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UPDATE: What you need to know about Spain’s half-price Interrail train passes

The Spanish government recently announced that it would offer a 50 percent discount on Interrail passes to help people aged 18 to 30 travel the continent over the summer.

UPDATE: What you need to know about Spain's half-price Interrail train passes
What you need to know about Spain's Interrail discount for young people. Photo: Josh Nezon / Unsplash

In May, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that young people in Spain will be able to benefit from a 50 percent discount on Interrail passes around Europe.

The offer will be available for those aged between 18 and 30 (people born between 1993 and 2005), from June 15th to September 15th, 2023. 

Sánchez also revealed plans for a new Spanish Interrail pass, so that young people can get the chance to explore Spain with a 90 percent discount on state-owned trains and buses, and a 50 percent discount on high-speed trains. 

This Wednesday, June 7th, the Permanent Deputation of Congress will meet to validate the decree. This means that you can’t apply for the tickets yet, and it will only come into force after it’s approved by the government. However, it must also be validated by the Lower House within a maximum period of one month, so there could be a delay. 

Interrail is a single train pass that allows for rail travel across most European countries and is available for various time periods, including up to one month.

READ ALSO: Spain’s government to pay half of youth Interrail passes this summer

What is the government’s offer?

It is a 50 percent discount off the price of an Interrail ticket for young people aged 18 to 30. It also includes a 50 percent discount on the Interrail Global Flexible ticket for 10 days in two months. 

The domestic Spanish Interrail discount will be of up 90 percent on state-owned trains and buses, and reductions up to 50 percent on high-speed trains during the summer.

Discounts can apply to either, multi-stop, one-way or return tickets.

READ ALSO: Train travel from Spain to France: Everything you need to know

When is the offer valid?

The discount for Interrail will be on offer between June 15th and September 15th 2023. The 50 percent discount for the European Interrail will be available on Spain’s Renfe website, but as mentioned above, it is not available yet. 

The ‘Spanish Interrail’ offer will also be valid between June 15th and September 15th, and applied to individual journeys rather than a monthly pass or season tickets. It has been confirmed that these discounted tickets will be available from Tuesday, June 13th onwards. 

Where can I go?

You can see a complete list and interactive map on the Interrail website.

The countries included in the Interrail pass are Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

As for the ‘Spanish Interrail’ offer for people 30 and under, the government hasn’t specified yet which destinations can be reached but it will include anywhere where medium and long-distance trains go in the country, as well as Avant and high-speed AVE trains.

In general, these trains travel to Spain’s bigger towns and cities, so it won’t necessarily be easy to reach Spanish villages by train. 

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

How much does it cost?

The exact price of the Interrail pass depends on where you go, though there are two main types.

There’s the so-called ‘global pass’ that allows you to go across the continent to 40,000 destinations in 33 different countries. This is the best-known Interrail pass that has long been seen as a right of passage for adventurous teenagers and gap-year students wanting their first experience of travel. Prices start at €185 for 7 days (with discount).

There are also individual country passes that start from €51.

The total price of the pass depends on several factors, including how long you want to travel for, where you want to go, whether you opt for just some countries or all 33, and the age of the travellers. 

The ‘Spanish Interrail’ offer includes a 50 percent discount on Avant, AVE, Avlo, Alvia, Intercity and Euromed trains with a maximum of €30 per ticket. Tickets for media-distance state-run trains will be as much as 90 percent cheaper.

How do I get the discount on the passes?

Applicants will first have to register on the Ministry of Transport website (MITMA) so that their eligibility for the scheme can be verified. 

Registration must be made at least 24 hours before purchasing the tickets. Those interested can be verified through electronic certificates, such as the Cl@ve system, or by entering details such as name and surname, date of birth, DNI, NIE or TIE number, and validity date, together with your support number.

Once approved, you will be given a non-transferable discount code, as well as a QR code, which you must enter into the system to purchase the Interrail pass and discounted tickets.

Do I need to book in advance?

Yes, as well as booking your initial ticket, it will take some planning. Many countries also require prior seat reservations, so depending on where you are it’s not always a case of jumping on the next train you see to hop around the continent. 

Interrail has graded the participant countries on how necessary it is to make a reservation:

  • Almost certainly: France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.
  • Often: Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, United Kingdom, Hungary, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia.
  • Rarely: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Switzerland.

Are there any other offers?

As well as the half-price offer for young people between 18 and 30 years old, Interrail itself offers discounts.

Children between 4 and 11 years old can ride for free with a traveller using the global pass. Adults between 28 and 60 years old pay the full rate, while those over 60 enjoy a 10 percent discount.

What isn’t included in the Interrail pass?

Note that in some countries they may be additional charges for things like seat reservations, high-speed networks, and overnight sleeper services.

It doesn’t cover public transport within towns and cities, although there are discounts in some cases

It doesn’t include accommodation, but it also offers discounts for those who have the Interrail pass.

Can I get a refund?

Interrail refunds 85 percent of the money, as long as you have not used it to make any trips, with the remaining 15 percent taken as a cancellation fee. 

You can also modify your pass for an extra €15 fee plus the difference in price.

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Madrid metro app to show carriage temperature and occupancy levels

A new feature on the Madrid Metro app will enable passengers to track real time data in order to choose the best train carriage according to temperature and occupancy levels.

Madrid metro app to show carriage temperature and occupancy levels

Anyone who is a regular user of Madrid’s metro system will be familiar with just how crowded and hot it can get during peak times, and that guessing where to stand on the platform to get onto the emptiest carriage isn’t always easy.

Fortunately, Madrid Metro has launched a new digital tool that allows metro users to find information on carriage occupancy and temperature before the trains reach the platform, allowing them to choose ahead of time the carriage they would like to travel in.

Madrid’s Regional Minister of Housing, Transport and Infrastructure, Jorge Rodrigo, stressed that the move makes up part of broader modernisation plans on the sprawling Madrid metro system.

“This digital development contributes to modernisation goals by serving the greatest number of people, improving travel conditions and reducing environmental impact,” Rodrigo said in a press release.

The occupancy and data information is obtained every 15 seconds from sensors installed in the metro carriages, and the tracking tool is available on the Madrid Metro mobile app, something already installed by more than 550,000 people. The app not only allows users to check occupancy rates and temperature levels ahead of time, but shows the location of their train.

It also offers information and advice on planning journeys across the capital, information on lifts, escalators and disability accessibility, as well as information on season tickets and fares and allows cleaning alerts to be sent via the app.

The temperature and occupancy features will initially be rolled out on Line 5, which connects Casa de Campo and Alameda de Osuna, and will be gradually extended to the rest of the network with time.