Once just a sleepy little resort town 28 mi (45 km) northwest of Madrid, San Lorenzo de El Escorial now hosts thousands of tourists coming in throngs to see the famous royal monastery. In addition to being home to an order of monks, this attraction ... 

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5 star rating: Highly Recommended
February 2015

Impressed by the monuments both at El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen. Magnificent views from the Valley of the Fallen Monument. interesting tour of Toledo, a medieval city with a lot of walking on cobbled streets. Good guides.

Doing what: Madrid Super Saver: El Escorial Monastery and Toledo Day Trip from Madrid

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2015

What a day and what history these places give testament to. Not to be missed!

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

4 star rating: Recommended
February 2015

Very impressive sites. I enjoyed the tour very much.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

3 star rating: Worth doing
February 2015

The tour was efficient but the valley of the fallen part wasn't too informative.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
February 2015

We booked the Valle de los Caidos and El Escorial half day tour via Viator web site. We arrived at the office at 825, 20 minutes before our scheduled departure. The office was crowded with other customers being December and it was cold outside. We were handed our tickets and asked to wait for the guide. Our tour was announced, but they also said it included Toledo, which caused some confusion. Only after asking were we told this was indeed the correct tour and that some patrons would be continuing on to Toledo in the afternoon. The guides darted out the door with two busloads of people, there was no attempt to keep the group together. I'm young and fit and I even had a hard time keeping up and keeping track of our guide. Where were the signs? The bus was nice but again, no sign in the window describing which tour it was. We boarded and waited and waited and waited. 25 minutes. Then departure. The tour was supposed to be in English, but in fact it was in both Spanish and English. But here's the twist. As we drove the guide would mention the sites. The ratio: 1 minute in Spanish, 20 seconds in English. I honestly know we were missing some detail in the tour. :-) At our arrival at El Escorial, again, no organization as we walked to the monastery. Upon arrival, we were split into two groups (finally) English and Spanish and the tour got it's mojo back. (Despite what seemed like an endless wait in hallways. Here's the important note: BOTH sites are spectacular. A must see! Truly amazing. Just wish this tour had lived up to the quality we experience on a cruise ship tour or other Viator products.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
February 2015

We arrived at the requested time 8:30am to check in then waited until 9:10am for our guide to call the tour, which he did so quickly and quietly that I did not hear despite him walking right past us - I rushed into the tour office for confirmation then my 80 year-old father and I had to chase the group 2 blocks to catch up with them. We then waited another 15 minutes before the bus met us. All this standing unsheltered in the cold and drizzle. Upon arrival at the monestary, we met our local English guide who as good as ran up to the monestary so quickly we could not keep up. The tour was informative, she was very knowledgeable, but then discovered we could not enter the basilica for a tour as it was Sunday and said 'as we were informed', which we were not. Out of courtesty to everyone, tours should leave when indicated from the advertised location - this tour operator had several tours leaving at the same time and appeared completely unorganised with some people waiting even longer than we were.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
February 2015

Card was not worthwhile. Very costly and minimal benefit. Also It was a process to find a place to provide the Madrid card.

Doing what: Madrid Card

3 star rating: Worth doing
January 2015

worth buying only if you will use it to visit several museums on one day, otherwise just pay as you go.

Doing what: Madrid Card

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

Our tour was well-paced, with the proper amount of time allowed to both El Escorial and the Monument to the Fallen. Moreover, we had a terrific guide in Jorge, who spoke clearly and slowly in both English (which was excellent) and Spanish, and was patient with our questions. Also, the price seemed reasonable for the content of the tour. We're glad we went.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

Loved this trip, very informative, and tour guide was great.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

Wonderful trip. The guide was great. Would highly recommend.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

5 star rating: Highly Recommended
December 2014

An excellent tour and highly recommended.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2014

Big bummer that no pics were allowed inside El Escorial or inside Valley of the Fallen :/ But this was an awesome tour, a must-do if you are staying in Spain for an extended period of time. It was awesome to learn about Spain's history and see the tombs of so many Royals. It was also so amazing to see Franco's grave inside the VOTF Basilica, and know that thousands of soldiers were buried inside the cave. Like most others, I wish there was a bit more time to explore and take in the places, and it was a little bit pricey for my taste. But our tour guide Jorge was very knowledgeable and nice.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

J T
USA

3 star rating: Worth doing
December 2014

The tour visited both places, but the guide was unenthusiastic which made it less fun and interesting than it could have been. She just shepherded us from place to place and gave just summary information rather than interesting, enthusiastic communication. A better guide would have made for a much better trip.

Doing what: El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
December 2014

Worst trip we've done with aviator. Badly organised. Poorly thought through as regard to the route and when Viator was advised their response was "oh well, bad luck"! The free walking tour was much better.

Doing what: Madrid Super Saver: El Escorial Monastery and Toledo Day Trip from Madrid

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