El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid

Experience the grandeur of Spain on a guided half-day visit to El Escorial monastery and the Valley of the Fallen monument from Madrid. Discover why the Baroque-style El Escorial complex was considered the eighth wonder of the world, and admire the poignant sculptures of the Valley of the Fallen monument, erected in memory of the millions who died in the Spanish Civil War. You’ll gain insights into Spain's intriguing history at these symbolic monuments, reflecting the Spanish monarchy, church and 20th-century conflict, and have the option to include a half-day city tour of the highlights of Madrid.

What You Can Expect

Visit the Valley of the Fallen
Visit the Valley of the Fallen

Departing Madrid by air-conditioned coach, travel to the Royal Seat of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the Spanish monarchs’ historical residence and royal monastery, 28 miles (45 kilometers) northwest of Madrid. Your guided tour reveals the history behind this massive, regal complex of buildings, celebrated for their architectural perfection and a striking symbol of 16th-century Spanish power.

Your tour of the World Heritage-listed royal complex takes you to the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo El Real, built by King Philip II to house the remains of his parents, Charles I and Isabella of Portugal. The tour guides you through the monastery’s basilica, with its important religious relics, highly decorated altar and Baroque dome inspired by St Peter’s in Rome.

Your guided tour of El Escorial also takes you to the austere but grand palace and the royal mausoleum known as the Pantheon of Kings, home to the marble tomb of Charles V, the first king of Spain. For insights into the construction of El Escorial, browse the Architecture Room’s collection of architects’ and builders’ equipment dating back hundreds of years. Visit the Weapons Room to see ornate armaments, and admire painted frescoes in the highly decorated library.

Your tour continues from El Escorial to the Valley of the fallen, 6 miles (9.5 kilometers) to the north. Admire the vast basilica built into the side of a mountain, topped by a gigantic granite cross that towers 150 meters (500 feet) high and dominates the landscape. The monument was built by the Spanish dictator General Franco to commemorate the dead of Spain's Civil War.

Take a guided tour inside the austerely modern basilica, with its vaulted crypt and sculpted angels, then look out from the surrounding esplanade of arches to admire the spectacular valley countryside surrounding the complex.

Relax on the scenic return journey to Madrid, where your tour ends in the early afternoon, or where you'll continue your day of sightseeing on a guided 2.5 hour city tour highlighting Madrid’s famous monuments and landmarks (if upgrade option selected).

Days of Service

Daily, except Monday

Meeting Time

8:45am

Details

Inclusions

  • Entrance fees
  • Local guide
  • Transport by air-conditioned coach

Exclusions

  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Food and drinks

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Infants aged 5 years and under are free of charge, provided they do not occupy a seat
  • Operated by a bilingual guide in Spanish and English
Voucher Information

You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.

Schedule and Pricing

Departure Point

Madrid

Duration:

5 hours

Return Details

Tour returns to original point of departure at either 1:45pm (tour only option) or 5:30pm approximately (if Madrid tour selected)

Policy:

Refunds, when possible, must be requested at least 4 business days prior to the travel date. Refunds are subject to a 7% administration fee. The Rail Protection Plan™ does not apply.

8:45 AMTour
Code:ENG845
El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid with a bilingual English and Spanish-speaking guide From
$ 72.31
8:45 AMTour
Code:ENG845C
Morning El Escorial Monastery Tour, followed by Madrid Panoramic City Tour in the afternoon with a bilingual English and Spanish-speaking guide From
$ 84.74

Customer Reviews

Clara K

June 2015

Awesome must see

lgcrilley

June 2015

Enjoyed both parts of the Escorial and
Valley of the Fallen tours. We did tack on the 3 hour tour of Madrid in the afternoon. That was not as good as the hop off and on tours

beattynorah

May 2015

Well worth doing. Excellent guide and informative. Franco's basilica at Valley of the Fallen very disturbing but a must see. Hard to imagine that people actually worship in this austere forbidding environment. Would be a much too long day to add Toledo onto the afternoon.

