travel guide to MONTSERRAT, the perfect day-trip from Barcelona #110

 travel guide to MONTSERRAT, the perfect day-trip from Barcelona  #110

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Hola, ¿qué tal? Hello! I'm Tony Gálvez, from Road Trip Spain and Portugal, where we help you plan the perfect trip with practical   information and insider tips. Today we are heading  to Montserrat. The trip to the mountain and the   monastery of Montserrat is probably the most  beautiful day trip you can do from Barcelona.   In the video you will find out about what is  Montserrat, how to reach Montserrat, what to see   in Montserrat, where to eat in Montserrat; how much  time you should dedicate to Montserrat; and the   combined tickets to visit Montserrat. So, what is  Montserrat after all? Montserrat is a large rocky   massif, with a very characteristic elongated  shape, as can be seen the photos we're showing   you now which we took on three different flights  that happened to fly over the region. Montserrat is  

50 kilometers northwest of Barcelona. In Montserrat  you will find the Parque Natural de la Muntanya de Montserrat,  the natural park of the Mountain of  Montserrat, and within the park, in a corner of the   mountain, the Monasteri de Montserrat, the Catalan name  for the Monastery of Montserrat. Montserrat is a   very important cultural landmark in Catalonia and  is known as La Muntanya Sagrada, the sacred Mountain.   It is a place that it's worshiped and has special  significance for Catalonia and for many Catalans.   The journey to Montserrat is an essential part of  the adventure this day trip is. Although Montserrat can be  

reached by car, the most beautiful journey is the  one completed by train. This trip is made up of two   separate journeys. The first is the train journey  itself, living in Barcelona and arriving at the small   town of Monistrol de Montserrat at the foot of  the mountain.The way up to the mountain, which is   the second part of the journey, can be done in two  different ways, either by cable car or by cog   railway, and we will talk about both options in a  moment. But let's go back to the first train. To get   from Barcelona to Monistrol de Montserrat you have  to take a regional train. This train leaves from  

the FGC train station -FGC is the region's public  railway company- at Plaza Espana.There is direct   access to the station from the street, which you  can see now in the picture, but if you arrive at   the station by metro, follow the arrows showing the  way to the FGC station. The line you have to take   is the R5, so you can follow the signs indicating  the way to the Montserrat train or the R5 line, both   signs work. The location of the station is very  well signed posted. We recommend that you arrive  

with your tickets purchased beforehand but if you  have not done so, there is an information booth   where they will answer all your questions and  explain the different options for traveling   to Montserrat. We don't recommend that you leave it  until the day of the trip to purchase the tickets   because they queue at the information booth is very  slow. There is a lot of information to pass on and   at the beginning of the morning everyone wants to  go to Montserrat. There can be a lot of people. You   risk losing a lot of time in the queue and also  the train you are most interested in. It's your  

time, don't waste it, you will need it in Montserrat.  We'll talk about the types of tickets at the end   of the video, now let's get on with the train  journey. Check on the screens the departure time   of the next R5 and also the identification of the track from which it will depart. The Plaza de España station is the starting point of the train's  journey, so you don't have to worry, there is no   risk of getting on an R5 traveling in the opposite  direction, it will always depart in the direction   of Montserrat. Get on the train and get ready  to enjoy the journey which lasts approximately  

one hour. First to the right, and then to the left,  Monserrat begins to loom on the horizon. The most   beautiful views as the train approaches Montserrat  will be from the left side of the train. We have   already mentioned that there are two different  and spectacular alternatives to climb up to the   monastery of Montserrat. Each of these alternatives  is operated by a different company and the only   way to go up one way and come down the other is to  buy separate tickets, which are more expensive than   the combined tickets we will mention at the end  of the video. The first alternative is the cable   car. The Aeri de Montserrat is a cable car operated  by a private company. It uses cabins that can  

accommodate a maximum of 20 standing passengers.  The climb up to the monastery takes 5 minutes.   The views are spectacular but it is not a good  alternative for those with vertigo or fear of   heights. The trip is much quicker than the cog  railway, so you will have less time to enjoy the   views. In the description of the video you will  find links to all the companies and services   we are mentioning along the video, including the  Aeri, the cable car, where you will be able to check   timetables and updated prices. Important warning  if you are going up to Montserrat by cable car,  

you must get off at the Aeri de Montserrat train station,  which is one station before Monistrol de Montserrat.  It is easy: if you go by cable car, you get off  at the Aeri station; if you take the cog railway,   you get off at Monistrol de Montserrat station.  Let's talk now about the second alternative.   The cog railway, also also known as  rack railway, or cremallera in Spanish, is the   responsibility of FGC, the same company that  operates the regional train that takes you   from Barcelona to Monistrol de Montserrat. For that  reason, the train and cog railway timetable are  

very well synchronized. When you arrive at Monistrol  de Montserrat station you will get off the train   and walk towards the station exit. You will soon  find the cog railway train waiting for passengers   arriving from Barcelona. As we have already said  the timetables are synchronized and the train will  

