Summary. Travel by train from Barcelona via the R5 train. Combined tickets for the train and cable car may be purchased at the Plaça España station. Once on the Mountain, tour the Monastery grounds and either take a hike up in the mountains or stroll the trails immediately around this Benedictine Monk retreat.
We set out early from our Gracia neighborhood Air BnB to the Plaça España station to purchase tickets and catch the R5 train. Upon arrival at the base of the mountain where the Monastery sits, we got in line to board the cable car. Apparently there are other ways to get up to the mountain (car, railway), but my family convinced me to take the more scenic and in my, afraid-of-heights-mind, terrifying cable car. The experience though, was not so bad. The cable car itself is large, which helps for those that are only sort of claustrophobic like me. The ride is smooth and steady as well. In all, I managed to even enjoy myself even if I did decide to stay in the middle and away from the windows. For those that aren't afraid of heights, you can take some spectacular photos on your way up and down the cable car.
Once at the top, we headed over to the Santa Maria de Montserrat, abbey of the Order of Saint Benedict. Inside the Basilica, we viewed the The Black Madonna, a statute of Madonna and the Child visited by pilgrims traveling to Montserrat. While installed in the 8th Century, as far as we know, the exact date is was created or origin is unknown.
The grounds of Montserrat are also beautiful. Trails within the immediate area are easy to access and include a lookout point with a gorgeous view of the valley below. Here we found a spot to enjoy our picnic lunch.
We had plans to go on a hike while visiting Montserrat as recommended by several travel blogs. However, the day we were in Montserrat, it was way too hot. Without any trees on the trails for cover, it would have been far too punishing of an adventure so we instead took the cable car back and made our way back to Barcelona early instead. If you're schedule is flexible, pay attention to the weather and consider visiting on a mild day.