Montserrat is one of the greatest symbols of Catalonia, that from being a religious centre has become a bastion of Catalan identity, without ignoring the natural environment and its characteristic morphology and structure of rounded and abrupt rocks and needles.
Its peculiar appearance, perfectly visible from many miles around in the centre of Catalonia, together with the presence of the monastery where the image of the Moreneta is worshipped, has made Montserrat an undoubtedly emblematic mountain. Even its origin is object of a legend, sung in the Virolai hymn, which tells that it was the angels who used golden saws to shape the high hills.
The massif, some 10 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide, reaches the limits of the regions of Bages, Baix Llobregat and Anoia, and 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).
The highest peak of Montserrat is Sant Jeroni (1,236 metres), from which the most incredible views of most of Catalonia can be enjoyed, from the Pyrenees to the sea. Els Ecos, el Cavall Bernat, els Frares Encantats y les Agulles son algunos de los picos más destacados de Montserrat.
La vegetación montserratina, bastante frondosa en rellanos y canales, está marcada por la fuerte presencia de encinares, con un sotobosque húmedo donde proliferan arbustos y lianas. Robledas y pinares y un gran número de especies de arbustos completan la flora del parque natural.
Montserrat does not have a particularly rich fauna due to the human presence, which has led to the disappearance of the larger species, accelerated by the fire of 1986. The animal population on Montserrat is typically Mediterranean, with mammals such as wild boar, squirrels, beech marten, common genet, Spanish ibex (which were introduced in 1995), various species of reptile, numerous rock-dwelling birds (such as the swift, crag martin or the warbler) and forest-dwelling birds (thrush, firecrest, pigeons and Orphean warbler).
Apart from the natural interest, the mountain of Montserrat has a large number of places of architectural interest, such as the monastery itself, which is an exceptional centre of pilgrimage in the Catholic world and is located on the eastern part of the massif.
Catalan hiking and climbing has traditionally taken the Montserrat mountain as a place for initiation. The whole mountain is criss-crossed with numerous paths and trails for hiking and routes for all levels, with various GR trails (4, 5, 6 and 172) that meet in the nature reserve.
With regard to climbing, Montserrat is known as the Catalan climbing school of reference, as a large number of conglomerates of rock enable extremely difficult routes to be opened, as well as other easier levels. In total, hundreds of routes in over twelve different sectors for all types of climbers.
Finally, caving can also be found on Montserrat with interesting caves, such as the famous Salnitre cave, in the set of Collbató caves, a reference within Catalan caving that can currently be easily visited, as it has lighting and is equipped.
How to reach the mountain has now become an interesting activity. The historic rack train from Monistrol to Montserrat, founded in 1892, was restored in 2003 after almost half a century in disuse. On the other hand, the Sant Joan and Santa Cova cable cars offer aerial views of the massif.
All the information about the Muntanya de Montserrat Nature Reserve can be found in the Montserrat.