The Seat of Philip II and the Abantos Hill
The surroundings of San Lorenzo del Escorial, whose monastery attracts an endless amount of tourists, are sites for enjoying and relaxing.
Among the places that the traveller must visit, we have to highlight the Chair of Philip II (Silla de Felipe II), in la Machota, from which the monarch observed the building of the monastery, and the Abantos Hill, from whose peak there is a splendid view.
Both Abantos and Machota are hills in which is possible to follow a big diversity of routes, with a very peculiar landscape.
From Madrid, we can go by car on the A-6 motorway or the Galapagar road, via the Valmayor reservoir (embalse de Valmayor), a place for fishing, canoeing and wind-surfing. Approximately 10 km. from the reservoir, we arrive in the town of Villa del Escorial, whose church of Saint Barnabas (San Bernabé) was built by Juan de Herrera.
The Seat of Philip Felipe II
Approximately 4 km from El Escorial, going on the Ávila road, we branch off at the Herrería Camp to go up to the Seat of Philip II, which is in the middle of La Machota Hill, situated on a huge rock of granite in which there are four sculpted seats. It is said that from here Philip II controlled the building of the monastery. The view here is wonderful.
Approximately 200 metres from there is the Little House of the Hermit, and if we continue along the asphalt road we can walk in the path which goes to the ‘El Castañar’ estate, in which access for motor vehicles fortunately is prohibited, and it’s ideal to go with children because it’s safe. The pedestrian road joins the Ávila road.
It’s worth seeing the landscape in each season of the year, because of the colour changes in its vegetation. It’s typical that people from this area come here to collect chestnuts, one of the most favourite hobbies of children, and then they toast them quietly in their home chimney to feel the heat of the toasted chestnuts in their hands, which is very nice when it begins to get cold. In addition, there are picnic areas and a fountain to quench the thirst of those who go without the appropriate bottle of water.
The Abantos Hill
Another excursion for the pleasure of our eyes and to breathe a big dose of pure air, is the ascent to the Abantos Hill, either by car, or for the most sporting people, hiking, or even climbing in the more rocky slopes. The views from the top, where there is a small hut for observation, are spectacular. Some adventurous people go paragliding, others prefer to have a quieter day and stay on the hillside with the family and friends to enjoy a simple country meal.
This is a place full of shady paths of pine trees, where we can sit in any of the numerous picnic areas, visit the abandoned village in the peak, walk around the reservoir, or discover the wells of ice which were used in the time of Philip II to conserve food. The laziest people can try to lie down under a pine tree and have a nap: the simple sound of Nature will be relaxing for anybody.
- The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial and the Prince’s Little House
- Excursions to sites declared as World Heritage
- Guide for visiting the characteristic Castle of Manzanares El Real
View Mapa infosierra-El Escorial in a larger map