Day Trip To Monsterrat From Barcelona, Spain
Spend a day away from Barcelona’s hustle and bustle and enjoy the peaceful, sweeping views of Monsterrat Monastery.
Halloween weekend in Barcelona, Spain is always one for the books. The parties start early, the bars stay open late, and people come from all over Europe to take part. If you’re anything like me, however, this isn’t always your scene; especially when I could be out exploring on the last real sunny weekend of the season.
With this in mind, a few friends and I were determined to find a destination that was not only super cool but also close enough that we could make it a day trip. We found Monsterrat Monastery and absolutely fell in love. The monastery plays an important cultural and religious role in the region of Cataluña and also sits upon the highest point of Cataluña.
About an hour and a half train ride out of the city, it was the perfect trip length and allowed us to experience another part of Cataluña.
Here is how to make your trip to Monsterrat a successful one:
Get up early
In order to ensure that you make the most of your day trip, set your alarm for 8 or 9am. This gives you plenty of time to get ready, head to the Espanya metro station, buy a ticket, and to catch the hourly trains to Monsterrat. This will also give you plenty of time to squeeze in your sight seeing and hiking before heading back to BCN at the end of the day.
Wear layers and comfortable shoes
While the end of October is still fairly warm in Barcelona, we do have moments of cloudy skies and cooler weather. For your trip to Monsterrat, it’s best to dress in layers to cover all of the Barcelona weather bases. I ended up wearing yoga pants, a t-shirt, tennis shoes, and throwing a sweater in my backpack just in case. I ended up just wearing the t-shirt as it was incredibly sunny and was very thankful that I wore athletic shoes.
Buy the right ticket
Once you are at Espanya station and make your way to the Monsterrat section, you will see several yellow machines to get your ticket. There are about eight different options but I think the best for your money is the combined ticket and cable car return trip. This includes your round trip train ticket as well as the cable car to and from the monastery. While it doesn’t include the more scenic cable cars from the monastery to the summit of the mountain, you can purchase tickets there or just hike your way up! The ticket costs 20,20 Euros and is definitely worth the money.
Pack a lunch
All that traveling, sight seeing, (and possibly hiking) will leave you pretty hungry. While Monsterrat has a café on sight, the prices are steeper than the mountain. One of my favorite parts of our trip was packing a lunch and eating it while overlooking one of the panoramic views. Not only is it free, it also makes for an incredible memory!
Explore the Basilica and market
While the views are incredible, make sure you take time to explore the actual Monastery and Basilica of Monsterrat. If you make it to the basilica by 12pm, there is a children’s choir that serenades everyone at this time. The kids are raised in the monastery and have grown up taking classes and singing to please God. We barely missed the performance and I was super bummed, but maybe we will catch them next time! There is also an adorable market outside of the monastery where locals sell (and sample!) homemade food and desserts.
Take a hike
If you’re feeling extra adventurous like we were, Monsterrat boasts several hiking trails of varying difficulty. It takes about 20 minutes of steep stair climbing until you get to an incredible view of the mountains and valley. Once we were there, we realized that we were pretty close to another part of the mountain and decided to keep trekking via a small hidden path. The path took us directly along the edge of the mountain so the views were incredible the entire way. We hiked like this for another two hours or so until we were happy with our final viewing point and then made our way down the mountain to head home!
After a long day of hiking and sight seeing, we made our way back to Barcelona via cable car and train. It was the perfect day trip and perfect amount of time spent exploring another part of Cataluña. If you’re ever in the city for an extended amount of time, I highly recommend visiting Monsterrat.