Are you planning to travel to Spain and about to order an e-sim card for Spain? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about using an e-sim card for traveling to Spain including a comparison of the best Spain e-sim cards for 2023.
Don’t waste money on high roaming charges, read my recommendation and order a Spain e-sim card and get connected in just a couple minutes. Below you will find up to date prices as per August 2023, including all specifications per e-sim card and info about EU data roaming.
Also find out where and when to order an e-sim card, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards and of course links to directly order your e-sim card for traveling to Spain on the internet.
Already since 2012 I am traveling the world and eventually turned my passion for traveling into a lifestyle and became a full time nomadic travel blogger. That is why I constantly get to a different country and pretty much every week I need to look for a new sim card to stay connected. In 2022 I visited for example 62 different countries in 1 year so imagine how many different prepaid and e-sim cards I used.
In the past I used to buy a local prepaid sim card on arrival in every country, but nowadays I mostly use e-sim cards to stay connected when traveling abroad.
Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, still more than 40 to go, but no rush.
Helping other travelers to save money while traveling the world is one of the reasons I started this travel blog. Providing essential travel tips is what made me start writing sim card guides from every country I visited and now on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 200 sim card guides from all over the world.
Of course I also wrote a complete guide for buying a sim card for Spain in 2023.
Recently Traveltomtom also started writing specific guides for buying e-sim cards: USA, Canada, Turkey, Italy, France, Greece, Germany, Thailand, Europe, Asia, international e-sim cards and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and e-sim card advice for your holiday destination.
Let me first give you my e-sim card recommendation for Spain. These are my favorite e-sim cards for traveling to Spain.
Then a comparison of all the e-sim card plans for Spain with up to date prices as per August 2023. After I will explain how e-sim cards work, more about the network coverage and 4G/5G data speed, some FAQ about e-sim cards, the difference between e-sim cards and local prepaid sim cards and everything else you need to know.
Traveltomtom recommends the following two e-sim cards for traveling to Spain in 2023:
- 30 GB data in all of Europe
- Unlimited calling/texting in all of Europe
- Valid for 30 days
- 15 GB data in all of Europe
- Unlimited calling/texting in all of Europe
- Valid for 15 days
Both Bouygues Telecom e-sim cards can be ordered on SimOptions. These e-sim card come with unlimited calls/sms in Europe and free EU data roaming as well. Therefore these Bouygues Telecom e-sim cards are also listed as the best sim card for traveling in Europe in 2023.
If you are going on a Europe trip and visiting multiple countries then check out my list of the best prepaid and e-sim cards for traveling in Europe or simply order the above Bouygues Telecom e-sim card.
There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an e-sim card for Spain or in general before using an e-sim card.
Unlocked phones only
Make sure your phone is unlocked. E-sim cards only work in unlocked phones. If you are not sure if your phone is unlocked then contact your mobile internet provider in your home country.
In general phones from Europe, Asia and the Middle East tend to be unlocked. Phones from North America are often locked.
If your smartphone is locked that means it does not allow another prepaid sim card or e-sim card to operate in the device. You can easily unlock your phone, but depending on your mobile internet provider you will be charged a fee for unlocking your phone.
E-sim compatible phones only
Second, and equally important: e-sim cards only work if your smartphone supports e-sim cards, also called e-sim compatible. All newer smartphones support e-sim cards. If you are not sure if your phone is e-sim compatible then simply go to Google and type in your mobile phone model in the search bar and ask if it is e-sim compatible. You will get the answer instantly.
If your phone is NOT e-sim compatible then there is no other solution and you can NOT use an e-sim card for traveling to Spain.
However, you can still order a sim card for Spain on the internet before your trip. Check out Traveltomtom’s complete guide for buying a sim card for Spain in 2023 or find out everything you need to know about international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2023.
Comparison of the best Spain e-sim cards
There are multiple website on the internet that sell e-sim cards for Spain. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Spain from one of the well-known e-sim card providers that have proven to be reliable operators.
These are the 3 big e-sim card providers and they sell great e-sim card plans for Spain:
Nowadays, you can buy an e-sim card for pretty much every country around the world. Order directly from one of the above e-sim card providers and instantly receive your e-sim card in your email. But before you buy an e-sim card first read all my tips below.
SimOptions also offers international prepaid sim cards for Spain. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards and will be delivered to your home address before your trip to Spain and it is plug and play when you arrive in the Spain.
