9 Easy Mistakes to Avoid: Travel from Barcelona to Montserrat by Train

When I was planning for my trip to Barcelona, Spain I learned about one of the best day trips from Barcelona. After seeing a lot of Barcelona and Gaudi in one day, I wanted to escape the city and travel from Barcelona to the Montserrat Mountains on a day trip. I researched many practicalities before we set out to this little hamlet in the mountains.

Nevertheless: things didn’t go as planned. In order for you to learn from my errors, I’m sharing with you my 9 mistakes to avoid when you travel from Barcelona to Montserrat by train in 2023.

Check out my web story about my visits to Montserrat from Barcelona here.

I paid for everything myself. This post contains affiliate links to resources I recommend. If you decide to follow any of my links and make a purchase, I’ll earn a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you.

I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.

Updated October 2023: Update to show new prices and options.
In the winter month (January, February and March) due to maintenance, transport via funicular and cable car can be limited.

# 1. Arrive too late at Montserrat Monastery

The journey from Barcelona to Montserrat takes quite some time and there is plenty to see and do once you get to Montserrat monastery. I set the alarm for 8:30 a.m. to make sure we would arrive at Montserrat monastery in time.

We wanted to hike around, visit Montserrat monastery, and travel back and forth by train and funiculars. Alas, we managed to arrive at Montserrat monastery in the afternoon and were seriously pressed for time.

TIP: Don’t arrive too late but leave early and reserve a whole day to explore the area.

This is actually one of the biggest mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat Monastery. If we would have had enough time, all the things to follow would not have mattered that much.

I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.
View from the Montserrat Mountains

# 2. Miss the train from Barcelona to Montserrat

I knew there were regular trains running from Plaça d’Espanya in Barcelona to Montserrat but I didn’t bother to check how often they run and at what time. Turns out, we wanted to purchase our Montserrat tickets but got in doubt if it would be the right ticket for us.

And just like that, the train left. The consequence: we had to wait 55 minutes for the next train. The result was that we arrived even later and we were more pressed for time as we had to take the last funicular back too.

TIP: Don’t miss the train from Barcelona to Montserrat. Research the train schedule. 

Buy your Tot Montserrat Tickets or Trans Montserrat tickets in advance online.

You can download the train schedule from Plaça d’Espanya to Manresa, line R5 from here.

TIP: Buy your train tickets to Montserrat in advance online

Of course, you can take a tour to visit Montserrat, but it is also very easy to travel to Montserrat from Barcelona by train independently.

There are several Montserrat tickets that you can buy in advance online, from the official Barcelona tourist office. But what are the differences? I walk you through the different ones that you can purchase.

Read more: Barcelona Solo Travel Guide, how to have an epic time on your own?

What is the Trans Montserrat Ticket?

This is basically your go-to ticket when you want to travel from Barcelona to Montserrat. At the moment, it is €45 pp and includes the following:

  • Return Metro Ticket from anywhere in Barcelona to Plaça d’Espanya where the train to Montserrat leaves
  • A return train ticket to the train station Monistrol de Montserrat from Barcelona
  • It includes the return trip by cable car or rack railway up to Montserrat Monastery
  • Free use of the other funiculars at Montserrat Mountains to get around
  • Exhibit in Montserrat

This is what you need if you want to travel from Barcelona to Montserrat and don’t waste any time at the vending machine at the train station (or miss your train as people before you can’t work out how the machine works). 

A day trip from Barcelona (Spain) to Montserrat by train is a great way to get out of the city. Although an easy trip, things can go wrong. Be prepared and learn from my 9 mistakes.
The Trans Montserrat ticket is your gateway to Montserrat from Barcelona.

What is the ToT Montserrat Ticket?

The Tot Montserrat Ticket is the all-inclusive, transport ticket for your day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat (and back) by public transport. It is currently priced at €65,50

  • You’ll get a return metro ticket to Plaça d’Espanya where the train to Montserrat leaves.
  • The train ticket to Montserrat from Barcelona, and back.
  • It includes the return ticket on either the rack railway or the cable car
  • You can use the other funiculars around Montserrat.
  • To top things off you can see the exhibit, enter the museum, and get a meal at the self-service restaurant.

This is your all-inclusive (self-guided) day out to Montserrat. This has everything the Trans Montserrat ticket has, plus the extra entrance to the museum and a meal.

This wasn’t an option when I went to Montserrat, but as prices for food in Montserrat are crazy, it might be a good option for you.

I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.
Train from Barcelona

# 3. Buy food and drinks at Montserrat Monastery

I knew there were shops at the monastery and I figured the products available would be more expensive than in the local supermarket. But I never expected things to be that expensive.

We brought our own lunch (something we did do right) but bought water and a pack of cookies on-site. We spent over €10 on 2 bottles of water and some cookies. Insane!

TIP: Don’t buy too much in the shops as they are expensive. Bring your own snacks and drinks, or opt for the transport ticket by train that includes lunch!

