One thing I’ve noticed from all the time I’ve spent living in Spain? People, generally, eat a lot healthier. Fresh fruit is available in abundance. Olive oil is everywhere. People look a lot more in shape! Continue Reading →
I’ve always been a big believer that shaving off the costs of travel is a creative art in itself. Opportunities are out there. Do a little research and you you’ll be surprised at the types of ideas that surface.
Spain is no different. A little bit of exploration goes a long way. You’ll have to expend a bit of effort of course – there’s no such thing as a free, 5-star holiday – but, if you’re willing to sacrifice top-end luxury, there are some interesting alternative options.
This article highlights some of the ideas I’ve had. Each one has helped me have a more cost effective Spanish adventure. They might also help you.
Remain open-minded, enthusiastic and receptive and you could probably pivot off these to create further opportunities for yourself too. Continue Reading →
From the city of Barcelona in Spain it’s easy to organize a bus or minibus tour to Montserrat. Especially for people who love nature, spirituality, and culture. Plan this must see day trip with our coach rental service and come get to know the mountain of Montserrat inside and out. Before organizing this tour for your group make sure to compare minibus and coach hire options in Barcelona via RentAutobus.com
A bus tour of the caves of Collbató and the mountain of Montserrat
Montserrat is and always has been the sacred mountain of Catalonia. It’s a rocky peak located about fifty kilometers from Barcelona at the confluence of the boundaries of Anoia, Bages, and Baix Llobregat. It has been an important place historically, spiritually, and culturally. Furthermore, this area is rich in legends, the best known of which being the story of three ninth century shepherds who followed a light that appeared every Saturday on the mountain; this light guided them to a cave, known as “la cova freda,” where they found an image of the virgin Mary called “la moreneta.” If the mountain presents a very peculiar shape on the outside, it’s because the inside is full of caves, the largest and most impressive of which is Collbató cave.
Go on this excursion from:
Barcelona, Lérida, Gerona y Tarragona.
In the morning:
Delve into the mountain: the caves of Collbató
I recommend getting an early morning start for this excursion. You can arrange for your bus driver to come pick you up at your house or hotel. The caves are located half an hour from Barcelona, depending on traffic.
The Salt Caves in Collbató
You can start the tour off by visiting some salt caves. The entrance to these caves is located in the town of Collbató. These are the bowels of the massif of Montserrat. Over time, the erosion caused by rainwater on the conglomerate, calcareous surface, as well as the formation of several cracks, has brought about the formation of some truly beautiful caves. In Collbató you can see the largest collection of caves in Catalonia. They say that the interior of this cave inspired artists like Gaudí. The part of the caves that you can visit goes 549 meters into the earth.
Enter the cave with a guide
You’ll have to enter the cave with a guide that will be assigned to you at the entrance of the cave; the entrance price (including the guide) is €7.50. The guide will show you different areas formed throughout the geological process, full of spectacularly beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. The highlights are the Cathedral chamber, the largest chamber in the cave, and the devil’s pool. Not only will you learn about spelunking, but you’ll also learn some of the legends associated with the caves and the history of the first inhabitants of Montserrat, who lived in the caves 4000 years ago.
If you would like more information, please see the website at: www.collbató.cat
After seeing all of that you can go back out into the outside world and discover the fantastic mountain of Montserrat.
Take the cable car up Montserrat
While your bus driver will be more than happy to drive you up the mountain, you could also ask him to drop you off at Montserrat’s cable car station, also known as “Aeri de Montserrat.” For a little over €6 you can enjoy this experience with excellent vistas. If you’re one of those people, like me, who’s afraid of heights, you might prefer to stay in the coach and meet your travel companions at the monastery.
Eat a traditional Catalonian dish at the Cafeteria
Once you’ve gone up in the aeri or the bus, you’re sure to be starting to get hungry. I recommend eating at the self-service cafeteria restaurant. You’ll find it right next to the aeri station on the second floor of the building known as “the apostles’ lookout point.” The restaurant offers traditional Catalonian or international cuisine at a good price; in general, the food is simple, ranging from a sandwich to chicken and potatoes, but what I really like about this place are the splendid views that it offers. If you get there before it’s full, sit down at one of the tables by the huge windows. Enjoy the best vistas while you eat!
In the afternoon: Visit the Montserrat monastery and walk around the mountainside
History of the Monastery
The Santa María de Montserrat monastery is a Benedictine monastery built in the 11th century. Remember the story that I told you about some shepherds who found “la moreneta”? Well, in the year 888 they established a chapel dedicated to the Mother of God. Two centuries later, Benedictine monks founded the monastery to offer hospitality to visitors and pilgrims who came to honor this Romanesque carving of the Virgin. On September 11, 1881, Pope Leon XIII declared the Virgin of Montserrat to be the patroness of Catalonia. Inside the monastery you can visit the neo-roman cloister or the chapter hall, among other things.
Cultural and spiritual life at the Monastery
Montserrat is a cultural and spiritual center. Many pilgrims come here to pay homage to the “moreneta.” The monastery has one of the oldest children’s choirs in Europe, “The Montserrat Choir” (you can hear them at 1PM on Monday through Friday, at noon on Sundays, and at 6:45PM on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sundays), a library with nearly 300 thousand books, and a museum with works by painters like Picasso and Dalí. The museum tickets cost €7. If you would like more information about the museum, visit their website: www.museudemontserrat.com. The monastery also has its own publishing house (Publicaciones de la Abadía de Montserrat) and a magazine, Serra d’Or.
A walk on the mountain and the exterior of the monastery
To finish your visit to Montserrat, nothing beats taking a walk around this extraordinary location. If you’re tired, you can take the Sant Joan cable car; you’ll get to enjoy some spectacular panoramic vistas from above. There are many routes you can take, depending on how much walking you’re willing to do. If you would like more information, you can go to: http://es.wikiloc.com/rutas/a-pie/espana/catalunya/monistrol-de-montserrat
Before leaving, you can visit some of the souvenir shops and buy some traditional Montserrat liqueur, or you can buy some artisan products such as cheese or honey at one of the stalls at the plaza.
If you need more information, please consult the Montserat Monastery website
This day trip suggestion is an idea of Rentautobus.com. If you are planning any day trips or tours with a rented bus or coach in Barcelona then use RentAutobus to compare quotes and book. Good comparison and service for rented minibuses with driver and coach hires in Spanish cities for cities like Barcelona, Gerona, Madrid or Malaga or other places worldwide.
If you need to organize an airport transfer for an individual or group arrival in the Barcelona Airport then visit the RentAutobus Barcelona airport transfers page for quote comparisons and reservations.
Located in Valencia, Spain, Benidorm is a beautiful seaside resort on the Costa Blanca in Alicante province. Benidorm’s compact layout was a visionary foresight of the 1960’s town mayor who wanted to build a resort which grew upwards. Continue Reading →
Hola! I'm Will Peach and I left my 9-5 London lifestyle in the last half of 2011 to learn Spanish to fluency and figure out what to see in Spain while living on the cheap.