One of the most popular attractions in Barcelona is the famous pilgrimage site up in Montserrat, a mountain located 30 miles from the city and houses the Abbey of Montserrat and La Montera or the Black Virgin.
We booked a day tour with Barcelona Day Tours that also included an afternoon city tour. Since our group consisted of 18 adults and kids we had a small bus to ourselves. Our guide was the very knowledgable and friendly, Marta. Be sure to ask for her when you book with this company.
Our group stayed in three different hotels and they picked us up from each hotel. We were also able to tailor the tour to our preference. We paid €55 per person which was a very good deal.
This is L’Escolania de Montserrat, a choir school for young boys. They perform at the Basilica everyday but unfortunately they were off school the day we were there.
The Abbey of Montserrat is a Benedictine abbey located on this mountain with beautiful rock formations.
This building called “Apostles Lookout Point” had restaurants, cafeteria and retail shops as well as terraces where you can see magnificent views. We bought sandwiches there for a quick lunch after our tour.
A small market sold cheese and dried fruit. Rochelle and I were able to buy stinky goat cheese and a fig bar while the rest of our group was walking.
This work of art was created by Josep M. Subirach, a Catalan sculptor known for his work in Sagrada Familia. This cross is dedicated to San Miguel, the Patron Saint of Montserrat. The meaning of the name of the Archangel Michael is “Who is as God?” and it is engraved on the cross in several languages.
In this atrium is the baptistery with its door which has a representation of the cycle of Church sacraments according to the catechism beginning with baptism. source
Initially our guide Marta said there was little chance for us to see the Black Virgin since we were on a time schedule and the lines were usually long. But Marta saw an opening in the line and quickly gathered us to stand in the queue. We were very, very lucky to get in.
When we went in we were able to see the Basilica on the left. The Basilica was consecrated in 1592 and rebuilt at the end of the 19th century. The main altar (1959) was from an 8 ton block of stone from Montserrat. source
Legend has it that the Benedictine monks could not move the statue (12th century) to construct their monastery, choosing to instead build around it. The statue’s sanctuary is located at the rear of the chapel, where an altar of gold surrounds the icon, and is now a site of pilgrimage. source
We exit to the Throne’s Chapel decorated with ornamental motifs by a very young architect named Antonio Gaudi.
On the left is a bronze statute by Manuel Cusachs (1933), dedicated to the Abbot Oliba, founder of the Monastery.
We all bought sandwiches in the cafeteria. I chose the Jamon Iberico with Camembert which was a bit salty and a slice of delicious almond cake.