Are you planning to travel to Turkey and about to order an eSIM card? This is a complete guide with everything you need to know about using an eSIM card for traveling to Turkey including a comparison of the best Turkey eSIM cards for 2024. 

Don’t waste money on high roaming charges, read my recommendation and order an eSIM card for Turkey on the internet and get connected in just a couple minutes. Below you will find up to date prices as per July 2024, including all specifications per eSIM card.

Also find out where and when to order an eSIM card, more info about the network coverage and 4G/5G data speed, an answer to all FAQ about eSIM cards, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards for Turkey and of course links to directly order your eSIM card for traveling to Turkey online.

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 2023 I visited for example 34 different countries in 1 year so imagine how many different prepaid and eSIM 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 eSIM cards to stay connected when traveling abroad.

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 prepaid sim card for tourists in Turkey in 2024.

Recently Traveltomtom also started writing specific guides for buying eSIM cards: USA, Canada, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Europe, Asia, Dubai, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, VietnamThailand, international eSIM cards and many more.

So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card and eSIM card advice for your holiday destination.

Let me first give you my eSIM card recommendation for Turkey. These are my favorite eSIM cards for traveling to Turkey in 2024.

Some links in this article about the best eSIM cards for Turkey 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!

My recommendation

best esim card for traveling to turkey 2023

Traveltomtom recommends the following two eSIM cards for traveling to Turkey in 2024:

1. Jetpac data-only eSIM for Turkey - $25 USD

  • 30 GB data-only eSIM
  • Valid in Turkey only
  • 4G/LTE
  • Valid for 30 days

The best value eSIM for Turkey is a Jetpac plan with 30 GB data for just $25 USD. That is a rate of only $0.83 USD per Gigabyte. No other eSIM provider offers such a cheap rate.

Jetpac has more eSIM plans for Turkey, not only the 30 GB data plan and they also offer more benefits. More about it later.

2. Merhaba data-only eSIM card for Turkey - $26 USD

  • 20 GB data-only eSIM
  • Valid in Turkey only
  • 4G/LTE
  • Valid for 30 days

A very good second best is a Merhaba eSIM card from Airalo as they have a rate of $1.3 USD per Gigabyte on their 20 GB data plan. Airalo also has much more plans available.

Both eSIM cards are data-only eSIM cards and incoming and outgoing calls or sms are not supported. Data is only valid in Turkey, there is no EU data roaming included in these eSIM cards.

Is Turkey one of your stops on a trip to Europe then look into getting an Airalo eSIM card for Europe which is the only eSIM card that is valid in all of Europe as well as in Turkey.

However, Traveltomtom recommends ordering two different eSIMs. An eSIM for Turkey as well as an eSIM for Europe. Simply because it is cheaper.

There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an eSIM card for Turkey or in general before using an eSIM card. 

Unlocked phones only

Make sure your phone is unlocked. eSIM 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 eSIM 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.

eSIM compatible phones only

Second, and equally important: eSIM cards only work if your smartphone supports eSIM cards, also called eSIM compatible. All newer smartphones support eSIM cards. If you are not sure if your phone is eSIM compatible then simply go to Google and type in your mobile phone model in the search bar and ask if it is eSIM compatible. You will get the answer instantly.

If your phone is NOT eSIM compatible then there is no other solution and you can NOT use an eSIM card for traveling to Turkey.

However, you can still order a sim card for Turkey on the internet before your trip. Check out Traveltomtom's complete guide for buying a sim card for Turkey in 2024 or find out everything you need to know about international sim cards for traveling abroad in 2024

Comparison of the best eSIM cards for Turkey

Although as of 2024 you can also buy an eSIM card on arrival in an official Vodafone, Turk Telekom or Turkcel store, Traveltomtom still recommends ordering an eSIM card for traveling in Turkey on the internet. Why?

MUCH CHEAPER! In phone stores in Turkey they charge tourists insane prices for eSIMs, better buy an eSIM online.

Traveltomtom tested and reviewed a bunch of eSIM card providers like: SimOptions, Jetpac, Nomad, Holafly, Airalo, etc and they have all proven to be reliable operators. Traveltomtom's favorites for already many years are SimOptions and Airalo, but are they also the cheapest nowadays? The competion is fierce...

So before you buy an eSIM card first read all my tips below. 

