Inspiration for Gaudi's Sangrada Familia, the Montserrat mountain is an oddly-shaped mountain of towering sandstone pillars given their shape by changing winds and rains. The mountain is a mere 40 minutes away from Barcelona by train, with a selection of hiking tracks, magnificent views of Catalunya and great rock-climbing possibilities, it's a great place to visit, if you're longing for a trip back to nature from the busy night and cultural life of Barcelona.
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.