In the north-west of the Comunidad de Madrid, fifty kilometres from the city of Madrid, lies this town that thrived during King Felipe II’s reign, when the Spanish Empire was at its peak.
It is surrounded by mountains and rivers.

What to see and do in San Lorenzo del Escorial

The Royal Monastery of El Escorial

An Impressive Palace and Monastery was created at the time of the splendor of the Spanish Empire, full of works of art.

Valle de los Caídos

The Valley of the Fallen, located just a brief 15-minute drive from the Monastery of El Escorial, is an intriguing destination to explore thanks to its awe-inspiring architecture and mountainous setting, despite being embroiled in controversy.

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.

Casa de la Familia Franco:

This mansion, located in the nearby town of El Pardo, was the place of residence of the dictator’s family for many years.
Today, it has been converted into a museum that shows the life and history of the Franco family.

Segovia, the historic city

Is renowned for its Roman aqueduct and impressive cathedral. It is located about a 30-minute drive from the Monasterio del Escorial and offers an interesting destination for exploring the rich history and culture of Spain.

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.

It 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.

Monastery of Escorial was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
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)

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.

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.

Most important, 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.

In addition, 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.

Gastronomy

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 digestion, you always have the option of ordering good cuts of grilled meat (mainly veal) or baked meat (in case you fancy suckling pig or lamb).
Restaurants such as Charolés or Fonda Genara will give you the opportunity to taste the gastronomic wonders typical of this land.

Things to do in the City of Madrid

We recommend our generic post about 10 places of tourism in Madrid and visiting Madrid in one day.

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