Jan 8th, 2011, 06:39 AM
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I am still trying to decide whether to do both El Escorial and Segovia in one day. It seems a bit busy but someone said earlier that it is doable. Rick Steves said that La Granja Palace is smaller but happier than El Escorial (not sure what happier means). Has anyone visited that site and what are your thoughts? Could this be included in Segovia and then not do El Escorial? About how long does it take to visit El Escorial?
tidy is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 07:15 AM
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Do not short change Segovia---a real gem. That will take all day in my book. I found El Escorial to be cold---I think that is what Rick means.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 07:26 AM
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While we were in the Segovia area (stayed at Pedraza) we visited the La Granja Palace. It is beautiful, but a great deal of the beauty is in the grounds. Because it was drizzling while we were there, we made the mistake of signing up for the indoor tour which was guide. As the guide droned on and on and on room by room we could look outside see that the rain had stopped and that the light was fading. We couldn't break away from the tour (believe me we tried) and we felt all but captive as the guide continued forever with us crazed that we could have been in the beautiful gardens filming instead of listening to the guide go on forever about every clock and carpet in the place and to make matters worse, in a language we couldn't understand.

Our experience notwithstanding, the place is lovely and worth a visit--but only if you just do the gardens or if they've converted to hand held audio guides by now.

I chose to shop and walk around outside while my husband went into the El Escorial. He was interested in the information connecting it to the Spanish Civil war but wasn't terribly excited about the place overall. I think it's outline from a distance is more interesting than the experience of being inside.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 07:39 AM
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My advice, and I realize that this is personal, is to spend the time in Segovia itself unless you have a real interest in Spanish history. I am assuming that you are going to take the opportunity to have a long lunch of local specialties...that will eat up two hours or so....

Are you driving? Will it be a daytrip from Madrid?
ekscrunchy is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 09:33 AM
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I believe trying to visit for El Escorial and Segovia in a day will be a bit rushed. I'd prefer to just vist Segovia - there's plenty to see in a day and you'd have time for a nice relaxing lunch to break up the sightseeing.
CathyM is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 10:10 AM
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Agree with all the prior recommendations, dedicate the one day to Segovia. Every time I go to Madrid I mean to go back to El Escorial, which I saw many years ago. But I always find other things that attract me more, one of them is I keep visiting Segovia! If you like baby suckling pig, I highly recommend lunch at either Mesón Cándido o Mesón/ Restaurante Duque.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 10:57 AM
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Segovia is very easy to reach by Sepulvedana bus. Station is located in Principe Pio (which both metro & cercanias renfe station). Trip is about 90 min & Segovia bus station is in the historical center (unlike the train station). Cost is about 12.50 euro for round trip

Also there is a day trip sold locally (or Viator) that combines Segovia & Avila. It was 60 euros last summer but we didn't go.

I liked Segovia more than Escorial (which is a single attraction and not town to explore)
hkto is offline  
Jan 8th, 2011, 03:13 PM
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El Escorial monastery is a huge, sober renaissance building built in the times of Philip II. The La Granja palace is baroque, and the best part are the gardens. This place is some miles off Segovia. I'd do just Segovia and La Granja.
josele is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 06:30 AM
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Personally I would save a day just for Segovia unless you do things via a hire car instead of Public transport.

El Escorial is great but without the Valle de los Caidos being open it is a 3-4hr activity all on its own. Cercedilla is a nearby alternative to replace the Valle... maybe worth considering? (

If you are doing Segovia via public transport then the bus is the best way to do so

Count for what it may, but to my mind Segovia is the one excursion from Madrid that has to be done. El escorial on the other hand is more of Madrid (big old buildings and culture etc) but in the mountains!

Finally, if you do go the hire car route to Segovia forget the main highway and instead go via "Puerta de navacerrada" for some great views and the small village with royal palace at San Ildefonso.
anguspm is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 07:01 AM
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Disagree that bus is the best way to Segovia. Bus is 90mins vs30 mins for train.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 10:53 AM
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Will second those who prefer the bus rather than the train to Segovia, as the train station is located a long way out of town from the historic center. The convenience of the bus location is preferable to me, at least.

Definitely am thinking you'll want a full day for Segovia -- there's enough to warrant spending this much time here. Hooking it up in the same day as El Escorial is just cheating both trips.

But I'm just as much a fan of El Escorial. Allot a good 3-4 hours for the monastery/palace, which is marvelous. And the little town is charming and worth a little bit of lunch and strolling. Have also been to Vallee de los Caidos and am thinking you're not missing much if it's closed other than a nice viewpoint -- I thought this attraction was awful otherwise. You can always head back to Madrid early that day.
bachslunch is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 11:16 AM
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"Disagree that bus is the best way to Segovia. Bus is 90mins vs30 mins for train."

This is absolutely correct if only timing is considered. AVANT train from Madrid CHAMARTIN to Segovia takes 28 min. However train station is quite far from historical part of town (7 km according to this link and cost is higher 21.20 for round train trip vs 12.70 for bus. Plus round trip cost of taxi from station to town.
hkto is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 11:20 AM
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Sorry here is the working link
hkto is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 11:50 AM
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Chamartin is very easy to reach by metro. I agree, if the traveler wants to save some money the bus will do that, I would rather save time. We paid around 7 euros for the taxi from the train station to town. There is also a bus (#11) that takes you to town for less than 1 euro( we took that to go from town back to the train station). It really depend what the traveler's priorities are and preferred way of travel.
cruiseluv is offline  
Jan 9th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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Thanks much. I think we will just do Segovia and possibly La Granja Palace. As stated earlier we will be driving.
tidy is offline  
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