When we started working on an itinerary for Barcelona, we were immediately tempted to try some wine tasting, considering the gorgeous surrounding mountain tops.
One quick search later and we came across the Castlexperience wine tours of Montserrat. All booked in for the 13th July, we made sure to have an early night, before making our way to the meeting point for 09:25, the bus station.
The coach doesn’t take off until 09:45, but they want you to arrive early as they head off pretty promptly at this time, so you don’t want to get left behind. You will find the Castlexperience stand on the first floor, section B, while you will meet the guides next to the coach.
Our guide for the day was Nerea, alongside two others who were on the coach leading the other bookings, meaning our group was around 12 people.
You depart for Montserrat on an airconditioned coach, which takes around an hour, while the guide will talk you through the history of the area and provide you with some interesting facts during the journey.
We arrived at the stunning Montserrat, with the surrounding mountains making for great photos, albeit we had to quickly duck into the shade as the heat was pretty intense.
This is where we took the amazing cogwheel train ride, taking you up the side of the mountain with breath-taking views. I love a train ride with a view, hence why we’re so fascinated about potentially visiting Switzerland, while this will go down as the best I’ve taken so far.
You don’t have to worry about getting tickets or knowing where you’re going, as your guide takes you from start to end. You take a different coach back at the end of the day, so make sure not to leave any goods on the coach if you take the trip.
Once you’ve taken the cogwheel train ride up, then you will have a guided tour of the Montserrat Monastery, as well as the surrounding area.
Some of the buildings under the rocky mountains were hotels, largely occupied by people on their honeymoon, as they opt for somewhere with a stunning view to spend their special days together, while the other big building was where the priests live.
There were candles lit by people making wishes, as well as notes written and placed into the wall cracks. We were given an hour to wander around, which is when we had the chance to take on a mini hike, taking ten minutes to offer some more scenic views, while there was an alternative 45 minute route, but in the 36 degree Celsius heat, we decided this might be a bit of a challenge.
The guide also gave us a ticket to try the local drinks at the gift store. I thought this would be a single shot, but it was actually a shot of four different drinks they sold, as well as a bakery treat. They didn’t push you to buy anything at all, however I fell in love with the hazelnut liquor and had to buy a bottle!
The guide had set a spot to all meet back up at 1:15, where we then headed off to where the coach was waiting for us, before we took a trip along the mountain side (again, if you’re scared of heights, you might want to take an inner seat so you don’t have to look down).
The coach trip was only around 10 minutes before we made it to the winery, where we were led into a large room with the tables all set out for us.
We received a three course meal, kicking off the a Spanish classic starter, the Gazpacho cold soup. Honestly, I’ve made Gazpacho before and I wasn’t a fan, but this was gorgeous, maybe I’m just a terrible cook!
Following the Gazpacho, we then received our main course, consisting of chicken, potato and asparagus, while the vegetarians received a meal with falafels.
I’m not much of a dessert person, I normally prefer savoury food, but I was really surprised by how much I loved the cake at the end. It was a sponge pudding with succulent cream. I found myself looking around for left-overs! Not that I was hungry after all this food, it was just the right amount.
We were also provided with a couple of glasses of wine, they recommended the white to start with and the red to match the main course, but I went for white wine with both, as I really enjoyed it.
Once the food had all settled, we got up and began roaming through the beautiful vineyards towards the wine tasting venue, which was picturesque.
We got to try three different wines, one white and two reds, while I preferred the second red personally. Nerea had a wealth of knowledge which she shared with us, talking us through the key differences and the tasting notes we could expect.
I realised I didn’t have quite the pallet of everyone else, who got hints of plums, peach, apple, pear etc, but it was great to hear it was subjective and a personal experience, as I’m still very much new to drinking wine.
We then had some extra time before heading off, so some ordered some glasses of wine and relaxed on the chairs, taking in the beautiful sights, others climbed the tower to get 360 views of Montserrat, while some also walked through the vineyard. We decided to do all three!
You could also order some bottles of the wine you tried from the bar area, all of which were traditional Catalan wine from the vineyard.
The coach then collected us and took us on the hour long journey back, pulling into Barcelona bus station (Barcelona Nord) for 7pm, before we headed off for dinner.