Drive through the region of Las Rozas, the site of major battles during the Spanish civil war. Stop in the town and see the lovely Church of San Miguel Arcangel.
The Valley Of The Fallen can be seen from 50km away. It features the the largest cross in the world, standing 150m high on a rocky cliff known as Risco de la Nava. This enormous cross was carved from granite by the architect Diego Méndez. On the base are four colossal sculptures, each 18m high depicting the four Evangelists. Take the funicular train up to the base and be awed at the majesty of these structures.
This monument was built by Dictator Francisco Franco to honour those who died in the Spanish civil war. Prisoners were used to carve it out of the mountainside. Now a national park, the Valley Of The Fallen is the final resting place for 40000 people killed in the 1930s war. Franco himself is buried here too.
On your way back to Madrid, stop at the El Escorial Monastery. This massive complex is the historical residence of the King of Spain. Lavishly decorated by iconic artists such as El Greco and Claudio Coello, this magnificent venue offers Renaissance art, architecture, painting and sculpture in magnificent splendour and cannot be missed!