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Trip Planner:   Europe  /  Spain  /  Community of Madrid  /  San Lorenzo de El Escorial  /  Valley of the Fallen

Valley of the Fallen, San Lorenzo de El Escorial

Monument · Landmark
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Valley of the Fallen, a surviving artifact of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, remains controversial. Intended to honor the dead of the Spanish Civil War, the monument also contains Franco’s tomb. The mountainous area surrounding the monument covers 1360 hectares (3,360 acres), and the monument has a cross visible from a great distance away. The basilica here, one of the largest in the world, serves as an underground crypt and has statues on display. Check the official website to see if your trip coincides with a religious holiday, and try the funicular to reach the top. Discover how to plan a San Lorenzo de El Escorial trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.
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Valley of the Fallen reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
1,657 reviews
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TripAdvisor
  • A must see when you are in Madrid, its beauty and history will leave you in awe the work and statues and paintings will leave you in awe 
    A must see when you are in Madrid, its beauty and history will leave you in awe the work and statues and paintings will leave you in awe  more »
  • Breathtaking. A monument made in memory of the fallen (on both sides of the conflict) during the Spanish Civil War. Some consider it the ninth wonder of the world, although due to it's divisive... 
    Breathtaking. A monument made in memory of the fallen (on both sides of the conflict) during the Spanish Civil War. Some consider it the ninth wonder of the world, although due to it's divisive...  more »
  • Really something to see despite its sordid history! It is impossible to accurately gauge the scale of this place from photos. The length of time it takes to walk just from the parking lot to the... 
    Really something to see despite its sordid history! It is impossible to accurately gauge the scale of this place from photos. The length of time it takes to walk just from the parking lot to the...  more »
Google
  • Keeping aside all the political and ethical aspects and history with Franco associated with the monument, just the monument by itself is breathtakingly beautiful. The cross is gigantic and the view from the place is beautiful. The Basilica is massive and marvellous, but we were told that we weren't allowed to take pictures inside.
  • Very nice place to see. There is a church inside and from the outside a very beautiful view of the city and the mountains. To go up to the main cross there used to be a tram but it was closed down for Covid and still hasn’t opened back up, I think you can also hike to the top but I could be wrong. Definitely recommend you go and visit.
  • What to write? This place is both tragic and a tribute to engineering. Franco claimed that the monument was meant to be a "national act of atonement" and reconciliation.It served as the burial place of Franco's remains from his death in November 1975 until his exhumation on 24 October 2019, as a result of efforts to remove all public veneration of his dictatorship, and following a long and controversial legal process. The monument precinct covers over 3,360 acres (13.6 km2) of Mediterranean woodlands and granite boulders on the Sierra de Guadarrama hills, more than 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level and includes a basilica, a Benedictine abbey, a guest house, the Valley, and the Juanelos — four cylindrical monoliths dating from the 16th century. The most prominent feature of the monument is the towering 150-metre-high (500 ft) Christian cross, the tallest such cross in the world, erected over a granite outcrop 150 metres over the basilica esplanade and visible from over 20 miles (32 km) away. Work started in 1940 and took over eighteen years to complete, with the monument being officially inaugurated on 1 April 1959. According to the official ledger, the cost of the construction totalled 1,159 million pesetas, funded through national lottery draws and donations. Some of the labourers were prisoners who traded their labour for a reduction in time served.
  • Place with a great history and impressive construction inside the mountain, worth to visit before visiting El Escorial. Funicular wasn’t working the day of the visit, it looks like the National park must have some interesting hike trails, would worth a next visit with more free time.
  • Fantastic place to visit. Must see if you are near Madrid. Really awesome experience

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