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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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TRAVEL NEWS

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

Britons, Americans and other non-EU/Schengen travellers who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered from Covid-19 will not be able to visit Spain for tourism for at least another month, Spanish authorities have confirmed.

TRAVEL: Spain extends ban on unvaccinated non-EU tourists

The Spanish government has again extended temporary restrictions for non-essential travel (including tourism) from most third countries for another month, until June 15th 2022.

That means that non-EU/Schengen adults who reside outside of the EU and who haven’t been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or recovered from the illness in the past six months cannot go on holiday to Spain during the next month. 

Therefore, Spain continues to not accept negative Covid-19 tests from British, American, Canadian, Indian or other third-country nationals who are neither vaccinated nor recently recovered. 

There had been hopes that the shorter two-week extension to the ban on non-essential travel issued on April 30th, as well as talk of the “orderly and progressive reopening” of the country’s borders, would mean that unvaccinated third country nationals would be allowed into Spain in May.

But in the end, Saturday May 14th’s state bulletin confirmed that Spain will keep the same measures in place for another 31 days, stating that they “will eventually be modified to respond to a change of circumstances or to new recommendations in the context of the European Union”.

Spain’s ban on unvaccinated non-EU travellers is arguably the last major Covid-19 restriction in place in the country, and other EU countries such as Sweden, Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic and Ireland are allowing unvaccinated tourists in.

This latest announcement by the Spanish government marks the umpteenth extension to non-essential travel from outside of the EU/Schengen area over the past two years of the pandemic, the previous one was due to expire on May 15th. 

But perhaps this extension is the most surprising, as the Spanish health ministry has modified its rulebook to treat Covid-19 like the flu and the country wants to recover the tourism numbers it had pre-pandemic.

The ban affects unvaccinated British tourists in particular, as the UK is still the biggest tourism market for Spain, but Britons’ non-EU status means they have to follow the same Covid-19 travel rules as other third-country nationals.

Vaccinated or recovered third-country travellers

Those who were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 more than two weeks prior to travel to Spain will need to show a valid vaccination certificate with an EMA or WHO approved vaccine.

If their initial vaccination treatment was completed more than 9 months ago (270 days), they’ll need to show they’ve had a Covid-19 booster shot. 

As for non-EU/Schengen travellers who have recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, they will need to show a recovery certificate to prove this

According to Spain’s Health Ministry, recovery certificates accepted as valid are those “issued at least 11 days after the first positive NAAT or RAT, and up to a maximum of 180 days after the date of sampling”, as well as being issued by the relevant authorities.

Exceptions

In early February, Spanish authorities also decided to start allowing unvaccinated non-EU/Schengen teenagers aged 12 to 17 to visit Spain for tourism if they provided a negative PCR.

Spain continues to have a small list of low-risk third countries whose travellers visiting Spain for non-essential reasons can enter without having to present proof of Covid-19 testing, recovery or vaccination. 

This is updated weekly and can be checked here by clicking on the PDF under “risk and high risk countries/areas”. 

READ ALSO: Can I travel to my second home in Spain if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated or recovered, the exceptions for travel to Spain from third countries that fall under the non-essential travel restrictions are:

  • You are a resident in the EU or Schengen country.
  • You have a visa for a long duration stay in an EU or Schengen country.
  • You work in transport, such as airline staff or are in a maritime profession.
  • You work in diplomatic, consular, international organisations, military or civil protection or are a member of a humanitarian organisation.
  • You have a student visa for a country in the EU or Schengen zone.
  • You are a highly qualified worker or athlete whose work cannot be postponed or carried out remotely.
  • You are travelling for duly accredited imperative family reasons.
  • You are allowed entry due to force majeure or on humanitarian grounds.
  • And as mentioned earlier in the article, if you have a vaccination certificate that Spain’s Ministry of Health recognises, as well as for any accompanying minors (unless they’re under 12 years of age).

READ ALSO: When do I need to fill out Spain’s Covid health control form for travel?

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