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The exceptions for inter-regional travel in Spain this Easter (and the forms you’d need)

Travelling between Spain’s regions will be highly restricted for locals and residents from March 26th to April 9th, but as on previous occasions during Spain’s state of alarm, there are a handful of justifiable reasons to cross regional borders over Semana Santa. 

The exceptions for inter-regional travel in Spain this Easter (and the forms you’d need)
Photo: Josep Lago/AFP

After weeks of negotiations, Spain’s 17 regions agreed on March 10th to keep their regional borders closed to people based in Spain over the Semana Santa period, whilst allowing tourists to choose where they want to spend their holidays in Spain. 

The country’s two archipelagos – the Canaries and the Balearics – were the only ones given some leeway initially, but since then the Atlantic islands have announced they’ll also close their borders (and even restrict non-essential travel between islands on level 3).

The Balearics’ government, concerned about the influx of tourists arriving currently, are considering a similar move.  

So it’s safe to say that if you’re based in Spain, Easter breaks should be taken close by, in either your island, city, province or region, depending on where you are. 

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That’s unless you want to run the risk of getting a stiff fine, which depending on the region can go from €100 to €600,000

But there are of course exceptions if the reasons for travel this Semana Santa are not related to leisure or other non-essential reasons.

The justifiable reasons for inter-regional travel in Spain this Easter are: 

Health reasons : going to a health centre or other medical establishments.

Work : professional, business, institutional or legal obligations related to one’s job.

Education: attending class at universities or other educational centres, including nursery schools.

Return home: according to the Spanish government, returning to your usual or family home is allowed, which doesn’t include second homes people have in the countryside in another region. 

Care : assisting and caring for elderly people, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable people.

Banks and petrol stations: travelling across regional borders to go to your closest bank or insurance company is allowed, as is refuelling your vehicle in a neighbouring territory. 

Legal matters: any required or urgent matter at a public institution, court or notary is a justified reason for travel across regions over Easter.

Renewing official documents: travelling across borders for permit and ID renewals as well as other official documentation is allowed, although in most cases foreigners in Spain have to deal with these official matters in their town or province. Resolving other administrative procedures that cannot be postponed is also a justified cause. 

Exams : having to sit official exams or tests that cannot be postponed is a justified reason for travel this Easter.

Emergency : due to force majeure or a situation of need. This is of course subject to interpretation but the most important factor will be to be able to justify your emergency with documented evidence. 

Other reasons: any other activity of a similar nature, which is duly accredited.

If you meet any of these criteria you will be able to travel between regions this Easter, although you will most likely have to fill in and print a “justificante de viaje”, a declaration form that explains the extenuating circumstances that justify your journey. 

Not all of Spain’s autonomies have made this document available yet, so write the words in inverted commas above in a search engine, plus the name of your region, ahead of your journey to see if it has been made available by then. It it will also most likely be necessary to take along with you other documentation which support your reason for travelling. 

Here are some of the regions that have made the certificate available.  

Aragón

Catalonia

Canary Islands 

Navarra

Basque Country

Madrid 

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IN IMAGES: Spain’s ‘scrap cathedral’ lives on after creator’s death

For over 60 years, former monk Justo Gallego almost single-handedly built a cathedral out of scrap materials on the outskirts of Madrid. Here is a picture-based ode to his remarkable labour of love.

IN IMAGES: Spain's 'scrap cathedral' lives on after creator's death
File photo taken on August 3, 1999 shows Justo Gallego Martinez, then 73, posing in front of his cathedral. Photo: ERIC CABANIS / AFP

The 96-year-old died over the weekend, but left the unfinished complex in Mejorada del Campo to a charity run by a priest that has vowed to complete his labour of love.

Gallego began the project in 1961 when he was in his mid-30s on land inherited from his family after a bout of tuberculosis forced him to leave an order of Trappist monks.

Today, the “Cathedral of Justo” features a crypt, two cloisters and 12 towers spread over 4,700 square metres (50,600 square feet), although the central dome still does not have a cover.

He used bricks, wood and other material scavenged from old building sites, as well as through donations that began to arrive once the project became better known.

A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A woman prays at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The building’s pillars are made from stacked oil drums while windows have been cobbled and glued together from shards of coloured glass.

“Recycling is fashionable now, but he used it 60 years ago when nobody talked about it,” said Juan Carlos Arroyo, an engineer and architect with engineering firm Calter.

Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid.
Men work at the Cathedral of Justo on November 26, 2021 in Mejorada del Campo, 20km east of Madrid. Photo: (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)

The charity that is taking over the project, “Messengers of Peace”, hired the firm to assess the structural soundness of the building, which lacks a permit.

No blueprint

“The structure has withstood significant weather events throughout its construction,” Arroyo told AFP, predicting it will only need some “small surgical interventions”.

Renowned British architect Norman Foster visited the site in 2009 — when he came to Spain to collect a prize — telling Gallego that he should be the one getting the award, Arroyo added.

Religious murals on a walls of Justo's cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Religious murals on a walls of Justo’s cathedral. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The sturdiness of the project is surprising given that Gallego had no formal training as a builder, and he worked without a blueprint.

In interviews, he repeatedly said that the details for the cathedral were “in his head” and “it all comes from above”.

Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Builders work on the dome of the Cathedral of Justo on November 26th. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

The complex stands in a street called Avenida Antoni Gaudi, named after the architect behind Barcelona’s iconic Sagrada Familia basilica which has been under construction since 1883.

But unlike the Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of Justo Gallego as it is known is not recognised by the Roman Catholic Church as a place of worship.

Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral's completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
Visit gaze at the stained glass and busts in of the cathedral’s completed sections. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

‘Worth visiting’

Father Angel Garcia Rodriguez, the maverick priest who heads Messengers of Peace, wants to turn Gallego’s building into an inclusive space for all faiths and one that is used to help the poor.

“There are already too many cathedrals and too many churches, that sometimes lack people,” he said.

“It will not be a typical cathedral, but a social centre where people can come to pray or if they are facing difficulties,” he added.

A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
A photo of Justo Gallego Martinez on display at his cathedral following his passing. (Photo by Gabriel BOUYS / AFP)
 

Father Angel is famous in Spain for running a restaurant offering meals to the homeless and for running a church in central Madrid where pets are welcome and the faithful can confess via iPad.

Inside the Cathedral of Justo, volunteers continued working on the structure while a steady stream of visitors walked around the grounds admiring the building in the nondescript suburb.

“If the means are put in, especially materials and money, to finish it, then it will be a very beautiful place of worship,” said Ramon Calvo, 74, who was visiting the grounds with friends.

FIND OUT MORE: How to get to Justo’s Cathedral and more amazing images

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