Discover Spanish history on a guided half-day visit from Madrid to the monastery of El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen monument. Accompanied by a guide, delve into the history of the religious El Escorial complex and discover why it was considered the eighth wonder of the world. Then see the sculptures at the Valley of the Fallen monument built to honor those who died during the Spanish Civil War.
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 Valley of the Fallen monument for those who perished in the Spanish Civil War
See cultural treasures and learn about Spain’s history
Depart from Plaza Ramales in central Madrid in a comfortable, air-conditioned coach and look out on the Spanish countryside as you travel 28 miles (45 km) northwest to the Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Get acquainted with the history of the regal structure along the way as your guide offers commentary on a striking symbol of 16th-century Spanish power. Begin your tour of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed wonder at the monastery, the final resting place of Charles I and Isabella of Portugal. See the religious relics of the basilica and the Baroque dome. Next, venture to the grand palace known as the Pantheon of Kings. Pay your respects to the marble tomb of Charles V and browse the collection of building equipment in the Architects Room for insight into construction processes of the 16th century. See vicious arms in the Weapons Room, and the frescoes in the library. Continue to the Valley of the Fallen to visit a vast basilica carved into the side of a mountain. Capture a photograph of the colossal granite cross that tops the structure and learn its origins from your guide. Head inside to tour the vaulted crypt replete with sculpted angels and then check out the views of the surrounding countryside from the arches. Return to your vehicle and take in more gorgeous scenery on the return journey to Madrid.
We saw most of what was open for visitors at the Escorial (the chapel was closed as it was Sunday). However, the frescoes at the top of the stairs at the beginning of the tour were skipped because another group was there, but we never went back after they moved on. Also, one of the most important features, the library, was skipped. The Valley of the Fallen tour was good, even though there were hoards of visitors there wanted to see Franco's grave for the last time.
This was an excellent tour. Our bi-lingual guide Manuel was great entertaining, interactive and informative all the while switching between Spanish and English. The Monastery with its Mausoleum was fascinating, the tour was a decent length and unhurried. When we got to the Valley of the Fallen we were only there for about an hour, which may seem short but we felt it was enough time. It's well worth a visit.
As a couple interested in royalty and history, this tour was great for us. It’s not too far away from Madrid (45 mins one way). Easier to just take a tour than to figure out how to get from El Escorial to the Valley of the Hidden. The cathedral in the monastery is beautiful! Unfortunate though that the funicular going up to the cross at the Valley of the Hidden is no longer functioning. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and switched back and forth between speaking in English and Spanish. The tour didn’t give us much time to have lunch so make sure you have a heavy breakfast before going. They also will not allow you to eat (even snacks) in the bus. All in all it was a fun tour!
Great Tour Guide and Great Tour, well worth the money loved that our Tour guide had patience with the group and also asked if we all spoke Spanish that way she did not repeat more then once the history portion the guide also made sure of making sure her group was together!
Our guide for El Escorial Monastery was very knowledgeable and entertaining. He gave us a wealth of information about the monastery, its contents, and Spanish history. The Valley of the Fallen was a sobering experience and represented an entirely different historical period.. All-in-all, the day left us with a better understanding of Spain and its past.
The Monastery and the Valley were extremely important sites to see.
I was very interested in them despite the terribly cold and windy and snowy day that we went on the tour. As I read the other reviews for this tour, I saw well organized and well appointed and knowledgeable, and I agree with that. I did, however, feel a sincere lack of heart from our guide. She was very intelligent, and when I had the opportunity to look into her eyes, she would smile back, and I felt engaged, but that was the only time. It could have been the day, the cold, the group size, something personal, but the entire trip was quite cold, and not just because of the weather. If we had not gone on another Viator tour the night before, we perhaps would not have had the idea that this would be an engaging day, but...we did. If you are extremely interested in these sites, DEFINITELY go. If you feel like you MIGHT be interested if your guide is engaging, perhaps our guide would not be the one for you. We lost a member on the tour, he was older and a bit slower walking than the rest of us. Carmen - I believe her name was - was NOT walking fast, but also was not looking back to see if we were all accounted for, nor really paying attention to us at all. If you have ANY issues walking 75 steps in a row, consider a different tour, as some of the older folks on our tour were a bit uncomfortable with all of the walking, and by the time 22 folks get up 75 stairs, the guide was often already two rooms further into the tour. It was not a bad tour, but there was not much personal attention paid at any time to any person. I feel that was an unfortunate oversight.
I also do not remember seeing much in the way of a walking disclaimer...there were folks with canes coming onto the tour and I wondered how the heck are they going to make it through this place?
We also happened to be taking the tour as the country of Spain sprung ahead and there was NO mention of that on the website when we booked the trip. As the tour met at 8:45 am in the morning which became 7:45 am with daylights savings time, it would have been extremely helpful to have had that information pop up on the calendar when we were booking the tour. That should not have been very hard to do, and since most of the tours seemed to be stocked by persons from other countries, most would have had no idea while booking that that day was daylights savings... Had we missed the tour we would have had to forfeit 150. I just found the lack of forethought and customer service distressing.
Very nice tour of the monastery followed by Valley of the Fallen. It is easy to get to the tour office by bus/taxi. They run everything professionally and on time. The tour guide was well-informed. There is a little walking to get to both places from the bus parking lot. So if you are going in winter like we did, be careful of the snow and ice on the footpaths. Other than that, you should have a great time.