Montserrat Hiking Experience From Barcelona – Your Complete Guide

Step-by-Step: Preparing for a Montserrat Hiking Experience

The Montserrat Mountain is an iconic, mysterious, and natural wonder 50 km North of Barcelona. It is the Central Catalonia UNESCO Global Geopark rich in geology, mining, and a unique landscape that has been formed over the past 36 million years.

Our step-by-step guide will provide you with practical insights on how to organize a perfect Montserrat hiking experience on your own.

The Montserrat Natural Park was established in 1987 after several devastating wildfires. The place boasts an extensive network of hiking trails that lead to some breathtaking views.

It is a popular destination for many tourists as well as local Catalan people. The famous Benedictine Monastery runs daily masses and hosts a wide range of cultural.


Planning Your Montserrat Hiking Experience

Getting to Montserrat is fairly easy. You can rent a car and be there in an hour from the city center driving mostly on the highway. You can hop on the FGC train line from Plaza de España with a stop at Monistrol de Montserrat. Alternatively, you can also join a guided hiking tour to Montserrat.

The gondola lift Aeri de Montserrat or the cogwheel train Cremallera will bring you right up to the Monastery. You can also park at the Monastery for a small flat fee of 7.50 Euros per day.

Our recommendation is to check in advance what is going on in Montserrat on a particular day. The parking at the Monastery is limited and often gets full on days with long-distance hikes (Matagalls-Montserrat), charity activities (Vertical Montserrat), Fiestas Major of the surrounding towns, and other festive or National Holidays in Catalonia, Spain.

If you are up for a challenge there is a well-singposted trail starting from Monistrol de Montserrat that will lead you to the Monastery.

We highly recommend getting a proper Montserrat hiking map from Editorial Alpina for a full-day hiking experience.

Benedictine monastery in Montserrat near Barcelona
Planning a hiking trip to Montserrat from Barcelona.

Easy Hiking Trails in Montserrat

The most popular and easy 20-minute walk from the Monastery leads to La Creu de Sant Miquel. An edge-of-a-cliff viewpoint that offers a breathtaking panorama of the Monastery, parts of the Pyrenees, and Sant Llorenç del Munt Natural Park to the East.

This road path further continues gently up with a few short, steep uphills to the Pla de les Taràntules. People often use the Sant Joan Funicular to ride up and then walk a 45-minute downhill back to the Monastery.

The top station of the Sant Joan Funicular provides a small exhibition room with a terrace and a few seats to have a quick bite.

Hiking to Santa Magdalena Summit (1132 m)

From Pla de les Taràntules there are multiple options to continue hiking. The classic loop will take you further up to Sant Joan’s and Sant Onofre’s chapel which was built in the natural rock cavity.

This is a great spot for another quick break as it provides shelter from the Northwestern winds and in the winter months it gets exposed to the heat from the sun.

From Sant Onofre’s chapel, you can reach the stunning Santa Magdalena summit (1132 m).

Barcelona hiking experience
Santa Magdalena summit in Montserrat. Low clouds in the winter time.

How to Prepare for a Montserrat Summit Hike

Another popular trail leads from the backyard of the Monastery right to the highest summit called Sant Jeroni (1236 m). The introduction of this trail includes 500-plus stairs that will take you quickly away from the bustling Monastery into nature.

This is a circular or linear hiking experience with 500 m of vertical climb that requires a little bit more stamina.

You will spot rock climbers on vertical peaks called Gorras. The trail then rolls through a dense vegetation Pla dels Ocells. This section provides a well-needed shade in the hot summer months.

Hiking Montserrat mountain half day private tour from Barcelona
Santa Magdalena summit and Las Gorras in the background.

Essential Tips for Safe and Enjoyable Montserrat Hiking

Let´s look at the list of our recommended equipment to enjoy the time in Montserrat. The trails are full of loose pebbles, soil, and sometimes fallen trees hence comfortable pair of walking shoes is a must.

Think about shoes with enough grip for the uneven mountain trails and slippery downhills. Having a spare base layer and a light windproof jacket will certainly contribute to your overall comfort. Consider bringing gloves, an extra warm layer for the winter months, and basic sun protection items.

We also suggest packing binoculars, hiking sticks, and the old good Termo flask with hot or cold drinks. Do not forget to bring some food to keep your energy up throughout the day.  We recommend a variety of healthy snacks for a day. Enjoy different flavors.

Prepare Delicious Picnic Food for Your Montserrat Hiking Trip

If you normally have a bigger appetite. Pack some local cheese you can find on the way into the Monastery, avocado or some other slow-release fat, and whole-grain stuff to have a yummy picnic around the mountain.

The very last option to bring some food with you is the basic grocery store Queviures opposite the hostel in Montserrat.

Keep on nibbling on the go and make your breaks relatively short to avoid stiffing.

Discovering Sacred Art: Monastery Visit and the Black Madonna

After finishing your rewarding Montserrat hike you can explore the rich history of the Monastery.

The general entrance tickets for the Black Madonna, the Basilica, and the Boys’ Choir Escolania are sold in the time slots. We recommend you plan your Montserrat hiking experience with this in mind to avoid waiting too long or not being able to access the shrine at all.

Apart from the famous Black Madonna, you can also visit the Interactive exhibition in the bookstore that provides deeper insight into the life and history of  Montserrat Mountain and the Monastery.

The Museum of Montserrat is another interesting place to visit.  You will be presented with one of the finest collections of Catalan paintings, archeological findings around the mountain as well as the contextual and cultural history of Catalonia.

Black Madonna of Monserrat
The Black Madonna of Montserrat in the Basilica.

Exploring Montserrat's Natural Beauty with Guided Hiking

Exploring the Montserrat Mountain is a great half-day or full-day city break whether you go alone or decide to join our small group Montserrat hiking tour.

By joining a small group hiking experience you will gain a deeper understanding of the symbolic value of the mountain. Your guide will suggest hiking trails and alternative routes to fit the physical levels of the group.

Sharing a great day outdoors with a small group of like-minded travelers is also a great opportunity to socialize and have fun. You can simply relax and chat with other guests on the way to Montserrat.

In the end, your guide will explain the Catalan culture from the historical context and give you a handful of valuable tips on how to enjoy the rest of your holidays in Barcelona.

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