Beyond Barcelona are spectacular and diverse landscapes. The most stunning of all is Montserrat, with its serrated profile, views, ancient monastery and holy shrine. South of Montserrat is el Penedes, a rough and dry region with an ideal climate for vineyards. The tour combines a visit to the modernista Codorníu Wine Cellars at the Penedès with the mystical experience of Montserrat.
Caves Codorníu (wine cellars)
Caves Codorníu’s vineyards and winemaking activities date back to 1551. Since then the Catalan traditional values have gone hand in hand with innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. They are the largest underground cellars in the world, where the first bottle of Spanish sparkling wine was produced in 1872 by the traditional method Champenoise (the same as French Champagne), it was named cava.Architecture and landscape, with Modernista-style buildings amidst rows of vines, provide a unique first impression when arriving to the Cathedral of Cava.
The Codorníu Cellars were created between 1895 and 1915 by the Modernista architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. It is one of the most important examples of how the Modernista architecture combined visionary designs with the practical needs of industries.It is the ideal place to follow the whole process from grape pressing to labelling the bottles. The wine ferments at least 9 months in a bottle, in the dark, still and at the constant temperature of the underground cellars. The visit to the vast cellars continues in a small electric train and ends with a taste of wine.
Montserrat is a mountain, a unique Natural Park, and a massive rock over 4000 feet high, visible for miles, with weird shapes and rounded peaks that jut into the sky; there are paths, stairs, caves, chapels and hermitages scattered over the mountain, extraordinary landscapes and wonderful views.Montserrat is a Benedictine monastery nearly 1000 years old, perched half way up the mountain and sheltered by its peaks. There is a basilica with the Chapel of Our Lady of Montserrat known as La Moreneta, the patron saint of Catalonia, and a presence strongly felt and revered. The community of monks also runs a boys’ school devoted to the study of music.
Montserrat is culture: a library of nearly 300,000 volumes; the oldest boys’ choir in Europe; a basilica full of paintings, gold lamps and decorated chapels, a museum with paintings by El Greco, Picasso and Dalí among many others and treasures from ancient Egypt.Picturesque Drive: along the Llobregat River to the foot of the spectacular Montserrat mountain (its name means serrated, a reference to its jutting peaks), a natural park, and then up to the Sanctuary 725m (2380 feet) above sea level. Your guide will entertain you with tales, history and legends of the mountain, the monastery and the shrine.
The return journey will be an alternative route accompanied by recordings of a variety of traditional Catalan music.Montserrat Monastery: guided orientation tour. On arrival to Montserrat your guide will give a tour to orient you to the main places of interest: monastery, basilica, museum with a marvelous collection of paintings, Stations of the Cross, as well as bars, restaurants, shops and home products market.Montserrat Basilica: Silence must be kept inside the church so your guide will give you explanations outside and show you Our Lady’s Chapel with the 12th Century figure of Our Lady of Montserrat.