Airalo and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for Spain.
SimOptions is a very reliable e-sim card provider and Traveltomtom has used SimOptions uncountable times in more than 50 countries around the world. I can totally recommend using SimOptions for ordering your Spain e-sim card.
Why using SimOptions? They offer e-sim cards including calling and texting. Airalo and Nomad only offer data-only e-sim cards.
Here are the data-only SimOptions e-sim card plans for Spain:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.90 USD
- 3 GB data for 15 days = $9.90 USD
These data-only e-sim cards are provided by SimOptions and are only valid in Spain. Unfortunately they don’t specify which mobile network operator in Spain they use, neither is there information if these e-sim cards are 5G ready. Trust me, when they would be 5G ready they would mention it, so the max data speed on these Spain e-sim cards from SimOptions is 4G/LTE.
These data-only SimOptions e-sim cards for Spain do NOT come with a phone number and they do not offer incoming/outgoing calls or sms. The validity of these e-sim cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in Spain.
Click here to order a SimOptions e-sim card for Spain.
SimOptions also provides international e-sim cards for traveling to Spain.
The Bouygues Telecom e-sim cards for Spain, my first recommendations, are also listed here:
- 15 GB data + unlimited calls/sms valid for 15 days = $21.90 USD
- 10 GB data + $2 calling credit valid for 30 days = $24.90 USD
- 8 GB data + unlimited calls/sms valid for 14 days = $29.90 USD
- 30 GB data + unlimited calls/sms valid for 30 days = $44.90 USD
- 20 GB data + unlimited calls/sms valid for 14 days = $49.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Spain directly online.
All the above international e-sim cards are valid all over Europe and they include free EU data roaming. The best thing about these e-sim cards for Spain is that they also include calling and texting and they all come with a phone number.
The Airalo and Nomad e-sim card plans for Spain are ONLY valid in Spain.
Unfortunately none of them support 5G, only 4G/LTE. These international e-sim cards for Spain are also valid for 1 year, but the credit validity starts only when the e-sim card connects the first time to a supported network. So you can instal the e-sim card even when you are not in Europe yet. For more info check the SimOptions website.
Airalo is another very reputable e-sim card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your e-sim card for Spain through Airalo is done fast and easy. Traveltomtom has used Airalo uncountable times for staying connected when traveling abroad. Very reliable, never an issue and often some of the cheapest e-sim card deals.
Why using Airalo? I found out that Airalo has sometimes cheaper e-sim card deals compared to SimOptions.
Especially if you only use a little bit of data while traveling and need just 1 or 2 Gigabyte to stay in touch through WhatsApp, check your email and get directions from Google Maps, Airalo is a great e-sim card for traveling in Spain.
Here are Spain e-sim card plans for 2023 from Airalo:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $6.5 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $8.5 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $11.5 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $18 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Spain from Airalo.
The Airalo e-sim cards for Spain from Guay Mobile operate on the Movistar 4G/LTE network in Spain. Unfortunately the Airalo e-sim cards for Spain are not 5G ready. This Guay Mobile data-only e-sim card does not come with a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported. An Airalo e-sim card has to be installed within 1 month and after activation the credit validity starts when it connects the first time to a supported network. For more info check out the Airalo website.
Traveltomtom only recently discovered Nomad e-sim cards when looking for the best e-sim card deals and comparing e-sim cards for traveling to Spain. Traveltomtom has only used Nomad a few times now and is keen on experiencing more about Nomad e-sim cards because Nomad has some of the cheapest Spain e-sim card plans.
Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Spain:
- 1 GB data for 30 days = $6 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $19 USD
- 15 GB data for 30 days = $27 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $33 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Spain from Nomad.
The Nomad e-sim cards for Spain are from Nomad Black and are also NOT 5G ready, only 4G/LTE network is supported. Nomad Black operates on the Movistar network in Spain. Incoming and outgoing calls/sms are not supported.
The Nomad Spain e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in Spain. Basically when the plane lands. For more info check the Nomad website.
Why did Traveltomtom already used more than 100s of e-sim cards? I told you before that I travel full time and I am on the road constantly. We are only in August but I already visited more than 30 different countries in 2023.
What is the cheapest e-sim card for Spain?
