Montserrat, Spain

If you are in Barcelona and looking for an amazing day trip,View of rosary Montserrat 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) isFunicular 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.


Montjuïc, Barcelona

Today my husband and I climbed up the 213 meter Slide in Montjuïc Hillhill of Montjuïc to an 18th century fortress, Castell de Montjuïc. There is an option to take a cable car to the top however you will miss out on the great scenic stops along the way so if you are fit, or want to be, take the trails. As a bonus, on the way down there is a slide to take as an alternative route to one of the large set of stairs. The fortress was originally built for the defense of Barcelona.

On the north side of the hill, in 1929 the Palau Nacional (National Palace) was built for the International Exhibition. After visiting this building, it is unbelievable to imagine that it was intended to be MNACdemolished soon after the exhibition! Fortunately it was preserved and today is home to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Looking down from the Palau Nacional is Placa d’Espanya, where two 47 meter brick venetian towers mark the entry for the exhibition. The fountain in the middle of what is now a round about was once the site of the public gallows until they were moved in 1715.

The third must see area on Montjuïc Hill is the Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring),Olympic Stadium where the 1992 Olympics took place. Estadi Lluis Company’s building, where the opening and closing ceremonies were held, was originally built for the 1929 exhibition, over 60 years before the Olympics. Of course the interior of the stadium was completely rebuilt and expanded, and now contains 65,000 seats.