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One of the monastery's noted attractions is the 50-member Escolanía, one of the oldest and most renowned boys' choirs in Europe, dating from the 13th century. At 1pm daily you can hear them singing "Salve Regina" and the "Virolai" (hymn of Montserrat) in the basilica. The basilica is open daily from 8 to 10:30am and noon to 6:30pm. Admission is free. To view the Black Virgin, a statue from the 12th or 13th century, enter the church through a side door to the right.

At the Plaça de Santa María you can also visit the Museu de Montserrat (www.museudemontserrat.com; tel. 93-877-77-77), known for its ecclesiastical paintings, including works by Caravaggio and El Greco. Modern Spanish and Catalan artists are also represented; you'll want to see Picasso's early El Viejo Pescador (1895). Works by Dalí and such French Impressionists as Monet, Sisley, and Degas are shown. The collection of ancient artifacts is quite interesting; make sure to look for the crocodile mummy, which is at least 2,000 years old. The museum is open Monday to Friday from 10am to 3pm, charging 7€ adults, 6€ seniors, and 4€ for children 17 and under and students.

The 9-minute funicular ride to the 1,236m-high (4,054-ft.) peak, Sant Joan, makes for a panoramic trip. The funicular operates about every 20 minutes daily from 10am to 4:30pm in low season and to 7pm in summer. The cost is 6.90€ round-trip. From the peak, you'll see not only the whole of Catalonia but also the Pyrenees and the islands of Majorca and Ibiza.

You can also make an excursion to Santa Cova (Holy Grotto), the alleged site of the discovery of the Black Virgin. The grotto dates from the 17th century and was built in the shape of a cross. You go halfway by funicular but must complete the trip on foot. The grotto is open daily from 10am to 1pm and 4 to 7pm. The funicular operates April through October, every 20 minutes daily from 10am to 5:45pm; and November through March, daily from 11am to 4:45pm. Note that it closes between 1 and 2pm. The round-trip fare is 3€.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.