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Things to do in

San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Our most recommended things to do in San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial Entrance Ticket

1. Royal Site of San Lorenzo de El Escorial Entrance Ticket

Enjoy a visit to the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and discover the ideological and cultural aspirations of the Spanish Golden Age. See how Italian and Flemish artistic forms blend together and learn of the era of Philip II. Explore the building that houses several different purposes. First, the monastery of San Lorenzo el Real was created for the monks of the order of St. Jerome. Explore around and learn of Emperor Charles V and his wife who once lived there. Experience the untouched layout of the building, which to this day is largely unaltered. From the Library to the palace, walk through and find the Basilica, erected in 1574, and ponder the artwork that took years to complete.

San Lorenzo de El Escorial: Monastery and Site Guided Tour

2. San Lorenzo de El Escorial: Monastery and Site Guided Tour

Visit the Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and travel through the history of Spain to the reign of Philip II. Admire this Renaissance marvel and learn from your local guide the ideological and cultural aspirations of the Spanish Golden Age. Discover the interior of this imposing building built in the 16th century. Explore the basilica, the Battle Hall, the pantheon, the palatial rooms, and other essential places of the monument. Also, visit the famous library of the Royal Monastery whose volumes were collected by Philip II to expand his humanistic knowledge. After two hours of unveiling the mysteries of this grill-shaped monastery, finish the guided tour next to the entrance.

Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

3. Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

Leave Madrid in the morning and travel 50 minutes to San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Visit the baths upon arrival and then begin the tour of the San Lorenzo Monastery. Learn the long history of Spain, specifically the reign of Felipe II. See the building that best summarizes the ideological and cultural aspirations of the Spanish “Golden Age” and is named a World Heritage Site. See places like the Patio de Reyes, Cloister, Chapter Rooms, The Basilica (except on Sundays), The Pantheon of Kings and Infants, and the Royal Rooms. Travel to the Valley of the Fallen located in the Peña de Cuelga Muros after leaving San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Visit its surroundings and the basilica carved into the rock, and the burial place for 33,847 people who died in the Spanish Civil War. Be amazed by the great granite cross that is visible from kilometers away.

From Madrid: El Escorial and Basilica of the Valley Day Trip

4. From Madrid: El Escorial and Basilica of the Valley Day Trip

After meeting with your guide, get away from the bustle of the city on a comfortable air-conditioned coach. At the first stop, enjoy a guided tour through the Royal Monastery of El Escorial, an architectural ensemble declared World Heritage site by UNESCO. Built in the 15th century, it is a symbol of the power of the government at the time. Learn about the impressive Royal Mausoleum and the story behind the 21 years of construction time. Marvel at the symmetry of the Renaissance-style building. Listen to your guide's commentaries as you explore the Habsburg Palace, the Chapter House, the Basilica, and the remarkable library.  Then, board your bus again for a short drive to the Valley of the Fallen. The site is located 9 kilometers away from El Escorial, in Sierra de Guadarrama. This enormous monument, built between 1940 and 1959, is carved into the mountain, 1,350 meters up. An impressive 150-meter-high cross stands over the magnificent nature reserve of Madrid’s mountain range, which can be seen from miles away.

Madrid: Escorial, Valley of the Fallen, Segovia with Lunch

5. Madrid: Escorial, Valley of the Fallen, Segovia with Lunch

Leave Madrid and head to the beautiful Valley of the Fallen, declared a National Heritage Site. Tour the amazing location and discover Spain of the 20th century. Have the special chance to admire the largest Christian cross in the world.  Following, visit El Escorial, the most important architectural monument of the Spanish Renaissance, and learn about Spanish royalty. Immerse yourself in the historic atmosphere of the place before following your expert guide into the heart of Segovia. Visit the aqueduct and the areas of the convents, along the way listening to stories and legends that span back to the centuries before the Muslim conquest. Discover the most emblematic places of the city, its history, its hidden corners and anecdotes, and its main monuments such as Alcazar of Segovia or the Cathedral. Following this cultural pitstop, discover Spanish gastronomy, settling down at a traditional restaurant for a famous Cochinillo Segoviano (suckling pig). The suckling pig has had a constant presence in the culture and cuisine of Segovia. Learn the tastes, recipes, and tradition of preparation across different countries and you may arrive to the conclusion that Segovia's version is the most surprising of them, due to its simplicity and natural cooking approach.

