If you have seen already all the highlights Barcelona has to offer, you´re probably in the mood for something else. Something you might want to consider is visiting Montserrat. That is what another Lifestyle member and me did during the last Easter weekend. We took the FGC train from Plaza Espanya, which takes you to Montserrat in approximately one hour. This train, R5 to Manresa, departs every hour.
Once you´ve arrived in Montserrat, there are several ways to get to the Monastery. The Monastery of Montserrat is located at an altitude of 720 meters on the east side of the mountain, as you can imagine, you will have breathtaking views from there! You can go there with a cable car or with the Cremallera Funicular. If you are afraid of heights I recommend the Funicular!
A must see is of course the Basilica of Montserrat. It houses one of Montserrat’s most important features, the statue of the black Madonna. Legend has it that the first Madonna statue was found by a shepherd boy in a cave in 880. When the bishop heard this, he tried to move the image to Manresa. However, this proved impossible because the statue was too heavy. The bishop interpreted this as a wish of the Madonna to stay at the place where she was found and ordered to build the hermitage of the Virgin Mary, the current monastery. The Black Madonna who is honored here today is a Roman statue from the 12th century. If you want to see the statue up close, be prepared to join a long queue!
The Basilica with the Black Madonna is not the only feature Montserrat has to offer. You can visit the library, which contains over 300.000 works. You can also visit the museum, where you can find pieces of El Greco, Picasso and Salvador Dalí. This museum also contains some treasures from ancient Egypt, including a mummy.
For those of you who aren´t into the spiritual and cultural things, Montserrat is also a great place to hike. With the beautiful nature and the differences in heights you can easily spend a whole day here! If you don´t want to walk that much, but you do want to get a bit higher, there´s another funicular which takes you up to 1,000 meters above sea level. From here you will have another spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding area and the Pyrenees.
If after one day, you still haven´t had enough of Montserrat, there is always the possibility to stay the night in the hotel there!