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El Escorial

El Escorial

Address Grimaldi 4; 28200 San Lorenzo de El Escorial
See on map
Telephone +34 91 890 53 13
Time to go Palace open Tue-Sun 10-18 (Apr-Sep until 19)
Cost Ca EUR 3 by train, EUR 5 by bus. EUR 8 entry to palace.
How to get there

About an hour’s journey from Madrid. By car follow the N-VI highway toward Lugo, La Coruna, and San Lorenzo de El Escorial, then turn left onto the C-505 toward San Lorenzo de El Escorial. By train, take the C8A Cercanía line from Atocha or Chamartín for El Escorial where buses are available to and from the Plaza Virgen de Gracia, a short walk from the monastery. Schedules on http://www.renfe.es/cercanias/madrid/. By bus, frequent departures with Herranz line 661 from Moncloa.

Severe and austere, the UNESCO World Heritage Site is no Barbie fantasy palace, but it holds a wealth of cultural treasures, including a huge collection of art. With masterpieces by Titian, El Greco, Velázquez, Roger van der Weyden and José de Ribera on display, it’s more digestible than the Prado without compromising pedigree.

The complex itself – built as a home-from-home for the Spanish Royal family in the 16th Century – is also impressive. Arrive along the tree-shaded avenue for the most impressive effect, then take a stroll through the Hall of Battles and the Jardín de los Frailes (The Garden of the Friars). Check out the magnificent dome of the Basilica and the extravagantly decorated high alter, and pay your respects at the marble sepulchres marking the remains of various Spanish Kings and Queens in the Pantheon.