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All you need to know about Spain's free train travel

Maybe you've heard that Spain is offering free train travel throughout mainland Spain and Majorca, set to kick off this September through the rest of the year. What exactly does that entail and does it apply to tourists, as well? Read on to learn more!

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In the last few days and weeks, we have followed the media reports on this subject with interest. The whole campaign was intended as a financial relief package for citizens, similar to Germany's 9-euro ticket.

While initially only certain trains on the mainland were supposed to participate, news came this week that the Majorcan railway company SFM is also involved.

Which trains can be used and when?

  • The promotion runs from 1st September to 31st December, 2022.

  • The Cercanías and Rodalíes trains, as well as the regular medium-distance trains in mainland Spain (Renfe).

  • And now also the trains of the Majorcan railway company, SFM.

  • In addition, the price of bus trips to the neighbouring islands of Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera is reduced by 70 percent.

How do you get the tickets, and what's the catch?

All offers should be aimed at frequent drivers, for example local commuters. Therefore, the 100% discount only applies to multiple tickets and not to single journeys.

Smart pirates naturally think to themselves: Okay, then I'll just buy the free multi-ticket for my single trip. But unfortunately, it's not that simple. The following hurdles stand in the way:

  • Cercanías and Rodalíes trains on the mainland: According to our information, you pay a deposit of 10 euros when you apply, which you only get back if you have made at least 16 journeys on the route at the end of the four months. It is also possible that you will otherwise be billed for the trips as normal. In addition, you cannot then travel back and forth, but have to go to a region (Asturias, Bilbao, Cádiz, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia/Alicante, Santander, San Sebastián, Seville, Valencia, Zaragoza or Catalonia) and set a start and end point.

  • Medium-distance trains on the mainland: The deposit regulation also applies here, except that in this case it is 20 euros. Here, too, you commit yourself to a specific connection that is between 60 and 300 kilometres away.

  • SFM on Majorca: Unlike on the mainland, there should be no deposit regulations here. The multi-journey card “tarjeta intermodal” can be applied for at the train stations in Palma, Inca and Manacor. However, this should only be possible for residents.

In summary, one can say that the Spanish train discount is not useful for the vast majority of holidaymakers. Sorry, pirates.

What are other countries doing?

Estonia: Public transport is free in many regions – but only for locals.

Luxembourg: Public transport is free here – even for tourists.

Malta: Buses will be free from October – but only for locals.

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