Traveling to Europe any time soon and planning your trip? Don't get stuck with high roaming charges or slow overseas data roaming bundles which limit the internet speed! Get the best 4G/5G network and free data roaming in all EU countries. This is your guide for buying a prepaid sim card in Europe with up to date prices per country as of March 2023.
The first thing I do when I get to a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card to get connected. On my journey to visit every country in the world I get to a lot of places and therefore on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 150 prepaid sim card guides from all over the world: USA, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa, Cameroon, Tanzania, Egypt and many more.
The cheapest way to get connected in Europe is to buy a sim card for Europe in the country you start your trip. Therefore in this guide you can find the best prepaid sim card for tourist listed per country. Local sim cards are in general much cheaper than international sim cards.
This article is focussed on local prepaid sim cards in Europe you can buy on arrival in the country. But if you are looking to buy a sim card for Europe directly online then read my article: best Europe sim cards for tourists in 2023 and find a list of the 12 best sim cards for Europe that you can order directly online. Including e-sim cards for Europe!
In this article you will also find links to guides for buying a sim card at multiple airports around Europe, for example: Rome, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Madrid, London Heathrow and many more. They are all listed under the country below.
It is an example of the outrageous sim card prices at Milan airport. The whole reason why I am writing this article about buying a sim card in Europe is to make you aware that this does NOT have to be this expensive!
Second, what about ordering a taxi through an app or finding friends in a city without internet connection. Looking for a cool nearby rooftop bar or restaurant with good reviews, or simply getting directions from Google Maps. There are so many reasons for you to buy a local sim card.
A data connection these days is vital for traveling! Wherever you go... Google Maps, Uber, live locations, social media updates, etc. we all want to be connected. When on a Euro trip and going from one country to another it would be nice to NOT buy a new sim card in every country.
I have good news for you, that is NOT necessary. As of 2017 the European Union finally let go of roaming charges within the EU countries. Therefore since June 2017 people can use their UK sim card in Spain and their Italy sim card in Sweden without any extra charges.
BE AWARE: When buying a sim card in Europe on arrival ALWAYS ask if free EU roaming is included! In most Western countries like UK, France, Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia free EU roaming is ALWAYS included. Many local sim cards from Eastern European countries do NOT included free EU roaming.
That means you can not buy a Movistar sim card anywhere else than in Spain, a Swisscom sim card can only be bought in Switzerland and a TIM sim card can only be bought in Italy. Every mobile internet provider has their own prepaid sim card deals.
Every international airport in Europe sells prepaid sim cards for tourists. Whether you are arriving in Zagreb, Dublin, Lisbon or Oslo, you can always buy a local sim card. Keep in mind that sim card deals at airports are always more expensive. In general expect to pay 20-30% more than if you would get a sim card in the city center
In a lot of countries in Europe prepaid sim cards for tourists can also be bought at the bigger gas stations, in convenience stores and in supermarkets. It makes sense that at these places you obviously get hardly any service and you will need to activated the sim card yourself.
Most European countries require a photo ID or passport when buying a prepaid sim card, however when buying one at supermarkets and gas stations you will need to register online yourself to get the credit stated.
Are you arriving in Croatia for your Europe trip? Be aware that most Croatia sim cards do NOT allow free roaming in Europe. In my article buying a sim card in Croatia in 2023, you will find that T-Mobile offers a $14 sim card with unlimited data in Croatia and a little calling credit for 7 days. Great for traveling in Croatia as T-Mobile also has the best network coverage, but for the rest of Europe they are useless.
You can buy a sim card at Zagreb Airport, also with unlimited data for 1 week for $13. Traveling onwards to other countries in Europe after Croatia I recommend you buying a European sim card with free data roaming online.
Starting your Euro trip in Denmark means flying into Copenhagen Airport. A sim card at Copenhagen Airport for traveling in Europe cost you $20 and gives you 5 GB data, click on the link for more info. When you are spending your first couple days of your Europe trip in Denmark I recommended travelers NOT to buy a Europe sim card in Denmark.
You can also buy this sim card at Tallinn Airport on arrival. However if you are traveling onwards in Europe, you will need to buy a local sim card again in the next country or order one online before your trip to Europe.
