Barcelona, Iberia, Spain

Montserrat: Guided Tour vs Independent Travel

January 30, 2019

Ready for a day trip to the wonderful Montserrat? Torn between a guided tour and independent travel? We’ll help you decide in no time and we’ll provide all the information you need to get there and enjoy a beautiful day in the mountains!

First of all, let’s get this out of the way: what is Montserrat?

Montserrat is a mountain range situated about 30 km away from Barcelona, which is the home of the Montserrat Monastery. The rock formations on these mountains have quite a distinct look, and the trip to the Monastery offers some amazing views.

View of Montserrat Abbey and Mountain Rock Formations
View of Montserrat Abbey and Mountain Rock Formations

The Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey is the home of the famous Virgin of Montserrat statue, depicting the patron saint of Catalunya. There is an interesting story behind the discovery of this statue and the construction of the monastery. You can read more about it here.

How to get there? Montserrat Guided tour vs Independent Travel

There are plenty organized tours departing from Barcelona and taking you for a day trip to Montserrat, as well as a variety of prices.

We do recommend them if you want to know more about the Monastery, get some insides from local guides and so on. Especially in the cold season, these tours can be a good idea.

Morning at Montserrat
Winter Morning at Montserrat

In summer however, we’ve had a bit of an unpleasant experience. The guided tour took up a lot of our time at Montserrat, and though we appreciated the information, we didn’t get to see the famous statue of the Virgin of Montserrat, since the queue was so long and our bus was leaving for Barcelona shortly.

Our guide kindly informed us that we no longer had the time to see the statue up close, which was why we had booked the trip in the first place.

Entrance to the Montserrat Monastery
Entrance to the Montserrat Monastery

This year, however, as we returned to Barcelona for a longer holiday, we decided to do the Montserrat trip independently. And we found the easiest way!

We took a bus from Barcelona Sants Coach Station, operated by Autocares Julia. You can find more information here.

The bus drops you off near the Montserrat Monastery
The bus drops you off near the Montserrat Monastery

This bus takes you directly to the Montserrat Monastery and you have the whole day to wander around and decide for yourself how you want to spend your time there.

The driver was very polite as well and reminded us of the time when the bus will come to pick us up from Montserrat for our journey back. We paid 10 euros 20 each, for a return ticket.

This alternative is the easiest I think, since the train route is a bit more complicated. You can read more about it here.

What to do in your Montserrat Day Trip?

Entrance to the Montserrat Monastery
Entrance to the Montserrat Monastery

You can visit the Montserrat Monastery and the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat. The queue is on the right side as you look at the entrance of the monastery, and there are certain hours when you are allowed to visit.

Visit the Montserrat museum. It’s a very nice experience.

Try some of the local foods! We had Mato cheese with honey at the cafeteria and some deliciously-looking fig bread.

Fig bread and dried fruit
Fig bread and dried fruit

We also went on a little hike, to capture some even more amazing views.

View from Montserrat Mountain

All in all, it was a very well spent day and we came back from the trip refreshed and ready for more! We highly recommend this day trip, it’s a beautiful experience!

View from Montserrat Mountain

Montserrat: guided tour or independent travel, either way it’s a place worth visiting.

Want to know more about our winter travels in Barcelona? Check out the 10+ spots you can visit for free!

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