This was probably one of my favourite days spent in Barcelona. We started off the day with some original churros and dulce de leche churros before embarking on our journey to Montserrat. We had to take the metro to Placa Espanya from the Gothic Quarter and then we had to take the R5. At Placa Espanya you purchase tickets for the R5 train journey to Montserrat which also includes picking to take the cable car up to Montserrat Monastery or the Cremallera Funicular which is a rack train up to the Montserrat Monastery. We decided to take the funicular since it was advertised as being more comfortable, but with less of a view. Do note which one you take because depending on if you take the funicular or the cable car, you get off at different stops! Here is a website I found incredibly helpful for my journey planning. I do recommend that you make it early before your R5 train departs since it runs every half an hour or so depending on time of the day, seats are quite limited! We got on around 15 minutes before departure and it was already quite packed.
The whole journey was about 2 hours before we made it to Montserrat. The first thing we did was try to find where the Montserrat Boys Choir was performing. They perform two times during the day, at 1pm and agani at 6:45pm. First, we went to the information center to get a free (very basic) map and made our way to the Basilica for the performance. It can be quite confusing since there are different entrances and no signs really or anyone that works there to ask for help. I was originally lining up at an entrance to the right but later found out it was for something else. We made it to the Basilica about half an hour before the choir was supposed to perform at 1pm. All the benches were already packed with people standing to the side as well, but we managed to find some steps to sit on. I personally didn’t find the performance super amazing but then again, who am I to speak haha. Thankfully it was a respectful audience and even though I couldn’t see the choir performers, I was able to hear quite clearly. The performance only lasted for about 15 minutes which also included a prayer and a guest choir performance as well at the beginning.
We decided to eat our packed subs before making our way to the top of Sant Jeroni (Saint Jerome). It is the highest point in the Montserrat area that is accessible with a path. We started around 1/2pm and the heat really made it much more difficult. Thankfully we had brought a lot of water. I would say it took us under 2 hours to reach the top with a good variety of a trail that includes some shade, some ups and downs, and some stairs as well from what I remember. We didn’t see a lot of people that were heading up with us, but bumped into quite a few people that were heading down. At the top, there is a viewpoint platform and we were lucky to get there when no one else is there. Due to the height, it is incredibly windy up there but the endless view of Barcelona from a distance and countryside nearby makes it worth it. On our way down, we decided to take a different route which was more a roundabout route. However, because we took this route we pretty much walked everywhere that is accessible with a path! There is also a Sant Jeroni Funicular that you can take that brings you higher up fom the monastery, but it doesn’t take you anywhere near the actual top of Sant Jeroni. It does provide beautiful views still though!
Montserrat actually stands for serrated edge and the mountain formation is really unlike anything I have seen. I really have no scientific description for you, but it lookes like mounds of difference sized rocks stacked upon eachother…however, I do have a lot of pictures for you to look at! Overall, I would definitely recommend Montserrat as a daytrip from Barcelona. When we went, there were a lot of tourist but there are definitely walking/hiking trails that can provide a break from the hoards of tourist that mainly spend their time on the level of the Monastery which has hotels, souvenir shops, and cafes of that sort.