I came here before, six years ago and I made a mistake: I took a tour by taxi with a guide. It turned out to be expensive and short. The winding mountain roads caused motion sickness. The harsh, July heat and a huge line of people trying to get to the Black Madonna, did not allow us to focus on the grandness of the place; a half-hour break between our arrival and heading back was not enough to recover my breath and prepare for the downward spiral of the highway. The fact that the price of the 'tour' was fair was the only reason we were convinced that it would be worth it.
This trip is another matter. I'll share instructions on how to get to the sacred site of many pilgrimages. It is inexpensive and amazing.
1. Go by subway to ESPANYA station (for travelers from cruise ships – there are three stops on the green line, L3 from the column with Columbus, where you will be taken by a port shuttle service). The fare for the subway 1.45 euros.
2. Follow the signs, go to the FGC platform, where the trains depart on the R5 branch line. Take a ticket from the machine up to the 4th zone. Trains run approximately every hour, a journey lasts a little more than one hour, the fare is about 4 euros. Get off at the
stop. Follow the signs, go to the cableway station. Buy a one-way ticket, which costs 6 euros.
3. This is a mountain serpentine road:
4. You are already at the site.
The Benedictine monastery in the mountains was founded in the 11th century and currently acts as an abbey. Today, about 80 monks live there. Services are held in the basilica, and at 1 p.m. you can hear the singing of the boy’s choir, the oldest in Europe.
The Throne of Our Lady, the Black Madonna, is the main relic in the temple. Thousands of pilgrims line up and wait their turn to touch it, ask ask for the grace and pray.
The Montserrat Museum has an interesting collection of paintings by Picasso, Dali, El Greco, Caravaggio, Degas and others.
5. Buy a ticket for the cable cars de Sant Joan and de la Santa Cova, and climb to the tops of the mountains. The cost of the combined ticket, for an ascent and descent, is 8.35 euros.
The cockpit glass reflects the mountains of
6. Have a walk along the mountain pathways, get to the view points, and enjoy magnificent panoramas and the local wildlife. I recommend wearing comfortable shoes.
7. Descend back to the monastery, eat in the self-service cafeteria or the restaurant. Buy some souvenirs. If you want, you can stay here and meet the dawn. For this, you stay in a 3-star hotel or modest apartment in the abbey.
8. Buy a combined ticket: a rack-railway Cremallera + FGC train to Barcelona. Ticket price is 8.75 euros.
Go two stops (the first stop is a parking lot for those who came to the mountains by car or tour bus), following the signs, go along the platform to the boarding zone of the train to