Madrid: Toledo and El Escorial Full-Day Coach Tour

6. Madrid: Toledo and El Escorial Full-Day Coach Tour

Begin your tour in El Escorial. This was the symbol of the Spanish power in the 16th-century and commemorates the battle of St. Quentin. It is also mausoleum for Charles V. Due to the symmetry and balance of its construction, according to the humanist Renaissance style, for years it had been considered for years the eighth wonder of the world. Explore Habsburg Palace, the Kings and Princes Mausoleum, the Chapter House, and the Basilica. Next, 9 kilometers away from El Escorial, discover an enormous monument built between 1940 and 1959 to honor the fallen during the Spanish Civil War.  The basilica is carved into the mountain at 1,350 meters where an impressive 150 meters high cross places itself over the magnificent landscape of Madrid’s mountain range. Discover the City of the Three Cultures, 70 kilometers from Madrid. Toledo is a beautiful city-museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the oldest towns in Europe and has great artistic beauty with buildings from almost all periods in history including Arabian, Gothic, Mudéjar, Renaissance, and Baroque style. Visit the outside of the Cathedral and the interior of the Sto. Tomé Church with The Burial of the Lord of Orgaz, a masterpiece by El Greco. Explore the interior of the Synagogue of Santa María la Blanca and the interior of the incredible monastery of San Juan de Los Reyes. Go to see a demonstration of the famous technique of damascened, inlay of precious metals in steel and forging of swords. Finish your tour with a panoramic sightseeing tour of Toledo and stop at a viewpoint for breathtaking views of the city where you can take the best pictures of Toledo.

From Madrid: El Escorial, Valley of the Fallen, & City Tour

7. From Madrid: El Escorial, Valley of the Fallen, & City Tour

See the largest Renaissance building in the world at the El Escorial monastery on this tour in Madrid. Go to where the dictator Francisco Franco was once buried at the Valley of the Fallen. Take a drive to the key key sights in Madrid with a local guide. Be picked up from your hotel in Madrid by your driver. Relax on the trip to the El Escorial monastery that was built by King Philip II. Explore this massive complex that is a monastery, hospital, royal palace, pantheon, library, university, museum, and basilica. Next, continue to the Valley of the Fallen that is a catholic basilica and a monument where national figures have been laid to rest. Take a look at the artwork at this site where 40,000 people have been buried. Listen to your guide tell you about the Spanish Civil war. Ride through Madrid and see the top sights before heading back to your accommodation.

Top sights in San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Other Sightseeing Options in San Lorenzo de El Escorial

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What people are saying about San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 723 reviews

Great experience. Our guide, Cristina, was very accessible and explained clearly throughout the tour. The tour started at the agreed time and was done in a timely manner. The group was small and everyone showed interest in the explanation. The truck was clean all the time and the transfer was carried out comfortably. I highly recommend it.

Really enjoyed this tour, the Monastery tour was kept at a good pace and interesting, Isabella was our English guide. The Valley of the Fallen, tour portion was a bit rushed because there was a wedding that day. The Basilica was fascinating, one of a kind. Enough time to explore and take photos, outside only.

Christina very informative, organized and accommodating. She moved so easily between Spanish and English. The two sites on this excursion were wonderful to see. Wish we could have stayed longer at both.

Well organized and very engaging tour. Cristina is a more than competent guide.

A very interesting trip. I did not expect him to make such an impression on me.