depart immediately, leaving from the lower station  of the cog railway. The cog railway goes up the   side of the mountain, a joyful 15-minute journey. So let's move on to the most important  part of that video. What makes Montserrat a perfect   day trip is both the journey, which is an adventure,  and the diversity of activities and places to   visit in the destination. There are many things  to do and it is almost impossible to do them all  

in a single day, that's why we are only going  to point out the most outstanding places and   activities. To help you understand Montserrat  better, we will show you now on the screen the   four main places you have to visit and then we  will look at each of them in detail. They are the   monastery complex, where the virgin of Montserrat  is located; the Santa Cova funicular railway, which   goes down; the Sant Joan funicular railway, which  goes up; and the viewpoints at one end of the   monastery complex. The monastery of Santa Maria de  Montserrat is one of the reasons why many Catalans   visit Montserrat. It is a monastery whose origins  date back to the 9th century and which over the   centuries has played an important role in the  history of Catalonia. Its size, and especially   its location, surrounded by spectacular mountains  is impressive. The complex is divided into several  

parts. On one side is a monastery occupied  by Benedictine monks, which is not open to   the public. On the other side, at the heart of  the complex, is the Basilica, which is open to   the public. The Basilica dates back to the 16th  century, but was completely destroyed by French  

troops in the early 19th century. The interior of  the Basilica is free to visit. Above the altar you   will see a small chapel open to the church. It  is the chapel were the most venerated image   in Catalonia is kept, a beautiful piece carved  in the 12th century representing the Virgin of   Montserrat, also known as the "Moreneta", because  of the dark color of her skin. Together with  

the Virgin of Nuria, the virgin of Montserrat is  the most important for the Catalans. Access to   the "camarín de la virgen" is through the right  hand aisle of the church. Leaving the courtyard   in front of the basilica's facade, the entrance  is through the door on the right. When there are   many visitors to the monastery, long lines form to  reach the virgin. Another point of interest inside  

the Basilica is the presentation of the Escolanía  de Monserrat, one of the oldest choirs in Europe   made up of children's voices. The choir dates  back to the 14th century. When the children are   not on school holidays the Escolanía sings the  Salve and the Virolai, a hymn dedicated to the   Virgin of Montserrat, which is a spiritual and  patriotic symbol of Catalonia. The singing takes   place at 12 noon or 1pm, depending on the day of  the week. It is worth asking about the timetable   for the Escolanía's performance. And also, as  mentioned above, to make sure you can get into   the Basilica at that time. It is a very beautiful  and exciting event.

As the Escolanía a has a fixed timetable for singing,  you have to keep an eye on your watch so that you   don't stray too far from the Basilica at that  time. If you are going to visit the Basilica be   aware of the dress code, especially during the  summer months, when the heat does not encourage   you to cover your body with too much clothing.  Do not wear shorts or mini skirts. Long shorts,   a normal skirt and covered shoulders is what is  required. Let's talk now about the two funiculars,   which leave from the monastery and allow you  to visit different parts of the mountain of   Montserrat, with wonderful views and beautiful  hikes for those who like walking. One funicular  

goes up and the other goes down. Access to the  two funiculars is through a path that goes up just   above the cog railway station -there is also a lift.  The Sant Joan funicular is on the right, the Santa   Cova funicular, on the left. Let's talk first about  the Sant Joan funicular. The spectacular climb   on the Sant Joan funicular is one of the activities  not to be missed in Montserrat. The funicular was  

inaugurated in 1918 and allows you to get from the  monastery to the chapel of Sant Joan. The climb is   breathtaking, with the monastery rapidly diminishing  in size. An insider tip: sit in the carriage at the   lower end of the funicular, where there is a  huge window with a panoramic view of the climb. When you reach the top station of the  funicular, climb some stairs to reach   a small interpretation center at the viewpoint  of Sant Joan, which allows you to learn a little   more about the place you are in while  enjoying glorious views of the region. The mountain of Montserrat is very  popular with hikers and right now you are at   the starting point of many of those hikes, which  are very well signed posted, with information   about the time it takes to complete them and the  difficulty. But you may not feel like walking or,  

more likely, with so many things to see and  do in Montserrat, you may not have much time for   a long walk. For you in this situation we are  going to recommend an easy walk, 20 minutes   there and 20 minutes back, with beautiful views of  the mountain of Montserrat. The walk starts at the   top station of the funicular and follows  the path we are showing on the screen now.

