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 also acts as a royal palace, museum and school.
Commissioned by King Felipe II as a testament to Spain's devout Catholic faith, El Escorial was built in the 16th century after defeating the French in the Battle of Saint Quentin (with help from the heavens).
The highlights of the immense complex include the elegant basilica, the marble Pantheon de los Reyes, where many kings and their relatives are buried, and the Patio de los Reyes, the entrance to the monument.
Only 9 mi (15 km) from El Escorial is the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen). This monument was built under dictator Francisco Franco's direction to honor those who had died in the Spanish Civil War. He is also now laid to rest there in the basilica. Go to see the immense cross atop the mountain and marvel at the mosaics in the basilica - it's a moving experience for those on both sides of the war.
Tours & Tickets
Experience the grandeur of Spain on a guided half-day visit to El Escorial monastery and the Valley of the Fallen monument from Madrid. Discover why the ... Read more
Duration: 5 hours (approx.)
Pay less and get more on this Madrid Super Saver tour, which combines a visit to El Escorial Monastery with a half-day tour of Toledo. Spend the morning at El ... Read more
Duration: 11 hours (approx.)
The Madrid Super Saver combines two best-selling tours at a discounted price – becoming a fantastic day out. Experience the grandeur of El Escorial monastery, ... Read more
Duration: 7 hours (approx.)
Madrid Super Saver: El Escorial Monastery, Valley of the Fallen and Panoramic Madrid Sightseeing Tour
Combine two tours in one and see the best of the Spanish capital with a visit to El Escorial Monastery and a sightseeing tour of Madrid. This day trip takes ... Read more
Duration: 9 hours (approx.)