Monasterio de Santa Maria de El Paular

Monasterio de Santa Maria de El Paular, Rascafria: Hours, Address, Monasterio de Santa Maria de El Paular Reviews: 4.5/5

Monasterio de Santa Maria de El Paular

Monasterio de Santa Maria de El Paular
4.5
Points of Interest & Landmarks
11:00 - 14:00, 16:00 - 19:00
Tuesday
11:00 - 14:00
16:00 - 19:00
Wednesday
11:00 - 14:00
16:00 - 19:00
Thursday
11:00 - 14:00
16:00 - 19:00
Friday
11:00 - 14:00
16:00 - 19:00
Saturday
11:00 - 14:00
16:00 - 19:00
Sunday
11:00 - 14:00
16:00 - 19:00
What is Travellers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.

4.5
295 reviews
Excellent
162
Very good
95
Average
18
Poor
9
Terrible
11

lynelgaunt
Lock Haven, PA31 contributions
Beautiful
Sep 2019
They didn’t speak English, but it was beautiful to see!, the inside is so
Ornate and in areas are very simple the monk living there took us on the tour!
Written 14 September 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Claire
Casablanca, Morocco37 contributions
Worth the visit for history lovers
Feb 2018 • Couples
Yes, it is worth the visit even though I have graded it a 3. What spoilt it for me was the guide (a monk) who seemed quite obnoxious at first - he got riled up when someone asked a question he had already given the answer to, and then pushed for questions and observations. He relaxed into it but he was not an effective communicator, and even though he was very knowledgeable, he looked tired of doing the same thing over and over again and felt that he didn't invest in his visitors. HOWEVER, the monastery itself is lovely, with a great souvenir shop.
Written 18 February 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

globalcuriosity2015
Greater London, UK12 contributions
Benedictine Beauty in a rural backwater location - allow yourself to be wowed!
Apr 2017 • Couples
Serene, calm, beautiful art and a haven of tranquillity.

Guided tour by a monk how had knowledge, personality and unexpected worldliness.

Thoroughly enjoyable!

Thank you very much!
Written 18 July 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

pampete5
Worthing, UK3 contributions
walking and visiting monasterio
Sep 2016 • Couples
The scenery from Madrid over the Navacerrada range and journey to the Valley was fantastic ,The river and grounds were beautiful and the Monasterio very interesting with paintings of the founder which had been in the Pradountil 2014Our guide Miguel was very knowledgible and interesting
Written 13 October 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Born with a travelers foot
Community of Madrid, Spain596 contributions
Road trip a 1 hour from Madrid
Aug 2016 • Friends
I have to say that was a surprise for us, because the initial plan was the "presillas" a small number of pools besides a river in Rascafria Town , in the road we saw the Monastery and stopped a little bit but unfortunately there were weddings that day so the Chapel was close for tourists, but the museum and the rest of the surrounding are beautiful, it worth the stop.
Written 21 August 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Pucela08
Lawrence, KS1,591 contributions
Historic Monastery in the mountains north of Madrid
Jul 2014 • Friends
Situated about 90 minutes north of Madrid, the Monasterio is a cultural and artistic gem. The monastery lies about 3km from Rascafría, a small town located in the valley of El Paular, The area is quiet scenic with spectacular mountains all around. Originally founded in the 14th century, the monastery attests to several centuries of evolution and change. While the outside of the monastery seems very plain, once inside you will find some spectacular art. There are guided tours daily, in Spanish, and it is well worth the time. The main chapel has a wonderful late medieval altarpiece made of alabaster and decorated with vivid scenes from the life of Christ. The cloister contains a series of impressive paintings by Carducho illustrating events associated with the Carthusian Order. I found the treasury/chapel/sacristy areas the most impressive. Its Baroque design evidences the richness of this monastery and the artistic heritage it bears. You can stroll around the grounds and enjoy the scenery and serenity of the location. The Sheraton hotel that was once attached to the monastery has closed, but Rascafría has some lodging and good restaurants. It is worth the visit and makes a splendid day-trip from Madrid (or Segovia).
Written 8 August 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

