Great tour. Marc was a wonderful guide and this was an easy way to experience Montserrat. A few tips:
- Bring a hat and wear sunscreen. You'll be in the sun much of the day at both Montserrat and Oller del Mas.
- Make sure you're up for some walking. Our tour was made up largely of older travellers, and they had a hard time with all the walking during the day. There is a decent amount of walking around Montserrat and the winery, including some stairs at the winery.
- Sturdy walking shoes closed toe are recommended.
This tour was much larger than I thought it would be. There were three groups of 12 people each plus a guide that combined for the bus ride, so it was quite a lot of people and a big, touristy, but comfortable bus. Once at Montserrat, we broke into three groups and went our own ways. We met up again to ride to Oller del Mas, and then were separated into groups of 12 again. Personally, I like smaller groups and dislike large buses, so this was outside my comfort zone, but I still had a nice time on the tour.
At Montserrat, we were given a tour of the town and basilica. Then, we were given two hours of free time. I decided to walk out to St. Michael's Cross for a beautiful view of the town. Then, I returned to hear the boys' choir sing and checked out the local farmer's market. I had to move swiftly to accomplish all that, and there were many more things it would have been fun to do, including the funicular and seeing the black madonna. You should know that the line for the madonna is always long and time consuming, so doing that will leave you with not much time for anything else. Also, a huge crowd of people comes to see the boys choir at 1:00pm. Our tour left Montserrat at 1:20pm, so getting a spot for the choir and then trying to get out of the church halfway through the mass were both challenging. The walk out to St. Michael's Cross was wonderful, and I could have spent the whole two hours exploring the trails around Montserrat, with the lovely scenery and views.
The lunch at Oller del Mas was delicious, and there were multiple courses of food and wine. Lunch is served around 2:30pm, so plan breakfast/snack accordingly. You'll then walk all the way to the other side of the beautiful property to hear about the winemaking process and do some wine tasting inside the castle. We were served three different types of wine along with a little cheese. There was no hard sell to purchase the wine, although you can do that if you like. We returned to Barcelona about 7:30pm.
I loved Montserrat, and this tour was a really easy way to get out there and see the area. If you don't mind a large group and a reasonable amount of walking, I recommend the tour. It was a highlight of my visit to Catalonia.