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Iryo high-speed trains
Photograph: Iryo

Spain’s new high-speed train links Barcelona and Madrid for just €18

Spain’s new intercity train is low-cost and high-speed – and it’s now launched

James Manning
Written by
James Manning

Fans of European rail travel are having an absolute bonanza this autumn. First France announced new high-speed trains, which will zoom from Paris to the Riviera in four-and-a-half hours. And now there’s news from Spain too: a new high-speed train service has launched that links the country’s two greatest cities – Barcelona and Madrid – for the unbelievably low price of €18 (£16, €18).

The new service comes courtesy of new Spanish train operator Iryo, which is part-owned by Italy’s Trenitalia. Every day 16 trains now run each way between Madrid and Barcelona, with a service at least every hour. The trains will also stop in Zaragoza.

Two other operators already run trains on the Madrid-Barcelona high-speed rail route: the state-owned network Renfe (operating as Avlo) and recent newcomer Ouigo. All that competition means that tickets are almost unbelievably affordable. Tickets with Renfe and Ouigo can cost as little as €7 and €9 respectively, while the cheapest fares on Iryo will start at €18.

While Iryo may not be the cheapest on the market, that’s still incredibly good value for the 314-mile journey. It’s also worth knowing that Iryo is running all-new trains, which it claims are the fastest and quietest in Europe – and the most sustainable, powered by renewable energy and made almost entirely from recyclable materials. The company is aiming its services at business travellers, and each train has a fancy restaurant car, good wi-fi and a dedicated workspace in the third carriage.

Iryo also plans to launch trains between Madrid and Valencia on December 16, from Madrid to Seville, Málaga, Antequera and Cordoba on March 31, 2023, and from Madrid to Alicante next June. (Avlo and Ouigo already run trains from Madrid to Seville, Valencia and Alicante).

Tickets for all these routes are on sale now via the Iryo website. Go, go, go!

Did you see Spain is making intercity trains free this autumn?

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