Looking for the best foodie adventure in Barcelona? Join one of these mouth-watering food tours in Barcelona.

In Monsterrat, there are plenty of shopping opportunities as well as a daily artisan market where locals sell their local honey and lovely cheeses. You will also find a cafe where you can purchase sandwiches, cold drinks, and small hot meals. In the restaurant, you can have a full buffet-style lunch (or dinner).

There are also several tours to Montserrat that include Cava wine tasting. Best of 2 worlds if you ask me. Check out this amazing Montserrat and Cava tour.

Looking for more useful tips and ideas? Sign up for the monthly newsletter and be part of Probe around the Globe.

# 4. Purchase a return ticket for the Sant Joan funicular

We wanted to buy the return train ticket including the funicular to Montserrat Monastery. As this was not possible in Barcelona, we only purchased our round-trip ticket to Montserrat monastery

Once at Montserrat, we wanted to take the Sant Joan funicular further up the mountain and purchased our tickets there.

I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.
The Montserrat Funicular and a picture of me hiking in the Montserrat Mountains.

As I didn’t read the directions before going up, I didn’t realize we would be walking down. At the ticket booth, I requested two return trips. We paid too much as we would be walking down instead of taking the funicular back down to Montserrat monastery.

This was one of the easiest of the 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat. If I only had read the instructions better.

TIP: Avoid buying round-trip tickets when you only use a single ticket. Research your route before you set out.

You can find the times and prices for the two funiculars on Montserrat Mountain here.

Or buy a transport ticket to Montserrat and see if the Funicular to the Sant Joan (and Santa Cova) are open.

# 5. Take the wrong route when hiking in Montserrat Mountains

At the tourist office, I was handed a small leaflet with 5 routes for the mountains of Montserrat. The back of the leaflet had a very poor map and I read the instructions for our intended route: after leaving the Sant Joan funicular to go right.

And so we did. At least, I thought we did. After a couple of minutes, I realized none of the route descriptions matched the landscape around us, but we kept walking. Soon we were on a dead-end pass and walked back and forth to find the right route.

I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.
Hermitage on the wrong side of the trail

After all our options were exhausted, we decided to walk back to the funicular. Turned out, that we missed the very first instruction.

As you walk out of the funicular, there is a path to the right instantly. We missed it. I ignored my feeling of being wrong straight away and therefore, we lost 1 hour of valuable time (and energy). Have you ever missed an obvious instruction?

TIP: Avoid taking the wrong route by taking your time to navigate and follow directions.

Avoid getting lost by taking a guided walking tour of Montserrat. Click the link for times and prices, the price includes a guided tour of Montserrat and the journey by train from Barcelona.

# 6. Not take in the views of the Montserrat Mountains

Once on the right path, we still wanted to walk our intended route. The route would take 2.5 hours and we still had 3.15 hours left until the last funicular down the mountain. So we rushed. We had a quick lunch and we walked at a brisk pace.

We only made a few quick stops to take some snapshots. When planning our trip, I imagined we would take our time, take in the views, enjoy each other’s company, and take loads and loads of beautiful pictures.

Instead, we were walking. The views were stunning and I tried to look up as much as possible, but we hardly gave ourselves time to really enjoy our walk in the Montserrat Mountains. Although Montserrat is a cool day trip from Barcelona, be careful hiking when it gets hot in Montserrat too.

TIP: Avoid rushing through your trail but take time to soak up the spectacular views and enjoy the silence.

# 7. Push on against better judgment

I wanted to push on. I had my mind set on reaching the top. I wanted to complete the route and show myself I could do it. After an hour of walking, we reached a fork in the road.

The directions indicated we should have reached this after 35 minutes. Against better judgment, I wanted to continue with my plan and go to St. Jerome’s Peak.

I was already getting tired and had sore legs. I was struggling. Because of my Crohn’s disease, I am not nearly as fit as I’d like to be. I also never walk in hilly areas as the Netherlands is flat as a pancake.

I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.
Unfortunately, we never made it to the Sant Jeroni viewpoint

Luckily for me, my boyfriend was there to protect us against my hubris. He insisted we head back down to the monastery. I caved and we spent another hour walking down. It was a very wise decision as I was struggling to make it down.

TIP: Avoid pushing yourself further than you can. Always listen to your body and be safe and healthy.

If you’re really short on time, you can also book a direct bus tour to Montserrat, either a morning bus tour to Montserrat or an afternoon tour of Montserrat.

I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.
Stunning rock formations in the Montserrat Mountains

# 8. Lose your return train ticket to Barcelona

Exhausted and a little bit disappointed, we reached Montserrat Monastery. As I wanted to pass the tourniquet for the funicular back to Montserrat, I looked for my ticket. The expensive return ticket that I bought in Barcelona.

I searched in every pocket and turned my bag upside down. But the ticket had vanished without a trace. I couldn’t find it. I think I lost it somewhere up the mountain.

