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Royal Monastery of El Escorial, Valle de los Caídos and Royal site of Aranjuez

Three of the top attractions around Madrid make up the itinerary of this day trip with a royal complexion. Visit the vast monastery and palace complex of El Escorial. Wander the haunting Valle de los Caidos, the daunting mausoleum that military dictator Francisco Franco had built for himself. Admire the astonishing Aranjuez Palace, whose beautiful gardens inspired one of the world’s best-loved concertos. El Escorial was dreamed up by King Philip II (of Armada fame) in the 16th century and is perhaps the impressive symbol of Spanish imperial power and glory, and religious piety. It is home to a monastery and basilica as well as palace, the Pantheon of the Kings and the Princes’ Mausoleum, the Architectural Museum, the Weapons Room, the Library and much, much more. The Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) has a somewhat controversial place among Spanish attraction. This monumental mausoleum, which is dominated by a 150-metre high cross, is the final resting place of Generalissimo Franco. He ordered its construction and among the workers were hundreds of Republican prisoners from the Spanish Civil War. Continue to the Royal Palace at Aranjuez to explore this Unesco World Heritage Site. Tour the palace, visiting the Throne Room of Isabel II. Stroll around the beautifully landscaped gardens, which inspired Joaquin Rodrigo to compose his Concierto de Aranjuez and visit the Museum of Royal Feluccas, a fascinating exhibition of river craft used by the royal family. Three of the top attractions around Madrid make up the itinerary of this day trip with a royal complexion. Visit the vast monastery and palace complex of El Escorial. Wander the haunting Valle de los Caidos, the daunting mausoleum that military dictator Francisco Franco had built for himself. Admire the astonishing Aranjuez Palace, whose beautiful gardens inspired one of the world’s best-loved concertos. Duration: Seven hours. Start/opening time: On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Departure at 8.45am. End/closing time: 3.45pm. Languages: English and Spanish.

Others: Includes: Tickets to El Escorial Royal Monastery, to the Valle de los Caídos and the Basilica and Aranjuez Royal Palace.