El Valle de los Caídos
About El Valle de los Caídos
El Valle de los Caídos draws thousands of tourists yearly despite its controversial character.
Francisco Franco, Spain's dictator from 1939-1975, conceived "The Valley of the Fallen" to honor casualties of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Franco claimed to have conceived the monument in remembrance of both sides -- the Republicans (a mix of communists, anarchists and others who supported democracy) & the General's own fascist party. The fact that Republican POW's built the Valley under gruesome circumstances, however, along with the complex's undeniably fascist style, makes it difficult to believe the dictator's bipartisan claims. Furthermore, even though Franco did not specify that he wanted to be buried at El Valle de los Caídos, there he lies nonetheless next to José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of Spain's fascist party, the Falange.
The monument consists of 2 main attractions: a large Basilica carved into the face of the mountain and a ginormous granite cross perched atop which you can reach by funicular. Enter the Basilica and you'll find yourself surrounded by stark religious and nationalistic sculptures alongside engravings like "Fallen for God and for Spain." Continue to the main altar to see Franco and José Antonio's tombstones.
Getting to El Valle de los Caídos
The easiest way to get to El Valle de los Caídos is visit El Escorial first, then take bus 660 (Autocares Herranz) from Plaza de la Virgen de Gracia. From the town of San Lorenzo del Escorial in car, take M-600 to "El Valle de los Caídos."
El Valle de los Caídos Hours & Rates
Like El Escorial, El Valle de los Caídos is closed on Mondays. The Basilica is open Oct-March, 10am-5:30pm and April-Sept from 10am-6:30pm.
Combined ticket El Escorial + El Valle de los Caídos
Includes guided visit at El Escorial + unguided visit at El Valle