"San Lorenzo de El Escorial" Top 5 Page for this destination San Lorenzo de El Escorial by acemj

San Lorenzo de El Escorial Travel Guide: 116 reviews and 299 photos

A Monumental Daytrip from Madrid

My original plan was to do a daytrip to Segovia, but considering that we arrived six hours late in Madrid the day before, we decided to go somewhere a little closer so that we would have a couple more hours in Madrid itself. El Escorial was the perfect option. The full name of the town is San Lorenzo de El Escorial, but the famous monastery here is simply known as El Escorial.

The train only took about 45 minutes or so to arrive and it was interesting to see the weather change the closer we came to El Escorial. As we chugged along, we noticed the skinny creeks beginning to glaze over with ice. A few miles later, there was a flake of snow in the air and by the time we arrived, a thin blanket of white covered the tracks.

Personally, I think I would have preferred to visit the Medieval town of Segovia. There is something more satisfying to me about visiting a place that is appreciated for the whole instead of a single sight or two. Segovia is famous for its aqueduct, but known for its plazas, its Alcazar, cathedral, winding streets and its roast suckling pig and I imagine that visiting would be a joy in both an overwhelming and a subtle fashion.

El Escorial, and its neighboring Valle de los Caidos, on the other hand, are monuments that are impressive to see and are certainly capable of assaulting the senses, but beyond the monuments themselves, there is little else here that one is likely to write home about.

Nonetheless, the monastery and the basilica that I toured here will resonate in my mind for years to come.

  • Last visit to San Lorenzo de El Escorial: Feb 2003
  • Intro Updated Dec 1, 2003
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Reviews (12)

Comments (29)

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2006 at 2:31 PM

    Too bad the snow and chilly airs took a bit of the shine off what should have been a fantastic tour. Wow, the Valle de los Caides basilica is amazing, as was your description of how you felt while touring! A very enjoyable read!

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Aug 12, 2005 at 7:07 PM

    I know the rain falls mostly in the plain, but the snow looks awesome in Escorial!

  • Jul 20, 2005 at 12:26 AM

    i need to get my silly little wonky a$$ over to spain, and soon! your photos are stunning mark, and i enjoyed reading the info on this place. cheers, have a chocolate bar on me! ;-)

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2005 at 12:31 PM

    Darth Vader's lair is a very good description for the Valle de los Caidos, it certainly has the megalomaniac feel to it when you get inside! Very well written page!

  • Pangea's Profile Photo
    Apr 1, 2004 at 4:56 AM

    Excellent page of an impressive place!

  • traveltemptress's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2004 at 8:14 AM

    Breathtaking photo, fantastic page. In Madrid for three months and never saw this monument!Can't wait to return to Spain, wherever I go, I carry a piece of it in my heart. Sometimes it hurts. Love your pages. Thanks for restoking that Spanish passion!

  • gosiaPL's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2003 at 7:11 AM

    A very impressive place, judging from your excellent tips! Great pics as well, thanks for the tour :-)

  • TinKan's Profile Photo
    Dec 1, 2003 at 6:59 AM

    Hey Mark... Great tips and real good info here. Great opening photo and the food sounds so good.

  • Sharrie's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2003 at 8:07 PM

    Hey, you've said all there is to say! Hurray! I don't have to build a page on it anymore! ;-) Oh my, top 5 for all the Spanish cities? Where have Ivan_Jimenez & SirRichard gone to??? ;-)

  • chrissyalex's Profile Photo
    Jul 11, 2003 at 1:03 PM

    Great page! Very descriptive and complete tips with beautiful pictures. I am sure the snow did make it a more memorable , if chilly , experience!

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