Hiking Montserrat in Catalonia, Spain – Earth Trekkers
A visit to Montserrat is one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona. Many people come here to view this unique, jagged, sawtooth mountain range and its views over the stunning countryside. Montserrat truly is a beautiful place to visit. One of the best ways to get to the top are on your own two feet. Keep reading to learn more about hiking Montserrat.
Table of Contents
How to Get to Montserrat
Montserrat is easily accessible from Barcelona. The distance between Barcelona and Montserrat is 54 km. Most people take the train out to Montserrat, connecting with either the cable car or rack railway to get to the top. For details on how to do this, read our post How to Guide: Day Trip to Montserrat from Barcelona.
To start the hike, you need to get to Monistrol de Montserrat. From Plaça Espanya in Barcelona, take the R5 train to Monistrol de Montserrat. It takes just over one hour to get to Monistrol.
Below is a map of Barcelona, the train stations near Montserrat, and things to do on Montserrat. To find the trailhead from Monistrol de Montserrat, keep reading.
How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers. You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.
If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.
How to Hike to Montserrat
Distance: 5 km one-way
Duration: 1. 5 hours
Start: Estacio de Monistrol
Finish: Monestir de Montserrat
Finding the Trail
Finding the trailhead can be a little tricky. We found very little information on the internet before attempting this hike, so we were in for all kinds of surprises. After asking for directions from several people in town, we eventually found our way to the start of the hike. Here’s how to get from the Monistrol de Montserrat train station to the trailhead. I also recommend checking the comment section below because a recent traveler just wrote in with a lot of tips about this hiking trail. Thank you Rachel!
Exit the train station and walk downhill towards Monistrol de Montserrat. Cross this bridge to the other side. The mountain range of Montserrat is looming in front of you. Eventually, you will be standing way up there!
Once on the other side of the bridge, cross the street, passing between the two buildings in this photo.
Continue on the wide sidewalk into town.
The sidewalk ends at a small plaza in town. Walk through the plaza, keeping the mountains to your left. You will see a staircase off to the left. Take this to the road above you.
Red, white, and green painted stripes mark the trail all the way up to the monastery. As long as you follow these stripes you are going in the right direction. From the top of the staircase, turn left and walk along the road.
After walking approximately 100 meters on the road you will arrive at the trailhead. In this photo, it is the small, paved trail to the right.
On the concrete wall there is a sign identifying the official trail. From this point it takes about an hour and half to get to the monastery, a little less if you are a fast hiker.
Most of the trail is a rocky, dirt single track trail. Occasionally there will be small sets of stairs when the climb is a little steeper. It may come as no surprise that the trail is a steady, uphill climb all of the way to the top.
Another sign on the way up the mountain.
About a third of the way up to the monastery, the trail will split. Here you have two options. The easier option, staying on the Cami de les Aigues (GR 5), veers off to the left. This wide trail slowly meanders up the mountain. It ascends less quickly, making it easier, but it also takes five to ten minutes longer to get to the top. Or, you could take the Drecera dels Tres Quarts (GR 96). This trail is narrower, steeper, and more direct to the monastery.
We chose the GR 96, preferring the quicker option.
Here’s a view of the trail before the real climbing began.
Just before reaching the monastery, both trails link up again. From here, enjoy the view. You can walk out to the Santa Cova Chapel (you can see it in the photo below, way off in the distance), hoof it up higher to the monastery, or choose to take the Santa Cova funicular if you’re all out of energy.
Best Things to do on Montserrat
For a full list of what there is to do once you’re at the top, check out our post How to Guide: Day Trip to Montserrat from Barcelona.
Getting Back Down
You have three options to get back down the mountain…retrace your steps and hike back down, take the cable car to Aeri de Montserrat (the cable car), or take the Cremallara (the rack railway) to Monistrol de Montserrat. From Aeri de Montserrat and Monistrol, take the R5 train back to Barcelona. Tickets can be purchased in the train station.
Print This Before You Go!
If you are planning on doing this hike, print this out beforehand or cache it on your phone so you can follow the photos to the trailhead.
Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.
If you have any questions about hiking Montserrat, let us know in the comment section below.
More Information about Spain
BARCELONA, SPAIN: Start with our guide to the best things to do in Barcelona. Plan your visit with our 3 Day Barcelona Itinerary, our guide on Where to Stay in Barcelona, and get recommendations on where to eat in Barcelona.
GIRONA: Here are 9 reasons why Girona makes a great day trip from Barcelona.
