It was my first trip to Barcelona and we only had two days.  There was so much I wanted to see.  I love mountains and like to visit them when I can.   I really wanted to visit Montserrat (which means serrated mountain in Catalan) and also do some wine tasting so the English language tour I found with Castlexperience was perfect.  It was a six hour tour that combined both.

The views from Montserrat are worth the trip alone, but there is so much more! - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

The views from Montserrat are worth the trip alone, but there is so much more!

Anisa with the barrels of wine at the Oller del Mas winery. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Anisa with the barrels of wine at the Oller del Mas winery.

We met the tour group outside the Hard Rock Cafe in Placa de Catalunya at 10 am.  They were easy to spot, holding pink umbrellas that matched the pink bus.  There were multiple groups through Castlexperience, each with a tour guide, headed to Montserrat.  While we were waiting for the group to gather, we chatted with two other couples who were from Kentucky.  We boarded the bus and left at 10:15.  

Traveling to Monserrat from Barcelona

The travel time to Montserrat was about an hour.  For the first 15 minutes, our tour guide Clara gave us a brief history of Barcelona and threw in some jokes whenever possible.  It was interesting to learn more about Spanish history.  Clara was not a native English speaker so she did have an accent, but I didn’t have any issues understanding her.  We also passed right by one of Gaudi’s houses, so she also told us a few stories about him.  

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We passed by a house designed by Gaudi. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

We passed by a house designed by Gaudi.

View from the bottom of the mountain where you catch the train. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

View from the bottom of the mountain where you catch the train.

Train Ride Up Montserrat Mountain

Once we got to the mountain, we parked the bus and Clara got our tickets for the train ride up to the monastery.  We took a few pictures and then it was time to board the train for the 15 minute ride up the mountain.  The train goes along the edge of the mountain and through a few tunnels.  We sat on the left side of the train and the views were spectacular.  Next time I visit, maybe I could do some hiking!

Anisa on the train, ready to head up. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Anisa on the train, ready to head up.

Views from the train ride up the mountain. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Views from the train ride up the mountain.

Then once we got off the train, we split into separate groups.  There were only nine people in our group, which was great.  The majority were Americans, and then there was Russell (from England), and two ladies from Russia.  

Montserrat Liqueur Tasting

Our first stop was a liqueur tasting.  We tasted 4 flavors – a floral one, walnut, macadamia, and a creme.  All were lovely, but the walnut one was my favorite and it was only 15 euro, so I bought it.  Clara was so nice and offered to put the bottle in her backpack, so I wouldn’t have to carry it around.  We also got to taste another local specialty pastry, sweetbread, which does actually taste like sweet bread.

The liqueur tasting. Our tour guide Clara is on the right. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

The liqueur tasting. Our tour guide Clara is on the right.

Visiting the Montserrat Monastery

Next, we climbed the stairs to the basilica.  Since it was a Sunday there was a service in session, so Clara told us about a few highlights before we went inside.  Many people actually do a Monserrat pilgrimage to touch the Black Madonna inside the basilica.  We saw a long line of people waiting to go up to the Black Madonna and touch her for good luck.  

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Luckily, there was no line to just go inside the basilica, but when we went inside, it was packed.  We were able to find some space in the crowd and weaved our way towards the altar along the side.  We still weren’t able to get too close, so we could barely see the Black Madonna.  One of the reasons the service was so crowded is that the famous Montserrat boys choir was performing.  It was nice to be able to hear them sing.

The outside of the basilica. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

The outside of the basilica.

The inside of Basilica - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

The inside of Basilica

The Plaza by the Basilica also has great views of the mountains. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

The Plaza by the Basilica also has great views of the mountains.

Then we visited the plaza outside the basilica.  We learned that most of the area had to be rebuilt because it was targeted by Napoleon because of its significance.  Then it was time to head back to where the bus would pick us up.

Montserrat Market

On the way we had a little time to stop at the market.  I wasn’t expecting this, but it was a really nice market.  Most of the vendors were offering samples of their local goods.  Everything was tasty and reasonably priced, and we ended up buying a small fig cake. We also had a chance to take some pictures of the amazing view.

Some of the local goodies available at the market in Montserrat. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Some of the local goodies available at the market in Montserrat.

Russell enjoying the views. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Russell enjoying the views.

Forest of Crosses

Then we boarded a large bus to head to the winery, which is in a castle.  They told us it would be about a 30 minute drive.  It was a nice curvy and scenic road. We passed through the forest of crosses which is an art installation by Marc Sellares to raise awareness of forest fires, which was very dramatic.  

The forest of crosses to raise awareness for forest fires. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

The forest of crosses to raise awareness for forest fires.

Montserrat Winery Visit

We started out our time at the Oller del Mas winery with a nice glass of white wine and Clara began to tell us about the family that runs the winery.  The same family has owned the castle since the 10th century, but it is not the original building.  Next she showed us some of the vineyards and took us to see some of the machines that they use to make the wine, which are all organic.

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"Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Oller del Mas

Clara pours our first glass of wine. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Clara pours our first glass of wine.

Tapas Lunch and Wine Tasting

Now it was time to go inside the castle for our tapas lunch and wine tasting.  Besides a few workers, we had the castle to ourselves. We had another glass of the white and then also tried two other light to medium bodied reds.  I enjoyed all of them but I ended up buying the white because it was so affordable – only 9 euros!  They also had a rose that was the same price, which I was also tempted to buy for Katherine but unfortunately there was limited space in my bag.

At the end of the wine tasting we had a little fun having wine from a porron.  Clara demonstrated and then a few of us tried it.  We did make a bit of a mess on the floor, but they provided us with a bib so our clothes were fine.  (I do really enjoy Spanish wine, I spent a full day in the Rioja region).

Our tapas lunch at the Castle. - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Our tapas lunch at the Castle. We also had Spanish Cheesecake (not pictured) for dessert.

Russell drinking wine from the porron. Luckily he wore a bib! - "Montserrat: Mountain, Monastery, and Wine" - Two Traveling Texans

Russell drinking wine from the porron. Luckily he wore a bib!

Passing Through Manresa

Then it was time to head back to Barcelona.  It took about an hour, and we drove through the scenic town of Manresa.  Russell and I both had a nice siesta on the way back.  Shortly after 5 pm, we were back in Placa de Catalunya where we started.  We had such a great day, I was really surprised how much there was in Montserrat.  Our tour guide, Clara, was so knowledgeable and funny.  I would be tempted to visit again next time I am in Barcelona and do some hiking or maybe even take the Montserrat funicular to the top.  

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Have you been to Montserrat? I would love to hear about your experience.

Anisa

Expert Tips for Your Montserrat Wine Tour:

  • Lunch is later, so you might want to bring a snack.
  • Sit on the left side of the train for the best views.
  • If you are going inside the basilica during a mass, please be respectful by being quiet and covering your shoulders.
  • The weather in Montserrat may be colder (and windier) than Barcelona, so you may want to bring a sweater or jacket.
  • You can travel from Barcelona to Montserrat on your own, but please do your research before you go.

Disclosure: No financial compensation was received, but Castlexperience did give us a discount on our tour.  As always, opinions are my own.

 

A travel blog about a half day tour going to Montserrat Spain and the Oller Del Mas winery with Castlexperience.