If you are in Barcelona and looking for an amazing day trip, travel 1.5 hours northwest by train to Monstserrat. You will not regret the experience of climbing up to Sant Joan and along the Way Of The Cross to Santa Cova, where a statue of the Virgin Mary was believed to have been discovered inside a cave. Catholic tradition says that the statue was created around 50 AD in Jerusalem and carried to Spain, where it was hidden to protect it. It was apparently rediscovered around 880 AD. As it was being carried off the mountain, it became too heavy to move, and a monastery was built around it. Many miracles were reported through prayer to the Virgin Mary at Montserrat. The Benedictine monk mountain is considered one of the best sites for religious pilgrimage in the world and many will stand in line for hours to see the Black Virgin inside the basilica. The monastery was founded in the 11th century although a chapel was first mentioned there in the 9th century.
The serrated mountain (mont serrat) is also ideal for the outdoorsy type as you can climb, hike and explore the national park. It’s highest peak is at 4,055 feet! The sites of hermits’ caves are pointed out along the walk, they are built inside a cavity that is formed in the rock face. If you don’t want to spend the entire day working up a sweat climbing up every path there are funicular railways that can take you up to starting points for both Sant Joan and Santa Cova. These trains were originally built in 1918 and 1929 and can take you up to 1,000 meters above sea level in only 7 minutes.