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“Aside from the Paintings and the massive Building...”

Real Monasterio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial
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$56.92*
and up
El Escorial and Valley of the Fallen Tour from...
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Reviewed July 23, 2013

The Monastry towers over the town and it is an incredible structure with a tremendous art collection. So if you want art and more art--mainly religious art--and, grotesque tombs, then this is your place. We generally were not taken with the Town and found the locals most inhospitable. The art is interesting and the structure itself--at times--a magnificent monument to a period when Spain mattered and when the Church ruled. There is a certain irrelevance to the place to-day and the grandeur is lost beneath the hostility of locals. Would not go there again!

Thank NamutKwu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"day trip"
in 71 reviews
"philip ii"
in 32 reviews
"royal apartments"
in 14 reviews
"burial site"
in 10 reviews
"burial place"
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"spanish kings"
in 26 reviews
"audio guide"
in 50 reviews
"royal pantheon"
in 27 reviews
"spanish royalty"
in 18 reviews
"buried here"
in 7 reviews
"worth the trip"
in 16 reviews
"spanish monarchy"
in 10 reviews
"sheer size"
in 7 reviews
"no photography"
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"without flash"
in 8 reviews
"lots of history"
in 9 reviews
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Reviewed July 13, 2013

This is a huge monastery complex and takes a while to go through it all. It is divided into different areas of usage, and each is unique. Much of the basilica is extremely ornate and stunning, particularly around the high altar.

Throughout the whole complex are beautiful paintings, tapestries, ornate sculpture, etc. Some areas are dedicated to certain things, such as the Hall of Battles with its paintings of Spanish military victories. There are also the royal apartments, and the Courtyard of the Kings.

Most interesting is the Royal Pantheon, or Crypt of the Kings. This is located under the royal chapel and is the place where the monarchs of Spain are buried. It is very elaborate and done in marble and gilded bronze. The tombs go upward to the ceiling and contain all the remains of the monarchs for the past 500 years with the exception of two. I couldn't believe what I heard when the guide told us that when a monarch dies, the body is put in a "rotting room" to decompose for a long period of time. After about 25 yrs., one of the monks goes into the room to check on the body to see how the decomposing is going. It could stay there for as long as another 25 yrs. before interment in a tomb. I think he said that there are currently 3 bodies in the "rotting room" and when they are entombed, the crypt will be full (not positive about the number but am sure he said it would be full). By the way, this tomb is gorgeous.

I loved this place and wished I could have stayed longer. There was so much to see here and so much to learn about.

Thank igolfCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 13, 2013

We were in Madrid in the last Christmas period (December 2012) and visited El Escorial as a self-organised day trip. We were in Hotel Fransisco I, which is stone's throw distance from Sol metro station. We took a 10 ride ticket at 12.20 euro and used this ticket one by one to enter. We used yellow line train to Moncloa. It was a 15 mins journey for 4 stations. The bus terminus 1,2,3 is located just above the metro station. So we came out and took Bus 661 from Platform 11 at 11-30am. Bus no 664 also goes to El Escorial. Bus frequency is 30 mins. The ticket cost was 4.20 euro per head and it took one hour to reach El Escorial. Once it was the largest building in the world. Entry ticket is 10 euro. We entered at 12-45 pm.
The Escorial is a very big building near Madrid.
The buildinghas large towers at each corner.

One by one we saw Basilica, Architectural Museum, Painting Museum, Palace of Felipo II, Palace of Bourbons, Royal Pantheon. Overall size is 207mx161m so felt very tired, particularly after seeing the underground burials in Pantheon. After that we came to lower cloister, where there are painting everywhere, from ceiling to wall.
At the end we went to library where are many books and manuscripts of 15th/16th century.
It was 4pm then and we completed the visit. We felt very hungry and found a very good Cafe where we took coffee, finger chips and sand witches.
At 4-30pm we took Bus 661 and returned to Sol, Madrid via Moncloa.

5  Thank DPMALLIC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

The Monastery is amazing and really captivated us. The grounds are beautiful (don't miss the family of swans and giant fish in the pond), and the exhibit on how the buildings were built so many years ago was amazing, as was the library. We also loved the town of San Lorenzo, which you can easily visit by walking up to the main street from the Monastery.

Thank Tony L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 8, 2013

I actually didn't know much about the Royal Monastery and came for a visit as part of an optional excursion on a tour... and I'm so very pleased I went. It was one of the highlights of my trip around Spain. So very beautiful and wonderful history, I would highly recommend a visit here. I would go back if I had the chance. Loved it!

Thank FreeasabirdPK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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