There was nothing left to do than to buy a new ticket. Money down the drain.

TIP: Don’t lose your return train ticket to Barcelona. Store the ticket in a secure spot and leave it there.

# 9. Avoid standing on the train from Montserrat to Barcelona

I received a tip to take the rack railway instead of the cable car. The cable car is quicker than the rack railway. But you get off the train earlier for the cable car. This also means you’ll board the train to Barcelona last on your way back.

At the end of the afternoon, the train can be pretty full, and boarding last means having to stand for the hour-long journey back to Barcelona.

We chose the rack railway and boarded the train back to Barcelona first. After a full day of strenuous walking in the Montserrat Mountains, I could rest my sore legs and sit on the train.

Cable Car to Montserrat

From Barcelona, you’ll take the train to Montserrat and then you’ll switch the mode of transport. You’ll either take the cable car to Montserrat Monastery or the Rack Railway. Both end at the same point at the monastery in Montserrat, but was is the difference?

The Cable Car to Montserrat leaves from the train station “Aeri de Montserrat”. As the train leaves Barcelona from Plaça d’Espanya, after an hour and 15 minutes, this is the first stop near Montserrat where most people will get off. You need to get in line for the yellow cable cars that whisk you through the air, up to the Monastery.

Only 15 to 20 people can board one cable car and usually, there are only 2 operated, so it might take some time before it is your turn to fly through the air to Montserrat.

Rack Railway to Montserrat

The Rack Railway leaves one stop after the cable car stops. Don’t make the mistake of getting off too early, because when the train leaves and you figure out your mistake you need to wait another hour for the next train. Or you need to buy a single-journey ticket on the cable car.

For the Rack Railway to Montserrat, you need to disembark the train at Monistrol de Montserrat where you’ll switch to the Rack Railway. The schedules are aligned, so you don’t have to wait too long.

When you purchase the Trans Montserrat ticket or the TOT-Montserrat ticket, you need to choose between the rack railway and the cable car. The price is the same, regardless of what you choose.

TIP: Avoid having to stand on the train back to Barcelona. Take the rack railway from Montserrat monastery and board the train to Barcelona before the cable car.

I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.
Cremallera or rack railway to Montserrat Monastery

Need more inspiration on why you should go to Montserrat?

Montserrat is a perfect day trip from Barcelona but the sight and surroundings offer many other opportunities like wine tasting or hot air balloon rides. Find more inspiration and reasons to go to Montserrat from Barcelona here:

9 Mistakes to avoid when going from Barcelona to Montserrat

As you can see, a lot of things went wrong. We arrived too late and missed the train. We paid too much buying groceries at the monastery.

And we purchased a return ticket when we only needed a single ticket. We also took the wrong route in the mountains and didn’t take the time to enjoy the views.

I wanted to keep walking, although I felt it was not wise. I also lost my return train ticket to Barcelona. Luckily I was warned of one of the mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat, so I was able to sit on the train back to Barcelona.

Because I was warned before I traveled to Montserrat, I was able to do some things right. With my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat, your trip to Montserrat by train will be a success! Looking for more day trips from Barcelona?

I took a trip to Montserrat near Barcelona but a lot went wrong. I give you my mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat monastery so you can do better.
Hiking in the Montserrat Mountains

Frequently asked questions for your day trip to Montserrat from Barcelona

In short, here are some questions, and answers, to the most frequently asked questions about this great day trip by train to Montserrat from Barcelona.

Do I need to buy a ticket for the train to Montserrat in advance?

No, you don’t have to, because there are ticket machines at the train station. But I do recommend you buy your train ticket in advance online. This way, you won’t miss the train waiting in line at the ticket machine.

You can purchase your tickets via the official Barcelona Tourism Office:

Do I take the Cable Car or the Rack Railway to Montserrat?

This is entirely up to you. The Cable Car is cool, the ride is quick, but only a few people can go at the same time so you might end up waiting in the queue, depending on how busy it is.

I loved the rack railway as it meanders through the mountains to Montserrat Monastery on a historic railway route. You get spectacular views and usually, there is enough room to have a seat.

The price is the same, but remember, if you purchase your tickets, you need to go up and down the mountain via the same mode of transportation.

There is no combination ticket.

When you choose the cable car, it is your mode of transport both up and down. The same applies to the rack railway.

What if I really want to try both the rack railway and the cable car?

It is possible but it will cost you extra money. On your Trans Montserrat ticket or TOT-Montserrat ticket, the return journey up the mountain is included.

If you want to go up via cable car and down via rack railway, you can always purchase one single journey and experience both!

Can I stay overnight in Montserrat?

Yes, you can! If you miss the last train down or just want to experience Montserrat when the crowds are gone, then stay overnight in Montserrat.

There is the Abas Cisneros Hotel that offers twin rooms and single rooms in Monsterrat. Check for their rates and availability here.

