We decided we really wanted to see Poblet while we were in Barcelona -- my wife is an architecture fan with a special fondness for the Romanesque, and we were told this was one of the most impressive examples of the type. And it is truly impressive, and located in beautiful hilly Catalan countryside. But you should know some things before you go.Poblet is a working Cistercian monastery and, for understandable reasons, they keep to fairly specific visiting hours. Check their website for details. Visits are by way of a guided tour, with a choice between a tour in Catalan and a tour in Castillian. If you speak English (or French etc.) they give you a helpful English (or French etc.) brochure and let you tag along with whatever tour is in progress. The unfortunate effect however is that you get all the downsides of group tourism without the upside of a tour in a language you understand. (Oddly, I can almost read Catalan, which is closer to French than Castillian and so with my French and bits and pieces of Latin and musician's Italian I can get much further than I expected. But hearing Catalan for the first time on this trip my oral comprehension approaches zero.)The morning tours start at 10:30. There is a cafeteria with a friendly (Catalan-speaking) staff who will serve Serrano ham sandwiches and German wheat beer for reasonable prices at lunch time. The real challenge is getting there from Barcelona without a car. If you have access to a car, the foregoing is everything you need to know and you can stop reading now. We didn't have a car and so we decided to take the train. This is possible, but there are some things you should know before you try this. If you want to get there for the morning tour you need to leave Barcelona on the early train (ultimate destination Lleida) which leaves Passeig de Gracia just before 7:00. This train follows the R2 Sud Rodalies line to San Vincens de Calders (spelling approximate) and then hangs a right and you meander through the beautiful Catalan countryside until you reach L'Espluga de Francoli train station (the train continues on to Lleida -- L'Espluga is the station after Montblanc if that helps). Key thing you need to know at this point is that the train station is about a 15-minute (or so) walk to the town and then the town is another 30 minute (or so) walk to the Monastery. (In total it's a bit less than 4 km through uneven terrain.) Whatever you do, BRING A MAP since the route from the station to the monastery is far from obvious. We got lucky and there was a taxi waiting for us, purely on the off chance that someone might want to use it, at the station. There are also phone numbers for taxis listed at the station. However I would not rely on this. The station is basically unstaffed so you are on your own.The other thing that could have completely derailed our trip (but by good fortune, did not) is that apparently not all the cars on our train were destined to make that right turn at St. Vincens. This was announced in Spanish only as we arrived at this station. By good fortune, (1) we were sitting in the front half of the train that was actually supposed to make the right turn toward Lleida and (2) the train conductor happened to be standing next to us and was able to confirm we were heading in the right direction. Worth your while to clarify this beforehand.You should know by the way that there are actually two routings toward Lleida from the mainline. One of them leaves the mainline at San Vincens and other goes all the way to Tarragona on the main line before branching off. The first involves less distance but the second has fewer stops so the actual travel times aren't that different. The early train presently (February 2015) follows the first routing which I think is probably the more scenic for what it's worth. Our 2:00 train back to Barcelona followed the second. The upshot is that it is perfectly possible to get to Poblet from Barcelona by train. But it is a bit of an adventure and you should know what you're doing. Hopefully the foregoing will be helpful in the knowing what you're doing department.
We had wanted to visit here for many years, and recently got the opportunity. The day before we had visited another Cisterian Monastry, which we think is was a much better visit, although one needs to remember Poblet is a working monastry. We visited in the afternoon arriving for the 3pm opening. After getting tickets we then had to wait 1/2 hour for a tour in Spanish to start, although we were not part of the official tour as we dont speak Spanish. The guide then proceeded to open parts of the monastry for us to visit, while locking the doors after us. The whole tour took about 3/4 of an hour and felt rushed and hurried, often with the lights been turned out before we had finished looking at the area. The Sapnish guide made no attempt to explain anything eventhough he spoke perfect English, he also would not answer the odd question we asked. Overall a totally disappointing visit in what is a beautiful surrounding.
You'll need to get here by car. It's gorgeous, an architectural masterpiece in the middle of the Catalan countryside. Absolutely recommended for anyone who is visiting Catalonia by car: a true must-see. Very popular among Catalan tourists, mostly from the Barcelona metropolitan área. You'll see a lot of French license plates as well in the parking lot.It's €10 to get in for a guided tour. I believe they are only available in Catalan and Spanish.You can find somewhere to eat in the nearby towns of l'Espluga de Francolí or Montblanc. Montblanc itself is well-worth a visit, a beautiful little town. Poblet is part of the Ruta del Cister, which also includes the monasteries at Santes Creus and Vallbona de les Monges, and you can get a discount ticket to visit all three.
A happy day with Winemakers Barcelona. Very Highly recommended Conca de Barberà & Costers de segre wine tour. I tasted amazing wines. I have visited wineries with roots in earlier generations. I have eaten Catalan food with the winemakers. I have visited Poblet, a wonderful medieval monastery and Unesco World Heritage Site. I really enjoyed it. Oh, and the whole trip with a spectacular blonde guide. Thanks Winemakers Barcelona.
On arrival you can immediately see the French influence of the Cistercian monks that founded this monastery in 1150. Transported back in time (with a little imagination) and a love of history, the grandeur and delicate detail of the stone carving is breath-taking. The monastery retains a real sense of peace and tranquillity. I had expected that the 'tour' would include some spoken highlights rather than just guiding you through with your own reliance on the pamphlet provided (albeit very informative). Make sure you have your camera with you and ideally combine with a visit to Montblanc where St George slayed the Dragon for a full day of history!
This monastery is located in very nice places which are covered by vineyards.Last entrance time is 6:00pm. There is enough parking space.
The frustrating aspect of a visit to this wonderful site is that it hints at what some of our destroyed English monasteries may have looked like - complete with a first floor. For anyone with a sense of history this place is awesome and I could not possibly do justice to it without turning the review into a travelogue.Put simply, we in the UK have nothing to compare with this medieval time-capsule.You will probably have to get onto a guided tour as I don't think private browsing is permitted. Difficult for wheelchair users to access upper floorWhen you have completed your tour there is a nice little bar across the road!
Huge Monastery so allow 1 - 2 hours to go round. Not quite what we expected from a monestery as it was much more grand and you could almost visualise it having been quite a handsome place to spend your life. Negative point - do not have audio in English nor guides in English. Considering majority of non Spanish tourists speak English - really feel they are losing out on potential income....
This is a lovely place which retains its timeless atmosphere thanks to the fact that you see into the chapels, the monks' rooms and the library. The rooms were beautifully arranged & polished, & the explanations in the brochure helped us see & feel what it must have been like. Well worth a visit, & is the sort of place you'd like to linger
After visiting the Monastery at Veruela, this one doesn't even come close in any way, shape or form.
The Monastery worth the visit, is really very interesting in a relaxing athmosphere but, in my opinion, doesn't worth the "Unesco Site"
We felt privileged to be welcomed into this beautiful piece of history that has been so carefully restored and maintained. Well worth the visit.
This monastery is well worth a visit. It's a little off the beaten track and you need a car to get there. I loved seeing the various chapels, the monk's rooms, the library where they copied Scripture. The brochure was helpful in understanding what you were seeing.
Monasterio had been given the ultimate in big budget restorations, and looked truly amazing. Also had an excellent coffee shop with freshly baked pastries, and a very reasonably priced popular restaurant
we had thoughtful and attentive service here....although did not opt for private tour, guide was available throughout. The spaces are remarkable.