The hill of Montserrat, famed for its monastery, is some 50km/30mi northwest of Barcelona.AccessMontserrat can be reached from Barcelona by taking the A 2 expressway to Martorell and continuing from there on C 1411, which runs via Olesa to Monistrol. Soon after Olesa a bridge crosses the valley and leads to the lower station of the cableway (large signpost to "Aeri" - officially the Funicular Aeri del Montserrat), the upper station of which is just beside the monastery. There is also a road to the monastery, with many bends but scenically magnificent, from Monistrol. There is also a direct rail link from Barcelona to the cableway, starting from the junction under the Plaza de España (Catalan Plaça d'Espanya). Visitors approaching Montserrat from the north will do well to avoid the built up area of Barcelona. The best plan is to take the A 7 expressway, which runs parallel to the coast ome distance inland, as far as Cerdanyola and then follow the expressway spur which runs northwest to Tarrasa, continuing on the ordinary road to Monistrol.HistoryMontserrat was formerly identified, wrongly, with the castle of Monsalvat in the story of the Grail (now thought more probably to have been at the little pilgrimage center of Salvatierra on the southern slopes of the Pyrenees). According to legend the monastery was founded in 880 in honor of a wonderworking image of the Virgin. In 976 it was granted to the Benedictine order, and in 1025 it was occupied by monks from the Catalan monasteries of Ripoll and Vich. In 1409 Pope Benedict XIII raised it to the status of an independent abbey, and towards the end of the Century a printing press was established in the abbey. In 1522 Ignatius Loyola, later to become the founder of the Jesuits, stayed for some time in the abbey. During the Napoleonic wars most of its enormous wealth was lost, and in 1811 the abbey was destroyed by the French. It suffered further losses while it was closed during the Carlist wars (1835-60). The monastery still runs the Escolanía, a school of church music founded in the 15th century, whose pupils sing the "Salve" of the Ave Maria (1pm) and at Vespers.The SiteMontserrat, the "jagged mountain", and to the Catalans Montsagrat, the sacred mountain, is one of Spain's major tourist attractions by virtue both of its scenic magnificence and its famous monastery. This great massif of conglomerate, 10km/6mi long and 5km/3mi across, rears out of the Catalonian upland plain on the right bank of the Río Llobregat in splendid isolation, with steep rock faces on every side, looking from a distance, with its fantastically eroded crags and terraces, like some gigantic fortress. The highest peak is San Jerónimo (Catalan Sant Jeroni; 1,241m/4,072ft). On the southeast side the range is cleft by a huge fissure, known as the Valle Malo (Catalan Vall Malalt, the "Bad Valley"), at the mouth of which, on a projecting spur of rock, stands the monastery (alt. 725m/2,380ft). The northeastern slopes are covered with forests of pines, the flanks and summit of the hill with evergreen scrub. Much of the celebrated flora of Montserrat (with some 1,500 species) was destroyed by fires in 1986.
This famous monastery of Montserrat is set dramatically below rock cliffs. It contains a famous image of the Virgin of Montserrat, located above the altar.
Montserrat Rack Railway
The Montserrat Rack Railway is a mountain railway line that was originally opened in 1892. A permanent exhibition presents the history and evolution of the Railway track from its creation to present day. Visitors will enjoy a short but spectacular and comfortable journey to the monastery.
Map of Montserrat Attractions