Visiting Europe soon? Make sure to know what to expect when it comes to purchasing a Europe SIM card.
Fortunately, Europe is one of the best places where you can buy a SIM card easily. You should be able to find a cheap SIM card pretty much anywhere in Europe. In fact, most data packages are affordable, which makes the whole thing easier!
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In this guide, we’ll explain where to buy a SIM card in Europe in person and online. We’ll also talk about prepaid SIM cards and eSIMs if your mobile supports them.
Before you read this guide, you may wonder if you actually need a SIM card in Europe. If you don’t mind not having Internet, you’ll likely find free Wifi in restaurants, shopping malls, and hotels.
That said, if you need data to get around, call a Uber, or translate in a foreign language – you may want to get a SIM card for your travels in Europe.
Note that if you’re European, your mobile phone provider may already offer European coverage. If that’s the case, you won’t need a SIM card for your European adventures.
Best SIM Cards In Europe
Europe is big, and you’ll find various mobile providers depending on the countries you’re visiting. Most providers have partnerships and offer coverage in multiple countries in Europe.
We recommend using a SIM card from Orange, Vodaphone, or Airalo. (I’ll get back to Airalo later on, so keep reading to learn more!)
That said, depending on your first destination, you might find other providers. For example, in Bulgaria, there are many small providers that offer coverage in other European countries too. You might not find big grand like Orange or Vodaphone, but you’ll find others like A1, Vivacom, or Yettel.
So, you don’t have to use a big provider – any provider that offers coverage in Europe should do.
How To Buy A SIM Card In Europe
You can either buy a Europe prepaid SIM card in person in some international airports, in mobile provider stores, in a convenience store, or online.
Usually, you can expect higher costs and low data offers at the airport, so we don’t recommend buying a SIM card at the airport. That said, you won’t necessarily find SIM card shops in every airport, so it’s essential to keep this in mind.
For this reason, I’d recommend buying a SIM card directly in the mobile provider store. Note that you may need your passport to buy one. Each country has its own rules; you might even need to provide an address.
Although, this means you won’t get data right at your arrival. So, if you’d rather be connected at all times, you could use an eSIM or purchase a European prepaid SIM card online.
How To Buy A Europe Prepaid SIM Card Online
If you wish to have your SIM card ready for your arrival, you could purchase it online or on websites like Amazon.
You’ll find different plans on Amazon. For example, the Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM Card works in more than 30 countries and gives you 20BG of data for 14 days.
But, there are many other options worth considering, so have a look and make sure the countries you’re planning on visiting are listed.
Another option is to purchase a prepaid SIM card on SimsDirect. This works if you live in the United States or Australia. They currently offer 4 different packages.
- 12 GB, valid for 30 days for $26 – works in 71 countries
- 100 GB, valid for 30 days for $49 – works in 44 countries
- 80 GB, valid for 28 days for $69 – works in 45 countries
- 40 GB, valid for 28 days for $55 – works in 45 countries
Finally, the last option is to buy an eSIM card for Europe.
How To Buy An eSIM Card For Europe
eSIM is a new concept allowing you to have a virtual SIM card inside your phone. If your mobile phone supports eSIM cards – it’s definitely one of the best option to get data in Europe.
Curious? Learn more about eSIM for travelers.
I started using eSIM as soon as my mobile phone supported it. And I first tried it when visiting my family in Canada. To buy an eSIM, I use Airalo. This website offers lots of eSIM cards around the world and they have special plans for Europe. I’ve now been using Airalo in Europe for several months.
Here’s an overview of the options available in Europe:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $5
- 3 GB, valid for 30 days for $13
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $20
- 10 GB, valid for 30 days for $37
- 50 GB, valid for 90 days for $100
- 100 GB, valid for 180 days for $185
The options mentioned above are part of Eurolink and include 39 countries. Alternatively, if you’re traveling in other countries that are not mentioned on the list, you can try Discover Global which offers coverage in 87 countries.
Here’s an overview of the options available on Discover Global:
- 1 GB, valid for 7 days for $9
- 3 GB, valid for 15 days for $24
- 5 GB, valid for 30 days for $35
- 10 GB, valid for 60 days for $59
- 20 GB, valid for 180 days for $89
Now, one important thing to note about Airalo is that you’ll need to keep an eye out for the provider in each country. Suppose you ever have trouble connecting to the Internet during your trip. In that case, it might be because you’re connecting automatically to networks, and you need to select a network manually instead.
When you purchase the eSIM, you’ll get access to the list of networks supported in each country.
Alternatively, you could look at your options on Holafly. You can read our Holafly review to learn more about this eSIM store. I’ve also tried this one, and it worked fine. Their Europe eSIM work in 32 countries, and they offer the following plans:
- Unlimited data for 5 days for $19
- Unlimited data for 10 days for $34
- Unlimited data for 15 days for $47
- Unlimited data for 20 days for $54
- Unlimited data for 30 days for $64
- Unlimited data for 60 days for $84
- Unlimited data for 90 days for $99
Final Thoughts On SIM Cards In Europe
As you can see, it’s fairly easy to get a prepaid SIM card in Europe, or even an eSIM for your travels in Europe. You’ll be able to stay connected wherever you go in Europe without changing your SIM card.
I believe the eSIM card is the most convenient way to get data in Europe if you wish to have data at your arrival. This way, you won’t need to go to a store to buy a SIM card. Obviously, you need to make sure your mobile phone supports eSIM first.
Traveling to Europe soon? Read one of the following blog posts: