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Private Montserrat Tour from Barcelona

(11)
from/per tour 700
  • Day Trips Out of Town
  • Montserrat Tours
  • Kid friendly
  • Lenght: Full Day
  • Lenght: Half Day
  • Shore Excursion
  • Transp: Chauffeured

Description

Visit the Rocky Mountain & Monastery in this Montserrat tour from Barcelona

Do you have a half day to go out of town? Do you like mountain views? What about music and old monasteries?

Montserrat is the best-selling half day trip out of town, because it can be covered in merely 5 or 6 hours and be back in town for a late lunch on your own and still have the afternoon to rest, go shopping or continue exploring Barcelona.

A historical monastery perched on top of a spectacular rocky mountain, where still nowadays lives a community of benedictine monks and a renowned boys choir – one of the oldest in Europe.

Visiting Montserrat from Barcelona on your own is doable: you can take the train, but it takes long and you’ll need a whole day. And many tour operators sell step-in tours that will take you there, give you some basic information and then give you free time until it’s time to go back (we know: that’s how a few of our guides started their career in Barcelona years ago… to eventually decide they preferred offering more personable services).

With our Montserrat Day Trip from Barcelona, you won’t just be taken to Montserrat in a comfortable Mercedes car or minivan, but your guide will stay with you rather than give you free time and give you the opportunity to choose what you’ll be doing once there: a custom tour!

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This private Montserrat tour from Barcelona covers:

  • Ride to Montserrat and back
  • Montserrat Monastery area
  • Escolania Choir (when available: see Schedule below)

MONTSERRAT HALF DAY TOUR ITINERARY

Final itinerary and timings might vary due to many factors (traffic, your pace, your main interests, day of the week…)

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  • Meet guide and driverDRIVE TO MONTSERRAT

    Your private tour guide and your driver will pick you up at your hotel, apartment or the cruise pier and drive you to Montserrat, driving along the Llobregat river, the farmlands and industries along it, all the way to the foot of the Mountain of Montserrat.

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  • Cable car, Rack Train or DriveGETTING TO THE MONASTERY

    If you booked a 6-hour tour with the scope to get to see the Black Madonna from close, touch her hand and make a wish, driving is your only option as otherwise you might not be there on time before the doors are closed for mass.

    If you booked the 5-hour option, here are 3 different ways to get to the Monastery:

    • Cablecar*: Our favorite way, unless you are scared of heights. The ride takes less than 5 minutes, and even if guides can’t skip lines, there isn’t usually many people when we get there. Not recommended for people with walking issues either, as the walk from the upper station to the Monastery is uphill and involves some steps.
    • Rack (cog wheel) train*: The option for those who are scared of heights and get motion-sickness. Unfortunately, guides can’t skip lines there either and specially in the weekends and high season they can be particularly long. The ride takes 15 minutes.
    • Drive: You can of course choose to just stop to take a picture of the Monastery from the bottom of the mountain and continue by car. It’s a very scenic winding road and the ride takes around 15 minutes.

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  • 6-hour tours onlyBLACK MADONNA SHRINE

    If you booked a 6-hour tour, you’ll be first of all taken to the Basilica, where a special path through the side chapels and 50 steps take you to the Shrine where the Black Madonna is worshiped. You’ll be able to follow the tradition: 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.

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  • What can you do?MONASTERY AREA

    The Monastery area offers lots of activities to choose from. Here are some ideas:

    • Mass at the Montserrat Royal Basilica (Catholic only). Starts at 11AM and lasts for 1 hour.
    • St Joan Funicular and optional hike back. Best done as early as possible to avoid long lines, it departs every 20 minutes and takes you to a high point from where to enjoy the views over the Monastery and the rest of the mountain. The ride takes 5 minutes, and once there you can also visit a small exhibit about the geology and the nature of Montserrat (15 minutes). You might also choose to hike down a relatively easy path (walking shoes needed, though) that takes about 45 minutes to walk. The views are spectacular and it can be done with kids at a slower pace.
    • 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.
    • Holy Cave. If you are into churches and able to walk, you might want instead to walk to the Holy Cave Ermitage, where it is said the Black Madonna was originally found by miracle. The little church isn’t especially beautiful, but the views are and the path is partially decorated with sculptures representing the Misteries of the Cross, one of which was designed by a very young Antoni Gaudi. A funicular saves you 10 minutes of the way, that takes around 40 minutes (one way). The walk involves steps.
    • 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.

