9 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 Montserrat Mountains. 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.

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: March 2018 to reflect the new time table and prices.

# 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 at 8.30 am to make sure we would arrive at Montserrat monastery in time. We wanted to hike around, visit the monastery and travel back and forth with the train and funiculars. Alas, we managed to arrive at Montserrat monastery after noon and were seriously pressing for time.

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
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.
Montserrat Monastery

Don’t arrive too late but leave early and calculate the 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.

Read more: 10 day Road Trip Itinerary for Southern Spain

 

# 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 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.

Don’t miss the train from Barcelona to Montserrat. Research the train schedule. Buy your Tot Montserrat Tickets, Trans Montserrat ticket or Montserrat Express tickets in advance online here. You can download the train schedule from Plaça d’Espanya to Manresa, line R5 from here.

Buy your train tickets to Montserrat in advance online

There are several 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.

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 €35,30 pp and includes the following:

  • Return ticket from anywhere in Barcelona to Plaça d’Espanya where the train to Montserrat leaves.
  • A return train ticket to 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 lose any time at the vending machine at the train station.

Click to Buy your Trans Montserrat Ticket here

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.

  • 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 (oef, are we there yet?!) you can see the exhibit, enter the museum and get a meal at the self service restaurant.

Talk about all inclusive! 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!

Click to Check for prices of TOT Montserrat Ticket

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 to Montserrat Barcelona

What is the Montserrat Express ticket

We’re not done yet, you can also opt-in for the Montserrat Express ticket. This sounds speedy, doesn’t it? It has less options than the Trans Montserrat ticket or the Tot Montserrat from Barcelona ticket, but still enough for your day trip from Barcelona to Montserrat by train. It includes the following:

  • return ticket for the train from Barcelona to Montserrat
  • return journey on the rack railway to the monastery (so no option to take the cable car)
  • a goodie-bag with audio guide about Montserrat Monastery and the history, a liqueurs, a local treat and discount vouchers.

Click to Purchase your Montserrat Express Ticket Online

# 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 spend €6,80 for 2 bottles of water and some cookies. Insane.

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.

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# 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.
Sant Joan Funicular up the mountain
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.
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.

Avoid buying round trip tickets when you only use the 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 that includes unlimited use of the Sant Joan (and Santa Cova)  Funicular.

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

At the tourist office, I was handled 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 go right.

 

And so we did. At least, I thought we did. After a couple of minutes I realized none of the routes description 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
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

After all our options were exhausted, we decided to walk back to the funicular. Turned out, 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?

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 in a brisk pace.

We only made a few quick stops to take some snap shots. 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.

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.
Panorama view on Montserrat Mountains

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 get’s hot in Montserrat too. Read my tips on staying cool when you travel in Europe.

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 the 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 are flat as a pancake.

 

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 spend another hour walking down. It was a very wise decision as I was struggling to make it down.

Avoid to push 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 bustour to Montserrat, or afternoon tour of Montserrat.

# 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.

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

Read more: 3-day Cataluyna Road trip from Barcelona

# 9. Avoid standing in 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.

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.
Change for the Cremallera or rack railway to Montserrat Monastery
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

We choose 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.

You can always stay overnight in Montserrat, for example in the lovely Hotel Abat Cisneros Montserrat or the Apartamentos Montserrat Abat Marcet.

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.

Need more inspiration why you should go to Montserrat?

Montserrat is a perfect day trip from Barcelona but the sight and surrounding 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. 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 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 for one of the mistakes to avoid when going to Montserrat, so I was able to sit on the train back to Barcelona.

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.
Hiking in Montserrat Mountains

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 success! Looking for more day trips from Barcelona? Check Barcelona-Life suggestions.

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 to from Barcelona to Montserrat? Let me know if the guide was helpful or spread the word and share on your social media.

Buy your Train Tickets to Montserrat in Advance with these online packages

View of Montserrat Monastery from the mountains. Montserrat is a great day trip from Barcelona.
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70 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

    Thanks
    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!

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

    thanks

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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