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Montserrat and Sitger with small day tour vs just Montserrat on our own

Advice please:
We plan on taking a day trip to Montserrat and I need some help deciding what to do.
I thought we'd do the trip on our own as we usually do but I've been looking at a number of available tours to Montserrat one of which includes an afternoon side trip to the village of Sitger, the village is supposed to be beautiful. The cost for the tour, which includes, pick up at the hotel, the cable car and entrance fees is @ $90 pp. Do you think seeing going to Sitger is worth the extra money?

The €50 pp TOT Montserrat ticket includes rt Metro ride in Barcelona to and from the train station, the train trip, the cable car or rack railway, unlimited trips on the 2 funiculars and entry to the audiovisual prevention plus a self service lunch. There are many more combo tickets available as well, guess we need to decide what we want to see.

Thanks for you help and advice everyone!

Sue

Posted by
2151 posts

We did Montserrat on our own. It was easy. There is no entrance fee. I don't recall the transportation being all that expensive. We visited the monastery and also took the rack railway up to the top and did a lot of hiking. We had a picnic lunch which we enjoyed on the top of the mountain. There is a forum participant who provides great info on Barcelona. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I am providing you with a very helpful link to his info on Montserrat which includes a description, history, and transportation information.
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/spain/a-visit-to-montserrat-the-holy-mountain-near-barcelona-in-catalonia

Posted by
170 posts

Montserrat
We did it on our own in September 2018.
€42 pp for train + rack railway.
So, for you, I think the €50 pp is a good deal.

We chose the rack railway over the cable car as I love rack railways and the seating is much better. Also, I have ridden enough gondolas at ski areas.

Going off piste in this conversation, I would recommend the funicular + cable car for Montjuïc in "downtown" Barcelona.

Sitges
We spent 3 days/nights in Sitges in September 2018.
We loved it. It is a beach town of 28K population.
Small enough to walk the entire city as the entire north-south distance is about 4km.
Great pintxo places. I love pintxos.

Posted by
1384 posts

Do you mean Sitges? We took a tour to Tarragona that included Sitges in 2017 and really enjoyed both places. We were there in October so the town wasn't very crowded - but the beaches were beautiful. Our favorite memory of Sitges is ordering gin and tonics at a beach bar. We were the only customers. The waiter brought each of us a huge goblet full of gin with a little ice and a tiny bottle of tonic!

I would definitely say that Sitges is worth the extra $40, especially when you throw in pick up at your hotel.

Posted by
12053 posts

Sitges is easy to visit by train (30 minutes one way), and you'd have control of your own timing if you did your own thing. You wouldn't have to commit and pre-pay without knowing what the weather will be like. The same goes for Montserrat. There are reportedly nice walks to be taken. Will a tour allow you time to do that?

Posted by
1205 posts

We visited Montserrat on our own as well. Our choice was the funicular and it was very easy to follow the crowd from the train the the funicular. We also purchased the TOT Montserrat ticket and it was fine except we weren’t that impressed with the lunch. Also, if you are there when the choir is performing, it is a short (10 min.) performance and it was very crowded, so get there early if you want to see it.

Posted by
12053 posts

I believe you can buy a combo ticket that doesn't include lunch. I'm pretty sure Enric or one of our other local posters has recommended that in the past.

Posted by
2151 posts

At least when I was there two years ago, there was no admission to the abbey and you don't have to purchase a ticket that includes a meal. The only thing I purchased was transportation tickets. It's all outlined in Enric's info, but if you want to go to the top of the mountain, you will need to use the funicular. So you will need to purchase the ticket that includes it. I believe art museum and possibly the movie had an admission fee, but I had been told that they weren't essential to the trip and nothing really special. I think that also may have been in the RS guide as well. We spent a fair amount of time admiring the monastery and made use of the funicular for views and hiking. The museum and art museum would have used up precious time. A word about the hikes from the top of the funicular. Time estimates are provided as well as distance. We joked that while in Switzerland time estimates were based on seniors hiking at a moderate pace (I believe this is fact), the Montserrat time estimates were based on Olympic runners! We did stop to admire views and take pictures, but I'm fit and my daughters are young adults, and our time far exceeded the estimate. And you do have to keep track of time to make sure you get make the last cable car/train down. I also had packed a picnic lunch that we enjoyed from the top of the mountain.

Posted by
12053 posts

There are lots of jokes about the Swiss grandmothers whose walking times allegedly form the basis of the hiking-time estimates posted all over the country. They seem to be half mountain goat.

Posted by
2177 posts

Yes, of course, thank you Ann for pointing... indeed, get the TRANSMONTSERRAT combo instead, which is cheaper and doesn't include lunch.

The problem in Montserrat is that the food offer is "limited", in relation to the 2 million visitors it receives every year and the quality -except perhaps for the restaurant at the hotel, which is always full and it's pricey- is something much improvable :)

A good choice, given the breathtaking natural scenarios, is to have a picnic, as suggested in my post, mentioned by Jules at the top. There's an area with tables, but you can also stop elsewhere

Posted by
3482 posts

I'll admit that I haven't been there in 30 years, but I didn't see Sitges as a "village". It was an attractive, but fully-developed in a 1960's way, beach resort. It had a certain charm (such as selling tee shirts that were knockoffs of American local tee shirts), and lovely wide flat beaches. But it wasn't unique among beach towns. I remember that the water supply seemed to have a seawater invasion of the acquifer, even back then.

Posted by
12053 posts

I went to Sitges in 2016. It is a sort of artsy place and considerably larger than what I would call a village. There is at least one good museum. It loses to Cadaques in the whitewashed-fishing-village sweepstakes from the purely visual standpoint, but Sitges is easier to get to from Barcelona, and it has more specific things to do once you arrive, unless you just want to walk some pretty streets or your point in going to Cadaques is to take the 20-minute (?) walk to the Dali House in Port Lligat. I did really enjoy walking around the highly picturesque streets of Cadaques, though, and many tourists (travel time aside) might prefer it.

Posted by
1 posts

Sitges and Monserrat sounds like a lot to do in one day and visiting Montserrat is easy to do on your own. If time allows, consider spending the night. Overnighting at Monserrat was one of our most memorable Catalan experiences. The site is mobbed with tours during the day (we were there in May) but lovely and spiritual in the late afternoon and evening after the tours depart. While accommodations are not luxurious, they are comfortable. The monks have been welcoming guests for centuries and understand that a good night's sleep and something good to eat (and drink) lay the groundwork for a satisfying encounter with "La Moreneta". Another advantage to overnighting: You'll have a chance to explore some of the beautiful hiking trails in the nature park adjacent to the monastery.

Posted by
301 posts

One of the funiculars is closed until
2020-

Alerta.02/01/2019 00:00 - SANTA COVA FUNICULAR : Under rehabilitation tasks. Re-opening forecasted to be on 2020 1st quarter