Catalonia is one of the most fascinating regions in all of Europe, and Barcelona is no less interesting. Outside of Barcelona, however, is Montserrat, home to a monastery and the famous Morenita, the “Black Madonna” statue. If you’re visiting Barcelona, you should really take a day trip to this rugged mountain (Montserrat literally translates to “jagged”).
Montserrat’s ragged peaks and rocky outcroppings are an imposingly beautiful sight, and hiking this area is a must for outdoor enthusiasts. You can find hiking tours of the mountain as well as vehicle tours to the monastery. The monastery itself is worth the trip; it was said to have been the location for the Holy Grail, and the rock formations surrounding the church make it seem all the more mystical. You can also reach the monastery by the Montserrat Rack Railway.
If you’re exploring Montserrat, you’ll likely spend some time in Costa Brava. This stretch of Catalan coast has a reputation as one of Europe’s premier holiday areas, and the number of resorts speaks to this. While resorts and resort culture are prevalent, there are also a lot of smaller communities that have maintained their individual small-village charm. For example, the towns of Cadaques and Figueres were favorites of Dali and Picasso, and Girona has a number of Dali-related sights, including the Castle of Pubol.