8.5

Madrid to El Escorial – Visit The Magnificent Escorial Palace

(14 customer reviews)

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Last updated on May 3, 2022 2:02 pm
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A refreshing mix of architecture, history, and art, lies beautifully against the mountain backdrop of El Escorial. Visit the architectural masterpiece of El Escorial palace and the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen that’s carved into the mountain.

Book your online ticket now to ensure a spot on a day trip to Sierra de Madrid and enjoy spectacular sights over the small town and the monastery.

Highlights

  • Visit the Masoleum where the king, queen, and other royals were buried
  • Visit the El Escorial Monastery and palace building
  • Enjoy the views from the Basilica and the Valley of the Fallen

Know before you book

  • Some areas of this tour aren’t fully accessible for people limited mobility because of multiple staircases
  • Round-trip transportation from Madrid is included
  • Wear comfortable shoes – you’ll be climbing some stairs on this tour

We’ve gone on a search to find our top guided tours of El Escorial Palace and Monastery so you have multiple options to choose from. If you love royalty and history, a tour including a visit to El Escorial palace and the royal tombs definitely won’t disappoint!

From 5-hour guided tours that takes you to the monastery and the Valley of the Fallen, to half-day trips exploring Madrid or Toledo – there is a tour available for every type of traveler. All of the tours include a visit to the architectural masterpiece of El Escorial palace.

Book one of these amazing tours now and get ready to breathe in the fresh mountain air, enjoy the architectural magnificence and rich history of El Escorial palace in the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama.

Day Trip to El Escorial Spain

Once the mausoleum of the Spanish monarchs, the El Escorial palace now forms a big part of the history of Spain and its previous rulers. In the small town of El Escorial, you can find the palace and monastery building that stands dramatically against the calm and peaceful surroundings of nature.

The monastery at San Lorenzo de El Escorial was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984. This building is a palace, monastery complex and an eternal memorial for the relatives of King Charles V.

el-escorial-palace-outside

In 1558 Felipe II was deeply affected by the death of his father, Charles V. He decided to build the San Lorenzo de El Escorial Monastery to create an eternal memorial for all his loved ones. Felipe II used world-class architects to construct this stunning building. Even today, with its structure still perfectly solid, you would hardly believe that the first stone was laid in 1563!

If you find yourself in the region of Madrid, Avila, or Segovia, this is a sight worth seeing, with its rigid architectural structure and dramatic impression. Book a ticket to this Spanish palace in Escorial and experience the multifunctional building once occupied by the royals of El Escorial.

Here are some highlights you can look forward to:

The Basilica & The Royal Pantheon

The Basilica or cathedral forms the center of the monastery complex and its dome rises almost a 100m into the sky. Nearly all the Spanish monarchs were buried in this octagonal space, known as the Royal Pantheon. The space is covered in marble, jasper and bronze in the baroque architectural style and is a truly spectacular sight to see.

The Royal Apartment

During certain parts of the year, Felipe II, lived at the monastery. The king’s chambers look upon the altar of the Basilica, while the queen’s chambers can be found on the other side of the Basilica, having its own view of the altar from a different angle.

The Crypt: Royal Tombs In Escorial, Spain

The royal tombs can be found in the crypt of the palace in Escorial, Spain. It is a true show of elegance. The stairway leading down to the crypt is covered in marble and so is the crypt itself, a beautifully decorated space that will surely make some jaws drop!

When the castle was still operating, a “rotting room” was located behind the walls of the crypt. When royal family members died, their remains were stored in the “rotting room”. The corpses were then moved to their final resting place in one of the crypts.

El Escorial Library

People particularly find the impressive library – with more than 40 000 books – a highlight of their visit! A 55m long marble floor forms part of the decor of the barrel-vaulted library. The sight of the books in contrast with the marble is an astonishing sight.

library-monastery-el-escorial

Image by @librarytime

San Lorenzo Del Escorial: Escorial Palace Guided Tour

Many travelers visit this little town on a day trip from Madrid. If you’re planning your own trip to Spain, we suggest you do the same!

Expect a feast for your eyes when you enter the Monasterio Del Escorial. Felipe II found the site of El Escorial palace on the 10 August 1577 which falls on the feast day of Saint Lawrence. In Spain, St Lorenzo Day forms an important part of history and you’re at the right place to learn it all!

El Escorial Palace Hours

Winter Opening Hours: October – March

Tuesday to Sunday: from 10:00 to 18:00

Summer Opening Hours: April – September

Tuesday to Sunday: from 10:00 to 20:00

Duration

This is a full day tour, including your drive from Madrid to Escorial, the visit to the Royal Monastery of El Escorial and the Basilica of the Valley.

Cost

Online tickets for your guided tour from Madrid, entry to the monastery and Basilica of the Valley costs € 58.

Price Includes

This price includes transport from Madrid, entrance to the monastery, Valley of the Fallen and the Basilica. It doesn’t include gratuities – check out our post on tipping in Spain!

Facilities

There is access available for people with disabilities. Enquire about this before your tour.

