4 star rating: Recommended 354 Reviews

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  • Location: Madrid, Spain
  • Duration:  5 hours (approx.)
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 Baroque-style El Escorial complex was considered the eighth wonder of the world, and admire the poignant sculptures of the Valley of the Fallen monument, erected in memory of the millions who died in the Spanish Civil War. You’ll gain insights into Spain's intriguing history at these symbolic monuments, reflecting the Spanish monarchy, church and 20th-century conflict, and have the option to include a half-day city tour of the highlights of Madrid.

Highlights

  • Morning tour of El Escorial monastery and Valley of the Fallen from Madrid
  • See royal tombs and ornate artworks on a guided tour of El Escorial monastery
  • Tour the Pantheon of Kings and basilica
  • Visit the poignant Valley of the Fallen monument to those who perished in the Spanish Civil War
  • See cultural treasures and learn interesting details about Spain’s often turbulent history
  • Option to include a half-day Madrid sightseeing tour

Recent Photos of This Tour

What You Can Expect

El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

Visit the Valley of the Fallen

Departing Madrid by air-conditioned coach, travel to the Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the Spanish monarchs’ historical residence and royal monastery, 28 miles (45 kilometers) northwest of Madrid. Your guided tour reveals the history behind this massive, regal complex of buildings, celebrated for their architectural perfection and a striking symbol of 16th-century Spanish power.

Your tour of the World Heritage-listed royal complex takes you to the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo El Real, built by King Philip II to house the remains of his parents, Charles I and Isabella of Portugal. The tour guides you through the monastery’s basilica, with its important religious relics, highly decorated altar and Baroque dome inspired by St Peter’s in Rome.

Your guided tour of El Escorial also takes you to the austere but grand palace and the royal mausoleum known as the Pantheon of Kings, home to the marble tomb of Charles V, the first king of Spain. For insights into the construction of El Escorial, browse the Architecture Room’s collection of architects’ and builders’ equipment dating back hundreds of years. Visit the Weapons Room to see ornate armaments, and admire painted frescoes in the highly decorated library.

Your tour continues from El Escorial to the Valley of the fallen, 6 miles (9.5 kilometers) to the north. Admire the vast basilica built into the side of a mountain, topped by a gigantic granite cross that towers 150 meters (500 feet) high and dominates the landscape. The monument was built by the Spanish dictator General Franco to commemorate the dead of Spain's Civil War.

Take a guided tour inside the austerely modern basilica, with its vaulted crypt and sculpted angels, then look out from the surrounding esplanade of arches to admire the spectacular valley countryside surrounding the complex.

Relax on the scenic return journey to Madrid, where your tour ends in the early afternoon, or where you'll continue your day of sightseeing on a guided 2.5 hour city tour highlighting Madrid’s famous monuments and landmarks (if upgrade option selected).

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended August 2015

The trip and tour guide were very good. The landscape is very picturesque and both the monastery and the tomb of Franco are well worth visiting.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

The tour was excellent. The location was convenient and easy to find. The bus was very comfortable. The tour guide was excellent. Well educated, friendly, helpful. We had a wonderful time. Hard to imagine visiting Madrid without experiencing this monument. No better way to do it.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

Excellent very informative.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended July 2015

So much history!!!! I learned a great deal about the Spanish Civil War.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Awesome must see

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Great tour. Learnt so much more about El Escorial. Would have been nice to have a little more 'free' time after the tour of the monastery. Valley of the Fallen moving, as always. Excellent, knowledgeable guide and good clean transport.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended June 2015

Enjoyed both parts of the Escorial and
Valley of the Fallen tours. We did tack on the 3 hour tour of Madrid in the afternoon. That was not as good as the hop off and on tours

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2015

Well worth doing. Excellent guide and informative. Franco's basilica at Valley of the Fallen very disturbing but a must see. Hard to imagine that people actually worship in this austere forbidding environment. Would be a much too long day to add Toledo onto the afternoon.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

Amasing

5 star rating: Highly Recommended April 2015

This is a trip worth taking. You can see the enormous cross on the mountain at the Valley of the Fallen from a great distance, and the basilica is built into the mountain and very unique. Our guide was Claudia, and she had Spanish, English, and French tourists to keep informed. She handled it like the professional she is and could go from Spanish to English to French without hesitation. This trip also included the El Escorial Monastery, which is still in use as a monastery and a school. The highlight there was the room where the former kings and queens of Spain are laid to rest though the entire tour was enlightening and enjoyable.

From USD $ 73.21

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Tour code: 2140JTEMA09

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