Traveling to Portugal soon? Don't waste money on high roaming charges, this is a complete guide for staying connected when traveling to Portugal. Prepaid sim cards and even e-sim cards for Portugal are very affordable and easy to get on the internet.
In this article you can find everything you need to know about buying a sim cards for traveling in Portugal, which provider has the best and fastest 4G/5G network in Portugal, comparison of the prepaid sim cards, the best e-sim cards for Portugal, up to date prices as per August 2023, info about international sim cards and more.
Portugal is definitely one of the most laid-back and cheapest European tourist destinations and a year round place to visit. So a couple times a year you will find me traveling to Portugal.
Looking for ways to get connected is the first thing I do when I get to a new country. Mostly I end up buying a local prepaid sim card or quickly getting an e-sim card, depending on the length of my trip. As I also want to visit every country in the world I constantly get to new countries and therefore you can already find more than 200 sim card guides on Traveltomtom from all around the world: USA, New York, Brazil, Dubai, Turkey, Indonesia, Bali, Colombia, Bogota, Panama, Madrid, Spain, Germany, France, Europe, Asia, Marrakech and many more.
In case you are visiting Portugal and flying to Lisbon then you can also get a tourist sim for Portugal directly at the airport. Check out my complete guide for buying a sim card at Lisbon Airport or if you prefer e-sim cards then check out my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Portugal in 2023.
So next time you are preparing your next adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the best prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your upcoming trip. Bookmark Traveltomtom in your travel tips folder.
Why buying a sim card for Portugal
Portugal still has a lot of catching up to do when it comes to connectivity and internet (speed). Yes your hotel will provide free WiFi and so do most restaurants and bars in tourist destinations in Portugal, but as soon as you go to local villages WiFi is not a certainty. But do you want to rely on (slow) WiFi from other people?
Also another reminder that public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN in these situations is recommended.
Or another very simple reason for staying connected when traveling to Portugal: what if you are out on the streets and you are looking for a nearby rooftop bar or nice restaurant with good reviews? What if you want to order a taxi through an app or in case of emergencies?
Road trips in Portugal are epic, but not without navigation! Not being connected to the internet is so inconvenient these days. Check out my road trip from Porto to the Algarve in the link.
Therefore to avoid high roaming charges Traveltomtom recommends tourists to get a local prepaid sim card or an e-sim card for visiting Portugal. You will be online in a couple minutes and enjoy high speed internet.
Traveltomtom recommends a NOS sim card for Portugal. NOS has the best 4G/5G network in Portugal and the fastest data speed and for €12.50 EUR you get 10 GB + free social media and 1,500 minutes/sms.
Another amazing option to stay connected when traveling to Portugal especially for those who like big data bundles is buying an e-sim card for Portugal online with 30 GB data for only $19 USD and you order directly online.
For those travelers that just need a little bit of data to use WhatsApp or check email there are already e-sim cards for Portugal that start from $4.5 USD and there is no need to visit a store anymore. See below for more info.
Traveling to more countries or simply interested in buying a sim card for Portugal online then check out my list of the best sim cards for traveling the world in 2023.
An international sim card specifically for Europe? Check out my article about the 12 best sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2023.
Best e-sim cards for Portugal
Welcome to 2023, the break through year of the e-sim cards, the easiest way to get internet on your phone when traveling to Portugal. No more visiting a phone store, swapping physical sim cards or whatsoever! You order an e-sim card online, receive a QR code, follow the instructions and voila you are connected. Simple as that!
Check out the following Portugal e-sim card deals:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $7 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $9.5 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $17 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $32 USD
Click here to directly order an e-sim cards for Portugal.
The above data-only e-sim cards from Fofo Mobile operate on the 4G/LTE network of Vodafone. Phone calls and texting is not supported.
There is also a data-only e-sim card from MEO available, which works on the MEO 5G network. This e-sim card for Portugal is 5G ready. This is regarded the best e-sim card for traveling to Portugal in 2023 and it gives you 30 GB data for just $19 USD. The data on all the above Portugal e-sim cards is only valid in Portugal.
If you also want to make phone calls with your e-sim card OR looking for an e-sim card that is valid in all of Europe then check out the following international e-sim cards that you can order on SimOptions and are valid in up to 70 countries:
- 15 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 15 days = $21.90 USD
- 10 GB data + $2 calling credit for 30 days = $24.90 USD (5G ready)
- 8 GB data+ unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $29.90 USD
- 30 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 30 days = $44.90 USD
- 20 GB data + unlimited calls/text for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to directly order an international e-sim card for Portugal or find more info.
