As our tour bus steeply ascended toward Montserrat’s summit, the odd, otherwordly peaks of the mountain began to pierce the periwinkle horizon. Bizarre-looking rounded rock pillars — formed by thousands of years of wind, rain and frost — indicated our destination was imminent.
“Are we still in Spain or are we orbiting another planet?” I asked my travel companion.
While Barcelona holds more than its share of enticing sights, any trip to the Catalonia region of Spain would be incomplete without taking the Montserrat Royal Basilica Half-Day Trip to the ancient Benedictine monastery and grounds.
“Montserrat means serrated,” said our tour guide, Susana, in both fluent English and Spanish. “At a height of 4055 feet, Montserrat is the highest point of the Catalan lowlands.” Throughout the hour-long ride from Barcelona, Susana’s extensive knowledge of Montserrat’s history provided a base of knowledge from which we would later draw.
We exited the bus to see the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria de Montserrat looming before us, juxtaposed against those jagged peaks that looked almost close enough to touch. The monastery was founded in 1025 by expanding the hermitage that had been currently on site.
We were given two hours of free time with which to explore the grounds at our leisure.
To get a feel for the site, we first went to a museum dedicated to the history of Montserrat which included a stirring video starting with an aerial tour and ending with a melodic song by the choir boys.
Read the rest of my story about the amazing Montserrat in Viator.