Montserrat, literally named saw mountain due to its extraordinary multi peaked mountain range is in the province of Barcelona. The monastery, home to a community of monks and the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat is a haven for tourists, with the mountain paths attracting those seeking some outdoors adventure and exploration.
Home to the Benedictine monks, the rich history of Montserrat is visited daily by pilgrims and tourists. The abbey is still used for frequent services which include choir singing in honour of Our Lady of Montserrat, also commonly known as the Black Madonna. Named the patron Saint of Catalunya in 1881, she has many miracles which occurred throughout the 12th Century attributed to her.
The nearest train station is at Monistrol. From Monistrol the uphill hike starts up the Camí de les aigües, passing Santa Cova to the Montserrat Parc, home of the monastery. These lower paths are frequently walked and are earthy dirt tracks.
Surrounding the monastery is Spain’s first National Park.
Claiming National Park status in 1987, there are many routes and shrines to explore. Above the height of the monastery paths wind up to the highest summit of Sant Jeroni, more than 1,230 metres above sea level. The higher pathways become rocky and are not suitable for all walkers when reaching the highest peaks. Good footwear and drinking water are extremely important.
The mountain itself is made up of pebbles held together by limestone, its curious formation attracting geologists. The vegetation consists of approximately 1,250 species of plants growing amongst a variety of trees whilst the wildlife varies from insects to wild boar. Some animal numbers have severely declined over the years, wolves and some types of birds have been lost, however, they have introduced mountain goats to the area in recent years.
If caves, monuments, shrines and stunning views are being sought, Montserrat is a perfect choice. With walks to meet the desired duration and difficulty level there are also cable car and funicular services running up and down the mountain side.
If peace is preferred it is best not to go on religious holidays and as the weather is nice all year, autumn to spring is best to avoid the high summer temperatures.