Best Places To Travel In San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Best Places To Travel In San Lorenzo de El Escorial. In the heart of the Guadarrama mountain range, only 50 kilometres from Madrid, stands the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Mount Abantos, its pine forests and the Herrería estate form the natural surroundings of this place, which has its focal point in the Monastery of El Escorial. Its urban layout is composed of a harmonious collection of ancestral homes in the Herrera style, with rationalist avenues and small squares in an earlier style.

Nestling in the Madrid mountains, it offers a great many leisure opportunities and cultural routes, such as those which take the visitor to Ávila, Segovia, Toledo or Madrid.

Gardens of the San Lorenzo Monastery in El Escorial

Best Places To Travel In San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Gardens of the San Lorenzo Monastery in El Escorial
The gardens extend through the monastery's main cloister, known as the Evangelists' Courtyard (Patio de los Evangelistas), as well as through the southern and eastern forecourts. They are in a sheltered location and receive the best sunlight, making them an ideal place for a pleasant stroll, even in the dead of winter.

Philip II, who loved gardens, took a personal interest in these, bringing in specialised gardeners, so that the beds of brightly-coloured flowers bordered by box hedges looked like "fine rugs from Damascus".

Today, in these same beds, the hedges interweave designs without flowers. You can enjoy this incomparable place in the different gardens surrounding the monastery: the private King's Garden, the Friars' Garden and the Convalescents' Gallery.

Casita del Infante House

Best Places To Travel In San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Casita del Infante House
King Charles III commissioned the architect Juan de Villanueva to construct two small buildings for his sons, Prince Charles and the Infante Gabriel. The latter building is much more modest in its architecture and the size of its gardens, but it affords some splendid views over the El Escorial Monastery. The whole design is Neoclassical, with box hedged beds and simple ornamentation.

Park and garden of the Casita del Príncipe (Prince's House)

Best Places To Travel In San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Park and garden of the Casita del Príncipe (Prince's House)
These treasures of Spanish architecture were created in 1774 by the architect Juan de Villanueva for the Prince of Asturias, the future King Charles IV. The gardens have a clean and elegant layout, and are divided into two sections.

One of these sections is arranged in four separate parts and opens onto the rear façade. It is formed by squares of box hedges, cypress arches and a small waterfall. The enclosing walls are covered with roses, as well as some conifers and stately redwoods.

Benedictine Abbey of Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos

Best Places To Travel In San Lorenzo de El Escorial
Benedictine Abbey of Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos
A grandiose funeral monument built between 1940 and 1956 in memory of the victims of the 1936 Spanish Civil War. It comprises a huge stone cross and the basilica itself.

The Santa Cruz Basilica is located some 13 km north of El Escorial, at a site known as the 'Valle de los Caídos' ('valley of the fallen'). It is a grandiose funeral monument built between 1940 and 1956 in memory of the victims of the 1936 Civil War. It comprises a huge stone cross and the basilica itself, carved out of the rock.

The structure of the basilica is formed by an open transept with a dome decorated with mosaics, and a crypt dug out of the rock, the site of the main altar. In the crypt are the tombs of José Antonio Primo de Rivera and Francisco Franco, amongst others.

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