RENFE recommends getting free tickets before September 5th

The Spanish state train operator, RENFE, has recommended that travellers wishing to take advantage of their free travel offer should do so as soon as possible ahead of an anticipated increase in passenger numbers.

RENFE recommends getting free tickets before September 5th
A train of the Spanish state-owned rail company Renfe at the Principe Pio train station in Madrid. Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP

Spain’s state train operator, RENFE, has recommended acquiring its free travel offer before Monday 5th September because of anticipated surge in demand.

The passes, valid for short and medium distance, multi-journey travel from September 1st to December 31, 2022, have been available for pre-purchase since August 24th, and are available on Renfe Cercanías mobile app, as well as at both the ticket offices and self-service machines of train stations.

READ MORE: GUIDE: How to get free train tickets in Spain

Announced by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in the Spanish Congress last month, the scheme will be for some trains operated by the state owned train network, RENFE, including Cercanías, Rodalies (Catalonia), and Media Distancia (local and medium-distance journeys).

Spain’s Ministry of Transport estimate that the scheme will benefit as many as 75 million journeys and attract between 15 and 20 percent more passengers than usual for the September-December period.

RENFE say that as many as 400,000 eager travellers have already signed up for the scheme. It is worth noting that in order to get the free tickets, you will need to pay a small deposit of €10 or €20.

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

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TRAVEL: Spain to scrap Covid temperature and visual checks 

From October 20th, non-EU travellers arriving in Spain will no longer undergo temperature or visual checks by airport officials to assess if they have Covid-19, sources from Spanish airport manager Aena are quoted as saying. 

TRAVEL: Spain to scrap Covid temperature and visual checks 

Spanish health authorities are reportedly planning to remove another Covid-19 travel restriction: temperature and visual checks on international passengers arriving in Spain. 

This has been reported by Catalan newspaper El Periódico, although it has not yet been officially confirmed by the country’s Health Ministry. 

Since the start of the pandemic, passengers arriving by air or sea in Spain have had their temperature checked by airport authorities in order to assess if they had a high temperature, with either thermal cameras at security gates or infrared thermometers pointed at their foreheads.

Visual checks to see if passengers displayed clear signs of being infected with Covid-19 have also been carried out.

In theory, if the screening suggested passengers could well have Covid-19, they were asked to carry out a Covid-19 test at the airport before being able to leave. Passengers would also be asked what non-EU country they were travelling from and official would cross-check this against Spain’s list of high-risk countries.

It’s worth noting that as the pandemic has evolved, these tests at Spanish airports have become far less rigorous than they were initially. 

Additionally, it is no longer mandatory to self-isolate if you test positive for the coronavirus in Spain, even though limiting social interactions is advised.

According to Catalonia’s El Periódico, sources from Spain’s public airport manager Aena have confirmed that these health controls at airports and seaports across Spain will continue until Thursday October 20th 2022, when they will officially end.  

Spain’s Health Ministry did recently confirm that from September 20th it would stop asking international travellers to complete the Spth health control form to present upon arrival in Spain, but the state bulletin (BOE) did not put in writing the end of temperature and visual checks at airports and seaports. 

Some Spanish newspapers have reported that such checks also ended on September 20th, but this is not correct as the BOE refers to the end of anex 8 and 9, which relate to the Spth health control form and cruiseship travel restrictions. 

As of September 27th 2022, the Aena website states: “It is no longer necessary to complete the health screening form to travel to Spain or to present the QR code at the destination airport. Passengers on flights from countries outside the European Union or the Schengen Area may be subjected to a health check that includes a visual check of their physical condition and temperature taking with non-contact thermometers or thermographic cameras.”

If the end of temperature and visual checks is confirmed by Spanish health authorities, the only two remaining Covid travel restrictions in Spain will be mask wearing on planes and other means of transport and proof of vaccination, testing or recovery from non-EU tourist arrivals.

READ MORE: Do you still need Covid-19 documents to travel to Spain?