- These two sites - the imposing El Escorial (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and the Valley of The Fallen - are historically significant sites that tell us about the Spanish people, and offer spectacular views of the countryside.
- El Escorial was built as a vast monastery-palace by the stern Phillip II in the late 1500s. Explore Phillip’s living quarters, the church where he prayed and view the gilded sarcophagus of his beloved father, Charles V.
- Take in the world’s largest memorial cross as you approach the Valley of the Fallen and once there, ramble through the monumental basilica that is hewn into the Sierra Guadarrama mountain range itself.
This half-day tour will take you out of Madrid and deep into Spanish history. You’ll visit the imposing El Escorial (a UNESCO World Heritage site) built by Phillip II in the 1500s, and also visit The Valley of The Fallen. There you’ll see a profound and expansive memorial to those who died during the Spanish Civil War, and magnificent views of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountain range.
El Escorial sits at the foot of Mt. Abantos and it’s a rugged site for a vast, imposing monument. On the inside, though, you’ll first be surprised by the human feel of Phillip’s living quarters. He was famously pious and you’ll find low ceilings (for a palace!), bare-bones chandeliers, and plain-white walls. You’ll even see his modest bed (not even queen-size!).
After that, things grow in exuberance. The Royal Pantheon is the gilded resting place of 400 years of Spanish monarchs. There are 26 marble-and-bronze sarcophagi but only 23 of them contain a dead king – the other three are waiting for current and future monarchs to pass!
The basilica is the architectural heart of the building and reflects Phillip’s soaring faith in God - the dome peaks almost 100 meters above the floor. The library houses over 50,000 ancient books but is as famous for the color and art bursting from the tapestries on the walls and the paintings by El Greco, Velázquez and Rubens.
Five miles away is the Basilica of The Valley of The Fallen. It’s 262 meters long and cut into the Guadarrama mountain range itself. Inside you’ll find the monument to those who died in Spain’s civil war, and outside you’ll find splendid panoramas of the surrounding nature.
Calle San Nicolás 15, 28013
- Air-conditioned motorcoach
- Multilingual official guide: tour guaranteed in English and Spanish
- Entrance to the Royal Monastery of El Escorial
- Entrance to the Valley of the Fallen and the Basilica
- Food and beverages
Go to Julia Travel Office (located at Calle San Nicolás, 15, 28013 Madrid) and trade your voucher for a ticket.
- Metro: L2 and L5, stop Opera
Daily at 08:45. Make sure you arrive 15 minutes prior to departure time.