For families, it might be more suited to check out the Abat Marcet Apartments. They offer fully fitted one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. They are usually fully booked, so make your reservation in advance via this link.

Another option would be the Alberg Abat Oliba. They offer hotel rooms with private bathrooms. They have twins, quadruples with bunk beds, and family rooms (with double beds and bunk beds) that can sleep up to 6 people at the same time. Check for the rates and options here.

Other options for staying overnight in the area are in Monistrol, so you’d have to take the rack railway down to the village.

When is the best time to go to Montserrat?

You can visit Montserrat year-round. Obviously, it can get colder in the mountains (Sant Jeroni peak is at 1,236 meters above sea level (4,055 ft)). But you can still visit Montserrat on a day trip from Barcelona in winter.

Montserrat Monastery is extremely important to Catalan people and it can get very crowded on weekends and public holidays. Check the calendar for Catalan and local holidays here.

If you wish to see the boy’s choir rehearse, check their schedule to make sure they practice on the day of your visit. Usually, they have time off in the month of July.

A day trip from Barcelona (Spain) to Montserrat by train is a great way to get out of the city. Although an easy trip, things can go wrong. Be prepared and learn from my 9 mistakes.
The iconic image of the monastery against the mountainous backdrop.

How long does the journey to Montserrat take from Barcelona?

It takes roughly 1.5 hours to go from Plaça d’Espanya in Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery, depending on how busy the cable car is. Usually, the rack railway takes 1.5 hours.

Trains run roughly every hour but schedules may vary depending on the time of year and special holidays. Check the schedule before you go.

How much time do I need to visit Montserrat?

I’d say as much time as you can spare. Go as early as possible and take your time to really soak up the atmosphere of Montserrat and enjoy being outdoors.

Calculate at least 4 to 5 hours in Montserrat.

When you add up the 1.5-hour journey to arrive and return to Barcelona, you’d need a full day.

If you don’t have that much time, you can also consider a quick half-day trip by bus, either in the morning or afternoon.

If I don’t like hiking, will I still enjoy Montserrat?

In my opinion, yes! You can stroll around, and visit the Monastery of Montserrat. Attend the boy’s choir rehearsals or explore the museum with the famous works of Picasso and Caravaggio.

You can take the funicular up the mountain and take a picnic there, and then return with the same funicular down without climbing or hiking.

A day trip from Barcelona (Spain) to Montserrat by train is a great way to get out of the city. Although an easy trip, things can go wrong. Be prepared and learn from my 9 mistakes.
The Montserrat Boy’s Choir rehearsal is famous and a nice thing to do in Montserrat

Do you have more questions? Drop them in the comment section below!

Have you ever traveled from Barcelona to Montserrat by train? Did anything go wrong? Do you have any other tips? Please share them in the comment section below. Are you planning to travel from Barcelona to Montserrat? Let me know if the guide was helpful or spread the word and share it on your social media.

A day trip from Barcelona (Spain) to Montserrat by train is a great way to get out of the city. Although an easy trip, things can go wrong. Be prepared and learn from my 9 mistakes.
Share it on Pinterest with your friends.
I travelled on a day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat Monastery. A lot went wrong so I give you my 9 mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat.
Share it on Pinterest
Travel by train from Barcelona to Montserrat Mountains. Read my 9 mistakes to avoid to have a great day trip from Barcelona
Share on Pinterest


  1. PacoElFlaco

    I am from a town at a distance of 10km from Montserrat mountain’s base. Hiking from here to Montserrat monastery is around 17.5 Km. Except in winter, I use to go once or twice a week, so more or less I know the mountain and I would like to give some tips / info:

    -You said that the monastery is at 1,236 meters above sea level. This data is wrong. The monastery is around 720 meters above sea level. What it is at 1,236m above sea level is Sant Jeroni peak, the top of the mountain.

    -At the top of Sant Joan’s funicular the hermitage that you found by error, is the Sant Joan hermitage. Around there there were 3 disappeared hermitages, the most incredible is Sant Onofre, just up Sant Joan hermitage, built “inside” the mountain. Google “Ermita de Sant Onofre montserrat” images and you will see it. If you have time is a recommended place to go and take some pictures.

    -If you expect doing some hiking or going up to Sant Jeroni, use comfortable shoes. I recommend some kind of sport shoes for the mountain since the path to St. Jeroni is a trail. Constantly I see not prepared people going up with any kind of shoes. I promise you that once I saw a women in high heels, unbelievable.

    -The trains frequency vary on weekends and there are less trains (and for that reason you had to wait 50 minutes to the next train), so if you can go on working days there will be “more” trains frequency (not much more).

    -By car to the monastery: The monastery has parking lots (Is not too expensive), but somedays like Sundays it could be full. Avoid the car to the monastery if you expect arriving after 09:30 at Sunday. There is no problem with gas stations until Monistrol de Montserrat. There are a bunch in the area.

