In the Northwest of the Community of Madrid, 50 km from the city of Madrid, between mountains and rivers is this population that lived with King Felipe II, when the Spanish Empire reached its maximum splendor.

What to see and do in San Lorenzo del Escorial

  1. The Royal Monastery of El Escorial. An Impressive Palace and Monastery created at the time of splendor of the Spanish Empire full of works of art.
  2. El Valle de los Caídos (The Valley of the Fallen). This monument is only a 15-minute drive from the Monastery of El Escorial, and although it has been the subject of controversy, it is an interesting place to visit due to its impressive architecture and mountain location.
  3. The Sierra de Guadarrama National Park: This national park is a perfect place for hiking, mountaineering and other outdoor activities. It is located just a few kilometers from the Escorial Monastery and offers impressive views of the mountains and the local fauna and flora.
  4. La Casa de la Familia Franco: This mansion, located in the nearby town of El Pardo, was the place of residence of the dictator Franco’s family for many years. Today it has been converted into a museum that shows the life and history of the Franco family.
  5. The city of Segovia: Famous for its Roman aqueduct and impressive cathedral, this historic city is about a 30-minute drive from the Monasterio del Escorial and is an interesting place to spend a day exploring the history and culture of Spain.
  6. The city of Ávila: Another historic city that is worth visiting near the Escorial Monastery is Ávila, famous for its medieval walls and its Gothic cathedral. It is approximately an hour’s drive from the Escorial Monastery.

Royal Monastery of El Escorial

The Monastery of El Escorial is an impressive architectural complex located in the Spanish town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, in the Community of Madrid. Known as the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo del Escorial, it is considered one of the wonders of Spanish art and an important historical and cultural monument.

The monastery was built during the reign of Felipe II, between the years 1563 and 1584 and designed by the architect Juan de Herrera, it has a church, a monastery, a royal palace, a library, and various patios and gardens. The complex is built largely of granite and marble, and has an impressive collection of art, including works by El Greco, Velázquez, and Titian.

El Escorial Monastery was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, and today it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain, attracting visitors from all over the world who seek to admire its impressive architecture and learn more about the history. and culture of Spain.

Use Google Maps to find the Monasterio de San Lorenzo del Escorial.

The Valley of the Fallen (El Valle de los Caídos)

The Valley of the Fallen is a monument and monumental complex located in the Sierra de Guadarrama, about 50 kilometers northwest of Madrid, Spain. The monument was built between 1940 and 1959, during the Franco regime, to honor those who fell in the Spanish Civil War.

It is made up of a large rock-cut basilica, a Benedictine abbey, a crypt and a huge granite cross 150 meters high. The basilica has an impressive 40-meter-high dome and several side chapels decorated with mosaics and sculptures.

The Valley of the Fallen has been the subject of controversy due to its connection to the Franco regime and the fact that many of the workers who built the monument were political prisoners forced to work in extremely difficult conditions. In 2020, the Spanish government announced plans to exhume the remains of dictator Francisco Franco from the complex and transform it into a place of memory for victims of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime.

Valley of the FallenValley of the Fallen


Sierra de Guadarrama National Park

The Sierra de Guadarrama National Park is a natural park located in the center of Spain, in the Community of Madrid and in the province of Segovia. It was declared a national park in 2013 and is the fifth largest national park in Spain, with an area of ​​more than 33,000 hectares.

The park boasts an impressive variety of landscapes, from snow-capped peaks to lakes, rivers, forests, and mountain meadows. In addition, it is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora, including endangered species such as the Iberian imperial eagle and the Iberian wolf.

The park offers many opportunities for outdoor sports, including hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, and snowboarding. There are also many well-signposted routes and trails to explore the park, such as the Sendero de Gran Recorrido GR-10 and the Camino de Santiago de Madrid.

Among the most outstanding places in the park are the Cumbre de Peñalara, the highest peak of the Sierra de Guadarrama, the Laguna de los Pájaros, a high mountain wetland that is an important place for bird watching, and the Valley of la Fuenfría, a glacial valley that is a popular place for hiking and observing the local fauna and flora.


The authentic Madrid and mountain cuisine includes the best snails, potato omelettes and various sausages that will serve as appetizers. It is typical of the area to order a good stew from Madrid or enjoy roast meat.

Restaurante Charolés en San Lorenzo, España

Charolés restaurant in San Lorenzo

If you don’t have heavy digestions, you always have the option of ordering good cuts of grilled meat (mainly veal), or baked (in case you fancy suckling pig or lamb). Restaurants such as Charolés or Fonda Genara will give you the opportunity to taste gastronomic wonders, typical of this land.

Things to do in the City of Madrid

We recommend our generic post about the 10 most visited places in Madrid and visiting Madrid in one day.