El Escorial, Valley Of The Fallen and Toledo: Day Tour From Madrid

If you’re pressed for time and want to explore as much as possible, a day tour from Madrid might be the perfect solution. This tour includes a visit to the UNESCO-listed center of historic Toledo.

You’ll get to see two UNESCO-listed attractions: the Monastery of El Escorial and the Alcazar of Toledo. Join your expert tour guide on your journey to the Valley of the Fallen, where you can pay your respects to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Spanish Civil War.

Oh, and don’t forget that hotel pick-up and lunch are included in this fun day tour. What a relief!

Check Price & Book
8.5Expert Score
This is a great day trip from Madrid - explore the beautiful town, and its top attraction. It's also a fun activity to do with a big group!
Comfort
8
Location
10
Fun
8
Value For Money
8
PROS
  • Round-trip transport provided
  • Expert multilingual tour guide
  • Includes tickets to El Escorial Monastery and the Valley of the Fallen
CONS
  • Not fully accessible for people with limited mobility
  • Meals and drinks are not included

Specification: Madrid to El Escorial – Visit The Magnificent Escorial Palace

Accessible

No

Duration

Tour including commute and sightseeing lasts around 5 hours

Includes

Entrance to El Escorial Monastery and Castle, Entrance to the Valley of the Fallen and the Basilica, Experienced multilingual tour guide

Excludes

Food and drink, Gratuities

Meals & Drinks

No meals provided

Pickup

Meeting point for round-trip transport from Madrid

Suitable For

History and architecture enthusiasts, People with a moderate fitness level

14 reviews for Madrid to El Escorial – Visit The Magnificent Escorial Palace

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  1. Sandra

    We had a chaotic start to this trip when the guide couldn't find the coach due to a triathlon taking place in the centre of Madrid. This ment we were running half an hour late and were rushed through the basilica of the valley. Saying that Manuel our guide was knowledgeable and had a good sense of humour and did repeatedly apologise for the start. The monastery is amazing. We would have liked longer to look around!

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  2. Kris

    Great giude – Belén te amamos – but the tour just bit off more than it could chew, with very little free time to do anything meaningful in the cities. Great if you want to see the maximum in the shortest time. Not so great if you want time in a museum or to stroll and shop.

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  3. Maria Nina – Romania

    Excellent guide Very good organization,extra lunch(good food only for 10euros,amazing guide (finally he gave us a little chocolate) and a young and good girl drive

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  4. Mary – Australia

    Tiring but awesome The trip was fast paced but our guide Miguel was very informative. He recommended the suckling pig at Candido in Segovia & it didn’t disappoint, we were happy to forego the tour for the !!!

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  5. František – Czech Republic

    Professional, Guid Jose was nice and helpful, driwer Felix excelent Professional

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  6. Milena – Brazil

    There were different excursions in the same bus. Lot of stops at the end of the journey.

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  7. colleen

    This is my second time on this tour and OMG the number of tourists has tripled since I was there six years ago. We had Carmen as our local tour guide and loved her. She is a no nonsense professional guide that makes sure everyone knows and adheres to the rules. As a result, we got to see everything without being rushed or having to wait for late/lost people or chatty Cathies interrupting her speeches. Three are tons of stairs (75) up and down to the crypts so please know this ahead of time but it is well worth the visit. Loved the Valley of the Fallen as a War Memorial though the lack of respect for the chapel and boorish clouts talking and photo taking (prohibited) was a let down inside. The views are breathtaking outside and there is nice café near the bus stops to grab a snack and drink. Very impressive site to visit and well worth the money. Weekends are crowded so if you can go during the week it might be better.

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  8. Jean

    The visit to the Escorial and the crypt where the kings and royal families rest is of incredible beauty. The San Lorenzo site, Valle de Los Caidos and its monolithic chapel a gem. Toledo is to be seen but the visit would benefit from taking a panoramic tour for photo enthusiasts. The circuit focuses solely on history. Many panaromic views are ignored in this guided tour.

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  9. Anonymous

    Tour guide Marta was friendly and smiling and the information she provided was fascinating. Both locations were amazing feats of architecture and a must see. The only thing was the lack of time spent at El Escorial probably due to the lengeth of the overall tour. We saw glimpses of the magnificent grounds from inside the monastery however were only guided around the interior and did not get a sense of the building like in the promotional photos. This is by no means a complaint. Purely a fact of the tour. We enjoyed the experience very much.

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  10. Anonymous

    The combination ticket is ideal. In the morning El Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen. In the afternoon then Toledo. In between, a one-hour lunch break in Madrid, where you have time to strengthen yourself and possibly buy provisions for the bus trip. For both destinations, the travel companion was extremely friendly and told them knowledgeably about the respective story, one after the other, first in Spanish (because many participants came from South America) and then in the best English (for Germans, among others). Inquiries were possible at any time and we also had nice conversations. In Toledo you stop in a souvenir shop on arrival and departure where clean toilets are available free of charge. This is practical and offers a good breather. The walk in Toledo is incredibly interesting, and the walking distance is also challenging, especially when it's hot. Overall, I can warmly recommend this tour without reservation. It was a wonderful experience! Again any time!

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