Parc Natural de la Muntanya de Montserrat The entire place is built into the incredible rock formations that surround it on all sides, and this is one of the best bases near Barcelona from where you can do plenty of hiking and exploring.
How to Get to Montserrat from Barcelona
From Barcelona, catch the R5 train from Espanya station - when you buy your ticket, make sure to buy the combined train + cable car return ticket so you have everything booked before you go. No need to book in advance, there's always plenty of space.
Get off at Aeri Montserrat and cross under the platform to reach the cable car station, from where you'll take a five-minute ride in a bright yellow cable car all the way up the steep mountain to Montserrat. The cable cars run every fifteen minutes up and down so you can go and return whenever you like.
Things to Do at Montserrat
Most famous for the abbey built into the surrounding rock face, much of the buildings have now been turned into various restaurants, hotels - even a youth hostel! You can wander the grounds at leisure and be sure to stop in at the impressive darkly-coloured Basilica.
The best thing we did at Montserrat was to hike up to the Creu de Sant Miquel, a big cross jutting out with spectacular views across the horizon, back down to Barcelona and offering the best viewing point of Montserrat.
There are plenty of other hikes you can do around here up into the mountains; stop in at the visitor's centre for a free map and for tips from the staff there.