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  • Waiting for the choirEntering the Basilica

    The Escolania Choir sings every day except Saturdays and school holidays at 1PM (Sundays at Noon). 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.

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  • Oldest Boy Choir in EuropeESCOLANIA CHOIR

    The kids of the Escolania Choir will sing two songs: the Salve and the Virolai, two hymns to the Virgin Mary. While for the first song everyone seats in silence, 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.

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  • OPTIONALTRADITIONAL LUNCH

    If you chose an 8-hour tour instead of a half day, you’ll drive around the Mountains to be taken to a local masia farmhouse that houses a traditional Catalan restaurant for lunch.

  • DRIVE BACK TO BARCELONA

    Saturdays when there is no Choir and Sundays when they sing earlier the descent from the monastery can be done by cable car or rack train (please let us know in advance so the guide can plan your timing accordingly and have the driver waiting at the right place).

    Otherwise, your driver will take you down following the road that goes around the Mountain, so you can see the other side of it, as well. During the ride, the guide will continue telling you stories about the mountain and maybe point at some rocks with curious shapes (depending on weather and visibility). Back down, you’ll have a last view of the whole range before joining the same road you took in the morning.

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  • TOUR ENDS

    You’ll be dropped back to your hotel or apartment, or any other location within the city limits of your choice.

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU?

This tour is our best-selling half day tour out of town (our full day best-seller is Girona and the Dali Museum), because it can be done in just 5 or 6 hours and its a short 45 minutes to 1 hour ride from Barcelona. Anyone wanting to see the top sites in and around Barcelona should consider this day trip, specially if you love mountain views or are into music. Or if you are a Christian, of course.

If you are traveling with kids, this tour is totally kid-friendly. And if you’d like a longer tour, they’ll also love to stay for lunch at a Montserrat farmhouse restaurant or to have lunch by the beach in Sitges. These full day options can be booked here.

If you have walking issues or use a wheelchair, while the driver is only used for the rides between Montserrat and Barcelona, but not in Montserrat itself, 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.

If you are on a cruiseship and you have already seen Barcelona, this half day tour is appropriate as a shore excursion as long as your ship doesn’t sail until 4PM or later (considering they’ll require you to be back on board no later than 1 hour before departure). Pier pick-up and drop-off are included.

If you are a Catholic, you don’t want to miss the place where the Montserrat Madonna, Patron Saint of Catalonia is worshiped. Saint Ignatius of Loyola also stopped here during his trip to Holy Land.

If you aren’t a Christian, you will still enjoy this day tour if you like mountains, music and history.

If you are traveling in the winter, please note that the weather up in the mountain is likely to be wet, cold and foggy. November through February we recommend warmer destinations such as Tarragona or Sitges, or indoor destinations like a winery or the Dali Museum instead.

If you’d like a longer day and visiting a second site, check out our other Tours to Montserrat.

If you only have one day to visit Montserrat AND Barcelona, here is our Barcelona & Montserrat tour.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

  • Tour length: 5 hours, with possibility of adding extra hours on request upon booking.
  • Entrance fees are not included, but all paid attractions are optional.
  • There’s no special dress code the enter the Montserrat monastery.
  • You’ll be back in town on time for a late lunch on your own (unless you book a full day in Montserrat).
  • Transportation provided in private Mercedes Viano minivan (upto 6 of you) or Mercedes E Class car (couples), depending vehicle availability, with a dedicated driver. Groups of 7 or more will need larger vehicles at an extra cost.
CAN WE GO BY TRAIN?

There is a train that departs from Plaça Espanya, however we don’t recommend it for private tours because it takes almost twice as long as using a driver and a full day would be needed (so you’d be eventually paying as much as a 5-hour chauffeured tour). Plus not being able to drive to some local restaurant, lunch would be reduced to the meh food of the cafeteria.

In the other hand, you’d have to stick to very strict timings as missing a train would mean having to pay for extra hours… And we don’t want that to happen to you! Specially if you asked to take the train due to a limited budget.

If you really want to take the train in Barcelona, we encourage you to go on your own and spend as much time in Montserrat as you wish. In such case, we recommend to get this Montserrat Pass.

BOOKING INFORMATION

5-hour tour
€700
5 hour private tour
Chauffeured
6-hour tour
€840
6 hour private tour
Chauffeured
8-hour tour
€1075
8 hour private tour
Chauffeured

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.

