Macizo del Montseny Natural Park

Macizo de Montserrat Natural Park

  • Region: Catalonia
  • Province: Barcelona
  • Declared a Natural Park: 1987
  • Park surface area: 3,630 hectares
  • Towns and villages: Bruch, Collbató, Monistrol de Montserrat and Marganell

Points of interest

The Macizo de Montserrat Natural Park is a multi-peaked mountain range near Barcelona. The main peaks are Sant Jeroni (1,236 m), Montgrós (1,120 m) and Miranda de les Agulles (903 m). This area is well known for the site of the Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat and the Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary.

Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat
Benedictine abbey Santa Maria de Montserrat

The massif is about 10 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide and reaches the limits of the regions of Bages, Baix Llobregat and Anoia. The Natural Park occupies 3,630 hectares of the municipalities of Bruc (Anoia), Marganell and Monistrol de Montserrat (Bages) and Collbató (Baix Llobregat), with almost 2,000 of these hectares as a nature reserve.

An additional area of 4,039 hectares is catalogued as a protected zone, with part of the municipalities of Castellbell and El Vilar (Bages), Esparreguera (Baix Llobregat) and Vacarisses (Vallès Occidental).

Flora

Montserrat mountain features typically Mediterranean vegetation that is complemented with different elements characteristic of cooler areas or of cliffs and rocky zones. Most of the mountain is predominated by evergreen oak forest. In the channels and at the foot of the cliffs on the northern side there are yews, holly and several deciduous trees such as the Italian maple, whitebeam and hazel.

The rocky slopes are home to saxifrage (Saxifraga catalaunica), which is endemic to Montserrat and Sant Llorenç del Munt, and Erodium foetidum ssp. rupestre, endemic to central Catalonia, and the Pyrenean violet which is a relict from glacial times.

Aleppo pine woods dominate the mountainside and before the devastating fires of 1986 (Article in Spanish) there were magnificent forests of black pine.

Fauna

Montserrats fauna mainly comprises species native to the Mediterranean environments of Catalonia. The most common species include the wild boar, fox, beech marten, genet, badger, squirrel and Spanish ibex which was introduced (re introduced) in the mid-nineteen nineties and has a current population of 200 or so individuals.

On the cliffs and in the skies look out for Bonelli’s eagle, Egyptian vulture, peregrine falcon, eagle owl, kestrel, blue rock thrush and wallcreeper. During winter sometimes you can observe both snow finch and alpine accentor.

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Hiking and walking

There are about thirty footpaths to walk through the Natural Park, organized into various sectors. Some of the most popular are:

  • The Needles of Montserrat (Bruc sector), From the Gran source to the L’Esquerrà source (Monistrol de Montserrat sector).
  • Romanesque hermitages (Marganell sector).
  • Els Degollats path (Montserrat sector)
  • Rural roads of Vinya Nova and Alzina Gran (Collbató sector).
  • In addition, the following long-distance trails cross or end in Montserrat: GR 4, GR 5, GR 6, GR 96 and GR 172.

Climbing

The Montserrat mountain is one of the most significant and historical climbing destinations in Catalonia and currently, there are more than 5000 climbing routes of different levels of difficulty and different modalities. Before climbing, check in one of the tourist offices as depending on the time of year climbing activities are regulated with the objective of conserving the nesting rock birds in the Natural Park.

Access

Train: Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya from Barcelona (Plaça Espanya) and Manresa to Montserrat by Cable Car and Rack Railway, with stops at Olesa, Montserrat-Aeri and Montserrat-Monistrol Enllaç.

Vehicle: from Barcelona using the A-2, C-55 and C-58 and from Manresa the BP-1101 and C-55.

Information/Visitors Centers

Head for the top of the mountain and the sanctuary of Santa Maria de Montserrat.

The sanctuary of Santa Maria de Montserrat is a Benedictine monastery, founded in the eleventh century, that for almost a thousand years has provided service to the visitors who come to venerate the Moreneta (Black Madonna), the patron saint of Catalonia. If you wish to learn more about the monks’ special way of life, you can visit the “Inside Montserrat” Audiovisual Centre.

There is also the Montserrat Museum, which has some interesting art collections.

You can explore the Natural Park further by taking the Sant Joan funicular to the top of the mountain and visit the Nature information Centre there.

Other information points can be found in the towns of Collbató, El Bruc, Casa de Fusta de Marganell (weekends only) and Monistrol.

This fantastic website is packed with useful information about the area: https://www.montserrat-tourist-guide.com/en/attractions/montserrat-natural-park.html

The official website (In Catalan but with integrated Google translate) is here: https://muntanyamontserrat.gencat.cat/ca/inici/


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