IRONMAN BARCELONA: If racing a full distance triathlon is on your bucket list, Ironman Barcelona is one of the best. Read about Tim’s experience racing Ironman Barcelona.
MORE GREAT HIKES IN EUROPE: From thrilling trails in the Alps to easy walks along the coast, read our article 20 Best Hikes in Europe for some beautiful hiking trails to put on your travel wish list.
EUROPE TRAVEL INSPIRATION: For more great ideas on where to go in Europe, check out our article 30 Beautiful Places to Visit in Europe and the 20 Best Hikes in Europe. You can also get more travel ideas in our 10 Days in Europe itinerary guide, which has 10 great itineraries for your next trip to Europe.
Are you planning a trip to Barcelona? Read all of our articles about Barcelona, including more ideas for day trips, on our Spain Travel Guide.
All rights reserved © Earth Trekkers. Republishing this article and/or any of its contents (text, photography, etc.), in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.
Hiking Montserrat – Barcelona Spain Perfect Day Trip –
Breathtaking vistas abound while hiking Montserrat Spain and the Sant Jeroni Trail. During my solo trip to Barcelona I hiked around Montserrat trails one afternoon. Enjoying the outstanding views and rock formations so much I returned again to hike Sant Jeroni trail.
Whether you are traveling alone or with a group Montserrat Barcelona is some of the best hiking in Spain.
You get to see beautiful panoramic views of Catalonia Spain as well as the Montserrat Monastery.
Even if you don’t go inside the monastery it makes for a stunning view while on the cable car trip up and down the mountain. In springtime the wildflowers in Montserrat are also beautiful.
Amazing vistas along the Sant Jeroni trail at Montserrat
View of Montserrat Monastery
This post contains compensated links and I may receive a commission for purchases made through links. See my disclosure about affiliate links
Getting to Montserrat – Barcelona
You can easily get to Montserrat from Barcelona by bus, train, or car. If you like you can jump to the detailed instructions for traveling from Barcelona to Montserrat here.
To get to Montserrat from Barcelona by train it takes about one hour. See more information on options for how to get from Barcelona to Montserrat at the bottom of this post.
Before beginning your excursion to Montserrat be sure to check the train or bus schedules if you are taking public transportation to get there.
Consider the weather before you set out on your hiking trip and plan accordingly.
LEARN MORE: 9 Best Day Trips from Barcelona
Getting around in Barcelona – trains are available for day trips such as Montserrat – cheap and convenient travel options for tourists
Cable car or rack railway to Monastery of Montserrat
First you need to get from Barcelona to the rack train or the cable car station. Since these are not at the same location decide which one you want to take beforehand.
I took the cable car Aeri de Montserat to the Monastery but you could take the rack train Cremallera de Montserrat if you don’t like riding in cable cars.
Note that if you are taking the train from Barcelona get off at the Monistrol de Montserrat station to take the rack train (Cremallera de Montserrat) to the Montserrat Monastery.
This is one stop after the Montserrat AERI station which is the one you want for the the Aeri de Montserat (cable car) to the Monastery of Montserrat.
Barcelona to Montserrat day trip is easy to do on your own
Cable car or funicular from Monastery to Montserrat
Plan to arrive early if you want to visit the Monastery of Montserrat and hike the mountain. Sundays are very busy for mass at the monastery.
Once you are ready to go up the mountain you will need to decide again if you want to take a cable car or take another funicular.
The views along the way to Montserrat Spain are extraordinary! Starting with the trip up the mountain in a cable car – offering a grand vista looking back down to the Monastery of Montserrat.
Alternatively you could take the Sant Joan Funicular from the Monastery to the top of Montserrat.
If you are hiking or walking back down be sure to buy the one-way ticket and not the return ticket.
Awesome views from the Aeri (cable car) up the mountain Montserrat Barcelona
Apparently a lot of people get nervous about being in a cable car – that heavy cable car filled with people and all that weight hanging on one little cable. I love cable cars!
The trails are well marked
Hiking trails at Montserrat Spain
You will find a board with a map and list of all of the hiking trails at Montserrat Spain. There is also info for how long the Montserrat hikes take, amount of elevation gain, and difficulty rating.
Sant Jeroni is rated as an easy hike with an elevation gain of 525 meters (1,722 feet) and estimated time to complete is 1 hour 10 minutes.
Montserrat Sant Jeroni trail information is posted along the hiking trail
I enjoyed spectacular vistas all along the Sant Jeroni hiking trail.
