The Combinado Cercanías is a free transfer on suburban trains and trams that Renfe, the Spanish rail operator, offers. You get yours when purchasing of domestic AVE or Long Distance tickets (any fare, route or class).
However, it’s not available for Media Distancia or Avant trains.
In other words when you purchase an AVE train ticket you’re entitled to 2 free tickets (the equivalent of a return ticket) on the local commuter train network.
What is the Combinado Cercanías?
Renfe’s commuter rail service trains are called Cercanías.
The Combinado Cercanías is a combined ticket offered by Renfe to every AVE or Long Distance passenger. So you get one Cercanías ticket FREE at either the origin or destination stations.
It doesn’t matter whether your final destination is within the city that the AVE arrives at or is another town on the city’s commuter network. You can use them to get to the station which the AVE departs from and from the station which the AVE arrives at to your final destination.
Let me give you 2 examples just in case you don’t get how it works.
Example #1: You land at Madrid airport and you have an AVE train ticket to travel from Madrid to Barcelona on that same day. With the Combinado Cercanías you can get a free commuter train ticket to catch a train that will take you from Madrid airport to Atocha train station, where you will catch your high-speed train to Barcelona.
Example #2: You are traveling on an AVE from Madrid to Barcelona. With the Combinado Cercanías you can get a free commuter train ticket to catch a train that will take you from Barcelona train station to the airport.
How to use the Combinado Cercanías
When you receive (or print out) your AVE train ticket look for the words “Combinado Cercanías” followed by a sequence of numbers and letters. This 5 digit sequence of numbers and letters is the code that you use to claim your free commuter train ticket.
Imagine that the code on your AVE train ticket is A4EXP.
As soon as you get to the station where you will be catching your Cercanías train, follow these instructions to get your free ticket.
- Go to a Renfe Cercanías vending machine.
- Select your preferred language.
- In the first screen select Combinado Cercanías at the top-left corner.
- Scan your ticket’s QR code through the machine’s scanner as indicated in the screen. In case the scanner does not work, you can always type the special code of your train ticket.
Once you are done, the machine will print your ticket. Remember that you need one ticket per passenger and that you must keep the Cercanías ticket until the end of your trip. You will need it to exit the destination train station.
If you still have problems to retrieve your Cercanías ticket, you can always go to a Cercanías ticket window.
The Combinado Cercanías restrictions
Please, bear in mind the following restrictions.
- You can start or end the journey at any of the Cercanías hubs listed below.
- Renfe: Asturias, Barcelona (Rodalíes), Girona (Rodalíes), Camp de Tarragona (Rodalíes), Bilbao, Cádiz, Madrid, Málaga, Murcia/Alicante, San Sebastián, Santander, Seville, Valencia and Zaragoza.
- Feve: Asturias, Santander, Cartagena and Bilbao.
- The ticket can be obtained and used three hours before departure at the station of origin and three hours after arrival at the destination station of the Long Distance-AVE train.
- The special code assigned to your AVE or Long Distance train ticket allows you to print ONE Cercanías ticket.
- You can’t board the Cercanías train with your AVE ticket. You must claim your Cercanías train ticket from the ticket machines at the train station. Every Cercanías train has a conductor that checks everybody’s ticket and you risk being fined.
- You must keep your Cercanías ticket until you arrive at your final destination. You will need it to get through the ticket barriers when leaving the station. There is also a chance that ticket inspectors may ask to see your ticket.
This article is part of a complete tutorial about train travel in Spain where you can read all the information you need to organize your train journeys around the country.
Here is a complete summary of all the guide:
1. Spain trains: everything you need to know
2. How to purchase Renfe train tickets online
3. 7 tricks to get cheap train tickets in Spain
4. Renfe: Spain’s state-owned railway company
5. AVE trains: Renfe high-speed trains in Spain
6. The Combinado Cercanías ticket
7. The Renfe Spain Pass
8. Avlo: Renfe’s high speed low cost trains
9. OUIGO trains: SNCF’s high speed low cost company
10. iryo: Spain’s low cost high-speed rail operator
11. 7 packing tips to comply with your train baggage allowance