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El Escorial
Madrid Connect > Travel > Day Trips > El Escorial

El Escorial

...50 km north-west of Madrid

El Escorial is a massive monastery located in the city of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Constructed under King Philip II to honor Saint Lawrence and accommodate the Spanish monarchy under the Hapsburgs, the massive structure now serves as a functioning church, mausoleum, library and art museum (featuring works by El Greco, Velazques, Ribera, Titian and Bosch). It is also a thriving tourist destination. El Escorial is huge, so be prepared to spend a good portion of the day walking and spending the time to see the exhibits. Also take time to wander through the streets of San Lorenzo or have lunch at one of its many quaint cafes.


Valley of the Fallen

Just 15min by bus from San Lorenzo de El Escorial lays the massive monument to honor the fallen soldiers of the Spanish civil war. Marked by the massive stone cross atop the mountain that overlooks the valley below, Valle de los Caidos also serves as the burial site of Spain’s former Dictator General Francisco Franco. Many Spaniards don’t like this monument because many feel it is more of a symbol of Franco’s brutal dictatorship rather than a monument honoring those who died in the war.


How to get there?

To get to San Lorenzo de El Escorial, take a train from Atocha or Chamartin stations or take a bus from Principe Pio. By car, take highway N-VI north-west of Madrid.

To get to Valle de los Caidos, take a bus from the bus station in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

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