserrat mountain enjoying impressive views and passing curious rock formations until the road starts descending to join the highway that will take you to Sitges.
Enjoy a wonderful paella or seafood lunch in the marina of Sitges.
If you chose to start your tour at 9.30 and skip the Black Madonna shrine, now you’ll have a spare extra hour to explore Sitges with your tour guide: walk around its whitewashed streets, feel the breeze of the Mediterranean sea, and learn about the village modernist past.
After lunch, join the driver to return to Barcelona. The road starts with some sea views, to after passing the Garraf mountains start crossing farmlands and industries before entering the city. Use this last ride to continue asking your guide questions, get recommendations for the rest of your stay, or… take a nap!
You’ll be dropped back to your hotel or apartment, or any other location within the city limits of your choice.
This tour works great for people looking for a pleasant day out of town and will enjoy the contrast of being in the Mountains and the Mediterranean sea in the same day.
If you are traveling with kids, this tour is totally kid-friendly.
If you have walking issues or use a wheelchair, bear in mind that the driver is only used for the rides, but not in Montserrat or around Sitges. The Monastery area and the basilica are wheelchair accessible and whenever there are steps they can be avoided. The Audiovisual and Exhibit, the Art Museum, the cog wheel train stations, the cafeteria, and the gift shops are accessible too. The funiculars, the cablecar and the various hike options are NOT wheelchair accessible. As for Sitges, the marina area is flat and easy to walk, but the old town is uphill and with some cobble-stone streets.
If you are a Catholic, we recommend to start your tour at 8.30AM so you arrive to Montserrat on time to get to the Black Madonna shrine.
If you aren’t a Christian, you might prefer to start your tour at 9.30AM and have more time to explore Sitges.
If you are traveling in the winter, please note that the weather up in the mountain of Montserrat is likely to be wet, cold and foggy. November through February you might want to consider skipping Montserrat and combining Sitges with a winery or with the Roman ruins of Tarragona.
If you only have a morning, Montserrat can be done in just 5 or 6 hours.
Mercedes car or minivan upto 6 of you + guide & dedicated driver
Expect to pay €20-30/person, depending on your order.
OPTIONAL – Not included.
PAID ON SITE:
* Fees given as an orientation only. Sites might decide to change them without notice. Discounts might apply for students and/or seniors.
We can only secure a guide for you after full payment has been received. Don’t wait until last-minute: we often book out in high season, and Park Guell & Sagrada Familia tickets sell out, too.
This Montserrat & Sitges tour is:
|AVAILABLE||Monday through Sunday|
|ESCOLANIA CHOIR||Not singing on Saturdays or during their school holidays.|
Recommended starting times:
|8.30AM||Arrive early to Montserrat and enter the Black Madonna Shrine, touch her and make a wish.|
|9.30AM||See the Black Madonna only from the distance when you enter the Basilica to hear the Choir, but have time to explore Sitges after lunch.|
We loved the tour, the tour guide and all the extra information about Barcelona!!! The trip to Montserrat was great! She picked a fabulous place for lunch in Sitges, great day!!!
My wife and I were in Port at Barcelona from Noon until 6PM the following day and spent the first afternoon and second day with Marta on exceptional private tours. The first day we toured Barcelona. The following day we drove to Montserrat and Sitges. Both were phenomenal in their own ways and had a wonderful lunch at a beachside table in a nice restaurant in Sitges. Marta, thank you for the wonderful experience my wife and I will never forget.
The monastery at Montserrat was incredible and Marta's knowledge of the history was impressive. Sitges is a seaside town and very beautiful. Marta had made reservations at a wonderful restaurant on the beach. After lunch we toured the city. All in all it was a wonderful day. Well worth the price!