As we planned our Barcelona itinerary we came across the beautiful Poblet Monastery, an ancient Cistercian monastery nestled in the mountains outside of the city, and immediately added it to our trip plans! The working 12th century Monastery is located about 90 minutes by car outside of Barcelona in the foothills of the Prades Mountains and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site (our obsession!). On a sunny July day, after a relatively short drive from Barcelona, we arrived at Poblet keen to check out the architecture and workings of the monastery. Read on for the lowdown on our visit to Poblet!
Visting Poblet Monastery
Arriving at Poblet
On a sunny July day we arrived bright and early for our visit and were informed that, as Poblet is a working Monastery, there is a requirement to join a tour to explore the monastery. Tours are relatively limited, taking place at 10am and 3pm on weekdays and 10:30am and 3pm on weekends on Public Holidays. Most are in Spanish although there are English tours offered during the high season. Due to timing constraints we opted to join a Spanish tour with an English guidebook but we had an excellent guide who explained as much as he could to us in English.
Tip: Poblet Monastery remains an active monastery since the 12th century and visits are restricted to guided tours only and limited to certain parts of the complex. You can wander around with the tour but you must move with the group from one area to the next.
The tour at Poblet
We gathered near the main gate with the other Poblet visitors and waited until our tour guide threw open the huge wooden doors leading into the monastery complex. We were led through the Poblet complex with the rest of our group.
Poblet monastery is best known for the stunning Gothic style cloisters that surround the main courtyard. The architecture and surroundings were truly beautiful and one of the highlights of our visit.
The Monks Quarters
The long and narrow dining hall with its polished floor is one of the most striking rooms on the tour.
The Church and Royal Tombs
The 12th Century church is at the centre of Poblet and many kings and queens of Aragon are buried at the Monastery. Peter the 4th of Aragon, a 14th century Aragon King made it a condition that all Aragon Kings be buried there and only one, the 16th Century King Ferdinand II of Aragon, broke his oath. Visiting the Church was the highlight of our time at Poblet and its interior is breathtaking. The intricate marble statutes adoring the Church walls took our breath away and the royal tombs were equally as compelling.
Poblet: a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Poblet Monestary was designated an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 due to the quality and untouched nature of the abbey.
Poblet was one of the highlights of our Barcelona trip. It was stunningly beautiful, the architecture was incredible and it was a total escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. We loved the opportunity to visit another UNESCO World Heritage Site and the opportunity to witness the goings on at a working monastery.The highlights were the sleek dining room, the intricate bell tower and the grande finale, the stunning Church.
Getting to Poblet
Public transport options from Barcelona include a bus or a train via Tarragona making it a lengthy affair. We rented a car at Barcelona airport and drove to Poblet as well as taking it on trips to Tarragona and Montserrat.
Where to stay in Barcelona
Barcelona has lots of hotel options across the city. For some luxury we love the Autograph Cotton House hotel with it’s boutique style, beautiful breakfast and the tiny outdoor area overlooking the city’s rooftops. The Hotel Jazz is another great option just two minutes from Las Ramblas.