It’s an easy 1-hour 10-minute hike but took me 2 hours, stopping to take photos and enjoying the picturesque views of the Catalonia region.
My inappropriate hiking footwear – and a grand view!
I meant to change my shoes before I left the apartment in central Barcelona but I forgot and so I wore rather inappropriate footwear for hiking!
My favorite hiking shoes are by Ahnu because they are waterproof shoes and have a wide toe box so they are comfortable for long hikes.
Montserrat is a popular mountaineering site 48 kilometers from Barcelona
I saw several climbers while hiking at Montserrat. It’s a popular location for mountain climbing and I would love to try it some day! I need to take a class and get some basic training first.
Rock climbing looks to be an exhilarating and challenging experience. For now I will enjoy hiking the trails.
Finally you will know that you are getting close to the Sant Jeroni summit when you see the flight of stairs shown below.
There are several sets of stairs on the Sant Jeroni hiking trail.
Chatting with some other hikers we surmised the stairs were put in place for stability – to keep the trail at the summit from crumbling from the thousands of hikers that visit Sant Jeroni trail every year.
Summit of Sant Jeroni Montserrat Spain
Enjoy spectacular views from Sant Jeroni summit.
Enjoying the panoramic vistas from Sant Jeroni summit at Montserrat Spain hike
Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at the summit of Sant Jeroni hike while you enjoy panoramic views of Catalonia.
Fellow hikers enjoying a picnic lunch at the top of Sant Jeroni – Montserrat mountain
I highly recommend a trip to Montserrat for anyone visiting Barcelona. The panoramic views while hiking in Montserrat Spain are amazing!
It is a one-hour train ride from Pl Espanya metro station in Central Barcelona. More info on getting around in Barcelona here.
Amazing vistas along the Sant Jeroni trail at Montserrat
Hiking Montserrat Spain, great day trip from Barcelona
You can watch my youtube video of the Aeri de Montserrat cable car here
How to get to Montserrat from Barcelona
Barcelona to Montserrat by bus
There is one direct daily bus to and from Montserrat, leaving from the bus station next to Estació Sants train station in Barcelona. You can find the exact times on the company’s website, AutoCars Julia.
Barcelona to Montserrat by train
- From the Plaça Espanya train station, take the FGC’s R5 train to either Aeri de Montserrat or Monistrol de Montserrat.
- Which stop to get off depends on whether you choose to take the cable car or the rack train to the mountain.
- You can purchase combination tickets (called ToT Montserrat ticket) at the train station in Barcelona.
Barcelona to Montserrat by car
Maps, directions, and information on car rentals and parking can be found on this Montserrat Tourist Guide website.
Barcelona to Montserrat tour
There are many tour companies offering a guided tour to Montserrat from Barcelona.
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Hiking in Montserrat
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My last trek was one of the most anticipated, because I have long wanted to visit Montserrat. I have already been to Montserrat with a tourist group, but after visiting the mountain and the monastery of Montserrat with other tourists, I was convinced that next time it is worth taking a walking tour to this place, revered by the Catalans as a saint. In addition, my plans included making a walking tour without a tourist group, without a bus that takes you to your very destination – the monastery. Getting an authentic experience in this amazing place has been my idea for a couple of years now.
This time my wish came true, and besides, I was very lucky to get on an excursion to the unexplored sights of Montserrat. More specifically, we visited the peaks of Montgrós, Les Agulles and Els Ecos. What is most remarkable and wonderful about the chosen route is that it allows you to pass half of the Montserrat mountain range and see the most beautiful part, inaccessible to most tourists.
A large stream of tourists head to Montserrat to visit the monastery, famous for the black Madonna, the patron saint of Catalonia. In addition to visiting the Montserrat monastery, many tourists head to Miranda de Sant Jeroni , the most popular walking route in Montserrat.
We went on a completely different path, which is known to few, and to tell the truth, while making our route, we saw only a couple of tourists. One of them, at the very beginning of the journey, was so loaded that he could hardly move. In the course of this trekking, it is not easy to move at all, because you expect constant steep ascents and descents, as well as sections of rocks along which you move like a monkey and sometimes, when faced with mountain channels, you resemble a spider with your body movements.
