Visit the Benedictine abbey deep in the Catalonia mountains

The spectacular Santa Maria de Montserrat or Montserrat Monastery as it is otherwise known, was founded back in 1025, it is a Benedictine Abbey perched majestically on the mountainside of Montserrat in Catalonia. Set deep in the heart of Catalan terrain it’s hard to believe it’s a mere 30 miles drive to the west of Barcelona. The monastery can be reached easily from your Costa Brava vacation rental or Costa Maresme holiday rental by train, road or cable car.

 

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The monastery itself is 1,236 metres above the ground level of the valley making it the highest point of all of the Catalonia lowlands. The summit of Sant Jeromi can be walked to from the funicular station. Make sure you travel to the monastery on a clear day for panoramic views of the entire region, if you are really fortunate occasionally you can even see right across the azure waters of the Mediterranean to the island of Mallorca.

 

The Basilica of Montserrat houses a museum which contains rare artworks and sculptures by El Greco, Picasso and Dali. It is also home to one of the earliest publishing houses where the first book was published in the year 1499, the world’s oldest printing press still runs to this day.

 

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The monastery itself has an intriguing history which is ready to be uncovered. It is home to the Virgin of Montserrat also known as the black virgin – Catalonia’s favourite saint. The Escolania Montserrat Boys’ choir sings here; they are one of the oldest in Europe performing during religious ceremonies in the basilica. The school choir sings daily in the basilica around midday in front of visitors and pilgrims from around the world, try to make it there if you can it is an experience which will remain with you forever.

 

The historical references from the monastery range from the Spanish Civil War to the era of Franco and today Montserrat Monastery is seen as a symbol of Catalan Nationalism. It is definitely worth a day trip outside of your vacation rental in Spain to visit the magnificent interior and exterior architecture and take in the most spectacular views of Catalonia that you will ever see.


Barcelona’s can’t-miss annual events!

Spending your holiday in Barcelona in this year? Don’t miss out on these exciting events that appeal to every taste.

 

Although this year’s Congress has already passed, next year’s Congress plans to be bigger and better than ever. More than 93,000 attendees descended upon the event that was held at both Plaça Espanya and Montjuic. Exhibits and speakers from companies like Accenture, Lenovo, and IBM informed guests of the latest in the world of mobile communication as well as what is in store for the future. You must see these 7 wonders of the world.

 

The race begins and ends just below the picturesque Montjuic Park, a hillside park that overlooks the city and the Mediterranean Sea. The course takes runners past Barcelona’s most famous sights including Camp Nou (FC Barcelona’s football stadium), Gaudi’s masterpiece La Sagrada Familia, and the boardwalk of the Mediterranean beaches.

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La Playa Barceloneta

On the heels of the Festival of Sant Joan is Barcelona’s Gay Pride festival that spans multiple days and features a parade, a high-heel race, parties, and concerts.

 

Located approximately 30 minutes outside of the city of Barcelona, the Circuit de Catalunya is abuzz during this annual event that attracts Formula 1 fans from all over the world.

 

Since 1994, Sonar has brought together music and technology, performed by international musicians, DJs, and other artists for an audiovisual experience like no other.

 

The Strokes, Tori Amos, and Damien Rice are just a few musical acts who will be appearing at this multi-day music festival in Barcelona.

 

The shortest night of the year is one of the most colorful and exciting in Barcelona. The ‘Nit del Foc’ (Catalan for ‘Night of Fire’)  kicks off the summer season in the Catalan capital. Residents and tourists head to the beaches where all-night fireworks light up the sky over the Mediterranean and musicians play along the boardwalk.

 

During this multi-day, mid-summer festival, the streets of the Barcelona neighborhood known as Gràcia fill with pedestrians who admire live music and the street decorations contest put on by local businesses. All decorations are made from recyclable materials, and the results are truly incredible!

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Festa Major Gracia

Barcelona’s last festival of the summer kicks off a new season with more than 500 events and activities including parades, street concerts and performers, and the Fire Festival complete with fireworks and a ‘Fire Run.’

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