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San Lorenzo de El Escorial

El Real Sitio de San Lorenzo de El Escorial—declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1984 and nestled in the heart of the Guadarrama mountains—has heaps of natural attractions for hiking enthusiasts, who will also be enchanted by the Bosque de la Herrería forest and the Pinar de Abantos pine reserve. The monastery, a colossal Herreran-style architectural complex which appears somewhat modest on the outside but is lavish and richly ornate on the inside, was constructed on the orders of King Felipe II in just 20 years and counts itself among one of many areas of great historical, artistic and cultural value. For example, the palatial quarters of the Hapsburgs and the Bourbons, library, basilica, the Patio de los Reyes (the Patio of the Kings), Panteones Reales (the Royal Pantheon) and Jardín de los Frailes (the Garden of the Frailes). A number of priceless frescoes by Tibaldi, Zuccaro, Luca Cambiaso, Lucas Jordan and Giordano can be found on its walls. There are also captivating oil canvases by Navarrete “el Mudo”, Claudio Coello, El Bosco, Tiziano, Greco, Roger van der Weyden and Durero, not forgetting the White Christ sculpture by Cellini and the Kings of the Old Testament by Juan Bautista Monegro, amongst others. The monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial became a workshop for the Catholic European artists and a first-class cultural centre that has continued to expand over the years and dynasties to the present day.

A visit to this enclave wouldn’t be complete without wandering the streets and squares of this historical-artistic site, with magnificent buildings from the 16th and 18th centuries. You can also take a trip to the Silla de Felipe II (the Seat of Felipe II) from where it’s said the king would gaze upon the monastery, or you can treat yourself to the vast array of rich cultural and culinary delights on offer. It’s worth tucking into some delicious mountain cuisine, with meat from the local Sierra de Guadarrama with Protected Geographical Indication, or sampling some tapas. Since summer 2017, the Tren de Felipe II (the Felipe II Train) that links Madrid to El Escorial can be caught and combined with guided visits to various historical sites in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Main Sights

The town has an important historical-artistic, urban and cultural heritage, a result of its link with the Spanish crown. It adds relevant ecological, geological and archaeological values.

Part of the monument is listed with the heritage UNESCO. In addition, this site has been awarded good of cultural interest, in the category of historical sites, with the name of “Escorial: monastery, natural and cultural environment”, from thecommunity of Madrid.

The last legal figure, approved by Decree 52/2006 (June 21), also includes the towns of El Escorial, Zarzalejo and Saint Mary of the Alameda. This is the area which was within the so-called domain of Philip II, with which the monarch delineated the perimeter of the royal site in the area around the Monasterio.

World Heritage sites

On November 2, 1984, together with the celebration of the IV centenary of the placement of the last stone during the monastery’s construction, the World Heritage Committee (World Heritage Committee) of the UNESCO, meeting in Buenos AiresArgentina), included “El Escurial, monastery and site” on the list of the heritage (World Heritage List).

This entry defines territorial protection for the Monasterio de El Escorial, the Casita of Infante (or up) and the Casita del Principe (or down), Palace, El Escorial: * “‘ Monasterio de El Escorial” ‘. This building, one of the main monuments renacentistasSpain, was erected in the last third of the 16th century on the mount Abantos, slope 3,373 ft (1,028 m). Juan Bautista de Toledo, originated the project that was finished, after his death, by Juan de Herrera, who imposed a new architectural style.Occupies an area of 358,729 square feet (33,327 square meters) and has 16 patios, 88 sources, 13 oratorios, 15 Cloisters, 86 stairs, 9 towers, 1,200 doors and 2,673 Windows. Its main façade is 679 feet (207 m) in length. The most important parts of the building, include the Pantheon of Kings, the Real Basilica and Real library. From the sixteenth, the Escorial monastery has been described as “the eighth wonder of the world”.

The Príncipe and the Infante cottages are two mansions neoclásicos 18th century. Both were built by Villanueva John as recreation sites for Carlos IV, then Prince of Asturias, and his brother Infante Bourbon Gabriel, respectively. The territorial scope of protection laid down in the list of the heritage is currently in the process of being enlargement. The Spanish authorities intend to extend the UNESCO heritage declaration to all the space that was included within the original decree of Philip II.

Historical sites

The municipality of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and other historical-artistic group have been incorporated into the legal figure of the historical territory (historical site) of “El Escorial: monastery, site and natural and cultural environment”, according to Decree 52/2006 (June 21 BOCM) community of Madrid.

Here are different buildings and natural enclaves located within its Township and other located El Escorial, Zarzalejo and Saint Mary of the Alameda. Monumental sets and landscape sanlorentinos are highlighted below:

  • “Chair Philip II”, where, according to legend, sat the monarch to view the progress of the works of the monastery, although it is believed that, in fact, was a vettones offerings altar.
  • “‘ The Herrería” ‘, historic farm, formerly known as the Dehesa of the Fuentelámparas ironworks, possessing great ecological interest. It is populated by forests fresnos and Oaks.
  • “‘ Del Castañar” ‘, historic farm with important environmental attractions.
  • “‘ Park of the Casita” ‘. Parks and gardens built in this neoclassical Stupinigi environment are shared between the municipalities of El Escorial and San Lorenzo de El Escorial. Not building, which is in the first place.
  • “‘ Houses of offices” ‘. The first two were built by Juan de Herrera 16th century and the third, Villanueva John work data 18th century. Currently are home to a small church and different facilities managed by the Town Council of San Lorenzo de El Escorial. This is the case of the House of culture of the municipal library, the tourist office, the Conservatory professional of music father Soler and the Royal Centre for integrated music and training in plastic and artistic. Furthermore, the first House of offices is provisional headquarters of the Instituto de Estudios Herrerianos, which will host the legacy of the architect and investigator Luis Cervera Vera.
  • “‘ Infantes houses” ‘. Due to Juan de Villanueva, who rose up in 18th century.
  • “‘ Real Colosseum of Carlos III” ‘, built in 18th century, popularly known as the Bombonera theatre.
  • “‘ The company home” ‘. Drawn on 16th century by Mora Francisco today serves as headquarters to University Maria Cristina.
  • “‘ Valley of the fallen” ‘. By extension, is included within the historical territory of the “El Escorial: monastery, site and natural and cultural environment” This funeral monument 20th century. Built on the initiative of the dictator of Francisco Franco, is perched on the Risco of Nava 4.56 ft (1.39) m altitude, in the place known as Cuelgamuros. A 490 ft (150 m) cross chairs the monumental, consisting of a Basilica carved on stone, a Abbey, and an Inn. Their artistic values, include the sculptures of the evangelists by D’avalos John with a size 59 ft (18 m), situated at the base of the cross.

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