This road is very interesting and adventurous: you will walk about 14 kilometers, descending and ascending many times, climbing rocky areas (naturally not over cliffs, so special equipment is not required), you will see mountain channels, mountain ranges of the most bizarre forms, if you are lucky with the weather, you will even sunbathe (as was the case in our case). This route will open the door to the very heart of the most beautiful mountain range – one that tourists do not see it. The interior of Montserrat is very rich in vegetation, and climbing the Montgrós peak, located in the center of the mountain range, you will have the best panorama of this amazing place.
When we reached the peak of Montgrós (1.133 m) a helicopter flew right over our heads. Subsequently, we learned that on the day of our trip to Montserrat there were 3 incidents, and apparently, the helicopter was looking for victims. In this area, in addition to hiking, rock climbing is very developed, and incidents in this area are not uncommon. It often happens that someone cannot climb, someone is not able to go down …
In the case of our route, this path will not be possible for everyone, because it will require you to have excellent physical fitness and endurance (as well as dexterity in monkey and spider poses on the rocks).
However, for those who are in good shape and like challenging routes, trekking in the interior of Montserrat is highly recommended! This is one of the most beautiful places in Catalonia and the inland path is an authentic experience, not a typical guiri experience. Trekking together with a company will be even more fun!
In order to get to the start of the journey, you should drive along the BP-1103 highway, 5.5 km.
Our route was circular and the way back was easier, although here you will also encounter some long uphill and downhill sections (but not as steep as at the beginning of the journey).
Our group completed the route in 5 hours (excluding lunch breaks and photos) in a dynamic rhythm.
For trekking in the interior of Montserrat you will need:
- water (minimum 2 liters), food, energy bars
- hiking backpack
- special shoes for trekking (very important)
- flashlight, in case you get delayed on the way
- GPS, maps (it’s easy to get lost here)
If you’re inspired by this hike, I also recommend watching my video about Montserrat.
For lovers of adventure trekking, I also recommend reading the article about Monte Perdido in the Pyrenees.
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Hiking trails on the mountain and Montserrat Monastery in Catalonia, Spain
For many tourists, a visit to Montserrat would not be complete if they didn’t take a hike up Mount Montserrat. When planning a trip to Montserrat, it’s easy to forget that it’s not only a monastery, but an entire mountain.
This page contains information about the main places you can visit on foot from Montserrat on Montserrat. Here you will find information about the length of hiking routes, the duration of such walks, information about difficult sections of the routes, as well as interesting places that can be seen during the walk. There are also links to more detailed articles about Montserrat and the Montserrat Nature Reserve.
Book your tickets for a half day excursion to Montserrat from Barcelona with round trip
There are two organized tours that will save you time and hassle to travel to Montserrat on your own. They include round-trip travel from Barcelona to Montserrat by air-conditioned bus. You can choose a half-day tour in the morning or in the afternoon.
Morning excursion to Montserrat
Click here to purchase tickets online for the morning excursion to Montserrat from Barcelona
Montserrat’s most popular hiking trails
Before you decide where you want to go in Montserrat, you should take a look at the map of Montserrat. This will allow you to better understand what the monastery and its surroundings are like, what interesting places there are. To follow some routes, you will first need to use one of the funiculars (see below) – in this case, the route description will be accompanied by relevant detailed information.
From Montserrat to Degotalls
Description of the walking route
This hiking route runs along the walls of the Holy Trinity Plateau, located 200 meters above the route. Below you can see the Pyrenees and the valley of the Llobregat river. There is lush vegetation (detailed information about the local vegetation can be found in our guide to the Montserrat Nature Reserve).
Due to the shady spots along this route, Montserrat Monastery recommends this route to those who want to take the opportunity to meditate.
Landmarks along the route
- Follow the road towards Monistrol.
- In front of the Mirador dels Apostols building, turn onto the path that runs parallel to the road on your left (to the northwest).
- Follow this path to Degotalls (it will take you approximately 25 minutes).
- You can return the same way – along the way you will see monuments made by different artists and interesting trees.
Slope: 20 meters
Distance: 3.20 kilometers
Walking time: 50 minutes (approx.)
Route difficulty: very easy
From the monastery to the chapel of the Holy Cave (Santa Cova)
Description of the walking route
This is one of the most popular hiking trails in Montserrat. It leads to one of the most significant places for pilgrims – the chapel of the Holy Cave (Santa Cova), where it is believed that the apparition of the Virgin Mary took place. For more information on the history of the Holy Cave Chapel, see our article on the Santa Cova Chapel.
Landmarks along the route
1. Head towards the Santa Cova funicular station. You can do this by going down the steep steps to the right of it or by going down the funicular from Montserrat Monastery. For more information on opening hours and fares for the Santa Cova Funicular (Funicular de Santa Cova), see our guide to the Santa Cova Funicular.
