While visiting Barcelona, Victoria suggested I look into visiting the Pyrenees. She knows my affinity for mountains, and as they were only a few hours away it seemed like a good fit. After doing some research we found that a day trip would probably involve about 6 hours on a train (round-trip), as this was a once in a lifetime opportunity, Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t complying with our plans; for all the days we were in Barcelona, the Pyrenees had forecasts of thunderstorms.
Neither Victoria nor I were very psyched about the prospect of spending 3 hours on a train only to get soaking wet and possibly struck by lightning, so I did a little more research and found a much closer alternative: Monserrat.
The monastery at Monserrat is a surprisingly large complex, complete with a funicular train station, cafes, and (while we were there) a vintage car show happening in one of their parking lots.
We weren’t there to see the buildings, however, we were there to hike St. Jeroni, one of the local peaks surrounding the monastery. I was a little worried when planning this hike, as there wasn’t much information available on the various trails in the area. Before starting, Victoria suggested visiting the tourism office to see if they had a map, and luckily they gave us a very good one, and were on our way. In order to cut off some of the distance and altitude of the climb, we decided to take the funicular St. Joan to the start of the hike.
Once at the top we started following the markers to St. Jeroni. The markers were very well laid out, so in little time we found ourselves at the top with some gorgeous views, and slightly out of breath:
As it was mostly downhill on the way back, we decided to skip the funicular, and run/hike back to the monastery. While fun, this did mean a lot of steps down. We got a few strange looks as we were whizzing past those taking their time on their way down, or struggling on the way up.
After reaching the bottom we had a 7km hike under our belts for the day, and plenty of time left to make our way back to Barcelona.
Cable car vs. funicular to the top: The cable car is the first stop, in Monserrat, and therefore the one we went with. If you have a fear of heights or are taking the last train and are worried that you won’t get a seat on the way back (we had no issue on an earlier train), then I would suggest opting for the funicular to the top.
- TransMonserrat: EUR 53.00 ($76.70 CAD) for 2 people