SimOptions also offers international prepaid sim cards for Turkey. These are pre-activated physical prepaid sim cards and will be delivered to your home address before your trip to Turkey and it is plug and play when you arrive in the Turkey.

Airalo, Holafly, Jetpac and Nomad only sell eSIM cards for Turkey.

Jetpac

jetpac esim cards for turkey

Jetpac is a fairly new eSIM provider that offers eSIMs valid in multiple countries. However, the Jetpac eSIMs for Turkey are only valid in Turkey.

Here are the Jetpac Turkey eSIM plans:

  • 1 GB data for 4 days = $1 USD
  • 3 GB data for 7 days = $7 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $9 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD
  • 15 GB data for 30 days = $22 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $25 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = $25 USD

Click here for more info or to order the Jetpac Turkey eSIM card.

The Jetpac Turkey plan with 30 GB data for just $25 USD makes it the best value eSIM card for Turkey with a rate of only $0.83 USD per Gigabyte.

These eSIM are data-only and incoming and outgoing calls and sms are not supported. These eSIMs do not come with a phone number. The Jetpac Turkey eSIMs operate on the 4G/LTE network of Turk Telekom.

You can instal your Jetpac eSIM card before your trip to Turkey, but it only activates from the moment it connects to a supported network in Turkey, basically when the plane lands. That moment your days also start counting. The Jetpac eSIMs have to be installed within 1 year.

An extra advantage of Jetpac eSIM cards is that they provide free lounge access if your flight is delayed. However, you will have to register your flight before you travel and in case of a delayed or canceled flight a LoungeKey voucher will automatically be provided. This is a complimentary service that no other eSIM cards offer. For more info check the Jetpac website.

SimOptions

SimOptions is a very reliable eSIM 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 an eSIM card.

SimOptions is always one of my recommendations. In the past their Turkey eSIMs were always much more expensive, but since Summer 2024 they updated their plans and prices for Turkey eSIMs and they are very competitive.

The SimOptions eSIM plans are not even cheaper than the Airalo Turkey eSIMs and they are also 5G ready. 

simoptions esim card plans for turkey

Here are the SimOptions data-only eSIM card plans for Turkey for 2024:

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.50 USD
  • 5 GB data for 15 days = $6.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $12.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $24.90 USD
  • 30 GB data for 30 days = $32.90 USD
  • 50 GB data for 60 days = $59.90 USD

Click here to order a SimOptions eSIM card for Turkey.

These data-only eSIM cards are provided by SimOptions and are only valid in Turkey. All of the SimOptions eSIMs for Turkey are 5G ready.

The SimOptions eSIM cards for Turkey do NOT come with a phone number and they do not offer incoming/outgoing calls or sms services. The validity of these eSIM cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly when it connects to a supported network in Turkey, basically on arrival. For more info check the SimOptions website.

Airalo

Airalo is another very reputable eSIM card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your eSIM card for Turkey 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 eSIM card deals.

Why using Airalo? Airalo was one of the first eSIM providers and are very reliable.

Also, if you only use a little bit of data while traveling and need just 1 or 2 GB to stay in touch through WhatsApp, check your email and get directions from Google Maps, Airalo is a great eSIM card for traveling to Turkey.

airalo esim card plans for turkey 2024

Here are Turkey eSIM card plans for 2024 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 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $12 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $18 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $26 USD

Click here to order an eSIM card for Turkey from Airalo.

The Airalo eSIM cards for Turkey are from Merhaba and operate on the Turk Telekom 4G/LTE/5G network in Turkey. Yes, the Airalo Merhaba eSIM cards for Turkey are 5G ready.

However, as of 2024 the 5G network in Turkey is very limited. They just started rolling out 5G in Istanbul. That said, in pretty much all the beautiful places to visit in Turkey you will find a 4G/LTE signal and the data speed is pretty decent, even off the beaten path.

For more info about the best 4G/5G network in Turkey check my complete guide for the best prepaid sim card for Turkey in 2024, including network coverage maps of all the mobile internet providers.

eSIM card for traveling to Turkey AND Europe

Are you traveling onwards to Europe after visiting Turkey and wondering if there is one eSIM that covers both Turkey and Europe then check out the Eurolink eSIM card. These eSIM cards from Airalo work in all of Europe and Turkey. So this is the perfect eSIM card for your trip to Europe and Turkey.

eurolink esim card plans for turkey and europe

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $13 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $20 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $37 USD
  • 50 GB data for 90 days = $100 USD
  • 100 GB data for 180 days = $185 USD

Click here to order an eSIM card for traveling to Turkey and Europe.

