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GUIDE: How to get free train tickets in Spain in 2023

The Local Spain
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GUIDE: How to get free train tickets in Spain in 2023
A woman buys train tickets on an automatic ticket machine in Madrid 2019. Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP

Spain's new free train tickets for spring and summer 2023 were made available on Monday May 1st. Here's everything you need to know about the renewal process so you can keep enjoying your free trips.


Spain's ongoing free train travel offer, which first came into effect back in September 2022, has been extended for another four months until August 31st 2023. 

The multi-journey ticket scheme is valid for some trains operated by the state-owned train network, RENFE, including Cercanías, Rodalies (Catalonia), and Media Distancia (local and medium-distance journeys). RENFE has already issued 143,000 of these tickets so far. 

READ MORE: All you need to know about Spain’s plan for free train tickets

Fortunately, there are no limits on residency or nationality to qualify for these free tickets. Tourists from all over the world – EU member state and third-country nationals, including Brits and Americans – will be able to benefit from free train travel.


But now the time has come to renew these free travel cards, because the current passes will run out on Sunday April 30th. If you want to continue travelling on the train for free between May 1st and August 31st, you must purchase a new subscription.

So how do you get your hands on the tickets? And are they completely free?

See our breakdown below and our step-by-step guide:


Please note: although the train tickets are free, you will have to pay a small deposit in order to take advantage of the offer. 

If you are wanting to take advantage of the offer on Cercanías or Media distancia services, note that you will have to pay a deposit of €10 or €20 and travel a minimum of four times per month.

In order to get the deposit back, you must have made at least 16 journeys – four per month during the scheme. 

Travelers who have used the free subscription of Cercanías, Rodalies or Media Distancia in the first quarter of 2023 will be refunded the deposit, provided that they have met the conditions of the offer. Those who paid by card will be automatically refunded.

How to get your free train tickets

Step 1: Download the app

Purchasing your free train tickets can be done online, in the station, or through the Renfe Cercanías app, which is available available on Google Play for Android phones, on Huawei's AppGallery, and on the App Store on your iPhone.

In order to get the free tickets you must be registered with a RENFE account, which you will then use on the RENFE app or website. The process is the same.

Step 2: Choose your location

Next, you must choose the area of Spain in which you're going to use the free ticket offer, whether through the app or on the Renfe website. When you open the app there will be a scroll-down menu with areas to choose. Find the part of the country you'll use the train and hit accept.

Step 3: Buy tickets

Next, open the side menu bar by clicking the three horizontal lines in the top left corner of the page. 

Click on 'buy tickets' - two options will pop up: 'buy' or 'My tickets'. Hit the buy button.

Step 4: Choose your route

This will take you to another screen to set up your route and destination. Choose where you're going to and from, and then below on the 'select a fare' choose 'AB recurrente.'

READ MORE: TRAVEL: Tourists in Spain will also be eligible for free train tickets

This will make a €10 charge appear, but don't be alarmed - this is only the deposit that will be returned to you if make a sufficient number of journeys.


Step 5: Log in to RENFE

You will then be taken to a screen that invites you to log in to your RENFE account.

If you don't have one, hit the 'register' button and you can make an account on the website or app. It will ask you for your name, phone number and an ID document of some kind - either your NIE, TIE or passport.

Step 6: Purchase

You will be taken through to a payment screen and will have to register a credit or debit card and make the deposit payment.

Step 7: QR code

And that's it! Your subscription will be in the 'My Tickets' section of the app, and there will be a QR code you can use to scan yourself in and out of stations.

Enjoy your free travel!


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