Following the introduction of a low-cost train service between Madrid and Barcelona last year, a new budget-friendly route is set to connect Spain's landlocked capital with the coastal cities of Valencia and Alicante, with some tickets priced as low as €9.

Traveling around Spain is set to become kinder to the environment (and your wallet) as more low-cost, high-speed train services hit the tracks this year. 

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Ouigo Spain, a subsidiary of SNCF (the state-owned railway of France) is launching new services between Madrid and Alicante and Madrid and Valencia, connecting the capital to the beaches and resorts of the Costa Blanca later this year (exact dates to be announced).

An additional service will run between Madrid and the Castilla-La Mancha city of Albacete.

The most basic fare for adults start from just €9 (subject to availability) and €5 for children between the ages of four and 14. Children under four can travel for free.

Strollers outside the Royal Palace of Madrid © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet

What's included in ticket prices

Ouigo Spain’s pricing structure is similar to that of a budget airline: amenities have either been removed or can only be accessed at an extra cost, tickets must be purchased online at least four hours in advance, and baggage on board is restricted.

For example, the basic fare at €9 includes one small piece of hand luggage (handbag, small backpack etc.) and one piece of cabin luggage (55x35x25 cm). Passengers can pay an extra €5 to bring larger luggage on board (2 x 2 meters and up to 30 kilos), or an additonal €9 for the Ouigo Plus which includes an XL seat (subject to availability), another piece of hand luggage, and on-board entertainment with movies and TV shows.

Many tourists and locals enjoying on famous beach in Barcelona, Spain
Ouigo runs a daily service between Madrid and Barcelona ©Littleaom/Shutterstock

Spain adds more routes to low-cost rail networks

Ouigo is the first train not operated by Spain's public rail provider Renfe. The company claims more than 1.4 million passengers have traveled on its double-decker trains since it launched its daily service between Madrid and Barcelona last summer. Ouigo trains also stop in Zaragoza and Tarragona

While Ouigo was the first low-cost train in Spain, it's not the only one. Renfe recently launched a low-cost subsidary called Avlo; undercutting Ouigo's fares on routes it competes on, with one-way tickets starting from €7 between Madrid and Barcelona, and Madrid and Alicante.

Ougio plans to expand even further and connect Madrid with Andalucía, passing through Córdoba to reach Seville, and then Málaga in the Costa del Sol in 2023.

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Train travel across Europe is seeing a boost because of the pandemic and concerns about the climate crisis. A new 'ultra rapid' train network is set to be part of Europe's post-pandemic recovery, in which travel times between the continent’s capitals are halved. In April, four of Europe’s national railway operators will begin selling tickets for expanded night train service that will link up 13 cities.

Read more: 

Europe’s new night trains offer travelers an alternative to flying
10 of the world's most amazing train journeys
The European train journeys that are even faster than flying

This article was first published Dec 18, 2020 and updated Feb 21, 2022.

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