SAN LORENZO DE EL ESCORIAL
San Lorenzo de El Escorial with your dog
San Lorenzo de El Escorial and its – WOOF! – imposing monastery are 47 km from Madrid. The monastery is a true marvel and recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s one of my favourite places for strolling around when I’m at home in Madrid. I’ll tell you why below.
DOG FRIENDLY TIPS
TO SLEEP: HOTEL FLORIDA (FLORIDABLANCA, 12)
TO ENJOY TAPAS: KU4TRO (FLORIDABLANCA, 28)
TO EAT: ASADOR DEL REY (FLORIDABLANCA,10)
TO DRINK: VILLANUEVA BAR (PLAZA DE LA CRUZ, 2)
Renfe Commuter Trains link Madrid with El Escorial station in just 50 minutes, so I usually take the train when I’m at home in Madrid to go and spend the day in this part of the Sierra de Guadarrama. The truth is that we dogs of any size are lucky to travel on these types of train without having to be put in cages or pay for a ticket. You can get more details about how to travel by Renfe here.
You can easily go on foot to the monastery from the station in about 15 minutes, and it’s a nice walk through the beautiful Herrería Forest - a great plan for any mutt. In the short film I made in May 2018 you can see this leafy forest with the monastery domes looming in the distance. Don’t mistakenly enter the House of the Prince Park, which is just beside station, because we pooches are banned from doing so by local regulations.
THE BEST VIEWS - FROM ABANTOS HILL
The best views of what for many is the Eighth Wonder of the World can be had fromAbantos Hill. You can climb up on foot from San Lorenzo itself to some stone ledges(cars are not allowed on this stretch), and the excursion is worthwhile. These viewpoints are the best place from where to contemplate the fine work commissioned by Philip II to commemorate victory over the French at the Battle of St. Quentin (August 1557). You can get an idea of what I’m talking about from the photos on this page (the photos were taken in May 2018, except for the first one, which is from the previous autumn).
We dogs are not currently allowed to enter and look around the monastery, but simply strolling around the natural surroundings of this complex and seeing its Herrerian style close-up makes the trip worthwhile (by the way, you can see what fab photos can be taken beside the monastery).
On our last excursion, we ate at the Asador del Rey. My human companion Pablo and my trainer Carlos tucked into a lamb that had “eat me" written all over it. Dogs are allowed inside the restaurant, but the weather was so good we decided to go for the terrace with views over the monastery.
The tapas in the photo(blood sausage with apple) are from Ku4Tro (Floridablanca, 28) and we also visited the Villanueva bar (Plaza de la Cruz, 2) for a drink, where Maca and Elvira attended to us fantastically well and I was given some tasty biscuits. Well-behaved dogs are welcome at both establishments.
During our last visit to San Lorenzo we were recommended the Petit Verdot bar(Floridablanca, 30), but they were closed for their weekly day-off. I should also remind you that there are lots of terraces around the centre where you can eat and have a coffee.
For an overnight stay I would recommend the Florida (Calle Floridablanca, 12-14). It would seem that everything is at hand in this very central street, but – haha – San Lorenzo is actually very small! Vanesa and Pedro made a big fuss of me because they love doggies, which is why we were made to feel so welcome at the hotel (which also has monastery views). The best of all was the place where they let me nibble on my dental stick a present from my friends at Bayer. ... you can see it in my video – I bet I’ll make you jealous (in a healthy way).
FEELING LIKE A KING
For the afternoon, I suggest another great plan: a 4 kilometre excursion running through the forests to the Seat of Philip II.You can also see this in my video: it’s a rocky outcrop up on the mountain where some seats have been carved which, it is said, was the place chosen by the Monarch to oversee monastery building work (although I actually think the view is better from San Lorenzo). You can access it by car, and then walk the last kilometre uphill.
For those who dont want to move around so much, I should tell you that the town hall has fitted out some dog parks which you can find here. And here is a link to the Municipal Bylaw governing the Protection of Pets, B.O.C.M. No. 165 12/07/12 and to a summary of the local regulations for keeping public spaces clean.
I hope you will find these ideas useful.