- Beautiful, mountain region
- Guided tours through a winery and ancient castle
- An ideal day trip to escape the city
It’s hard to speak of churches atop mountains without mentioning Montserrat, a range that rivals the Pyrenees Mountains. It’s located about an hour outside of town and features the highest point in all of Catalonia, Saint Jeroni (nearly a mile above sea level). It’s common for Catalan children to journey to Montserrat in order to take an overnight hike up to Saint Jeroni and witness the sunset. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see all of Catalonia (save Barcelona, ironically), the Mediterranean fading to the horizon, and the nearby island of Mallorca.
Just 1,000 feet below this summit is the Benedictine Abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat. The abbey features between 70 and 80 monks, and celebrated its 1000th anniversary all the way back in 1880. To call the abbey picturesque is an understatement. This well-kept relic is situated pristinely on the mountainside, flanked by the captivating, pink conglomerate rock faces of the mountain.
The Abbey features some particularly impressive draws beyond the scenery. It holds a statue of one of Spain’s few Black Madonnas (a piece said to hold healing powers), the Abbey’s Escalonia choir is one of Europe’s longest-standing boys’ choirs, and the attached Montserrat Monastery Museum holds works by greats such as Salvador Dali, El Greco, and Monet.
Should you choose to make your way up to Saint Jeroni or one of the park’s other peaks (and you very much should), it is recommended you wear proper hiking attire, though the paths are quite well-formed. Because the area is well-maintained and aims to leave the surroundings largely untouched, it is also asked that hikers stick to the marked paths in order to not disturb the vegetation and wildlife.
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Take the train to Montserrat from Barcelona España station along the R5 line, and it takes approximately one hour by train.
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