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Travel from Barcelona, passing such noted sites as the Columbus Monument, Catalunya Square, Passeig de Gràcia Boulevard, Casa Milà and Casa Batllo, to the stunning Montserrat, a breathtakingly beautiful Benedictine monk retreat about one hour northwest of the city. Montserrat is not to be missed, as many travelers call it the highlight of their experience in Spain! Located 2,380ft (725m) above sea level, Montserrat, which means “jagged mountain” in Catalan, is known for its religious significance and its interesting rock formations. Begin by exploring the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery—a Benedictine Abbey and a 16th century Basilica. Here the Virgin of Montserrat, a “black Madonna” statue and the patron saint of Catalonia, is venerated. The monastery, which has hosted pilgrims and visitors since 1025, is home to more than 80 monks who have dedicated their lives to prayer.
Santa Cova (Holy Cave) in Montserrat marks the site of visions witnessed by townspeople in the 880s. According to legend, religious elders of the community found an image of the Virgin Mary in the cave, and from that moment on the site has been known as a holy sanctuary for religious pilgrims. Following the tour, enjoy some time to explore the mountain and view unusual rock formations or hike to the mountaintop for panoramic views of the Catalonian countryside. In 1987 Montserrat was declared the Natural Park of the Montserrat Mountain.
Enjoy a preview of the beauty of Montserrat. Read about one student’s memorable visit to the ancient monastery.
“DO IT!! You won’t regret it and seeing these sacred buildings amidst the beautiful scenery is something you won’t forget.” – Dylan P., Fall 2017 Student Voyager
- There are several restaurants at Montserrat. Participants should plan on bringing some spending money for lunch (~15-20euro)