JudyBoz
Austin, TX700 contributions
Beautiful Old Building
Nov 2013 • Friends
When you think you've seen it, you are escorted behind the lovely ceramic altarpiece to a surprising and very different part of the monastery. I won't spoil the surprise but suggest you make sure to sign up for the guided tour.
Written 9 December 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Anonymous855
Trabuco Canyon, California1,327 contributions
Surprisingly beautiful Baroque rooms behind the walls
Sep 2013 • Business
The tour is entirely in Spanish; we were very lucky to have someone in the group to interpret into English. The sacristy was the most beautiful one I have ever seen. The outside of the monastery is plain so you don't expect such opulence.
Written 2 October 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

fairtraveler80
atlanta13 contributions
see the Monastery if you have the time
Jul 2013 • Family
Good relaxing activity if you are not pressured for time. The short drive to Segovia is more interesting if you don't have a lot of time.
Written 13 July 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

BennyMalaga
Malaga, Spain89,631 contributions
One of Spain's Most Beautiful Monasteries
Apr 2013 • Friends
It is best to visit on Sunday because that is the only time the church is open and there is a Mass at noon with Gregorian chants, a beautiful experience.

King Juan I, King of Castille, laid the first stone in 1390 for the Carthusian monastery. This was the first one in Castille and the sixth in Spain. The construction took many hundreds of years. The monastery life was interrupted during the War of Independence of 1908 against the French. Later monasteries were expropriated in 1835 by the Spanish government. In 1844 the monastery was sold to Rafael Sanchez Merino, who later resold it back to the state in 1864. Franco made a trip to Montserrat in 1942 and enjoyed his stay there. So then he chose the Cartuja de El Paular to have a similar monastery near Madrid. The monastery was at that time abandoned by the Carthusian monks and when Franco offered it back to them, the monks decided not to accept the offer. So Franco gave it to the Benedictine Order from Valvanera, in La Rioja. This order arrived in El Paular in 1954 and have been there ever since.

The Benedictine Order was founded by San Benito (480-528). The first few years at the monastery the monks worked very hard to rehabilitate the buildings. The monks earn their living by producing various liquors, such as the Benedictine Liquor. They also produce various types of cheese. They sell these items in their store, adjacent to the entrance. They also work on a trout fish farm and they have a school for boys who are interned in the monastery.

The enclosed cloister has 52 large format paintings of the History of the Carthusians. These were originally 56 paintings, done by Vicente Carducho (1576-1638). This was the most complex pictorial cycle commissioned by the Carthusian Order and the order was given in 1626. Vicente Carducho at that time was the most highly regarded artist in the Madrid court. The first 26 paintings illustrated the life of St. Bruno of Cologne, the founder of the Order. The other paintings showed the important events in the life of the Order around Europe. In 1835 when the monastery was expropriated, the paintings went to other places owned by the government. In 2002 the Prado decided to restore all the paintings that had survived and this was completed in 2006. These were then returned to El Paular.

The church is the most beautiful part of the monastery. It took final shape during the reign of Isabel la Catolica. There is a railing that separates the monks from the public and this was the work of the monk Francisco de Salamanca. The beautiful choir seats are made of walnut and were made in the 16th century by Bartolome Fernandez of Segovia. The most beautiful part of the church is the main altarpiece, made of polychromed alabaster, created at the end of the 15th century. It was designed by Juan Guas and his school worked on it. The retable has 17 Biblical scenes with much detail. This retable is unique in Spain and is a great work of art. It is hypnotic.
Written 19 April 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Monasterio de Santa Maria de El Paular

Monasterio de Santa Maria de El Paular is open:
  • Tue - Sun 11:00 - 14:00
  • Tue - Sun 16:00 - 19:00