That building on the mountain is a church known as Santa Cova de Montserrat. What’s impressive is that it’s only accessible by trail. Also, it’s very near the Abbey of Montserrat in the Catalonian region of Spain. When I took this photo, I was standing not far from the abbey on an overlook near the top of Montserrat. To get up the mountain, we had to drive a precariously steep and winding road.
The landscape here is extreme and, try as I do, still can’t imagine how places such as this get built. The construction must take many generations. Projects like this are not something we are likely to see again.
The Abbey of Montserrat is just an hour from Barcelona, and you can see the outskirts of the city in the distance. We didn’t plan it right and arrived in the afternoon which meant we only had a couple of hours to explore. But now that we know, next time we’ll spend the day exploring much more of this unbelievable monastery in the mountains.
This is a panorama I took of Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey. The abbey is high up on a mountain known as Montserrat, which is the highest point in this section of Catalonia. Here I took five photos side-by-side that are stitched together, this is just the central section.
The first thing you notice when you approach the area is the unusual shape of these rock columns on the mountain. Some people in Barcelona told us that there are faces in the rocks and I’ll admit I started to see them also when I stared for a while.
It is a working monastery with over a hundred monks in residence. We saw several in full robes as we walked around and explored. The abbey has been in operating for over a thousand years so the monks are maintaining a long tradition.
One of the most spectacular things to see is the inside of the basilica, however they don’t allow photography; notwithstanding that it’s still a must see with it’s ornate adornments and frescos.
We drove a car up here but only later did I realize there is also a train and gondola from the bottom. In my opinion those are better options than the narrow hairpin road. There are also hiking trails up so if you prefer to walk up you’ll have no guilt consuming extra calories in the restaurants and cafeterias. No matter how you get here, you’ll not be disappointed.
While in Spain we were told by several people that we should visit the Abbey of Montserrat about an hour north of Barcelona. It’s built in an impossible location on a steep mountainside and has stunning views of the region. It’s a great place to take photos and this is one I took of the cafeteria built on a rock.
To drive here you take a series of steep switchbacks up the mountain. But if you don’t like hairpin turns over cliffs, you can also take a train or gondola from the valley floor. In that respect it reminds me of locations in Switzerland or Germany. However the red earth and unusual rock formations also remind me of the southwestern United States. Perhaps it’s a combination of both, yet entirely unique.
This is a popular place because there were a lot of people here when we arrived. And there is a lot more to see than just a cafeteria, but this grabbed my attention when I first arrived. It’s no ordinary cafeteria, at least not the kind that comes to mind when I think of my old high school. If you did nothing but drive up here and buy lunch, it would be well worth the trip as you gaze out at the valley and Barcelona in the distance.
My only regret is that I didn’t know about this place sooner. I will come back and explore it more thoroughly on my next visit, especially at night. And there is way more to see than just the cafeteria, so plan a day of it the next time you’re in the area; I know I will.