    -For hiking: follow the signals or use a GPS. All the paths near the monastery are well marked, but take into account that it is a mountain where you can easily be lost, some trails are similar and there are a bunch of vegetation and places where you can fall and not be found. A lot of people were lost here, and some of them never appeared. There are stories about how the rescue team were finding somebody, and they found a different lost person. These are only ‘grandpa’ stories?? Who knows? but the reality is that there are lost persons that are still lost, so be careful. Despite my experience here, there are some trails that I never do alone.

    -If you are prepared for hiking, taking into account the mountain’s high and you have GPS and the right material, I recommend you avoid going via cremallera. Rent a car or go by bus to Collbató, and from there go up doing some hiking. There are several routes, my recomendation for only one day: Collbató – hermitage of Sant Joan / Sant Onofre – Sant Jeroni peak – hermitage of Sant Benet – Montserrat Monastery – Collbató. Go up from Collbató to Sant Joan using the “Cami de les Bateries” and from the monastery to Collbató go down via “Les coves del salitre”.

    You have done a great article. I hope my tips helps!

    1. Chris P.

      Just wanted to thank you for the Montserrat tips — especially the info on the Tot Montserrat tickets! Our day was perfect and I attribute a good portion of that to the advice from your blog. So, thanks! 🙂 Happy travels.

      1. Hi Arnold. Thank you for your comment. Usually there are organized bus tours and the mentioned train tickets are return tickets. I’m sure you can get single tickets, but it will be a hassle. I recommend to go by train, as it is much faster to leave Barcelona then by bus. Either way. Have fun.

  2. Helen L

    My daughter and I are planning a trip to Montserrat mid week middle of December. It appears the buffet/ cafeteria restaurant included in the All-inclusive ticket won’t be open then-closed in winter after December 8th.
    Do they offer a different lunch option or should we opt for an express ticket then find a spot for lunch on our own. Can you suggest a decent cafe within a reasonable walking distance?
    We intend to spend approx 5 hrs there and want to see the basilica, monastery, boys choir and museum. Your advice is wonderful and much appreciated!

    1. In that case, Helen, I’d opt to either bring your own lunch or use one of the café on sight. They have delicious freshly made breads, rolls, sandwiches and soups. The cafe is located near next to the train station in the bend of the road upwards to the sights. I hope you’ll have a wonderful time.

  3. Cecilia Brown

    The previous travelers are SO RIGHT! You have done all of us a huge favor by constructing this site. The official information is nothing but confusing. So I’m inclined to splurge (unusual for me) and get the 50.95e ticket because Montserrat is so confusing.
    What does the ticket pick up place look like at the airport?
    Can I print the tickets out online instead?
    If the day we plan to go is raining (March) can we do it all another day?
    Do you know whether the meal provided near the monastery is any good?
    I read all about the delays you had. If my friend and I get to Placa Espana by 8AM will we be able to get up to the monastery/mountain/trails in a reasonable time? This trip is in March 2020.
    Maybe the answers to my many questions will help others too. Thanks SO much!

    1. Thank you Cecilia. I’m not sure why it seems so complicated but it does! However, once you go, and follow my tips, it is all quite easy and straight forward. Regarding your questions: there is a BCN ticket office at the airport. You can pick up your Montserrat card there and go when you like. Either the day you intended to or a day later. That is all fine. Online printing is not possible, it really is a card. I don’t have experience with the meals at Montserrat other than sandwiches bought from the shop. I did check out the restaurant and it looked clean and fully stocked but also very busy. If you take the 8.40 (ish) train you’ll be at Montserrat by 10 am. That is a good time and you might be ahead of the crowds. Depending on the day of the week it might even be quiet. Either way. Have fun when you visit Montserrat!

  4. Samantha

    Hi there – this is such a clear and insightful article. I am trying to purchase the tickets in advance – but nowhere in the steps before payment does it ask me to which date/ timing I would be going. Is this a free and open ticket? Or should there be some page where I can select date and timing.

    Thanks in advance.

      1. Samantha

        Hi Naomi thanks so much for the super prompt reply.

        I am already at payment page but no sign of the date & time of travel.

        The closest question I had was “When will I arrive at Barcelona” and “How many nights will I be staying”

        Should I be expecting to see:
        1. Date of train
        2. Time of train from Barcelona – eg 8.36am

        Thanks again for your prompt reply.

      2. Jonathan Stone

        This article is so good it makes me think about not going back to Montserrat, the first time was 16 years ago & everything was taken care of by a group who knew the ropes. I wanted to email whoever wrote this, particularly about tip#4. After researching transport to Monseratt from Barcelona I am now completely confused. Tip#4 encapsulates just how off putting getting to Montserrat is. My mom wants me to go with her & now it sounds just dreadful because I do not understand the ticket purchasing process any better in English than in Spanish. That never happens to me so it is a problem.

