Barcelona is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most exciting and modern cities, but visitors seeking a short-lived escape from the bright lights and bustle can find a land of tranquil beauty steeped in cultural history only 30 miles away.
Montserrat – meaning ‘saw mountain’– is a serrated mountain range that attracts visitors not only for its spectacular views, but also as Catalunya’s most important religious retreat.
The site is famed for the Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine monastery that nestles amid the mountain’s peaks and houses the Virgin of Montserrat – one of few so-called ‘black madonnas’ left in Europe and a draw for Catholic pilgrims from across the country.
Another attraction of the countryside outside of Barcelona is Penedes, a wine region that almost single-handedly produces all of Spain’s renowned sparkling Cava.
For many the opportunity to experience the ragged landscapes and religious significance of Montserrat while also enjoying some of the country’s finest sparkling wine varieties as part of a Montserrat and Cava tour is a gift from heaven.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise a private Montserrat and Cava tour that can be tailor-made to meet your exact needs, ensuring every detail is taken care of before you set out.
Tours from Barcelona will typically head to the Montserrat National Park where intrepid visitors can climb towards the monastery themselves or effortlessly take a cable car.
For hiking enthusiasts, Montserrat comes close to the heavens it almost touches. The mountain range is characterised by its strange rock formations stretching to the highest point Sant Jeroni, which can be scaled by the Funicular de Sant Joan, and there are scores of marked trails across the national park with breathtaking views in every direction.
Most visitors, however, come for a glance of the ‘Our Lady of Montserrat’ or La Morenta (the little dark-skinned one) – the varnish of the statue is said to have darkened over time due to natural exposure – which is claimed to bestow healing miracles.
The interiors with Renaissance and Gothic architecture of the accompanying Basilica and awe-inspiring views from the grounds are equally something to behold. And, another engaging experience is the L’Esconia de Montserrat, aboys’ choir living at the abbey who perform almost daily in the Basilica.
Montserrat and Cava tours leave this glorious religious retreat for Cava country, taking visitors to a selection of exclusive wineries where they can explore the vineyards, learn about the wine making technique and meet the owners before taking part in elaborate tastings that can often be accompanied by gourmet food pairings.
Penedes is one of the most ancient viticultural regions in Europe, featuring a rural landscape scattered with quaint villages, solitary churches and vineyards upon vineyards growing a wide selection of grapes including Macabeo, Paradella, Xarello, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Subirat grapes.
Our Montserrat and Cava tour can be customised to discover Penedes in a variety of ways, including the unique opportunity to see the vineyards from the sky with a private helicopter trip across the region before landing for a VIP tour and tasting at one of the finest bodegas.
For those who like to keep their feet on the ground, there is an exclusive guided Montserrat and Cava tour and tasting experience of the Penedes where guests are led through the entire wine-making process from the soil to the vine to the barrel and the bottle.
If you're interested in one of our Catalonia Wine Tours, please visit this link.
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