Take a look at some images of the walk. The paths are full of smooth and rounded   stones typical of the region, so it is important  that you wear appropriate footwear. And then it's time to go down.  You can see the timetables of  

the next funicular departures on a screen. The Santa Cova funicular is a little different  because instead of going up it goes down. It starts   at the same height as a monastery and goes down  to a point where a very beautiful path begins that   leads to the Santa Cova, the holy cave, the place  where according to legend some shepherds found   the image of the virgin of Montserrat. We have  been to Montserrat quite a few times, and on   the last visit with the intention of recording  images for this video, the Santa Cova funicular   was not working. For this reason we are going to  illustrate this part of the video with photos we   took on previous visits. The path, a kilometer and  a half long, and with a gentle slope, was created   in the 17th century. It has 15 sculptural groups  representing the mysteries of the rosary. There are  

works by modernist artists such as Antonio Gaudí  and Josep Puig i Cadafalch, among others. It takes between   20 minutes and half an hour to get to the Santa  Cova, and the same time to get back. To which you   have to add the time you will have to wait until  the next exit of the funicular. The fourth point of  

interest in Montserrat we would like to mention  are the viewpoints at one end of the complex. They   are free to access and offer spectacular views of  the region. To get to the viewpoints, walk towards a   modern and rather ugly building along the road  leading out of Montserrat and down towards   Monistrol de Montserrat. Walk to the end of the  building, where a restaurant is located, and turn   right to reach the viewpoints. The first thing  you will see is a work of art that has had to be   fenced off due to human stupidity. People, probably  looking for a picture to post on Instagram, were   climbing on the artwork despite the signs  asking them not to. And in the face of systematic  

non-compliance with the request, the authorities had  to put up a hideous fence around the monument. Go   down until you reach different viewpoints with  privileged views of Montserrat. By now you must   have realized that Montserrat is not a quick half  day getaway and that inevitably you're going to   have to stay for lunch in Montserrat. There are  different food options, but if it's a nice day   we'd recommend a picnic up above the mountain. There  is a small food shop in the monastery complex   but we advise you to buy your picnic in Barcelona,  with a wider variety of products and much better   prices. There are also two coffees where there is  a self-service restaurant. If you want to try the   local gastronomy with modern touches the place  to go is the Abat Cisneros restaurant, which   is next to the Basilica. They have set price menus  as well as a la carte food. On the way between  

the Basilica and the viewpoints you'll see a row  of stalls selling typical products of the region,   including the traditional mató, a type of fresh  cheese that forms part of a very traditional   dessert, "mel i mató", a delicious mixture of cheese  and honey. Be sure to try it, sold in individual   portions. And you can also buy original cured meats  and cheese. And much sooner than you think it will   be time to come back. On the cog railway take a  seat on the right hand side of the train to enjoy  

the views. Remember that the train stops first at  Monistrol Vila station, don't get off there.   What you want to do is go to the end station of  the cog railway, get off the train and look for   a screen to find out what time and track the train  arrives. The train that will take you to Barcelona.   And it won't be long before it appears. We have  already mentioned several times that Montserrat   is not a half day trip. Firstly because there are  so many places to visit, and secondly because the   times are slow. You have to get to Montserrat  and then you have to wait for the funiculars,  

which do not run every 5 minutes. And the same  goes for the trains. Even if you manage to get   to Montserrat at around 10 a.m, and you will  have to leave quite early from Barcelona, you   will have to be very well organized to get to  see the Basilica, the Escolanía chanting, the two   funiculars and the viewpoints. If you arrive later  than that you'll have to rush even more. Reserve a   full day for Montserrat. The main time constraint  is the departure of the last cog railway, which  

you absolutely cannot miss. You could buy all the  tickets separately but if you buy a combined ticket   you will save money. There are several packages on  sale, each with different options. The truth is that   it's quite confusing and complicated because there  are so many options. And to simplify we're going to   recommend you the two passes that seem to be  the most interesting for the majority. I will   post links to the other packages as well in case  you might be interested. The first option is the  

most basic and everyone should at the very least  choose this one. It includes a return Barcelona   Monistrol de Montserrat train ticket and a return  rack railway ticket from Monistrol de Monserrat   to Montserrat. The price of this combined ticket  depends on whether the trip is made in high or   low season. The second option, our favorite, is  called Transmontserrat. In addition to the train   and the cog railway, it also includes a return metro  ticket to get you to Plaza de España in Barcelona, a   return trip on the Sant Joan funicular and admission  to the Audiovisual Space. You can buy the packages  

by following the links in the video description  without having to set a travel date. Passes can   be purchased online, either on the FGC website,  or on the Visit Barcelona Tickets website, which   is the official tourism website of Barcelona we  recommend. You can also buy them at the FGC ticket   office in Plaza de España, but as we pointed out  at the beginning of the video, we don't recommend   you leave it until the day of the trip because if  there is a queue you can lose valuable time in it.   And with the explanation about the tickets we come  to the end of the video that we have dedicated to   Monserrat, which as we said before, is the ideal day  trip for those who visit Barcelona, for the beauty   of the place, and for the symbolism that it has  for the Catalans. If you still have any questions   about Montserrat, take advantage of the commentary  box to ask. If you are heading to Barcelona there  

are a series of mistakes you should avoid to make. We  have dedicated a video to them which you should   be seeing on the screen now. And it is on that  video where we will be waiting for you next.

2023-04-17 16:01

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