If you are staying in the Barcelona area and one day you don’t feel like visiting the city or going to the beach, please rent a car or take the train to the monestary of Montserrat! You can take the train from Plaça d’Espanya (Station Espanya) towards Manresa and you have to get out inMonistrol de Monsterrat where you can take the tren cremallera (zipper train) to go up to the mountain.
Montserrat is a mountain (1236m) of which the name originates from the Catalan word mont (mountain) and serrat (sawn). This refers to the aspect of the mountain, like it has been shaped with a handsaw. The views from the top are amazing. It’s really easy to spend one hour just by looking around you.
On top of Montserrat you will find a monastery which is definitely worth a visit. The Virgin of Montserrat or the Black Virgin (La Moreneta “the tanned” in Catalan) is located inside the basilica next to the monestary and attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every year. Inside the basilica you can go upstairs to the Virgin and touch her hand which is holding a sphere that represents the world. The statue of the Virgin Mary was found by a group of shepherds in a cave of Montserrat. There are various myths explaining why the Virgin is black, one of them is that she turned black because of the smoke of the candles.
Montserrat is located on the Catalan route to Santiago de Compostela. Besides that, there is a Catalan tradition to take your wife there shortly after your wedding if you want to have a good marriage. But even if you are not planning to walk all the way to Santiago or to get married, you should definitely go. A trip to Montserrat is a great mixture of nature, religion and architecture.