Results 1-10of 11 Reviews
Todmorden, England, United Kingdom
November 23, 2002
I guess that if I had arrived in time to hear the famous boys’ choir do their bit at 1300 hours I might have gone in but my general view is that a superb piece of rock scenery has been wrecked by people putting a grotesque monastery in the middle. If I ever go again, which I doubt, I should make straight for the upper funicular and hope for cloudless skies for a walk, preferably out of sight of all the pandemonium below. I think I should be more interested in seeing other sights but I am not sorry I went and the scenery is sufficiently striking to justify one visit in spite of the major downside.
Ticks in the boxes below relate solely to the top but the final appraisal is an overall assessment of the trip.
From journal Barcelona - a kind of capital
March 31, 2001
From journal Barcelona--Gaudi, Wow!
January 29, 2003
We never made it to the Holy Cave because it closed at 4:25, which is when the funicular LEAVES the station to come down (silly planning on their part, if you ask me). Do visit the gift shops, however. There are two of them and they sell some really neat things! If you can leave Barcelona for Montserrat early in the morning, you should have enough time to see and do everything.
From journal Offseason Barcelona
The "Tot Montserrat" ticket includes all of the transportation in the Trans Montserrat ticket, plus admission to the Audio-Visual Exhibition, the Art Museum, and a two-course lunch with dessert, beverage, and coffee at the self-service restaurant atop the mountain. This ticket is 34.00 Euro per person.
We opted to go with the Trans Montserrat ticket because we had no plans to go to the Art Museum, and we also thought that we could buy our own lunch and bring it with us for much less money. You catch the train to Montserrat at the Espanya Metro Station. When we were there the trains ran every hour at 36 minutes after. The ride to Montserrat takes about an hour. You disembark at the Aeri de Montserrat station. You then are supposed to board the cable car for an awesome ride up to the monastery. However, in the winter the cable car does not run because of its yearly maintenance check. What a disappointment! So instead, we had to take a bus up, which wasn't too bad and gave us some nice views of the surrounding area.
The monastery, at the time, was going through some major construction to a train or something, so we were constantly walking around workers who were jack-hammering and the like. We followed the signs to the Audio-Visual exhibition, which leaves from one of the gift shops. I wouldn't recommend this. It costs two Euro per person and basically is just a bunch of lit pictures on the wall of monks and a slide show set to music. We found it terribly boring and not the slightest informative!
From here we found our way to the Basilica. There is no admission charge to the church, but donations seem to be accepted. The basilica is beautiful! There are many ornate shrines to different Catholic saints and everything seems to be covered in a rich gold.
If you enter from the side door you can walk your way up to the shrine of the Black Virgin. The Virgin sits in a little room which overlooks the back of the Basilica. She is in a glass box, but one of her hands and a wooden orb protrude through the glass so that you can touch her. The room that she is in is decorated with mosaic murals and gold. It is quite amazing! More to come in my Montserrat 2 entry.
October 30, 2002
Arriving by train, you'll embark on a brief journey by a free-swinging cable car, bringing you up into Montserrat Monastery, which is worth a look or two. The basilica of the Monastery dates back to the 16th century and features, among others, the works of Joseph Subirachs, who is also responsible for the Passion Facade of Sangrada Familia in Barcelona.
From the monastery, a funicular will carry you up to the top station of Sant Joan--you can also take the road up for a brisk 3km walk. Several walking routes are avaliable from Sant Joan--a 1-hour walk can be made toward Sant Jeroni, Montserrat's highest point, or a shorter stroll towards Sant Joan hermitage for those with less stamina or patience. Past Sant Joan you can enter short, and at times, steep mountain trails, which, with a bit of patience and careful navigation, can lead you to some of the most magnificent views off Montserrat. Definitely worth checking out.
The walk down from Sant Joan leads halfway around the face of Montserrat and gives you a breathtaking wiev of Catalunya--a perfect way to finish off your trek. Munching back on home-made chocolate from the monastery provides a quick and welcome way to replenish your energy reserves after a day out.