    1. Hi Ray. That is a good question. I’m actually surprised I haven’t wondered this myself as I’ve traveled multiple times already. I guess it is a good thing I didn’t need it. But, I contacted FGC for you and they confirm there are toilets aboard their trains that run this line, so if you really need to, you can use it on the train. In the little station of the funicular are also toilets and at Montserrat you have several options. I wish you a good trip!


    I would like to go up via cable car but down via the rack railway, in order to board the return train to Barcelona first, in order to secure a seat. If I purchase a ticket with return trip via cable car and purchase a one way down via the rack railway, obviously I will be at the other Montserrat station. So my question is, will I be able to board the return train to Barcelona at the second station, even though the ticket I purchased is a round trip for the first station?
    Thank you!

    1. No. You’d have a hiatus for a few train stations. I’d purchase a return ticket to go via Rack Railway and get off the train one stop prior. There you’d buy the single journey with the cable car and you take the cable car up and the rack railway down. This way, everything is covered and you can enjoy both. I hope you’ll have a great trip David.

  6. Marilou

    This is so informative and helpful. Thank You so much. Is the cable car ticket valid for use to take the rack railway on the way back or do I need to purchase another ticket?

    1. If you purchase a round trip ticket, you’ll choose for either the cable car or the rack railway. You can’t mix them Marilou. But you can purchase a single journey ticket for only the cable car or the rack railway it you want to try them both. Either way, have a great trip!

  7. Malou Carranza

    Hi Naomi … thank you for your valuable information and insights. I will be travelling with 3 others to Barcelona on 19 June 2019. I would like to organize a trip to Monseratte and tried booking at Monseratte Expres. However when I clicked the button it does not give me an option to choose the date to travel. How can I buy our tickets online using your suggested site.

    More power to your future travels.

  8. Paul Baker

    Thank you for your wise information. I wish I had visited this site sooner.
    My Wife (57 years) and I (62 years) were visiting our Son who works and lives in Barcelona in the week leading up to Easter.
    We caught the R5 train from Barcelona to the Monastery. My Son who had been up the mountain in November last year suggested we climb up to the top of the mountain, this was about 14.00hrs, I have to say at this point that this was un-planned. We did manage to get to the top, spectacular views, well worth the climb.
    On the way down, my Wife was struggling and we decided to catch the Funicular down, you’ve guessed it we missed the last one at 18.10. From there it was another 35 minutes walk and it was starting to get cooler and the concern was creeping in that we might miss our train back to Barcelona as we had not checked the timetable back.
    Thankfully we did make it down in time to catch the train and the R5 Connection back to Barcelona at 19.36 hrs.
    All I can say is allow yourself plenty of time, don’t make a snap decision to walk up the mountain, arrive at Monserrat earlier, check train times, take adequate quantities of water, if one of you is struggling make the wise decision to come down before you get to the point of no return.

  9. Joaniet

    Thank you for this write-up! I am going to be coming to Montserrat from Valencia, via Barcelona and this will help me. I have two nights at a hotel near enough to the monastery to hike up to it. From there, I will travel to Jaca (another very out-of-the-way place in Spain) to see the monastery at San Juan de la Pena. I guess 2019 will be my year for monasteries!

  10. Mark

    Hi Naomi,
    Thank you VERY much for posting these. Sorry for your troubles, although you wrote it so it was pretty funny and helpful to keep me from making the same mistake.


  11. Monique Cremers

    Wow, thank you for taking the effort to write all this down. I want to go to Montserrat from Barcelona and this article is very helpful! Hartstikke bedankt. Monique/Utrecht

  12. Tony Payne

    Sounds like you ended up making a lot of classic boo-boos and kicked yourselves afterwards as a result.
    We are off to Barcelona in a few weeks and want to go to Montserrat, but the information is really confusing. Your post is one of the first I have seen, and you have some really useful tips, thanks.
    It’s a long way outside of the city, and if we are going to spend one of our 4 days in Barcelona at Montserrat, we would like to try and do it without too many hiccups.

  13. Isabel Hardy

    Hi, Your post is very informative an has been a great help in planning our day trip to Montserrat. We are going next Sunday. Is there fresh water available at Montserrat to fill water bottles if we take our own? Thanks!

  14. Leila

    Your blog was very useful when we planned our day trip to Montserrat!

    Instead of going to Montserrat from Barcelona by train, we extended our car rental and drove to Montserrat from Costa Brava. There was free parking at Monistrol-Vila. At the old Monistrol-Vila station (next to the new one), there is the Montserrat rack railway exhibition. Very interesting, especially if you have an engineer in your family!

    We wanted also avoid the crowds and stayed overnight at the Hotel Abat Cisneros. There were only two single rooms left when we booked the accommodation. However, single beds were about 120 cm wide. Two rooms had space for our 4 person family. Room prices included three course dinners for 2 and we paid for 2 extra meals.

    During the evening we had the luxury of visiting basilica and village virtually on our own. Early next morning we took a short walk to see sun rise at San Miguel’s cross – again on our own!

