Fans of European rail travel are having an absolute bonanza this week. Yesterday we reported on France’s 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 that will link 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. From November 25, each day will see 16 trains running 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 will have 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 in December 2022, from Madrid to Seville and Málaga in March 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 go on sale via the Iryo website on Sunday September 18, with promo prices even lower than that €18 benchmark. Go, go, go!
Did you see Spain is making intercity trains free this autumn?