If you have already been to Montserrat you will know that it is one of the most amazing landmarks in Catalonia. (If not, go ahead and book one of our tours!) It is said to be a sacred mountain where nature, culture, history, and religion meet together. The Benidictine Monastery, the only part of the mountain visited in most guided tours, is surely a highlight, but what some visitors don’t know is that Montserrat is also a Natural Park full of hiking trails. On this post we would like to discover you some of the best hikes in and around Montserrat.
1. Barcelona – Montserrat
Estimated duration: 14 hours
This is the most traditional path to go to Montserrat, especially for those living in Barcelona. In fact, it is told that for being a good Catalan you have to walk from your birthplace to Montserrat. Normally, from Barcelona it takes about 14 hours. The best is to do it in two days, with an overnight stay in Olesa de Montserrat or Monistrol de Montserrat, the villages located at the foot of the mountain. Even so, the trail is 50 km long and quite steep towards the end – therefore it is only suitable for hardcore hikers. If you are only visiting Barcelona we strongly recommend you to get there by bus – with us, of course!
2. Monastery – Holy Cave – Monastery
Estimated duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
According to a legend wrote by Benedictine monks in the 13th century, the famous carving of the Black Madonna that can be now seen in the Basilica in Montserrat was found in a cave in the middle of the mountain by some sheep shepherds. This track is the one they followed together with Gotmar, the bishop of Vic, in order to show to the world the miracle they had found. The walking path was remade during the 18th century and a chapel was built surrounding the cave. Along the path there is a beautiful rosary consisting of 15 altars that represent the lives of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, some of them created by well-known artists such as Antoni Gaudí, Josep Puig i Cadafalch, and Joan Martorell. This is one of the most beautiful walks you can find in Montserrat, especially for those interested in art and religion.
3. Monastery – Saint Michael’s Cross – Monastery
Estimated duration: 40 minutes
This is one of the best walks to do during the free time at our Montserrat, Food & Wine tour. It is very easy to follow and will take you to the limits of the Monastery. La creu de Sant Miquel (Saint Michael’s Cross) stands on a rock overlooking the best panoramic views of the monastery, making this path a unique experience. Perfect for romantic moments!
4. Hermites way
Estimated duration: 1 to 4 hours
We recommend you to take Sant Joan Funicular, which will make the way up easier and faster. Once you get off from the funicular follow the path that is just in front of you. This walk brings you to the caves where the hermits use to live. Also on the way, you will find some chapels like the one of Sant Joan (Saint John) or Sant Benet (Saint Benedict), where you can get a drink as it is also a shelter for rock climbers. Following this path, you can see some wild life, like the wild goats of Montserrat. My last tip is to ask for a Hermits’ Map at the information point of Montserrat. There you will find all the information about it!
5. Via Crucis way
Estimated duration:15 minutes
This is the shortest walk in Montserrat, it is a round walk from the monastery. It starts at Abat Oliba square. There you could see altars representing 14 stations of the Via Crucis of Jesus in Jerusalem, created initially between 1904 and 1916 by Enric Sagner and Eusebi Arnau but destroyed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and then, rebuilt in 1950s by Francesc Folguera and his team. At the end of the via crucis , you will find a chapel called Capella de la Soledat, which is a famous place for cat lovers!
6. Saint John’s Funicular – Monastery
Estimated duration: 1 hour and 40 minutes
It is a very nice walk from the southern side of the mountain range to the northern side, passing by la Creu de Sant Miquel. Perfect for Nature lovers!
You should take Sant Joan Funicular and once you get to the upper funicular station, turn to your left and follow the walking path that brings you to the Monastery.
7. Monastery – Salnitre Caves (Collbató)
Estimated duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
This walk goes from the monastery, starting by Abat Oliba square to the left, on the way to Sant Joan funicular, to Collbató caves. Once you get to Collbató you can get a bus back to Barcelona. The walk is very spiritual, you feel in contact with the mountain and its powerful energy!
8. Monastery – Saint Jerome – Monastery
Estimated duration: 4 hours return
This walk brings you from the Monastery to the highest point of Montserrat mountain. Our recommendation is to take Sant Joan Funicular and once you get up, take the walking path at your right. The views are spectacular and is a really easy way to the peak.
9. Monastery – Fra Garí shelter – Monastery
Estimated duration: 35 minutes
This is very close to the Monastery but, at the same time, very isolated and nice. Take the path that starts at Abat Oliba square and brings you to the funicular stations. You should go on by the same path and after 200 meters, you will see on the right side a sign where you can read “Miranda de Fra Garí”, follow the path and you will found a beautiful natural balcony over Montserrat. It is the perfect place if you are planning to propose!
10. Ignatius Way: Monastery – Manresa through Oller del Mas
Estimated duration: 8 hours
This is a long and hard walk, especially in summer, because in Catalonia we can reach 40 degrees. The walk brings you from the Monastery by the Abat Oliba square to Santa Cecilia, you can take the stairs or the slope on the way to Sant Joan chapel. You can go by the road but it is much nicer by the path.
Once you get to Santa Cecilia you should go down until Marganell, the famous town where they produce the cottage cheese that it is sold at the farmer’s market of Montserrat. On the way, you will see several “Barraques de Vinya”, which are amazing little houses where the farmers used to eat and sleep years ago. From there, the way goes to a middle ages path, from the 10th century, near Castellgalí. After that, it crosses Oller del Mas winery, where you can see the first vines in your way to the castle. There you can have a rest at the Golf Club and then, follow your path towards Manresa -1 hour away-. There, I will recommend you to visit the cave where Saint Ignatius of Loyola used to live. Only to you to know, with Castlexperience, is only 30 minutes by bus!