Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get to El Escorial?

We recommend that all participants for the Summer in Spain program plan to arrive in Spain at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. Students arriving in Madrid via Train should read the ‘By Train’ section below.

Transportation from Madrid to El Escorial

Students attending the Summer in Spain Program are expected to make their own arrangements for transportation to and from Spain. Early booking is advised. We advise that students plan their travel for arrival in Spain at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport in Madrid.

The Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport is approximately 35 miles from El Escorial. Transport from the airport to El Escorial can be accomplished by bus, train, or private car. Using public transport, whether bus or train, will require several transfers to reach El Escorial from the Madrid airport. Private cars and taxis offer a more direct route, but are generally much more expensive. Read below for further details.

By Private Car
  • Many private car and taxi services provide service to and from El Escorial from the Madrid airport. While these services are far faster and more direct than the train or bus services, they are much more costly, often €80 or more each direction. We recommend that participants wishing to use a private car service coordinate with other participants and arrange to travel from the airport to El Escorial as a group, so as to share the cost of transport.
By Bus
  • To reach El Escorial by suburban bus, take Metro Line 8 (Pink Line) from the airport until the Nuevos Ministerios station.
  • Then change to the Metro Line 6 (Grey Line) to the Moncloa station.
  • The Metro rate to and from Moncloa is approximately €1.50 each way. For detailed information on rates, routes, and schedules, please visit the homepage of the Madrid Metro.
  • The Moncloa station in a large transit hub with metro, bus, and commuter rail stations. At Moncloa, transfer to bus Bus 661 or 664. Route 661 and 664 take approximately 50 minutes to reach El Escorial after departing Moncloa and runs from approximately 06:55-00:30 (6:55 AM – 12:30 AM), with reduced hours on weekends and holidays.
  • The El Escorial bus terminal is a 5-10 minute walk from the Hotel Florida.
By Train
  • To reach El Escorial by train, take the regional commuter train, Line C8a or Line C3, from the Atocha or the Chamartin rail stations. Madrid regional commuter trains are operated the Spanish national rail company, Renfe.
  • To reach the Atocha station from the airport:
    • Take Metro Line 8 (Pink Line) from the airport until the Nuevos Ministerios station.
    • Transfer to the Metro Line 10 (Dark Blue) until the Tribunal station.
    • Transfer to the Metro Line 1 (Light Blue)
  • To reach the Charmartin station from the airport:
    • Take Metro Line 8 (Pink Line) from the Airport until the Nuevos Ministerios station.
    • Transfer to the Metro Line 10 (Dark Blue) until the Chamartin Station.
  • Alternatively, taxi service is available from the airport to either of these stations.
  • The journey to El Escorial station is approximately 65 minutes from Atocha station and 55 minutes from Charmartin station and is approximately €10 for a one-way trip.
  • The El Escorial station is a 20-30 minute walk from the Hotel Florida. The walk from the train station is approximately 1.25 miles, largely up hill, and not ideal for those with large amounts of luggage. There is, however, regular bus service between the train station and El Escorial bus terminal. The fair is approximately €1 each way.
  • Note: Rail services operated by Renfe, the Spanish national rail service, generally do not operate overnight. Rail service can usually be expected between 05:45 and 23:30 (5:45 AM – 11:30 PM). Travelers are encouraged to check Renfe’s rail schedule for detailed information.
Do I need a Passport or Visa to enter Spain?

Yes. All United States citizens can enter Spain and the EU for up to 90 days for purposes of vacation and education with a U.S. Passport without having to obtain a special Visa. The U.S. State Department recommends that your Passport be valid for at least 90 days after your date of departure from Spain. We encourage you to review the U.S. State Department’s Spain Information page for more detail.

Beginning in 2021, U.S. citizens traveling to Europe will need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) visa waiver which is the new travel authorization for Europe. To obtain the Europe visa waiver for Americans, U.S. citizens will need to have a valid passport, a credit or debit card, and an email account. These are the main ETIAS requirements for U.S. citizens which each applicant must have on hand when applying. Without the right travel document, applicants could have their application denied. Please review the full ETIAS Requrements Page for more information.

If you are a citizen of another nation, we recommend that you contact your home country’s department of state, or equivalent, to determine if there are any travel restrictions that you may encounter.

Is there a U.S. Embassy in Spain?

Yes. There is a U.S. Embassy in Madrid.

U.S. Embassy Madrid
Calle Serrano, 75
28006 Madrid
Telephone: +(34) (91) 587-2240
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(34) (91) 587-2200. Ask to speak to the duty officer if you need emergency assistance outside of business hours.

Routine and emergency services for U.S. citizens are provided by the American Citizens Services section of the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy. Appointments are required for routine consular services. Additional information is available through the U.S. Citizen Services page on the Embassy’s website. To make an appointment, please visit the U.S. Embassy’s online appointment system for U.S. Citizen Services.

Will my credit/debit cards work in Spain?

Generally, yes. Most major credit cards and debit cards, Visa, Master Card, etc., are accepted widely in Spain for purchases at retail stores. It is recommended that, prior to traveling, you contact your bank or credit card provider and inform them that you will traveling abroad and using the card in question. Many banks and credit card companies now use computer analytics to automate the fraud detection process; unfortunately, this has led to travelers cards being disabled because purchases in foreign countries appear out of pattern. Contacting the card issuer prior to departing will help avoid this problem. Please read below regarding ATMs.

Do I need cash and will I be able to use ATMs in Spain?

Many small vendors and restaurants prefer or will only accept cash. It is recommended that travelers carry at least some cash for incidental expenses. Most ATMs in Spain and throughout Europe now require cards with chip technology, as shown below:

Most American banks have now issued cards with chip technology. However, if your bank card does not have chip technology and if you believe will need cash while in Spain, we recommend contacting your financial institution to determine if they can issue a chip technology card, or, alternatively, you may arrange to purchase Euros from your bank or currency exchange service prior to your departure for Spain.

Will I be able wash my clothes?

Yes. While there is not a public laundry facility located in the Hotel Florida, the hotel does offer garment cleaning services at an additional cost to the students. There is also a public laundry facility in El Escorial that is relatively inexpensive. Upon your arrival in El Escorial, you can participate in a short tour of the area facilitated by our staff, during which, the laundry facility will be pointed out for participants. Some past participants have also used drop-off/pick-up laundry facilities in Madrid. We recommend bringing at least ten days’ worth of clothes, even if you intend to do laundry.

What is the Weather Like In El Escorial?

Madrid and El Escorial enjoy a generally mild, Mediterranean to subtropical climate, with warm, dry summer months. Daytime temperatures in El Escorial in June are generally around 75 °F (24 °C), with evening temperatures dropping to around 60 °F (16 °C). Because of its mountain location and high elevation – 3441 ft. above sea level – temperatures in El Escorial can drop rapidly, and rain and cool weather in the range of 40 °F (4 °C) are not uncommon.