All the Airalo eSIM cards are data-only sim cards without a phone number, so any phone/sms service is NOT supported. An Airalo eSIM 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

Nomad

Traveltomtom discovered Nomad eSIM cards when looking for the best eSIM card deals and comparing eSIM cards for traveling to Turkey. The Traveltomtom Team has used Nomad a few times and has some mixed feelings about the reliability and performance of Nomad but fact is that Nomad has some great Turkey eSIM deals.

Nomad has regular plans as well as daily plans for Turkey.

Regular plans

nomad esim card plans for turkey

Here are the Nomad eSIM card plans for Turkey: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $9 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $16 USD

Click here to order an eSIM card for Turkey from Nomad

The Nomad eSIM cards for Turkey are 5G ready, just like the SimOptions and Airalo eSIM cards for Turkey. The Nomad eSIMs operate on the Tuk Telekom 4G/LTE/5G network.

nomad turkey esim card specifications

The Nomad Turkey eSIM cards have to be installed on your phone within 60 days and after installation its validity starts when it connects for the first time to a supported network in Turkey. Basically when the plane lands. For more info check the Nomad website.

Daily plans

Nomad also has daily eSIM plans for Turkey. These eSIM cards could perfect for those going on a short trip to Turkey. You basically get 1 GB high speed data per 24 hours. Then after you use 1 GB data your data speed is reduced to 512 Kbps, which is actually useless, basically like an E signal.

nomad turkey esim card daily plans

  • 1 GB data per day for 1 day = $4 USD
  • 1 GB data per day for 3 day = $5 USD
  • 1 GB data per day for 5 day = $8 USD
  • 1 GB data per day for 7 day = $10 USD
  • 1 GB data per day for 10 day = $14 USD

When I saw the prices for these daily plans I was pleasantly surprised. If you are careful with the amount of Gigabytes you use per day it could be a great eSIM for traveling to Turkey.

Personally, it would not be enough for me as I can easily spend more than 1 GB data in just 1 hour train or bus ride. So I am not a fan.

Watching TikTok videos for about 60 minutes is about 1 GB data, watching Instagram reels for 45 minutes is also already 1 GB data. It depends how many gigabytes you use per day, but it could be a great eSIM card for traveling to Turkey.

Click here to order this Nomad daily plan eSIM card for Turkey.

Holafly

Holafly is another well-known eSIM provider but unlike other providers they only offer eSIMs with unlimited data. However, there is a catch and that is a so-called FUP (Fair Use Policy). More about it later, but it could mean that you suddenly have a very slow data connection for a whole day until it resets.

Here are the Holafly unlimited data eSIM plans for Turkey:

  • 1 day 'unlimited' data = $6 USD
  • 2 days 'unlimited' data = $10 USD
  • 3 days 'unlimited' data = $13 USD
  • 4 days 'unlimited' data = $16 USD
  • 5 days 'unlimited' data = $21 USD
  • 6 days 'unlimited' data = $25 USD
  • 7 days 'unlimited' data = $29 USD
  • 8 days 'unlimited' data = $31 USD
  • 9 days 'unlimited' data = $35 USD
  • 10 days 'unlimited' data = $37 USD
  • 11 days 'unlimited' data = $40 USD
  • 14 days 'unlimited' data = $48 USD
  • 20 days 'unlimited' data = $64 USD
  • 30 days 'unlimited' data = $75 USD 

As you can see the Holafly eSIMs are significantly more expensive than other eSIM providers like Jetpac, Airalo and SimOptions. The Holafly eSIM cards for Turkey are data-only and incoming and outgoing calls/sms are NOT supported. These eSIMs do also not come with a phone number. The Holafly eSIMs operate on the 4G/LTE network of Turk Telekom.

You can use a hotspot on the Holafly eSIM cards, but it is capped at 500 MB per day.

Why 'unlimited'? Because there is a Fair Use Policy and Traveltomtom has had bad experiences with this in the past. Suddenly your data speed is slowed down for 24 hours because you apparently used too much data. More info later.

If I hate something then it is slow data speed. Imagine being on a 10 hour bus ride in Turkey and after 3 hours you hit your FUP, then the rest of the bus ride you have pretty much no internet on your phone.