This comes at a price though. Many people have reported problems with Free Mobile and that they kept charging their credit cards. Free Mobile sim cards are also a little harder to find and you can NOT buy them at international airports in France unfortunately. Click on the link for more info about buying a sim card in France in 2023.
Flying to Paris? The best sim card at Paris Airport is from SFR. They offer 50 GB data for traveling in Europe for $56. Unfortunately this Europe sim card is only available in Terminal 1 at Paris Airport, for more info check my article buying a sim card at Paris Airport in 2023.
Despite Hungary being a relatively cheap country, Hungary sim cards are relatively expensive. Telenor and Vodafone offer the same prepaid sim card with data only: 5 GB costs $12 with free roaming in the EU included. When flying to Budapest I recommend you to NOT buy a sim card at Budapest Airport. Click on the link to read why.
Prepaid sim cards in Holland are not cheap but at least they have one of the best 5G networks of Europe. Almost the whole country is covered with a 5G signal. So when traveling to The Netherlands expect amazing mobile data speed with a sim card for The Netherlands.
Norway is NOT part of the EU, however Norway sim cards qualify for free EU roaming. As Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world, don't expect to find cheap sim cards for traveling in Europe. Telenor offers the best Norway sim card for traveling in Europe. For $50 you get 10 GB data + unlimited calls/text valid in all of Europe. Find all deals in my article buying a sim card in Norway.
Same as Norway, Switzerland is NOT part of the EU. Although most European sim cards allow FREE data roaming in Switzerland, all prepaid Switzerland sim cards do NOT offer free data roaming in the EU. Buying a Switzerland sim card for your trip to Europe is NOT recommended. Check the link for what is the best Swiss sim card when buying a sim card in Switzerland.
Sweden is one of the most expensive countries to travel in Europe and so is buying a European sim card for tourists in Sweden also a little more expensive. The best sim card for Europe deal in Sweden is Telenor. For $30 you get 10 GB + unlimited calls/text. Not a really bad deal, similar to the prepaid sim cards for Europe you can buy online. Check my article for the best sim card in Sweden for tourists.
Everywhere around the UK you will find mobile phone stores from EE, 3, Vodafone and O2. The best sim card for Europe travel in 2023 that you can find in the UK is 3. They offer a prepaid sim card with unlimited data, calling and sms for $35 in all of Europe. There is a fair-use policy outside of the UK though.
With London Heathrow being one of the busiest Airports in Europe, a lot of people start their trip to Europe in London. There are plenty of options buying a sim card at London Heathrow. There are even sim card vending machines at most airports in the United Kingdom. Vodafone UK offers a sim card for Europe for $35 with 20 GB and 250 calling minutes in Europe at London Heathrow, but EU roaming is NOT included.
Don't forget that you can also buy a sim card for Europe online. Forget about all the hassle buying a sim card on arrival. I already mentioned a couple times that I also wrote an article about the best Europe sim card for tourists in 2023. Below you will find a small selection:
Click here to directly order one of the above prepaid sim cards for Europe online or find more info in the link. These international prepaid sim cards will be shipped to your home address and are automatically activated from its first use.
There is also the opportunity to order an e-sim card for Europe. You arrange everything online within just a couple minutes. You receive a code in your email, follow the instructions, apply the settings on your phone and you are all set. Check out the following Europe e-sim card deals:
If you have a smartphone, look for a SIM card that also includes data. Expect to pay about $15-30 for a SIM that includes one month of data within the country you bought it. Be aware that many smartphones (especially iPhones) use smaller micro-SIM or nano-SIM cards. Make sure you get the right size card for your phone.
Before buying a SIM card, ask the clerk about rates for calls within the country; to and from other countries you'll be visiting; and, if you plan on calling home, to the US and Canada. Also check the rates for data use and for sending/ receiving a text message (called an "SMS" in Europe). Make sure you get rates for data and texting both within and outside the card's home country. Rates can vary wildly from brand to brand and store to store.
3. Set up your SIM card. Once you buy your SIM card, ask the clerk to insert it, set it up, and make a test call to be sure it's working properly. Turning on the phone, you'll be prompted to enter the SIM PIN, which you may be asked to enter every time you start up the phone. If text or voice prompts are in another language, ask the clerk whether they can be switched to English. Also find out how to check your credit balance (usually you'll key in a few digits and hit "Send"). Remember to record your new phone number so you can pass it on to friends and family. 781b155fdc