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TRAIN TRAVEL

Spain’s Avlo to launch new low-cost train between Madrid and Valencia 

Avlo, the low-cost subsidiary of Spain’s public rail provider, will launch a new high-speed train route between Madrid and Valencia in February, with tickets going for as little as €7. 

Tickets for Avlo's new Madrid-Valencia train route first go on sale on Thursday January 20th. Photo: Renfe
Tickets for Avlo's new Madrid-Valencia train route first go on sale on Thursday January 20th. Photo: Renfe

Great news for those in the Valencia region who fancy a city break in the capital, and for Madrid residents in search of some sun, sea and fun on the Costa Blanca.

There’s a new low-cost high-speed AVE train that will link Valencia and Madrid, with the launch scheduled for Monday February 21st.  

From then on, there will be three daily services in each direction, representing 2,200 seats in total over the six daily journeys. 

The Avlo trains will leave from Valencia to Madrid at 9.28am, 4.15pm and 9.10 pm. The Madrid-Valencia routes will depart at 6.30am, 12.40pm and 6.40pm from the Spanish capital. 

Four out of the six services will stop in the historic town of Cuenca in Castilla-La Mancha region and in Requena-Utiel in the interior of the Valencian Community.

Tickets start for as little as €7, and although there will only be a limited number of seats going for this price, so far Avlo tickets always seem to be cheaper than Renfe’s.

According to Spanish website trenes.com, the average single ticket price of a Renfe Ave ticket between Madrid and Valencia is €45.

AVE trains take on average 1 hour and 38 minutes to complete the 302 kilometres that separate Madrid from Valencia.

There is no class-system onboard Avlo trains, but rather a similar system to that of low-cost airlines where no-frills tickets are cheaper but adding extra services such as choice of seat, cancelling tickets or additional luggage costs more. 

The basic fee does include one suitcase and one piece of hand luggage. 

Tickets first go on sale on Thursday January 20th.

Children under the age of 14 will enjoy a flat fee of €5, as long as an adult ticket is also purchased (maximum of two discount child tickets per adult). 

Large families are also expected to be eligible for further discounts of between 20 and 50 percent on their tickets.

Spanish state rail operator Renfe, which until recently operated a monopoly in Spain, now has a competitor in low-cost train company Ouigo, owned by France’s SNCF. 

Avlo is the cheaper-priced subsidiary of Renfe’s popular high-speed service called AVE — which is Spanish for bird. 

Avlo has enjoyed a lot of success since it launched its Madrid-Barcelona route in June 2021, with occupancy rates above 90 percent. After the Valencia-Madrid route, it intends to connect the Spanish capital to Seville over the course of 2022.

Ouigo is also looking to connect Valencia and Madrid by spring 2022, which could mean competition keeps prices down. 

READ ALSO: The new high-speed Madrid to Barcelona train that costs just €9

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TOURISM

IN PICS: Madrid to have largest artificial beach in Spain and Europe

Inland Madrid is set to have a new nearby beach complex in 2023 which will feature a huge lagoon, a sailing school, aquatic slides, beach bars and plenty more across a whopping 105,000m2 area.

IN PICS: Madrid to have largest artificial beach in Spain and Europe

“¡Vaya, vaya! ¡Aquí no hay playa!” (Well, well! No beach here!) the famous 80s Spanish song by The Refrescos goes, mocking the fact that Madrid is one of Spanish regions furthest from the coast. 

But madrileños may get the last laugh in the end as there are plans underway to build Europe’s largest artificial beach.

It will be just half an hour away from the capital in the municipality of Alovera in Guadalajara province, which is technically in the Castilla-La Mancha region, but Madrid has already claimed Alovera Beach as its own.

Construction is underway on a mega-project which requires more than 15km2 of sand and 25km2 of water.

The whole beach complex will measure 105,000 m2 and will feature a huge lagoon, as well as a surrounding area of sand. 

Alovera Beach is set to be the largest artificial beach in Europe. Photo: Alovera Beach

The sand zone is set to have several beach bars, hammocks for relaxing in, beach volleyball courts and an open-air gym, while the lagoon area is set to have water sports, a sailing school, slides, water chutes, zip lines and smaller pools for kids.  

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The project, created in conjunction with US-based company Crystal Lagoons has been halted on several occasions, in part due to its ginormous size, political debates, and the huge cost of the work, which comes in at an estimated €15.6 million.

The aim is reportedly to create around 350 direct and indirect jobs and welcome between 250,000 and 400,000 visitors a year.

While some of Spain’s political parties – PP, Ciudadanos and Vox – are in favour of the beach, others including PSOE and Unidas Podemos are against it, citing the fact that the lagoon area is going to be filled with the drinking water taken from the local supply.

The terrace area will be filled with restaurants and chiringuitos. Photo: Alovera Beach.

In their defence, the constructors of Alovera Beach have clarified that the volume of water is similar to the annual consumption of a development of 80 homes, but with the difference that the lagoon will only be filled once.

They have also said that it will consume half the amount of water of conventional park irrigation and 40 or 50 times less than the maintenance of a golf course, as well as use 100 times fewer chemicals than normal swimming pools.

The huge lagoon will measure 25km2. Photo: Alovera Beach

To add to their sustainability commitment, Crystal Lagoons and Alovera Beach will also create a large natural park surrounding the complex, in order to encourage biodiversity in the area.

Those in Madrid who can’t wait until 2023 for the project to be complete, should visit the Blue Flag-awarded Virgen de la Nueva beach on the banks of the San Martín de Valdeiglesias reservoir. 

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