Tranquility, rugged beauty, and views for days. Just outside of Barcelona, Spain in the countryside of Catalonia rests the village and mountain of Montserrat, or serrated mountain.
Notable for housing the image of the Virgin of Montserrat (black Madonna) and a world's famous choir among beautiful and breathtaking scenery, this peaceful village rests carved into the Catalan Pre-Coastal Range of mountains.
One of the main attractions of visiting Montserrat is to hear the famous Escolania Choir sing. The Escolania is one of the oldest boys’ choirs in the world, with documents dating back to the 14th century to indicate the presence of a music and religious school at Montserrat. The Escolania now accompanies religious ceremonies and communal prayers in the basilica. The choir members receive intensive and high quality education in music and traditional studies, in between their famed concerts and recordings. Check out more information HERE for viewing times and dates.
If you have not had your fill of beautiful churches in Spain, head to the Santa Maria de Montserrat- a Benedictine abbey located here on the mountain. Though it was founded back in the 10th century, this place is still fully functional with well over 100 monks living here. Throughout the many years of existence there has been much action here- Napoleon and his men sacked the town and burned the abbey down not once, but twice. After its reconstruction, the abbey was again attacked during the Spanish Civil War. Despite treasures being lost during these sieges, the basilica museum still holds works from the likes of El Greco, Dali, and Picasso- don't mind that quick name drop session.
So what else can you find here? The Virgin of Montserrat, perhaps? Shrounded in mystery and wonder, the origins have never been truly confirmed but it is estimated to be a Roman carving of the 12th century. What we DO know is that the Madonna is was granted the image a Canonical coronation in 1881 by Pope Leo XIII.
If you fancy heights you can ride the funicular at Montserrat. With a rockin' gradient of 65%, it's the most steep funicular in Spain. It will only cost you a few euros to ride but being totally candid we chose to reach the summit via our legs to burn off the lunch calories. Ok, it was also the fact that this funicular looks like something I do not want to mess with.
The reward when you get to the top? A close up of the unique Montserrat mountain formation and on a clear day, views of the Balearic Sea so far that you can catch a glimpse of the Isle of Mallorca.
Did I mention this spot is just a quick trip from Barcelona? It's the perfect way to escape the big city bustle. Catch a train from Barcelona or jump on a day trip like we did. Using Viator we snagged a tour that included Montserrat followed by an afternoon of lunch and lounging at nearby Organic Winery- Oller Del Mas. Delicious food paired with organic robust Spanish wine, lovely scenery, and a fun tasting class? You have my attention...
Now we have seen our fair share of wineries across a few countries, and basked upon rows of aging barrels more times that I can recall, but learning of the aging process at Oller was truly unique. Picture this: aging wine in a giant egg shaped apparatus, made of concrete. While this has been trending on the USA's West Coast wine scene, finding the elusive "concrete egg" in Europe is a bit more rare. Oller Del Mas ages their many wines three different ways (clay, concrete, and French Oak), blending the old world style with new innovation.
The winery and tasting rooms are beautiful and relaxing.
Better yet, the vines surround a 10th century castle.
Click play to check out our visit to Montserrat and its amazing views!
Thank you for joining us on this adventure! If you have questions about our itinerary, please leave them below or send me an email.
BON VOYAGE, BABES!! xoxo