Visit the mountain of Montserrat and its Benedictine Monastery in the morning, then return for an afternoon tour of Barcelona, focusing on the works of Gaudi.
After departing from Barcelona, you will drive through the picturesque countryside dotted with little villages during the 90-minute drive to the incomparable setting of the mountain of Montserrat. Rising majestically to 4,051 feet, the peaks of Montserrat can be seen long before you arrive. The curving road around the mountain will offer you incredible views out across the valley.
Upon arrival at the parking area, you will join your guide and climb several steps to reach the plaza of the Royal Basilica of Montserrat. Its cliffside location and neo-Romanesque architecture is a scenic wonder, but it is perhaps the famous 12th-century Romanesque carving of Virgen Moreneta, the Black Virgin, that draws so many to this mountain location. The Royal Basilica has been one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Spain for hundreds of years.
After an orientation tour of the grounds, you will be given ample time to visit the sites that interest you the most. On some days the children's choir sings in the monastery at midday. There is a museum, restaurants and shops, as well as the opportunity to view the Black Virgin from a passageway that circles the altar where she is located. You will also have the opportunity to taste typical liquors of Montserrat. At the appointed time, you will meet your transportation and begin the drive back to Barcelona.
Upon arrival in Barcelona, you will have free time to have lunch on your own. Your guide is able to make recommendations of nearby cafes where you can sample the traditional tapas.
After lunch, you will set out from your city center location on a city orientation tour focusing on one of Barcelona's most famous residents, Antonio Gaudi. At the beginning of this Barcelona Catalan Art Nouveau tour, you will see the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece. The church, built by donations and private funds, was started in 1882 and is projected to be finished around 2025. After a brief description by your guide, you will have a brief amount of free time for photos of the exterior. An interior visit is not included, as wait times to enter can be extreme.
You will then visit Parc Guell, a large garden park in which Gaudi strove to achieve the perfect integration of architectural elements in nature. Sitting on a hillside, the construction takes in the geography in a series of steps and plazas. UNESCO has declared Parc Guell an artistic monument and a human heritage site. Although there is not time to see the entire park, the most important sites are seen.
Finally, you will see two of his most emblematic works: Casa Mila, also known as "La Pedrera", and Casa Batllo, as you drive along the fashionable Passeig de Gracia.
Please Note: Your tour departs from the Placa Catalunya area. The tour ends near the Casa Batllo at Paseo de Gracia 43. The placa is the city center and the place where the old city (Gothic Quarter and Raval) and the 19th century-built Eixample meet. Some of the city's most important streets and avenues meet in Placa Catalunya: Passeig de Gracia, La Rambla, Portal de l'Angel and Ronda Universitat.
Reviewer: J. Hollis
This was an amazing tour. The scenery and destinations were beautiful, and the tours were well narrated. The guides had the perfect balance of activity and short breaks, as well as being cordial.
Reviewer: James Hollis
Very interesting tour, Montserrat is awesome with ample time to explore it. The Barcelona Artistic was great and visited many interesting places. The downside of this tour is the length, after visiting Montserrat in the morning the second tour was too long and we cut it short, skipping the Sagrada Familia to head back to the hotel.