- All Year Round, Daily.
- Excluding Mondays.
- English and Spanish Bilingual Commentary.
- Depart: Julia Travel Office, Calle San Nicolás, 15.
- Return: Underground parking at Plaza de Oriente, Level -2.
- Approx. 5 hours.
About The El Escorial & Valley Of The Fallen Day Tour:
This half-day tour examines the legacy of two pivotal periods in Spanish history. At the Royal Monastery of El Escorial you'll experience first-hand one of the most poignant symbols of the powerful 16-17th century Spanish Monarchy and the Catholic Church.
On the second half of the trip you'll visit the impressive yet equally controversial Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen, a monument built between 1940 and 1959 to honour those killed during the Spanish Civil War.
Your journey begins in the centre of Madrid at Calle San Nicolás, 15; from here you'll depart for the Royal Monastery of El Escorial. This Renaissance era wonder was commissioned by King Philip II to commemorate Spain's 1557 victory against Henry II of France at the Battle of St. Quentin.
Construction began in 1563 under the auspices of architect Juan Bautista de Toledo, and was completed less than 21 years later. Your guided tour of the site will cover the Habsburg Palace, the Kings and Princes Mausoleum, the Chapter House and the Basilica of San Lorenzo el Real.
On the second leg of the tour your coach will head up into the Guadarrama Mountains, where the Basilica of the Valley of the Fallen is situated. This memorial to all victims of the Spanish Civil War sits at an altitude of 1350 meters and is carved into the side of the range.
Controversy surrounds the construction, as it is still seen by some as a persisting symbol of Francisco Franco's dictatorial rule. Critics also note that 10% of the workforce were convicts, some of whom were Popular Front political prisoners. Whatever one's opinion, however, it is undoubtedly a grand edifice. Two of its most prominent features are the 150 meter high crucifix and the lofty central nave of the crypt.