Stunning: that’s the only word for the outline of Montserrat mountain. This Catalan icon of saw-tooth cliffs rises from the flat surrounding landscape like the monument it is. This natural wonder gradually heaves into view before your very eyes when you take the Catalunya Bus Turístic from Barcelona to visit it.
The viewpoint changes completely, but remains equally spectacular, when you alight from the bus and merge into the mountainside by taking the Montserrat Rack Railway. Its train is the only way of reaching Montserrat that leaves you in the centre of the Sanctuary complex. The 15-minute trip allows you to enjoy uniquely stunning views of the mountain. The beauty of the landscape, viewed from the train’s panoramic windows, makes the journey an attraction in itself.
Almost incrusted into one of the hill’s cliff faces is the complex of Santa Maria de Montserrat. This Benedictine abbey is set at an altitude of 720 metres and is home to a community of around eighty monks, who dedicate their life to prayer, pastoral services and work. When you get off the train, you can take a guided tour of the church and listen to the Escolania de Montserrat boy’s choir, whose voices are sure to move you. You can also visit the statute of Our Lady of Montserrat. The dark colour of her skin has made her one of the world’s most unique Romanesque sculptures.
No doubt you’ve thought it was about time you visited Montserrat. Well, that time is now.
The Catalan Tourist Board (CTB) was set up by the Government of Catalonia and is responsible for implementing the government’s tourism promotion policies. It replaced the Turisme de Catalunya consortium, formerly responsible for this work, in early 2010.