    We left Montserrat by the time tourist started to pour in, that was around noon. Bough a bottle of Montserrat olive oil and honey at the gift shop.

    And what comes to the hiking paths; poor maps and practically no signs! We did a 3.5 hour walk and managed to get back to the monastery. Amazing views and varied terrain. Our return to the monastery was mostly in the woods.

  15. Melita

    Hi Naomi
    What a cracking write up – very handy indeed – thank you
    From what I can gather – the best option is the TOT ( we will have one with the lot thanks!) & to catch the rack rail back on the return trip so as not to have less of a chance to have to stand on the train back to Barcelona (handy to know as I am taking my 73 year old mum and making her stand for an hour journey is probably not a preferred option).

    One thing I cant quite work out – is whether you can purchase a ticket that allows you to go up on the cable car & then return on the rack rail?
    Or is this 2 separate single tickets – think that is what you tried to explain to Maxine 3 months ago?
    It would be nice to be able to experience both & to include all the goodies of the TOT ticket however if “single” tickets are purchased – does that include the monastery do you know?
    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Melita (& Elizabeth – my mum )

    1. Hey Melita. The tickets that include the monastery and the transport are return tickets. You need to either choose the cable car or the rack rail. You can’t go up with one and down with anotjer.
      I understand you want to see it all and experience both but Montserrat is breath taking, so either way, you’ll see a lot and love it. In the end, the option to maximize my chances to sit on the return journey was more important to me. But I’m sure people will offer your mother a seat if none is available. Have a great time!

  16. Betsy Bohannon

    I want to go and spend the night. if I understand the transportation / ticket packages won’t really work for me needing to return the second day. Can you just buy a single train ticket at the station? the hotel provides a free ticket on the little railroad. I can then buy museum tickets on top?

  17. Jo-Ann

    we are going in mid June looking at the 3 option packages the Express route sounds like the train takes a different track than the TOT or TRANs more scenic and historic with natural tunnels can you comment on this package? I see what’s included and not included but am intrigued by the description of the route or is it the same route/track used by TOT and TRANS?

    1. Good question Jo-Ann. There is only one route from Barcelona to Monterrat. All these options follow the same route and they are all the same train. They are only different in what they offer in terms of additional features. I hope that clears things up for you.

  18. Maxine

    We will be in Barcelona early June and planning to go to Montserrat. Ideally, we like to go up Montserrat via the cable car and back using the cremallera. However, I have read that the lines at the cable car could be long. Did you have the same experience? Was there a line for the funiculars for San Joan? I understand that early June is mid season, which season were you there?


    1. I went in March Maxine but please be aware what you wish to do is not possible on a return ticket. Only when you buy two single you can do it. We took the last train back and there were lines for both but it all fitted. There was a small line at the San Joan Funicular but nothing major at the moment. When it is busier you need to calculate more time for this.

  19. Elout

    Thanks for taking time to tell us your Montserrat adventure. It is a big help for us first time travelers.
    We will be going to Montserrat in May 2018. We bought a half day tour (0645-12:00 PM) which included round trip transportation and guided tour for an hour. We are planning to stay, not go back with the group, so that we can listen to the choir. From your post, it looks like we can buy the 1 way ticket to Barcelona at the place, am I reading it right? Or should I buy the Monserrat to Barcelona ticket at Placa Espanya ahead of time?
    Thank you.

      1. Elout

        Thank you for your response. We are in our 59’s, but we still love to party. We will be staying where the action is -in the Arc La Rambla. Mixed reviews about noise, but it does not bother us, as long as the place is clean.

  20. Lilian Manser

    Hi my husband and I are going to Barcelona at the end of June. Would you advise we spend a night in Monsarrat so that we can explore in 2 days. We are 60 but I am medium fit so no mountain walking but will walk the wall. Your advise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  21. Catherine

    Very good advice. We went just over a year ago in mid-February.
    Did a little research in advance as you did. Decided due to distances, train schedules & wanting to take our time to enjoy clean, crisp mountain air, monastery and get lots of photos to take train the afternoon before taking the cable car & visiting the monastery. Ended up having ample time as boys choir was still on their Christmas break, so there were no performances (as the site had indicated) and restaurants were so busy would have had to wait more than an hour for cafeteria food. Very glad we had taken a picnic lunch, water & snacks, it saved a lot of money. Did buy a treat of local goat cheese from a local farmer & some nuts at the market along the Monastery wall.
    The 2 big mistakes we made were not understanding that the return ticket from Barcelona to Monistrol is only good for 24 hours! We ended up about 1 hour over by the time we were ready to take the train, very costly mistake!
    Our second error was taking a later afternoon train. We had waited about 1 hour on the platform in Monistrol with 3 friendly South American journalists when seconds before the train arrived a bus load or 2 of young Japanese tourists filed right in front of us & promptly took all the seats on the train, leaving the 5 of us to stand 1 hour back to Barcelona. Beware ignorant, pushy tourists from other cultures. The very next stop 2 Catalan men in their late 80’s boarded and couldn’t find seats; not one offered them a seat. Being of an age & culture where the men give right to seating to women & little ones… all the locals & those of us from western cultures were appalled and there was much discussion (mainly in Catalan) & many looks about the rudeness and ignorance of those young Japanese bus tourists. The fact that virtually all of them pretended to sleep or be on their phones the whole trip back was upsetting. After a few stops one of the middle-older aged Spanish women made the elderly man closest to me (almost 90) take her seat. He finally did with much prompting from his family & a few of us standing around him.
    Would love to return for a few days, but this was just a taster to check things out.

