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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Spain has third most powerful passport in the world

Those with Spanish citizenship are in luck because their passports are the third most powerful in the world, meaning they can travel to many different countries without the need for a visa.

Spain has third most powerful passport in the world

If you want to go on a last-minute break, it’s really only possible to countries that don’t require you to apply for a visa beforehand or issue you with a visa upon arrival. 

The Henley Passport Index is based on data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and each year it reveals the number of destinations that passport holders from around the world can access without a prior visa.

The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations and offers all kinds of information on global mobility, ultimately revealing which passports are the most powerful. 

Each country is scored on the total number of destinations that a holder of its passport can access without a visa. For each travel destination, if a visa is not required, they receive a score of one. This also applies if holders are able to obtain a visa on arrival, visitor permit or electronic travel authorisation (ETA) upon entry.

The rankings for 2023 show that Spain, along with Germany, is in joint third place, meaning that Spanish passport holders can visit a total of 191 countries without needing a visa.

READ ALSO: Why Spain is second favourite country for Americans to move to

In joint first place are Japan and Singapore whose passport holders can visit a total of 193 countries without requiring a visa.

They are closely followed by South Korea in second place, whose passport holders can visit a total of 192 countries.

After Spain and Germany, there are several European countries on the list. Those from Finland, Italy and Luxembourg come in fourth place, able to visit 189 destinations, while those from Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden come in fifth place able to visit 188 destinations.

These are followed by passports from France, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom in sixth place, allowing them to visit 188 countries without a visa.

According to the rankings, only 17 percent of countries give their passport holders access to more than 80 percent of the world without a visa.

The three countries with the least powerful passports are Afghanistan whose holders can only visit 27 countries without the need for a visa, Iraq with a score of 29 and Syria with a score of 30.