From journal Barcelona at the tips of your toes
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
July 5, 2003
The entrance to the cathedral is through a large courtyard that looks like a baroque building with walls covered with painted columns. But all of this is just an imitation since you can clearly see "1901" as cathedral year of construction on its façade. The entrance door to the cathedral is to the right, and you walk through several chapels in various styles from Gothic to modern, with "silence" signs blinking and organ music covering the cathedral. The cathedral is very large and impressive with several Catalan kings graves in the front in the courtyard, and the walls of the courtyard are covered with beige-green paintings of saints. The ceiling and altar paintings are Art Nouveau. You continue to the second floor along the staircase decorated with marble statues and mosaics of saints, until you get to the very top and find yourself behind the altar, at the eye level with the crystal chandelier across the floor near the organs and the statue of the Black virgin (La Moreneta) in the alcove. This small statue is the biggest treasure of the monastery and is considered the patroness of Catalonia.
Then you begin your descent along the fresco-covered walls and exit the basilica on the side to once again wind up in the courtyard. The whole basilica has gorgeous stained glass windows with bright colors. On the second floor, the arches are supported by columns (four columns for each arch), the paintings above the altar in Art Nouveau style look very much like works of Mucha with elongated figures of angels and saints. The style of the building is neo-Gothic and it seems very different from earlier Spanish cathedrals in that its creators tried to take the best of the European traditions of their time. Its décor is innovative and much lighter and brighter. It doesn’t have the typical religious fear of Spanish churches of prior centuries. This is more of a piece of art rather than place to worship God.
From journal Travels to Spain - Barcelona, Part IV
Phone: 93 877 77 01
Open: 1) Basilica -– Oct-Jun 8am–6:30pm daily, Jul-Sep 7:30am–8:30pm daily
2) Museum -– Jan-Feb 10am–4:45pm, Mar-Dec 10am–6pm daily
Tickets: Montserrat card costs 34 euros (10% discount with Bus Touristic discount book). Card includes tickets for train, cable cars, museum, and lunch.
If you buy tickets separately: tickets for the train cost 11.30 euros/roundtrip, the cable car and funicular de Sant Joan each costs 6.10 euros/roundtrip, funicular de la Santa Cova cost 2.50 euros/roundtrip, lunch at the cafeteria costs 9.40 euros (two plates, wine, and desert). The Montserrat card is a better value than if you had to buy each ticket separately, and if you are planning on getting to the mountain around noon, the cable car that brings you from the train station to the mountain has lunch break and you may miss the last cable car by standing in line for the tickets. The cars fill fast and wait time between cable cars can be more than 15 minutes. When you are going up and down in the cable car you ears get stuffed up as if you are taking off in a plane from the change in the height above sea level and you get a feeling that the cable car can fall any minute, but that feeling passes as you soon as you hit the ground. You can get more details at www.fgc.net or by calling 93 205 15 15.
The mountains here surround you everywhere and look so peaceful. This is a great place to relax and enjoy life. If you like to live on the edge, you can take two funiculars down the mountain. The rail that they follow is at a 45 degree angle, and for a short period of time it feels like a rollacoaster ride. If you came here for a religious pilgrimage, one of the funiculars takes you to Santa Cova, the other to Sant Joan.
If you came here for culture, you’ve come to the right place as well. Start with the Montserrat basilica located at the top of the mountain, 717 m above the sea level.
Continued in Part II
July 6, 2003
Before deciding what to visit first, stop by the information office. It is located above half way up the stairs leading to Plaça de la Creu, to the left of the cable car station and one of the cafeterias. They will give you a map of the sights and you can decide what to see and in which sequence. There is also an audiovisual exhibit nearby that shows how monks live in the monastery nowadays, gives a visual tour of the monastery.
If you arrive to the mountain around lunchtime, there are two cafeterias, one right across from the cable car station and the other further to the right with a large observation deck. That one is the one that you want to get to if you have a Montserrat card. You will not only enjoy your lunch, but will have a great view of the mountains at the same time.
Across from the cafeteria, there is a stop of a small train (it’s a free service) which brings you to Plaça de la Creu. The train stops in front of the hotel Abat Cisneros. There is constant construction going on since they are building another rail, so be careful when walking up and down the stairs.
October 13, 2010
From journal Pre-Cruise Weekend in Barcelona
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
June 22, 2010
From journal In and Around Barcelona