What to do, see and eat in San Lorenzo del Escorial

The town of “San Lorenzo del Escorial” is situated on the north-west of Madrid. The city is famous for its unique mammoth monastery. The city offers awesome beauty, welcomes visitors and provides lots of tasty and delicious dishes. Besides all of these, the city provides lots of option to make excellent day-trip either in the form of enjoying history, great outdoors or mouth-watering gastronomy. We are here to help you in what to do, see and eat in San Lorenzo del Escorial.

How to get to El Escorial:

El Escorial is about 50km by car from Madrid.

By public transport, El Escorial can be reached by train and/or bus.

Train to El Escorial: From Madrid´s Atocha or Chamartín station, take the train on line C-8 or C-3 of Cercanías Renfe to El Escorial. It departs every hour and the journey lasts approximately one hour. From the El Escorial train station you will reach the Monastery of El Escorial in about 15 minutes walk.

Bus to El Escorial: From the Moncloa interchange, take the bus from lines 661 or 664 (about 50 minutes of travel) to get off at the San Lorenzo de El Escorial Bus Station.

A day or two in San Lorenzo del Escorial

Itinerary of the top things to do and to see in San Lorenzo del Escorial.

a) March with the Royals:

The Royal site of this city also called “El Escorial” is a highly renowned architectural monument and the best heritage-listed monastery. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It was built artistically to celebrate the success of Spain over France in a battle of Saint Quentin. This majestic palatial monastery is one of the most outstanding architectural landmarks of the Spanish renascence. A visit to this grand royal venue is essential and we recommend taking your time to contemplate: the library, artisans´ house, pantheon of the kings, an art gallery and an architectural as well as the gardens.Note: Pictures of any kind are prohibited.

b) Have a look inside the prince´ house:

The house of the prince (Casita del Príncipe was designed in 18th century by the famous Spanish architect Juan De Villanueva. The house is worth the visit and time to see its wonderful construction. The architect has also designed another building for the Prince’s younger brother, “Gabriel”,  in El Escorial known as “The Casita del Infante“.

c) Visit the Valle de Los Caidos:

If you have interest in the Spanish Civil war, then this historical (and very controversial) monumental is a must visit. The building, choice of architectural styles and size leaves no one indifferent.

d) Experience the marvelous bio-diversity of El Escorial:

For nature-lovers, the San Lorenzo del Escorial offers many options for spending time in the outdoors. You can spend time exploring surrounding nature havens like Bosque de la Herrería or Pinar de Abantos, as well as the Luis Ceballos Arboretum. Do not miss the panaromic views of El Escorial from the seat of the king. This place is a stone bench where, King Phillip II is said to have watched the progress of the construction of the palace-monastery.

e) Bonus Sightseeing Tips

Real Coliseo Carlos III: Take part in free guided visits (in the Spanish language) on Tuesdays and Thursdays mornings. To reserve call 91 890 44 11 / 91 890 45 44 or email: [email protected]

Plaza de Jacinto Benavente: In this busy square you will spot six centennial magnolia trees.

Insider´s tip: View an impressive 1:100 scale model of El Escorial and its sorroundings (Gardens of the Friars, Artisans Houses and the Barracks) at the Doña Eñe Sourvenir Shop. The model is about 4.4m wide in diameter and it is mounted on a rotating platform.

What and where to eat in San Lorenzo del Escorial?

There are lots of healthy and delicious typical Spanish dishes in eat in San Lorenzo del Escorial like the Spanish tortilla (potato omelette), suckling pig roasted in a traditional wood oven, fish dishes like sea bream and cod and even the Cocido Madrileño which our bucketlist dish. We recommend the restaurant El Olivo for very affordable daily specials of €11 for a lunch meal.

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