Enhance your experience of two top Madrid region attractions on this half-day tour of El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caidos). Delve into the opulent beauty of El Escorial, a palatial and monastic complex home to a striking basilica and a marble pantheon, and then marvel at the Valley of the Fallen’s colossal cross, dedicated to lives lost in the Spanish Civil War. Hotel pickup in Madrid is included on this small-group tour, limited to 15 people.
Half-day trip to El Escoril and the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caidos) from Madrid
Tour El Escorial's 16th-century monastic and palatial complex, commisioned by King Felipe II
See highlights such as the basilica and an elaborate marble pantheon
Visit the colossal cross and the rock-carved basilica at the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caidos)
Your tour begins at your Madrid hotel, where you’ll board an air-conditioned vehicle in the morning. During the 1-hour drive to El Escorial, your guide details the 500-year-old history of the palatial and monastic complex, commissioned by King Felipe II. On arrival at El Escorial, you’ll embark on a guided tour and visit architectural highlights including the marble Pantheon de los Reyes, the final resting place of many Spanish monarchs, and the elegant basilica. The next stop is the Valley of the Fallen, a tomb and basilica complex featuring a striking monument dedicated to the lost lives of the Spanish Civil War. The memorial is surrounded by controversy due to the nature of its creation: your guide reveals the fascinating story during a tour. After absorbing spectacular views of the valley from a mountaintop perch, return to your vehicle and relax during the drive back to a drop off point in central Madrid.
Reviews by Viator travelers
Fabulous site; poor guide for English speaking tourist
, Jun 2019
These sites are not to be missed. Guide was bilingual and spoke in English and Spanish. Guide was not clear when spoke in English and English was not well spoken enough to be fully understood. Very disappointed.
The best part of the tour was the small group. They promised a maximum of 15 people in the group; there were around 10 in our group. There was one non-English speaking person in our group so the poor guide had to translate everything from Spanish to English. I guess there wasn't a lot of Spanish-speaking tourists on the day we went on tour (it was during Maundy Thursday). Despite this, I thought Pilar did a great job.
The tour had an amazing guide. His knowledge of the sites visited, the history of of the sites visited and the historical and religious figures that had an impact on them was exhaustive. His mastery of the facts was combined with a terrific personality. The El Escorial was a fantastic museum and the Valley of the Fallen gave a very dramatic picture of Spain's troubled recent history and the controversy created by this particular place. Highly recommended tour.
First the tour is good, we were picked up in our Hotel, the bus ride was great, beautiful green scenery along the highway, our tour guide speaks Spanish and English. I have a hard time to understand of what she was saying but I already researched the history of the Monastery and the valley of the Fallen, so no big deal. Its really an interesting place, the basilica is so cool.
Excellent little day trip that doesn't take the whole day...
, Sep 2018
and you get back in Madrid just about the time restaurants have opened for lunch! It was great to see the environs a little north and west of Madrid, much greener that one would expect from seeing the city only - lots of pines. Anyway, you tour a small part of this huge structure, but the most important points including the pantheon, the chapel, and what were the private quarters of Phillipe II. Note, it is very austere by design of Phillipe II, so don't expect a lot of ornamentation and furnishings, but I care more about the architecture personally. The Valley of the Fallen was beautiful as observed from the elevation of the Basilica in which Franco is currently buried. The Basilica was also architecturally interesting. Note the Spanish Parliament has voted to exhume and move Franco's body to a location - as yet to be determined as of this date - by the family. I wanted to see his first resting place before the remains are moved - this is not a sign of support for his behaviour. The guide was good, could have been a little more energetic. The biggest negative was that the audio boxes you hang around your neck and plug in earphones seemed to be of poor quality. I'd highly recommend that Trapsatur, the local tour operator of this tour, check them out. There was a tremendous amount of popping and crackling going on that interfered with the audio. I think this was emanating from the guide's handset. This by no means ruined the trip and I'd still recommend it. The one thing missed on the trip was what must have been gardens as you could see them from the windows, but we did not visit them. Perhaps these are restricted as this is still an active Monastery.
The tour delivers exactly as advertised - visits to Escorial and Valley of the Fallen. It would have been too complicated to try to figure out public transportation to these places. Enough time was given to explore each location. The guided tour of Escorial was informative.
If you are an English-speaker like me, maybe you should go over other options before taking this tour. The one guide we had was “bilingual”, but I felt that the English explanations were often not as detailed as the Spanish ones. (I understand basic Spanish though not enough to go on Spanish tours)
El Escorial was a lot of steps - up and down so if steps are an issue be very aware there are a lot.
The Valley of the Fallen was the highlight for me as it was amazing when you get inside - I just thought it was a memrial outside with the amazing cross and the buildings but wait until you enter - It was not expected and it was fantastic.
Really worth the trip.