Monestir de Pedralbes – One of Barcelona’s Best Kept Secrets!

The Monestir de Pedralbes, Barcelona
The Monestir de Pedralbes, Barcelona

The Monestir de Pedralbes is a beautiful gothic monastery which was built in 1326 by Queen Elisenda in an effort to be forgiven for her sins. Some of the most famous architects of the time worked on the project including Ramon Despuig and Berenguer de Montagut who also designed the Bascilica de Santa Maria del Mar. So it should come as no surprise that the monastery’s church shares the same simple beauty that makes the so called “Cathedral of the Sea” so attractive.

The quiet, 3 story cloisters seem a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Barcelona. The building is generally considered to be one of the best examples of Catalan gothic architecture.

The Nave is beautifully simple and reminds me of the Bascilica de Santa Maria del Mar
The Nave is beautifully simple and reminds me of the Bascilica de Santa Maria del Mar
The Cloisters and Gardens of the Pedralbes Monastery
The Cloisters and Gardens
View from the upper levels of the Cloisters
View from the upper levels of the Cloisters

The monastery also houses an interesting museum which is divided into sections. Firstly there is the art collection which has been donated to the Monastery over the centuries. Largely by the wealthy families of nuns. There are also a couple of notable modern works, one of which is said to be the only example of Modernist religious art. Personally I think the painting of the Virgin of Montserrat and Santa Eulalia is quite special.

In addition to the cloisters, the murals in St Michael’s chapel, Queen Elisenda’s tomb and exhibitions explaining life in the monastery and how it is being restored. You can also see several of the nun’s day rooms and the kitchens. The monastery was still in use right up until the early 1980s and you can get an idea of how the nuns must have lived.

Finally, tucked away in the basement, there’s a quirky collection of models depicting stories from Jesus’ life…

Medieval carvings decorating a doorway opposite the monastery
Medieval carvings decorating a doorway opposite the monastery
Queen Elisenda's tomb (seen from the cloisters)
Queen Elisenda’s tomb (seen from the cloisters)
Approaching the Pedralbes Monastery
Approaching the Pedralbes Monastery
Painting of the Virgin of Montserrat and Santa Eulalia in the Monestir de Pedralbes
Painting of the Virgin of Montserrat and Santa Eulalia
A more typical religious painting in the monastery’s museum
A more typical religious painting in the monastery’s museum
This chest represents the Host and was used in Easter week celebrations
This chest represents the Host and was used in Easter week celebrations
Beautiful stained glass windows
Stained glass windows
The Nuns' Kitchen, Monestir de Pedralbes
The Nuns’ Kitchen
Simple chair design
Once again, simplicity at its best!
One of the models depicting scenes from the life of Christ
One of the models depicting scenes from the life of Christ

Location:

Baixada del Monestir No. 9,  Barcelona

How to get to the Pedralbes Monastery:

Take the FGC L6 to “Reina Elisenda” as you come out of the train station go up the stairs, turn right then follow the road until you see the stone cross. The Monastery is thru an arch on the right. It’s about a five minute walk, just past the US consulate.

Bus routes: 22, 63, 64, 75, 78 and Bus Turistic Blue Route

Opening hours:

October 1st  to March 31st:    Tuesday to   Friday 10:00 – 14:00
Saturday and Sunday 10:00 – 17:00

April 1st to September 30th:  Tuesday to Friday 10:00 – 17:00
Saturday              10:00 – 19:00
Sunday                10:00 – 20:00

Mondays CLOSED

Entry Fee:

Adults: €5
Reduced (students, over 65 etc.) €3.50
Children under 16 and Barcelona Card holders: FREE ENTRY
FREE ENTRY: Free of charge on Sundays after 3pm and all day on the first Sunday of each month.

Information in English?

Yes – There are English language audio-guides (rental charge €0.60) plus leaflets with English translations of the labels and information boards.

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