  22. Colin Sherman

    Great information for my trip in May 2018. I now feel well informed regarding purchacing tickets, modes of transport and taming my own refillable water bottle and snacks. Thanks

  23. Timmy Tee

    I’m reading this in the cafeteria in Montserrat having just paid 24€ for a very poor quality meal for two. With plastic cutlery!!!

    Thanks for an amusing and informative article, it really made me chuckle. I love the way you wrote it, laughing at your mistakes but using them to help others.

    1. Great idea to go in October Brenda. In all fairness, I am not sure about the toilet on the train. This is also a big worry for me but I went before we got on the train so there was no need to go on the train. I tried to find information for you but I am just not sure. I hope this doesn’t stop you from going!

  24. Joseph

    Wow, what an unfortunate sequence of events. My wife and I have been to Barcelona 4 or 5 times and love the accessibility of the city as she has ms and is in a wheelchair. Two years ago we decided to venture out of the city and go to Montserrat. I was going to travel independently but instead decided to go with an organised tour because I was unsure of accessibility on the journey and at Montserrat itself. The tour was great, but I needn’t have worried about getting around. Travelling there (by coach initially, then funicular railway) and getting around was really good for disabled- much better than a lot of places in UK. The only problem was shortage of time being on a schedule. However, it’s given me confidence to travel independently next time to allow more time to visit the museum, etc. I agree with buying food to take, as there were long queues in the food outlets. And I agree you need an early start to make the most of the trip. I’d have loved going up in the funicular at the site but didn’t have time. However, our tour guide was excellent and was able to tell us lots, which we wouldn’t have gotten going independently.

  25. Elthia Tolentino

    Thank you Phoebe for the information. It is good to read the mistakes rather than all good points or places to visit – it helps people not make same mistakes.
    I have Montserrat as the first place to visit in our trip to Barcelona this July, with my husband, myself with my sis-in law.
    I am little bit confused about the train ticket. There is this Euro 31.80 and the other is Euro 41.95. Is the 31.80 is single ride for each rail and cable? Should I get the Euro 41.95? Where do we get on from Barcelona? Is it rail first or cable?

    What do you suggest first few things we do as soon as we get off the ride?

    Thanking you for your advice.

    1. Excellent idea Elthia. My name is Naomi by the way. You’ll leave from the trainstation Plaza d’Espagna in Barcelona. You first take the train and then you can decide to take the cable cart or rack railway to Montserrat. Both tickets are return tickets. The more expensive one includes museum entrance and lunch. I hope you have a great time.

  26. Maggie

    What time would you suggest leaving Barcelona? When purchasing a ticket in Barcelona is it a round trip ticket? Do you recall how much it was for round trip?
    Thank you

  27. LOL #5!! We did the EXACT same thing! We *thought* we turned right after the funicular but they really meant IMMEDIATELY turn right. Instead of turning back we ended up making our own trail and went through the woods and somehow made our way back to a trail that connected with the correct one.
    I have a feeling this is a common mistake. They could really use some better signage there or more helpful maps. 🙂

  28. Pingback: Where to Stay in Barcelona: Barcelona's Best Areas to Stay

  29. Pingback: Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine - Two Traveling Texans

  30. Kay walding

    Poor you, we obviously did it all the right way. Had a fabulous day, listened to,the choir in the cathedral, walked the mountain, rode the funicular , took our food with us and had a brilliant time. Started early in the morning and returned to Barcelona late, then went for a fabulous dinner. All thanks to my beloved son in law who loves to organise us all and does all the homework for where we are going. Small casual eatery! No problem. Train times – all good. Very spoiled family. Happy travelling.

  31. The amount of times I’ve wandered down dead-ends after following shifty maps! Montserrat looks beautiful though, as does the monastery – I can think of worse places to get lost. I like your angle – mistakes to avoid, rather than things to do. Well phrased!

  32. Andrea

    Hey, you live and learn right? And now we dont have to worry about repeating the mistakes! If I ever make it to the Monastery, I’ll be sure to bring all my own food and drink…among other things 😉

  33. Next time I’ll go to Barcelona I will visit the Montserrat monastery, it looks amazing! You are supposed to learn from your mistakes and even if you’ve spent a little more money you still enjoyed a nice day with stunning views. Next time you will know better. And now we know better too thanks to you 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.