El Escorial & Valle de los Caídos
For one of the program’s day trips, the group will visit San Lorenzo de El Escorial, a quaint town where a monastery and palace, also named San Lorenzo de El Escorial, are located.
King Felipe II had the grand structure built to commemorate the 1557 Spanish victory at the Battle of St. Quentin against Henry II of France. The Royal Pantheon at El Escorial is the burial site for most of the Spanish royalty for the last five centuries.
Nearby, the group travels to el Valle de los Caídos, built by dictator Francisco Franco as a monument to honor and bury those who fell during the Spanish Civil War; Franco himself is buried there. The monument remains controversial particularly due to the fact that 10% of the construction workforce were convicts, including political prisoners.