The cheapest e-sim card for Spain is an Airalo e-sim card plan with 1 GB data for 7 days for just $4.5 USD. It is only valid in Spain and it does not support calling and texting.
Why ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Spain
E-sim cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Spain in 2023 and you can arrange everything online in just a couple clicks. No more visiting a sim card shop and swapping physical sim cards. Order online, scan the QR code, follow the steps and you are connected in less than 2 minutes.
The most important reason to get an e-sim card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to Spain without wasting money on high roaming costs. Our smartphones are pretty useless without a working data connection. Think about ordering a taxi through an app, finding nearby friends, restaurants and bars. Get directions from Google Maps or simply staying in touch with family back home, check your social media apps on long bus rides or your banking apps when paying contactless.
One of the best things about arriving in Spain with an activated e-sim card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands. More about when to instal your e-sim card later.
There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to Spain, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to Spain so much more convenient and fun!
At the same time we don’t want to waste money on high roaming charges. Many mobile internet operators still charge $3 USD per MB for data roaming, that means just opening the Instagram app will already cost you 20 MB * $3 USD = $60 USD! Not kidding… it still is very common in 2023.
E-sim cards are the easiest way to avoid high roaming charges!
So what about overseas data roaming plans? Well, not recommended! Why? Did you read the small letters at what data speed you can use data roaming? Pretty much all mobile internet operators limit the data speed for overseas data roaming plans, which means you end up with 3G data speed, but there is 4G/LTE in every tourist destination in Spain.
Uncountable times (mostly American) travel friends asked me: “can I use your hotspot? My data roaming plan is so slow, it is barely working!” Trust me, get yourself an e-sim card or an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Spain. Spend a couple dollars extra and be connected all the time instead of begging for WiFi or a hotspot from friends.
How to activate an e-sim card
Installing and activating an e-sim card is made as simple as possible. Everyone can activate an e-sim card and the instructions on how to are very detailed and will be send to you instantly by email. But wait, it gets even easier. Just scan the QR code.
When you order an e-sim card plan for Spain you instantly receive a summery of your order including a QR-code after the payment is processed.
You will see a summary of your e-sim card order including a QR code on your screen and at the same time you will also receive an email with the same QR code. The email contains instructions on how to instal and activate your Spain e-sim card.
But installing an activating an e-sim card is as easy as scanning the QR code with the same phone where you want to activate the e-sim card on. The QR contains all the information about your Spain e-sim card.
Once you scan the code you will be guided through a couple simple steps and within less than 1 minute your e-sim card is successfully installed.
Very important is that you are connected to the internet when installing your e-sim card otherwise you will get an error and issues can occur.
Tip: if you order an e-sim card with the same phone where you want to instal the e-sim card on then ask a friend or someone nearby to take a photo of the QR code and then you scan the QR code from his/her phone and start the installation.
When to oder an e-sim card for Spain?
You can order an e-sim card for Spain pretty much any time you want. Most e-sim cards have to be installed on a phone within 1 month after purchasing, some even within 1 year, so you have time.
More important therefore is when do you instal/activate the e-sim card. The validity of some e-sims start straight after the installation, other e-sim cards only start their validity when they connect the first time to a supported network.
Traveltomtom advices to instal your e-sim card on the day of departure to Spain. Or if you want to maximise your validity then activate your Spain e-sim card on arrival after you connect to the free WiFi of the airport on arrival in Spain. All international airports in Spain have free public WiFi.
Things to know before ordering an e-sim card for Spain
Here are some general tips for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for Spain e-sim cards, but are things you have to know before buying an e-sim card in general.
Make sure your phone is unlocked
To make sure you didn’t miss this, let me say this again: e-sim cards only work in UNLOCKED phones. If your phone is unlocked then you can use any e-sim card without any problems.
If your phone is locked then ask your mobile internet provider from your home country to unlock your phone before your trip to Spain. It is likely that your mobile internet provider will charge you a fee for unlocking your smartphone.
If you are unable to unlock your phone you can look into getting a pocket WiFi for staying connected when traveling to Spain or better… bring a second unlocked phone on your trip to Spain and use it as a portable WiFi device.
Which smartphones support e-sim cards?
Another very important thing you have to check before buying an e-sim card is if your smartphone supports e-sim cards. If you have any of the latest smartphones then there is no need to worry, all new smartphones of the well known brands support e-sim cards.
