About 45 kilometers (28 miles) northwest of Madrid, El Escorial consists most notably of a royal palace and monastery. "So what" is a likely response, especially if you've already seen the dozens of palaces and monasteries that you'll invariably be seeing in Spain. If pure, unadulterated size is your cup of tea, then we suggest saving your "so what's" for a less impressive jumble of stones.
Completed in 1584, this gargantuan building was the largest in the world at the time and remains an imposing structure to this day, serving as the burial site for generations of Spanish kings and given UNESCO World Heritage site status for its cultural significance.
Tour entrance to both the palace and monastery is 8 EUR ($11.50 USD); if you are looking for a cultural day break an hour's drive of the city, this is it. For more info, consult the accompanying website.
Location:Escorial de Arriba