Before ordering an e-sim card for Portugal make sure your mobile phone is e-sim compatible. How to find out? Simply ask Google and instantly get your answer. Want to know everything before ordering an e-sim card for Portugal on the internet then check out my complete guide for buying an e-sim card for Portugal in 2023.
Not all phones are e-sim card compatible so for these people or if you just want a physical sim card there is also still the possibility to order an international prepaid sim card for traveling in Portugal.
These pre-activated international sim cards will be shipped to your home address before your trip. Get one with 20 GB data and unlimited calls in Europe for $49.90 USD.
Click here to order an international prepaid sim card for Portugal online or find more info.
Portugal sim cards and EU data roaming
Is Portugal your first destination on your trip to Europe then make sure you buy a Portugal sim card with FREE EU roaming included. In most cases FREE EU ROAMING is included in Portugal prepaid sim cards, but always double check with your provider when buying a sim card in Portugal.
Free EU roaming means that you can use your Portugal sim card also in France, Germany or Greece during your trip. Your data bundle, calling and texting credit is valid in more than 30 countries in Europe at no extra costs. For more info and tips and tricks about free EU data roaming check out my guide for buying a prepaid sim card in Europe on arrival.
You can also buy a sim card for traveling in Europe online before your trip. These Europe sim cards are specially designed for travelers and are valid in every country in Europe. You can only buy them online, not in a store in Europe. In the article in the link above I selected the best ones for you.
Mobile internet operators in Portugal
Portugal has three main mobile internet providers: MEO Portugal, NOS Portugal and Vodafone Portugal. All of the operators sell prepaid sim cards for tourists and there are multiple stores all around the big cities and tourist destinations in Portugal.
Where to buy a sim card for Portugal
Lisbon International Airport
At the most busy airport in the country you can easily buy a Portugal sim card. Must say there is only a Vodafone store at Lisbon Airport so the choice is limited. You also can get a Lycamobile sim card, but I am not a fan. Click on the link to find my complete guide for buying a sim card at Lisbon Airport.
Phone store city center
Every big city or tourist destination in Portugal has plenty options for buying a prepaid sim card for tourists. Just find the nearest MEO, Vodafone or NOS store on Google Maps.
Also some of the bigger convenience stores and supermarkets tend to sell some Portugal prepaid sim cards. Be aware that service in these small stores is VERY LIMITED and it is not easy to figure out what you are exactly buying as package details are written in Portuguese. I recommend tourists to head to one of the official mobile operators stores.
There is also the possibility to order a sim card for Portugal online. I already spoke about e-sim cards for Portugal being the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Portugal as you don't need to visit a store anymore and you arrange everything online. But you can also order prepaid sim cards for traveling in Portugal online.
All the sim cards for Portugal you see online, can not be bought in Portugal on arrival and the other way around neither. Prepaid Portugal sim cards can only be bought in Portugal in a store.
Registration process for Portugal prepaid sim cards
If you are buying a prepaid sim card in Portugal then always bring your passport. In the store they will take a copy of your passport and your prepaid sim card with your new Portugese phone number will be registered on your name and passport number. Without your passport you can’t buy a prepaid sim card in Portugal, these are EU laws.
However, there is a way around this registration and that is buying an international sim card for Portugal or buying an e-sim card for Portugal. This is a great way to stay connected in Portugal and not having to register with your passport.
Best 4G/5G network in Portugal in 2023
Prices for Portugal data sim cards are important to determine what is the best sim card for tourist, but just as important is the 4G/5G network coverage of your sim card. Therefore in the next images I will compare the 4G/5G network coverage for the three mobile internet providers in Portugal.
For more detailed 4G/5G network maps of Portugal check the link, where you can also find the 4G/5G internet coverage for Funchal and Azores.
Is there 5G in Portugal?
Yes, there is 5G in Portugal, although is pretty much limited to the big cities. Unless you get a NOS sim card as they have the best 5G network in Portugal. Compared to other Europe countries the 5G network coverage in Portugal is pretty poor.
MEO Portugal 4G /5G network coverage map
Vodafone Portugal 4G /5G network coverage map
NOS Portugal 4G /5G network coverage map
From the above Portugal mobile network coverage maps for 2023 we can see that the 4G/5G coverage reaches all the tourist destinations in Portugal. All 3 mobile internet providers in Portugal have a strong 4G network. However, when it comes to 5G we can conclude that NOS has the best 5G network in Portugal in 2023 and MEO the smallest.
Prices Portugal prepaid sim card in 2023
Below you will find a comparison of the prepaid sim card plans per mobile internet provider as per August 2023. Prices are in Euros: $1 USD = €0.91 EUR and €1 EUR = $1.10 USD.