The fastest way to find out if your phone is e-sim compatible is by asking Google the question: is my (your phone model) e-sim compatible? Simple as that!
Where to buy an e-sim card for Spain?
You can only buy an e-sim card for Spain on the internet through an e-sim card provider. There are multiple e-sim card providers for Spain. Traveltomtom compared 6 e-sim card providers and concluded that the above mentioned ones are the best e-sim card providers for traveling to Spain in 2023.
On arrival in Spain
When you arrive in Spain and you want to buy an e-sim card for tourists then you will have to go to an official retail store of an internet provider. How to locate the nearest one to you hotel? Use Google Maps. Not all mobile internet operators in Spain offer e-sim cards for tourists. Most tourist sim card plans are only available as a physical sim card.
For the best prepaid sim card for tourists in Spain in 2023 click on the link to read my complete guide and comparison of all the mobile internet providers in Spain, including a comparison of the 4G/5G network.
Flying into Spain and landing in Madrid or Barcelona? There are multiple places at both airport to buy a sim card for Spain. However, there are NO e-sim cards sold at Barcelona nor at Madrid Airport, only physical prepaid sim cards.
Can I trust these e-sim card providers?
All the e-sim card providers for Spain recommended above (SimOptions, Airalo, Nomad) are reputable e-sim card providers reviewed and tested by Traveltomtom. All of them are licensed third party companies and resellers that partner or work directly with the mobile internet providers in Spain.
Traveltomtom has successfully partnered for several consecutive years with SimOptions and Airalo. Nomad is a fairly new partner of Traveltomtom, but has so far proven to be a reliable e-sim card provider. All e-sim card providers have their own Helpdesk which you can contact may you encounter any problems or in case you want to claim a refund.
Traveltomtom does NOT sell Spain e-sim cards, only RECOMMENDS you to use e-sim cards for traveling to Spain.
Can I keep my phone number from home with a Spain e-sim card?
Yes, you can and this is for many people a reason to order an e-sim card to stay connected when traveling to Spain. An e-sim card can be used next to your physical or e-sim card from your home country at the same time. You do not need a dual-sim phone for using an e-sim card.
So you can have multiple e-sim cards installed on your phone? Yes, no problem at all!
For example: you can turn off the mobile data from your sim card from home but still use it for texting and calling. Your new Spain e-sim card you can be used at the same time just for data to ensure you are not wasting money on high roaming costs.
If your Spain e-sim card also allows you to make phone calls and you want to make a local call in Spain, you simply switch between the sim cards and make a local phone call with your Spain e-sim card.
Switching between physical and e-sim cards is a matter of turning them on/off in the settings.
Can I make phone calls with a Spain e-sim card?
This depends on the type of e-sim card that you order. Only the international e-sim cards from SimOptions offer calling and texting. All the e-sim cards from Nomad and Airalo are data-only.
Does a Spain e-sim card come with a phone number?
This also depends on the type of e-sim card that you buy. E-sims that support calls and sms they come with a phone number.
In the above Spain e-sim card comparison you can find all the specifications per e-sim card. All the international e-sim cards from SimOptions come with a phone number, which means they can also receive calls and sms.
Can I use 5G on a Spain e-sim card?
Unfortunately, none of the Spain e-sim cards are 5G ready yet as of August 2023. Which means the max data speed is 4G/LTE.
Are there e-sim cards for Spain with unlimited data?
No, there are no Spain e-sim cards with unlimited data as of August 2023.
Even if you would come across some e-sim cards for Spain with unlimited data on the internet then make sure the unlimited data is on max data speed, mostly the data speed is capped after you used X GB of data.
After the data speed is reduced these e-sim cards with unlimited data become useless and therefore does Traveltomtom NOT recommend e-sim cards for Spain with unlimited data plans.
There are a lot of different specifications per e-sim card. Another reason why I advice you to take a close at my comparison of the best e-sim cards for traveling to Spain in 2023 before choosing your favorite.
Are e-sim cards the best way to stay connected when traveling to Spain?
E-sim cards are the easiest and fastest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Spain, but are they also the best way to stay connected when traveling to Spain?
There are 3 ways to stay connected when traveling to Spain:
- Local prepaid sim cards
- International prepaid sim cards
- E-sim cards
Let’s compare e-sim cards, local prepaid sim cards and international prepaid sim cards, for you to find out what is your preferred way of staying connected.
