56km (35 miles) NW of Barcelona, 592km (368 miles) E of Madrid
The monastery at Montserrat, which sits atop a 1,200m-high (3,936-ft.) mountain, 11km (7 miles) long and 5.5km (3 1/2 miles) wide, is one of the most important pilgrimage spots in Spain. It ranks alongside Zaragoza and Santiago de Compostela. Thousands travel here every year to see and touch the medieval statue of La Moreneta (the Black Virgin), the patron saint of Catalonia. Many newly married couples flock here for her blessing.
Avoid visiting on Sunday, if possible, as thousands of locals pour in, especially if the weather is nice. Remember that the winds blow cold up here even in summer, so visitors should bring along warm sweaters, jackets, or coats. In winter, thermal underwear might not be a bad idea.