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Imserso: Everything to know about Spain’s cheap holiday scheme for pensioners

Imserso: Everything to know about Spain's cheap holiday scheme for pensioners
How pensioners can get cheap holidays in Spain. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP
Here's how foreign pensioners in Spain can benefit from the Imserso programme, where they can travel to, who can apply and how much it will cost them.

What is the Imserso programme?

Imserso is a social scheme offering holidays to the elderly. It aims to offer subsidised trips to pensioners in order to help them improve their quality of life and health, as well as to reduce their dependency on others.

It also contributes to the maintenance of employment and economic activity, alleviating employment issues in the tourism sector during low season. 

Which foreigners can access Spain’s Imserso scheme?

Foreigners residing in Spain who meet any of the following requirements may participate in the Imserso tourism programme:

  • A person who is retired and part of the Spanish public pension system.
  • A widow’s or widower’s pensioner who is 55 or older.
  • A recipient of unemployment benefits or subsidies, aged 60 or older.
  • A holder or beneficiary of Spain’s Social Security System, aged 65 or older.

How and when can I apply?

The best way to apply is online via the Inserso website which you can access here

You will need your [email protected], digital certificate or NIE in order to apply this way.

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You can also apply in person at the offices of the Imserso Tourism Programme. Find out from your local town hall where they are in your region, or you can also check under the Atención Presencial category here. Under the section Documentos you will be able to download the application form. 

You will need to provide documentation and proof of your identity, residency status in Spain and details of your Spanish pension and social security payments, so make sure to have them to hand when you’re filling out the form.

Applications for the scheme must be presented each summer, the deadline for this year was between July 1st and 30th. This means that next year’s places will open for applications for holidays during the 2022/2023 season next summer.

How does it work?

Acceptance to the Imserso programme depends on various factors. Those who are older, have small financial resources, are part of a large family, have a degree of disability or who have never participated in the scheme before, will be given priority.

Applicants who haven’t been on a holiday in a while and those who are willing to travel in low season, will also be given priority.

People who apply may be accompanied by their spouse or, where appropriate, by a common-law partner or person with whom a stable and living union is established, without the need for them to meet the requirements of age or pension.

You may also be accompanied by children with disabilities as long as they travel with you and stay in the same room or if not, you will be required to pay a supplement for additional rooms.

How much will it cost me?

The Imserso programme is designed to subsidise holidays for pensioners and allow you to travel very cheaply. Depending on the dates you go and the type of accommodation you stay in, you will usually have to pay between €115 and €405 for the trip.

This will include your accommodation on either a full or half board basis, as well as transportation (except to provincial capitals), group insurance policy and a socio-cultural programme.

It should be noted that prices may be reduced for people who have economic resources equal to or less than the amount of non-contributory retirement and disability pensions in social security.

What type of holidays can I go on and where?

There are several different types of holidays you can choose as part of the programme. These include:

  • Coastal areas on mainland Spain: Stays of between eight to 10 days in either Catalonia, Andalusia, Murcia or Valencia regions.
  • Spain’s islands: Stays of between eight to 10 days in the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
  • Spain’s interior: Stays of four, five or six days in the interior of Spain, following the themes of culture, nature or provincial capitals.
  • The cities of Ceuta and Melilla.

There’s also a hydrotherapy Imserso programme, allowing the elderly access to spas around the country. The same requisites apply as in the regular programme. 

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