Therefore Traveltomtom's is not a fan of eSIM cards with 'unlimited' data with an FUP and therefore it is not my first recommendation when looking for an eSIM for Turkey.

Also, Traveltomtom tested Holafly in another country and was very disappointed with the overall performance. Holafly was using the weakest mobile data network operator in that country and while people all around me constantly had a data connection I was pretty much offline for a whole week. Even when we were in big cities I constantly had to ask for the public WiFi of my hotels, restaurants and bars because my Holafly eSIM was super slow.

I understand in Turkey it could be a different story, but it just put me off a little.

Nowadays, you can buy an eSIM card for pretty much every country in the world. Order directly from one of the above eSIM card providers and instantly receive your eSIM card in your email.

Why did Traveltomtom already used more than 100s of eSIM cards? I told you before that I travel full time and I am on the road constantly. Per year I use about 40 to 50 different prepaid and eSIM cards and therefore I am the ultimate sim card for tourist specialist.

Traveltomtom is on the road to 197, meaning I would like to travel to every country in the world. As of July 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still more than 40 to go, but no rush. 

What is the cheapest eSIM card for Turkey?

cheapest esim card plan for turkey 2024

The cheapest eSIM card for Turkey is from Jetpac as they only charge $1 USD for 1 GB data. However, this eSIM is only valid for 4 days.

Then there is the Nomad eSIM card for just $4 USD with 1 GB data for 7 days. Airalo has the same plan, but charges $4.5 USD for it. These eSIMs are only valid in Turkey and do not support calling and texting.

Why ordering an eSIM card for traveling in Turkey

eSIM cards are the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Turkey in 2024 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 eSIM card is because we would like to stay connected on our trip to Turkey 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 Turkey with an activated eSIM card is that you are online as soon as the plane lands. More about when to instal your eSIM card later.

There are so many reasons to stay connected when traveling to Turkey, but the most important reason is that it makes your trip to Turkey 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 2024. 

eSIM cards are the easiest way to avoid high roaming charges!

International data roaming plans

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 all the amazing tourist destinations in Turkey and even 5G nowadays in Istanbul. 

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 eSIM card or an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Turkey. Spend a couple dollars extra and be connected all the time instead of begging for WiFi or a hotspot from friends.

Where to buy an eSIM card for Turkey?

Online

You can only buy an eSIM card for Turkey on the internet through an eSIM card provider. There are multiple eSIM card providers for Turkey. Traveltomtom compared 6 eSIM card providers and concluded that the above mentioned ones (SimOptionsAiraloNomad, Jetpac and Holafly) are the best eSIM card providers for traveling to Turkey in 2024.

None of the mobile internet operators in Turkey sell tourist eSIM cards on their own websites. 

When buying an eSIM card for Turkey through one of the above recommended eSIM providers you only need your email address and the eSIM card is instantly ready to use after installation. There is no ID registration needed.

On arrival in Turkey

When you arrive in Turkey and you want to buy an eSIM 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 your hotel? Use Google Maps. 

However, as of 2024, some Vodafone and some Turkcell shops offer eSIM cards in store. However, it is very random! I asked around some of their shops in the most touristy areas in Istanbul and some say yes, eSIM cards are available, but most of the stores say NO.

When buying a sim card in Turkey expect to pay tourist prices of around $40 USD per physical prepaid or eSIM card with 20 GB data. So it is cheaper to order an eSIM card for Turkey on the internet.

Turk Telekom does NOT sell eSIM cards in their stores, only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists are available.

For more info about buying a prepaid sim card for tourists in Turkey in 2024 click on the link to read my complete guide and comparison of all the mobile internet providers in Turkey, including a comparison of the 4G/5G network.

Flying into Turkey and landing in Istanbul then you can also buy a sim card for Turkey on arrival at the airport. However, there are NO eSIM cards sold at airports in Turkey, only physical prepaid sim cards for tourists and expect to pay tourist prices when buying a sim card at the airport.

The eSIM cards mentioned in this article are much cheaper then buying a sim card at the airport on arrival in Turkey.

Check out my complete guide for buying a sim card at Istanbul Airport IST in 2024 or when flying to Sabiha Gökçen read more in my guide for buying a sim card at SAW Airport in Istanbul. There is also a guide for buying a sim card at Izmir Airport

How to activate an eSIM card

Installing and activating an eSIM card is made as simple as possible. Everyone can activate an eSIM 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 eSIM card plan for Turkey you instantly receive a summery of your order including a QR-code after the payment is processed.