Lucy C

June 2015

Great tour. Learnt so much more about El Escorial. Would have been nice to have a little more 'free' time after the tour of the monastery. Valley of the Fallen moving, as always. Excellent, knowledgeable guide and good clean transport.

Larisa G

April 2015

Amasing

mckymaniac

April 2015

This is a trip worth taking. You can see the enormous cross on the mountain at the Valley of the Fallen from a great distance, and the basilica is built into the mountain and very unique. Our guide was Claudia, and she had Spanish, English, and French tourists to keep informed. She handled it like the professional she is and could go from Spanish to English to French without hesitation. This trip also included the El Escorial Monastery, which is still in use as a monastery and a school. The highlight there was the room where the former kings and queens of Spain are laid to rest though the entire tour was enlightening and enjoyable.

Lisa R

March 2015

Our guide, Sofia, was extremely knowledgeable and brought the history to life. She let us know what was coming up and how long each part of the tour would take. I highly recommend this tour to others and only wish we had more time in Madrid to take another one!

Joanna N

December 2014

An excellent tour and highly recommended.

Russell S

December 2014

Wonderful trip. The guide was great. Would highly recommend.

Vincent E

December 2014

Loved this trip, very informative, and tour guide was great.

Greg C

November 2014

Excellent. If you are interested in history, this is for you. Enough time in both locations and the guide was very good. There is a fair bit of walking involved.

Beverly M

December 2014

Our tour was well-paced, with the proper amount of time allowed to both El Escorial and the Monument to the Fallen. Moreover, we had a terrific guide in Jorge, who spoke clearly and slowly in both English (which was excellent) and Spanish, and was patient with our questions. Also, the price seemed reasonable for the content of the tour. We're glad we went.

Glenn C

October 2014

Thought small knapsacks provided by the tour company were very useful and thoughtful. Well organized, easy to locate starting point, efficient. Our guide Anna was well organized, very knowledgeable, however her communication style was monotone and less enthusiastic in comparison to other viator tour guides. As tour required the group to be close together, her smokers breath was horrible. Monastery was fantastic, beautifully maintained and the tour moved at a steady pace. Disappointed that the rule was to not have pictures even without flash as unable to bring home memories as we could from all palaces, etc. in other Spain cities. Valley of the Fallen was equally amazing. We would highly recommend this trip, it was an excellent value.

Agnes E

October 2014

Our trip to El Escorial Monastery was most enjoyable and informative. Our tour director was excellent.

ANNA C

October 2014

Loved the trip especially the Valley of the Fallen, as I subsequently discovered that very few tour operators go there. The tour guide was lovely the driver was fine and the bus very comfortable.
My only complaint was that nowhere on our ticket was there a reference to ' Julias tours' . So we almost missed the bus as we were searching for ' Viator tours' .

Sheila O

September 2014

Great tour the guide could have spoken a little more English

OLGA J

July 2014

The tour guide was very kind and knowledgeful

Margaret H

July 2014

Jorge was an excellent guide. Very patient with his English-speaking visitors such as us. Thank you! He did a wonderful job addressing the very delicate and sensitive subject of the Civil War, during our visit to Valley of the Fallen - respectful, informative. Escorial was magnificent, we learned a great while simply enjoying this incredible place. A visitor to Madrid really should see these places, and Viator did a great job for us. I hope we get to visit Spain again.

Susan P

July 2014

We had an excellent guide who gave the tour in both English and Spanish. We felt as though we got so much out of this tour since we had a guide showing us where to go, with both admission fees and transportation included. Such a great value for a wonderful tour!

Silvia L

July 2014

excellent tour and guide

Pamela W

June 2014

Mainly we wish we had more time, particularly at the Valley of the Fallen. We happened to visit on Sunday of Corpus Christi so enjoyed part of the mass, but it limited the time inside the basilica.

Vesna R

June 2014

It was very moving! The tour guide was very professional and informative. Highly reccomended!

Diane M

June 2014

So happy I did these tours. Each was a significant addition to understanding the Spanish culture and history.

Jose M

June 2014

Escorial and the Valley of the fallen were amazing. I highly recommend this tour.