Royal Monastery San Lorenzo de El Escorial Madrid
Since we moved to Madrid we´ve gone to the Royal Monastery in San Lorenzo de El Escorial twice. The first time it was snowing and very, very cold with grey skies all around (we still had loads of fun)…
The second time we went there was, unfortunately, no snow but the great thing was that the sky was clear and blue (well pink if you look at how I edited my photos in Lightroom) and the sun was shining, which meant we got to see a whole lot more and could take some really nice photos. It was still pretty cold (January) though…
The second time we decided to stop for lunch in the village of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and ended up at the La Taberna de Corcho which means wine “cork“. We opted to sit outside because the view was simply incredible but we did have a sneak peek of the inside which was super cute. Kinda like a nice, upmarket English pub, you´ll find in England.
We ordered croquetas de jamón (ham) from Huelva (a city in southwestern Spain) and (cola de toro) oxtail. Both were delicious and really fairly priced too. We also ordered a cod omelette which we really didn´t like. We thought it would contain potatoes like a normal Spanish omelette but instead, it was a French omelette with some cod and spices and way too undercooked for our taste…
I did love the glasses of limoncello they served for 2.50€. A very good price for a very fair portion 🙂
THE TOWN OF SAN LORENZO DE EL ESCORIAL
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, also known as El Escorial de Arriba (to differentiate it from the neighbouring village of El Escorial, also known as El Escorial de Abajo) is a town in the Community of Madrid, 47 kilometres from Madrid centre. It´s located to the northwest of the region in the southeastern side of the Sierra de Guadarrama, at the foot of Mount Abantos and Las Machotas.
THE ROYAL MONASTERY
The Royal Monastery (based in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial) was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1984. It is one of the Spanish royal sites and has functioned as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university, school and hospital.
King Philip II of Spain ordained the building to commemorate the 1557 Spanish victory at the Battle of St. Quentin in Picardy against Henry II, king of France. He also intended the complex to serve as a necropolis for the interment of the remains of his parents, Charles I and Isabella of Portugal, himself, and his descendants.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO BUILD
The first architect, Juan Bautista de Toledo, designed the ground plan on a gridiron scheme, recalling the grill on which San Lorenzo, the patron of the building was martyred. After Toledo’s death in 1567, his apprentice Juan de Herrera continued the work and the building was completed in 1584 in less than 21 years.
FREE DAYS TO ENTER THE MONASTERY
On Wednesdays and Thursdays from 15:00 – 18:00 (from October to March) or from 17:00 to 20:00 (from April to September) there is free admission for citizens of the European Union, residents and holders of work permit in the EU and Latin American citizens. You need to show either your national identification card, passport or driver’s licence, residency or work permit. The free offer is limited to the tour without a guide and can only be booked at the ticket office. For more information click here.
There is an App you can download in Itunes (iOS) or Google Play (Android) that you can use as a guided tour and costs less than 2€ and it´s available in various languages. See screenshot below.
HOW TO GET THERE
Take the 661 or 664 from the Moncloa interchange in Madrid centre (1 hour trip each way).
Take the train line C-8 (Cercanias) from Atocha, Sol, Nuevos Ministerios or Chamartin and get off at El Escorial station. To get into the town, you can take a bus (shuttle) from the train station which runs every twenty minutes or you could walk (approximately 1.5 km in distance to the Monastery).
A-6 Motorway (Madrid-Coruña) to junction 29, M-505 exit (or)
A-6 Motorway (Madrid-Coruña) to junction 47, M-600 exit to San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Visit my Instagram to see more photos of this beautiful royal site on my feed!
I would love to know in the comments if you have had the privilege to visit the Royal Monastery in San Lorenzo de El Escorial and if so what you thought about it…
Until next time guys, safe travels!