2. Walk along the concrete path between the station and the rack railway tunnel.
3. Follow this path until it turns left (it’s about 8 minutes walk). Then continue walking to the lower funicular station.
4. Then follow the Path of the Rosary. In this way, after about 20 minutes you will reach a place that is located directly under the plateau of St. Michael.
5. Continue walking for another 25 minutes (approximately) and you will come to the chapel of the Holy Cave (Santa Cova).
6. You can return the same way.
Slope: 120 meters
Distance: 2.70 kilometers
Walking time: 1 hour 10 minutes (approx.)
From the top station of the Sant Joan funicular to Montserrat (via Sant Jeroni and Els Ocells plateau)
Walking route description
This route leads to the highest point of Montserrat and allows you to see the most interesting places in the Montserrat Nature Reserve.
Landmarks along the route
- First you need to take the Sant Joan funicular from Montserrat to Sant Joan Joan
- At the exit from the top station of the funicular, turn right and walk along the path leading to the northwest.
- In about 12 minutes you will be at the Phrygian Cap (Gorra Frigia) (it will be above you), and on the horizon you will see the peak of Sant Jeroni (more about the geology and history of Sant Jeroni read in our guide to Montserrat).
- After you pass through the rocks, you will see an observation deck on the left.
- Continue along the edge of the mountain (make sure you don’t turn onto the adjoining road leading to Pollegons or Pont).
- This road will take you to the beginning of the valley. There you will enter the forest.
- After about 35 minutes of walking you will need to cross the small river Torrent of Santa Maria (there is a small wooden bridge).
- In about 45 minutes, you will reach the hut of Sant Jeroni. Go left, there will be a rise.
- In about 10 minutes you will reach the summit of Sant Jeroni.
- On the way back you will need to pass through the valley. Go in the opposite direction. After two minutes of walking, turn onto the path, which will be on your left.
- Get off and walk to Pla dels Ocells (it will take you 1 hour 35 minutes to walk to this place).
- You will pass two intersections on your right and one on your left. Pass under Panxa del Bisbe.
- Further the road joins GR-7.2.
- Turn right and go down the long steps that intersect with the narrow path Del Frances – this will lead you to the monastery of Montserrat.
Slope: 320 meters
Length of the route: 7.50 kilometers
Duration of the walk: 2 hours 5 minutes (approximately)
Difficulty of the route : There are sections with a steep slope along the route
From the top station of the Sant Joan funicular to Montserrat (across the La Serra Llarga road and past the Holy Cave)
Description of the walking route
This is a pleasant route without steep slopes, during the walk you can admire the views of the Llobregat valley and the Llobregat river itself
Landmarks along the route
- Take the funicular to Sant Joan (see above).
- From the top station of the funicular, turn left onto the wide path leading up in the direction of the southeast.
- You will reach a point where you can see the peak.
- At this point, descend towards St. Michael’s Plateau (this will take approximately 20 minutes).
- There is the Les Bateries road.
- Directly in front of you is a road that runs along the mountain to the south. After about 35 minutes of walking, this road will take a sharp turn to the north.
- at this location you can enjoy panoramic views of the Llobregat River and the mountains of Sant salvador, Puigventos, Sant Llorenç and Montseny.
- After about 45 minutes of walking you will reach a small mountain called La Fita. There is the Forat road.
- To get to the Holy Cave, go straight (it will take about one hour).
- For information on how to return from the Holy Cave to the monastery, read above.
Slope: 150 meters
Distance: 5.20 kilometers
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes (approx.)
Route difficulty: Easy, except for the steep section at the end.
There is a special map for each itinerary, which can be obtained from the Montserrat tourist information office. The location and opening hours of the information offices can be found in our article on Montserrat Tourist Information.
- Take water with you, there will be very few fountains with drinking water along the way.
- Better not to smoke. If you smoke, put out the gobies behind you.
- Do not pluck wildflowers and treat plants with respect.
- If you have a picnic while walking.
A picnic while walking is a good idea, you will have many opportunities to stock up on groceries before the walk and find a flat stone along the way to spread them out. If you are lucky, you will eat while admiring the magnificent mountain scenery. It is not necessary to buy food in advance – in Montserrat there is a small supermarket and stalls selling local products. For information on opening hours, average prices and items for sale, see our Montserrat Shopping Guide.