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Day trip from Madrid, Etc.

I am booked on an 8 day Rick Steves Barcelona and Madrid trip in June. I just read a forum post about the increase in crime in Barcelona and it makes me leery about straying from the tour group. Can anyone ease my mind a bit?
Also, the back end of this trip in spent in Madrid. Has anyone taken a day trip to Escorial and the Valley of the Fallen from Madrid during this tour? I know there is a little free time on one of the days, but is it better to try to take this excursion at the end of the tour on an additional day? Recommended trip operators? Thanks.

Posted by
23471 posts

What is the source for the Barcelona warning? We haven't been in Barcelona since the pandemic so we may be dated. Barcelona has always had a little elevated crime especially pickpockets on Ramblas but easily handle with a few precautions. I have read anything that would suggest that the risk is higher now.

Escorial is very long day trip so I would do it later. For us in the past the local TIs have always been a good source for local tours.

Posted by
8066 posts

It is not like the violence criminals in USA resort to just to steal a little money. Just put your money in a neck wallet or a money belt to avoid being pickpocketed. Ignore or say no thank you to anyone that comes up to you unsolicited. Avoid walking around by yourself around the old town and that tacky Ramblas area, where all the tourists go.

Follow your interests and add to your trip and take a day to go to El Escorial and combine it with Segovia to see Roman aqueduct. That's what we did and enjoyed that more than Toledo.

Posted by
6817 posts

Not as a day trip from Madrid, but we’ve been to San Lorenzo de El Escorial a few times and always with a car. The royal monastery and the crypt with the kings and queens is interesting to visit. I agree that there’s little else of interest in the town. I also found restaurants to be more expensive there than than most everywhere else in Spain.

The former Valley of the Fallen, now Cuelgamuros Valley, is 8 miles away and easy to reach with a car. The cross and memorial are set off from the main road. I’m not sure if busses go right up to the monument. It is a somber location, but affords some great views of the surrounding area.