|Inside the basilica|
|Frescoes above the grand stairwell|
|Inside the central courtyard|
After his father, Felipe would be only the second Spanish monarch interred at El Escorial, but in the four centuries since his death, the niches in the luxurious marble “Pantheon of Kings” have all been filled. Who knows where the (abdicated) King Juan Carlos I will decide to be buried when he ultimately passes away?
How to get thereGetting here is pretty easy, but having visited the area two times now, I’ve figured out the best way of daytripping out here from central Madrid. My natural instinct is to simply hop on a train, and a Cercanías (commuter rail) line does run out here from the Atocha station, the purple C-3 one. However, the Cercanías train stops in the next-door village of El Escorial, whereas the monastery itself is properly located in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a 17-minute hike from the train station. It’s really confusing, I know—two distinct municipalities that border each other with almost the exact same name. There is a local bus (L1) that runs between the Cercanías station and the main square, but it’s just another thing you gotta wait and pay for.
|The stark façade at the main square|
There’s a lot of mediocre and expensive eating options in the city, but I had a great menú del día (fixed-price lunch menu) at Restaurante Taberna Madrid-Sevilla (per Courtney Likkel’s recommendation). Their weekday menu runs 12,90€, which is fairly reasonable for pricy El Escorial, and I enjoyed their fried eggs with home fries & pisto in their un-pretentious dining room.
Have you been to El Escorial before? What was your verdict—awe-inspiring monument or side-show for history nerds? Tell me below in the discussion thread!
For more pictures, check out my album on Flickr.