Local prepaid sim cards
If you use a lot of data then local prepaid sim cards are probably a cheaper way to stay connected, depending on the length of your trip. Local prepaid sim cards often offer bigger data plans than e-sim cards. However, local prepaid sim cards can only be purchased on arrival in Spain in a phone store and NOT on the internet.
More info about the best Spain sim cards for tourists can be found in my complete guide for buying a sim card for Spain in 2023.
For example in the link above in my comparison of the best prepaid sim cards for tourist in Spain shows you that a Vodafone prepaid sim card for €10 EUR will give you 50 GB data in Spain, including 19 GB free EU data roaming.
If this sounds like something you want then on arrival in Spain you will need to find a Vodafone store nearby your hotel. They also sell Vodafone sim cards at Barcelona Airport and Madrid Airport, but at tourist prices that are 5x as much!
The advantage of local prepaid sim cards is that you buy them directly from the mobile internet provider. You get the cheapest prices, (unlimited) local calls & sms included, the biggest data packages and the fastest data speed and 5G ready.
Be aware that that local prepaid sim cards for tourists that you buy in Spain are also NOT all 5G ready, only Vodafone allows prepaid users to use the 5G network. Orange, Movistar and Yoigo only offer 4G/LTE max data speed on prepaid sim cards.
International prepaid sim cards
If your smartphone is not e-sim compatible you can order an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Spain. Some of them are great for using in Spain as well as in all other countries in Europe and you can easily order them online.
Traveltomtom also put together a list of the best sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2023.
A pre-activated physical sim card will be delivered to your home address before your trip. You put this physical sim card in your phone and as soon as the plane touches the ground and the sim card connects to a supported network you are online. Plug and play!
The advantage of an international prepaid sim card is they all included calling and texting. Most e-sim cards are data-only sim cards.
There are two different e-sim cards:
- E-sim cards that you buy on the internet through a third party
- E-sim cards that you buy in Spain in a mobile internet provider store
The big difference is that e-sim cards provided by the local internet operators in Spain: Orange, Vodafone, Movistar and Yoigo can only be purchased at one of their phone stores around Spain.
However, as of August 2023 e-sim cards are not available for prepaid tourist sim cards. Traveltomtom personally shopped around to find out if e-sim cards were available for tourists. Every store I called in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla I got a NO!
E-sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards
Getting an e-sim card is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Spain, no doubt! You arrange everything online within just a couple click. Right here, right now and you are all set for your trip to Spain. You arrive prepared and there is no need to visit a sim card shop. As soon as the plane lands, you are online.
But what is cheaper? An e-sim card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists? When we compare Spain e-sim card prices with local prepaid sim cards for Spain Traveltomtom comes to the conclusion that in fact e-sim cards for Spain are the cheapest as they already start from just $4.5 USD.
However, if you are a heavy data user local prepaid sim cards are much better value for money as for €10 EUR you already get 50 GB data, including calls and the use of the 5G network.
After a long flight you just want to go to your hotel and it is often a big task to go to a sim card store and get connected.
Therefore a lot of travelers simply get an e-sim card for Spain. Faster, easier and less stress and depending on your needs sometimes even cheaper.
Another difference between a local prepaid sim card and an e-sim card is that e-sim cards are often through a third party, a so called MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). These MVNO’s operate on the network of one of the main mobile internet operators and basically buy bandwidth.
This may sound a little bit too technical, but what it means is that e-sim cards through an MVNO are the last ones in line when the line is busy. Especially during peak times, the performance of an e-sim cards is less compared to a local prepaid sim card from a mobile internet operator.
Bottomline: the data speed of e-sim cards can be less compared to a local prepaid sim card.
I am sure some of the above tips for finding the best e-sim card for your trip to Spain were helpful. I hope that after reading through my comparison, tips and tricks it was easier to make a decision and order your e-sim card for Spain right away.
If you still have any questions about e-sim cards then please leave me a comment below or reach out to me on social media and I am more than happy to help you out.
Curious what it looks like trying to visit every country in the world? Go check out my Instagram account @traveltomtom and follow along. As of August 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Spain!
Some links in this article about the best e-sim cards for Spain are affiliate links. If you buy any product after clicking on an affiliate link I will earn a small commission. Don’t worry this is at absolutely no extra cost to you!