Montserrat - Drive or Train ?

Nov 6th, 2002, 05:57 AM
  #1  
Peter
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Montserrat - Drive or Train ?

Hi,

Whats the best way to visit Montserrat from Barcelona ? Via a rental car or via train ?

We love scenic beauty and nature and stopping and taking pictures of mountains and valleys and stuff. Will renting a car be a better idea than taking the train ? Also, with the train, does anyone know when the last train leaves from Montserrat for Barcelona ?

We will not be renting a car for our stay in Barcelona, but I am wondering whether it makes sense to rent a car for one day for the trip to Montserrat ? Or is the view and ride better from the train ?

What do you suggest ?

Thanks,
Peter
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 08:30 AM
  #2  
Dali
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Take a bus trip from Barcelona to Monserrat. You can book them at most hotels. I wouldn't want to attempt to drive the roads leading to Monserrat. I rented a car in Spain, but took the bus to Monserrat.
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 08:56 AM
  #3  
Salvador
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www.abadiamontserrat.net/html/eng/index_serveis.htm

www.tmb.net/eng/home.htm
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 09:46 AM
  #4  
Maribel
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Peter,
You can take the bus offered by Julia Tours or an organized tour through Alsa Touring. You'll find the brochures at every hotel.

I think you might enjoy the thrilling train/cable car trip perhaps even more than a bus. The Catalunya gov't railroad, the FGC, offers several options.
You can pick up a brochure at your hotel or their office in the El Triangle shopping complex on the Placa de Catalunya . Trains leave from the FGC station under the Placa Espany every hr, from 8:36 a.m. The last train back from the Montserrat-Aeri station departs at 6:35, I think. You take the R5 Montserrat-Manresa line and get off at the Montserrat-Aeri station, where you take the cable car (leaves every 15 min.) that lifts you up the mountain to the monastery. The FGC "TransMontserrat" combined ticket (18,63 euros) includes the round trip train + cable car+ two other funiculars on the mountain taking you above and below the monastery, the Sant Joan & Santa Cova. This is probably all that you would want. But their "TransMontserrat" ticket (32,45) includes the train + cabel car + the 2 funiculars at the top + museum+ lunch at the self service restaurant.

I would most definitely not rent a car because you'll have your precious time eaten away by the paperwork and then negotiating the extremely heavy traffic getting in and out of the city. Bcn traffic has become nightmarish and aggravated by the surge in motorcycles coming at you unpredictably from any direction plus the ongoing construction on the Diagonal.

Hope this helps.
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 09:54 AM
  #5  
Peter
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Thanks for the info !

Maribel, you say: " The FGC "TransMontserrat" combined ticket (18,63 euros) includes the round trip train + cable car+ two other funiculars on the mountain taking you above and below the monastery, the Sant Joan & Santa Cova."

Pardon my ignorance, but what exactly is a "funicular" ? Also, how is the journey split up exactly ? I mean, how come I need to take the train, cable car and funicular to reach there ?

Finally, what is Sant Joan and Santa Cova ? What are the main attractions in these places ?

Thanks in advance, and again, pardon my ignorance. ;->
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 10:25 AM
  #6  
Daniel
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www.funimag.com/funimag14/montserrat01.htm
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 10:30 AM
  #7  
Maribel
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Hi Peter,
It's not ignorance at all. The cable car/funicular bit is confusing!

To reach the massif where the monastery is located, you first take a regional train from Barcelona, the R5 to the Montserrat-Aeri station. Get off and wait for a cable car which will take you up the mountain to the monastery itself. The other 2 "funiculars" (vintage tram, railway?) are OPTIONAL trips departing from the mountain where the Monastery is located. Don't need to take these ir you don't want to-just "extra attractions" up there. One takes you further up and beyond the Monastery to Sant Joan where you can get a stunning view of the whole mountain range. The other takes you down to Santa Cova, to the spot where the image of the black virgen, "La Moreneta", was supposedly found. Down there are some Gaudi sculptures and an exhibition showing the project for a new cog train, says the FGC promotional brochure. I've never gone to either. You don't have to buy the promotional, all inclusive package "TotMontserrat" ticket if you don't intend to take these extra little rides, heavily promoted by the gov't. Just buy a r.t. train ticket on the FGC R5 line to the Montserrat -Aeri station (a ride of under 1 hr), then a ticket for the cable car (called the "teleferic") up the sheer mountainside to the Monastery (this is the fun part).
If you want to see the museum up there with a few paintings by Caravaggio and el Greco , the entrance is 3 euros.
The famed boys' choir sings in the Monastery Basilica at 1 p.m.

Hope this helps and that it hasn't confused you more!
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 10:33 AM
  #8  
Maribel
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Thanks for the link, Daniel. That explains it all!
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 11:34 AM
  #9  
Peter
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Ok, I get it finally ! :->

Thanks a ton Maribel !!
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 02:30 PM
  #10  
Sandy
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Some advice - DO NOT go on Sunday!! I took the Julia bus trip on Sunday morning. The bus was SUPPOSED to take 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to Montserrat. Instead, it took 3 hours. Biking up to Montserrat has become one of THE things to do - the roads are extremely narrow and there are hairpin curves...(so I would NOT suggest a rental car!!). I would definitely suggest going during the week, and if I had to do it again, I would take the train and the funicular and NOT the bus.
Sandy
 
Nov 6th, 2002, 03:34 PM
  #11  
jeff
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Hi Peter,

I was there in June and I found driving to be a great experience. I love to drive in Europe because you can stop any time you want. Plus, you miss so much when traveling by train.
 
Nov 16th, 2002, 07:03 PM
  #12  
Peter
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Hi again,

I just read somewhere on Frommers that the Funicular operates only from April to October. Is this true ? We will be in Barcelona from Nov 22-28, 2002 and we definitely want to take a daytrip to Montserrat. We want to take the train from Bcn and then the funicular - does anyone forsee any problems with this ?

Thanks,
Peter
 
Nov 17th, 2002, 12:07 PM
  #13  
Ed
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I'd suggest taking Iberia to Miami then LIAT and then a ferry to Monserrat. Be careful as there is an active volcano in Monserrat.

I didn't know that one could cross the Atlantic by train. I thought that most people fly and a very small number of people take a ship.

Peter, the original poster, is correct that Monserrat has beautiful mountains and valleys.
 
Nov 17th, 2002, 12:33 PM
  #14  
Peter
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Thanks, but my question is - does the funicular operate in November ? Or is it available only through October ?
 
Nov 17th, 2002, 01:10 PM
  #15  
I
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I don´t know, but the website above has the telephone number and email to the monastery.
 
Nov 17th, 2002, 01:18 PM
  #16  
Gigi
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Hi,Peter
No question about it, drive! You will want to stop and take pictures along the way. It is not a difficult drive at all.
Do try to get there for the 11:30 concert by the boy's choir. It is magical!
The abbey also offers a cafeteria where you can enjoy a cup of coffee while enjoying the view.
Do buy the CD. I have enjoyed it many times and it transports me to Montserrat!
Enjoy!
Gigi
 
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