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“Amazing, historic place with scenery”

Barcelona Turisme - Afternoon in Montserrat Tour
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Montserrat Monastery Tour from Barcelona Including Cogwheel Train Ride
Ranked #42 of 588 Tours in Barcelona
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Montserrat offers a rich and varied landscape: a unique natural park, one of Spain's foremost museums and the site of the shrine dedicated to the Virgin of Montserrat, a Black Madonna.
Reviewed May 15, 2014

I'm not sure why this category is called "Afternoon in Montserrat" since you can visit in the morning; there are guided tours that leave from Barcelona called Afternoon in Montserrat but the page now seems to reflect opinions about the whole experience and a variety of methods of getting there.
Just to chime in on that then, this is indeed an amazing place, a huge religious complex that dates back to a holy statue that history says was found in 808. So settlement here goes back aways!
- It gets you into the scenery outside of Barcelona, both during the trip and then with the amazing view from a dramatically carved mountain.
- The 'getting there' is pretty cool. Even a lame transit user like me who read up on a couple of FAQs from the Internet could figure out how to buy the combined train/cable car ticket at the automated kiosks at the Espanya station. As a bonus, when you wait for a return train, you have the most amazing view anyone could want from the station, of the mountain and the Monastery complex. You can also take a guided tour, but it sounds like people often complain about how much time they get on the mountain. That's a real issue, because there's great stuff to see up on the mountain, but also some junk. You want to control where you spend your time IMHO.
- Read up first to make sure whether you want to take the cable car or a small train up to the mountain. We did the cable car, and found it stable and fun and short. This is one of those unique experiences that you go to Europe for in the first place.
- The church is awesome, and you get to touch a revered statue of Mary. I'm sure that experience is different for everyone, but for this recovering Catholic, there was a great sense of spirituality and history placed in the context of many centuries.
- The Disneyland effect kicks in here in a couple of ways: food is expensive, though there's a lot of variety, which is great. In the gift store, they've got the Black Virgin statue on anything you can think of, from fine jewelry to household goods. If you're a believer and want a Black Virgin on a trivet or pen, that's great, but I can see why people who take guided trips up here might get a bit tired of spending too much time in the store.
- We got chased out of an exhibit on the monks themselves, apparently because you're supposed to know you have to pay. It was a bit unsettling, and my family outvoted me on paying because we had spent too much time at the temporarily gutted museum ...
- In the appropriate category, I already ripped the monastery for false advertising in its museum, which I would skip until the fine art returns. http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g187501-d2209735-r205413234-Montserrat_Museum-Montserrat_Catalonia.html#REVIEWS Spend the time instead walking around the complex, and instead of spending your standing time and foot energy on mediocre art, take advantage of the other attractions.
Overall, it was definitely a unique experience, a pilgrimage to history or for religion, or both.

9  Thank TheBlitz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed May 14, 2014

I studied abroad in Barcelona, and my trip to Montserrat was probably my favorite weekend. Although it is a rigorous hike up, starting at the bottom was an incredible experience. Pack food for the day and take breaks to snack/drink water. The top also has a trail with each of the Stations of the Cross; it leads to a chapel that closes at 4:15 PM. The monastery is cool too, and just beyond it you get a fantastic view of the valley below. Everything is so calm and beautiful, really an incredible experience.

1  Thank YankeePhi19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2014

It was pretty easy to get to Montserrat by train from downtown Barcelona and the trip was definitely worth it. There was a bit of a wait for the cable car to the monastery since it only takes about 20-30 people and it's a slow ride. Once you leave the cable car though, the views are quite breathtaking. We took a funicular down to Santa Cova and took the long trail leading to the shrine. There are lots of sights along the path, but it's fairly hilly and uneven, so it's advisable to take it slow ... especially if you don't like heights.

After walking back and taking the funicular back we visited the basilica. Since we'd seen the replica of the black virgin at the shrine, we didn't feel the need to wait on a long line to see the real thing.

Next, we took the funicular up to Sant Joan which is quite a bit higher than the monastery. Spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and all the way to Barcelona and the Mediterranean. Again, pretty hilly and uneven paths and pretty much no guard rails (and it's a long way down in some spots!). I couldn't help thinking of that Will Smith quote from "I Robot": "What is it with you people and heights?".

Anyway, this was a fabulous day trip which I would highly recommend.

1  Thank davey314
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2014

We took a bus tout to this attraction which was way too short. I wish we had a couple of extra hours to see everything. If you can, see the boy's choir at 1 pm. This is a working boarding school for boys, who stay all week and go home on the weekends. The church and buildings are interesting to see. There are trails for hiking, but unfortunately there was not enough time as my bus was going back too soon. I would have loved more hours to see more. There is food available in a self service cafeteria. Outside there is a small farmer's market that sells cheeses and other items. We purchased a small wheel of rosemary encrusted cheese to bring back with us.

Thank blindman20002000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 14, 2014

A beautiful place. Be sure to take the train up the mountain and walk down for beautiful sights - that was the high point of our visit.

Thank booterlean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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