The mountain: Montserrat viewpoints
Stunning: that’s the only word for the outline of Montserrat mountain. This Catalan icon of saw-tooth cliffs rises from the flat surrounding landscape like the monument it is. This natural wonder gradually heaves into view before your very eyes when you take the Catalunya Bus Turístic from Barcelona to visit it.
The viewpoint changes completely, but remains equally spectacular, when you alight from the bus and merge into the mountainside by taking the Montserrat Rack Railway. Its train is the only way of reaching Montserrat that leaves you in the centre of the Sanctuary complex. The 15-minute trip allows you to enjoy uniquely stunning views of the mountain. The beauty of the landscape, viewed from the train’s panoramic windows, makes the journey an attraction in itself.
Almost incrusted into one of the hill’s cliff faces is the complex of Santa Maria de Montserrat. This Benedictine abbey is set at an altitude of 720 metres and is home to a community of around eighty monks, who dedicate their life to prayer, pastoral services and work. When you get off the train, you can take a guided tour of the church and listen to the Escolania de Montserrat boy’s choir, whose voices are sure to move you. You can also visit the statute of Our Lady of Montserrat. The dark colour of her skin has made her one of the world’s most unique Romanesque sculptures.
No doubt you’ve thought it was about time you visited Montserrat. Well, that time is now.
Arrive at the monastery with Tot Montserrat and Trans Montserratfrom 29,50€ Book now Paisatges Barcelona
Other experiences in Catalonia
The Montserrat chapels trail
If you like to get your boots on and take a hike suitable for all abilities, this is an unbeatable option. The route is flat and links three Romanesque chapels dating from the 11th and 12th centuries: Sant Jaume, Sant Esteve de Marganell and Sant Cristòfol. It’ll take you little more than an hour to stroll through the woods of Aleppo pine, holm oak and oak, and the fields of barley and oat, with the towering presence of Montserrat mountain as the constant backdrop.
Savour real seafood in La Barceloneta
Real seafood, infused with the heritage of real fisherfolk, is an indissoluble part of Catalan cuisine. The Barceloneta district is one of the areas of Barcelona where you can still savour dishes that reflect the neighbourhood’s authentic seafaring roots, particular when prepared by the six restaurants making up the association Barceloneta Cuina. Its missions include promoting the use of local produce, fostering the relationship between cuisine and art and defending the traditions and crafts of one of Barcelona’s most characterful neighbourhoods.
Mini L’Anoia casserole
This dish features two essential ingredients in L’Anoia cooking: pulses and meat. To prepare, start the day before, soaking the L’Anoia chickpeas, together with a spoonful of bicarbonate of soda, in enough water to cover them amply.
The following day, preheat the oven to 250°C (gas mark 9), then drain the chickpeas and cook in fresh water. When they are done, put the Calaf black pudding (botifarra negra), duck confit and the uncooked botifarra sausage or pork belly in an earthenware casserole. Add a little stock and the breadcrumbs, and put in the oven. The temperature needs to be high enough to toast the top. Once toasted, remove from the oven and cook on the top to reduce a little.
- 400 g uncooked L’Anoia chickpeas
- 200 g Calaf black pudding
- 4 quarters of duck confit
- Pieces of uncooked botifarra sausage or pork belly
- Vegetable stock
- One slice of bread, toasted