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Schedule

This Montserrat tour is:

AVAILABLE Monday through Sunday
ESCOLANIA CHOIR Not singing on Saturdays or during school holidays.

Recommended starting times:

Morning Tours: 8.30AM to visit the Black Madonna Shrine.
9.30AM for the basic Montserrat visit.
Afternoon Tours: We don't recommend afternoon tours because the monastery is in the shade and the temperature drops.

Reviews

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11 Reviews
  • Satisfaction

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Myrabel (Toronto, Canada)

Thanks to Marta for showing us Montserrat. We had a lovely time in the mountain, and felt privileged to have touched the Black Madonna, and to have watched and heard the beautiful boys choir.

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Criancadodeus

The first day we were picked up at the cruise terminal right when the ship docked and traveled to Montserrat. Our luggage was secure as we spent time in this very special place. Our visit to the museum there, which houses world-class art, was enhanced by Montse's in-depth knowledge of very single piece of art! We have never met a guide with so much knowledge.

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Lesroccario (Albany, New York, USA)

We had always wanted to try a private tour and this was where we did it. We had a day and a half with Miriam. She was fabulous. We went by ultra comfortable car to Montserrat the second day - not to be missed. The usual sights are great, but the art museum is a hidden gem and while we didn't have much time to see it, Miriam's knowledge of the collection's most important works gave us the best review. It really is magnificent if you are an art lover, don't miss! I loved it more than the black madonna.

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Jenlikesbeaches

We booked 6 months in advance for three tours in July. Our guide was Marga and we were thrilled! She understood us right away and our tours reflected that. We were a group of three - me, my husband and our ten year old son. Our second day with Marga was a tour to Montserrat. Gorgeous. We started with a short 45 minute trail walk to a breathtaking viewpoint. Then sandwiches and drinks before heading into the Monastery. She explained so much - the boarding school, the religious history, the art, the monks, we left feeling very fulfilled.

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Leigh L (Virginia Water, United Kingdom)

On the second day, we arranged for a half day tour to Montserrat with a driver-opt for the cable car up once you get close as it saves time nd provides a fantastic view. Get there early and go directly to see the Black Madonna as the queue can get quite long. There is a lovely farmers market with cheese, nuts and meats that you can pick up on the way out as well as a good store for picnic supplies.

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Jkroloff (New York City, NY, USA)

Our family booked a 4 day tour that encompassed the City of Barcelona, Montserrat and Figueres and Girona. It was exactly what I hoped it would be. Our tour guide Montserrat was excellent. Her love of her country and her respect for its history and culture was evident in her plans for us and her narrated guidance. The restaurants were not typical tourist places, but real Catalonia adventures in the best sense. Our driver Diego was so nice and really knew his locations, where to drop us off and where and when to pick us up. Our group, a single mom and two teenagers were given an opportunity to really enjoy our trip as a family thans to Montserrat and Diego.

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Alice D (New York, USA)

We took two tours. One was a city walking tour with miriam and the second was a tour of Montserrat with Marta. Both were wonderful tour guides. They were incredibly knowledgeable and took us to places we would have missed had we just walked the city ourselves. Their knowledge of English was another plus.

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Bob C (Washington, New York, USA)

Our tour guide Marta had a wealth of knowledge that made it fun and interesting for the whole family. On the second day, we made the magical trip to Montserrat - an unbelievably beautiful and spiritual place up in the mountains. Must see.

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Lynwoods586

Full day Barcelona and full day Montserrat, 8 people in our party. Great guides, excellent knowledge. Kids 9-13 all had a great time.

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SPLatManOz (Melbourne, Australia)

We enjoyed a fantastic private tour of Montserrat with Miriam as our guide. From being picked up from our hotel in a chauffeur driven Mercedes, to drop off 5 hours later, we were very well looked after. Montserrat is an amazing place that intertwines the histories of Catalonia and the Catholic church in an stunning mountain setting. A must-see when in Barcelona. The whole ForeverBarcelona experience was a delight. Starting with the online communications, the email newsletter with useful Barcelona tips, and culminating in a wonderful friendly guide Miriam, who gave so much more than the minimum, it was all wonderful. We parted with hugs, and felt sad to see her walk off down the street and out of our lives after just 5 hours.

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