MEO Portugal prepaid sim card plans
A MEO prepaid sim card is free if you sign up for one of their prepaid sim card plans. The packages are rather confusing though and I tried figuring out what is exactly the deal, because the above picture shows per month/per week. Anyway the forget about the /per week sign, the packages are valid for 1 month:
- 1 GB data + 500 minutes/sms = €3.8 EUR
- 3 GB data + 500 minutes/sms = €4.6 EUR
- 5 GB data + 500 minutes/sms = €5.4 EUR
All MEO prepaid sim cards are 5G ready and valid in all of Europe. Unfortunately in stores in Portugal MEO does not sell e-sim cards, only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists are available. For more info check the MEO Portugal website.
Oddly, the best e-sim card for traveling to Portugal is from MEO and you can order it online and get 30 GB data for just $19 USD. Check the link for more info.
Vodafone Portugal prepaid sim card plans
The Vodafone Portugal prepaid sim card plans for 2023 include free EU data roaming, are 5G ready and are valid for 30 days:
- 10 GB data in Europe + 500 minutes/sms + 50 international minutes = €25 EUR
- Unlimited data ONLY for Portugal = €35 EUR
Check the Vodafone Portugal website for more info. Only physical prepaid sim cards are available, you can not get e-sim cards in Vodafone stores in Portugal.
NOS Portugal prepaid sim card plans
A NOS Portugal sim card costs €2,50 or if you buy a prepaid sim card plan as shown above it is free. The prepaid sim card plans are 5G ready and include free EU roaming.
- 5 GB data + 1,500 minutes/sms + free social media = €10 EUR
- 10 GB data + 1,500 minutes/sms + free social media = €12.5 EUR
Unfortunately also no e-sim cards available in NOS stores, only physical prepaid sim cards. For more check the NOS Portugal website.
Best sim card for Portugal in 2023
The cheapest way to stay connected when traveling to Portugal is an e-sim card as they already start from just $4.5 USD, but you only get 1 GB data. E-sim cards are obviously also the easiest way to stay connected and therefore a MEO e-sim card with 30 GB data for just $19 USD is one of the best sim cards for Portugal in 2023.
Local prepaid sim cards are cheaper, but you get much less data and you can only buy them in Portugal on arrival. The MEO e-sim card for Portugal you can only buy on the internet. See my list of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Portugal in 2023 for more info.
The fastest data speed is guaranteed by NOS and they also have the best 4G/5G network in Portugal as of 2023. Since NOS also has the best prepaid sim card deal it is an easy conclusion that NOS is the best sim card for Portugal in 2023!
For €12.5 EUR you get 1,500 minutes/sms + free social media and 10 GB data for 30 days.
If you are traveling onwards in Europe and you can use your NOS prepaid sim card as well. But for traveling in Europe there are better sim card deals. Check out my list of the best sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2023.
Order a sim card for Portugal online
Is your phone not e-sim compatible and does buying a sim card in Portugal sound like too much hassle or you simply want to arrive prepared for your trip? Don't worry, I have the best solution for you and that is ordering an international prepaid sim card for traveling in Portugal on the internet.
These travel sim cards get shipped to your home address before your trip and automatically activate the first time they connect to the network in Portugal, so you are online as soon as the plane lands.
Check out the following international prepaid sim card deals for Portugal:
- 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms within Europe and UK
- Valid 30 days
- 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- $2 calling credit
- Valid 30 days
- 20 GB data in Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- 120 minutes worldwide
- 1,000 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
- 12 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Valid for 1 year
Click here to order an international sim cards for Portugal directly online or find more info in the link.
Traveltomtom personally recommends the last option: Orange. All of these sim cards are pre-activated and work like plug and play.
But if you have an e-sim compatible phone then a last reminder that there is no need to get a physical sim card anymore. Check out the e-sim cards deals for Portugal in 2023 and arrange everything online within just a couple minutes.
With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number, but make sure your phone is unlocked. How to get more info about using e-sim cards for traveling to Portugal? Check out my guide with the best Portugal e-sim cards in 2023 and
I hope the above tips for finding the best sim card for your trip to Portugal were helpful. In case you have any additional questions don't hesitate to leave me a comment below and I am more than happy to help you out. Also for Portugal travel tips.
Looking for some travel inspiration then check out my journey to visit every country in the world or my Instagram profile @traveltomtom. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long road to go.
Enjoy your trip to Portugal!
Some links in this article about the best Portugal sim cards are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using the outgoing links I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at no extra cost to you, but I have the duty to inform you.