You will see a summary of your eSIM 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 Turkey eSIM card. 

But installing an activating an eSIM card is as easy as scanning the QR code with the same phone where you want to activate the eSIM card on. The QR contains all the information about your Turkey eSIM card.

Once you scan the code you will be guided through a couple simple steps and within less than 1 minute your eSIM card is successfully installed.

Very important is that you are connected to the internet when installing your eSIM card otherwise you will get an error and issues can occur. 

Tip: if you order an eSIM card with the same phone where you want to instal the eSIM 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 order/activate an eSIM card for Turkey?

You can order an eSIM card for Turkey pretty much any time you want. Most eSIM 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 eSIM card. The validity of some eSIMs start straight after the installation, other eSIM cards only start their validity when they connect the first time to a supported network. 

Traveltomtom advices to instal your eSIM card on the day of departure to Turkey. Or if you want to maximise your validity then activate your Turkey eSIM card on arrival after you connect to the free WiFi of the airport on arrival in Turkey. All international airports in Turkey have free public WiFi. However, it is very limited and annoying as you have to login with your passport.

Turkey is really proud of its international airports, but the reality is that they are shit and extremely overpriced! I can’t help it, but an airport that does not offer free WiFi is a very unfriendly welcome to a country. 

How do I know? Traveltomtom travels on average about 10 times per year to or through Turkey. You can also find Turkey airport guide on Traveltomtom about Istanbul Airport IST, Istanbul Airport SAW and Izmir Airport.

Things to know before ordering an eSIM card for Turkey

Here are some general tips for using eSIM cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for Turkey eSIM cards, but are things you have to know before buying an eSIM card in general. 

Make sure your phone is unlocked

To make sure you didn’t miss this, let me say this again: eSIM cards only work in UNLOCKED phones. If your phone is unlocked then you can use any eSIM 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 Turkey. 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 portable WiFi for staying connected when traveling to Turkey or better… bring a second unlocked phone on your trip to Turkey and use it as a portable WiFi device. 

Which smartphones support eSIM cards?

Another very important thing you have to check before buying an eSIM card is if your smartphone supports eSIM 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 eSIM cards.

The fastest way to find out if your phone is eSIM compatible is by asking Google the question: is my (your phone model) eSIM compatible? Simple as that!

Can I trust these eSIM card providers?

merhaba esim card for turkey

All the eSIM card providers for Turkey recommended above (SimOptionsAiraloNomad, Jetpac and Holafly) are reputable eSIM 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 Turkey.

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 eSIM card provider. All eSIM 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 Turkey eSIM cards, only RECOMMENDS you to use eSIM cards for traveling to Turkey.

Can I keep my phone number from home with a Turkey eSIM card?

Yes, you can and this is for many people a reason to order an eSIM card to stay connected when traveling to Turkey. An eSIM card can be used next to your physical or eSIM card from your home country at the same time. You do not need a dual-sim phone for using an eSIM card. 

So you can have multiple eSIM 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 Turkey eSIM card you can be used at the same time just for data to ensure you are not wasting money on high roaming costs.

Switching between physical and eSIM cards is a matter of turning them on/off in the settings. 

Can I make phone calls with a Turkey eSIM card?

No, unfortunately there are no eSIM cards for Turkey available on the internet that include calling and texting. All the eSIM cards from Holafly, Nomad, Jetpac, Airalo and SimOptions are data-only eSIM cards and any incoming/outgoing calls/sms are not supported.

Does a Turkey eSIM card come with a phone number?

No, none of the Turkey eSIM cards that you can buy on the internet come with a phone number which also means you can not receive any phone calls or sms. 

In the above Turkey eSIM card comparison you can find all the specifications per eSIM card.

Can I use 5G on a Turkey eSIM card?

Yes, as of July 2024 the Nomad, Airalo and SimOptions eSIM cards for Turkey are 5G ready. The Jetpac and Holafly eSIM cards for Turkey are not 5G ready yet . Which means the max data speed is 4G/LTE.

Don't get too excited there is still barely 5G in Turkey as of 2024.

Are there eSIM cards for Turkey with unlimited data?

Yes, the Holafly eSIM cards for Turkey include unlimited data. However, Traveltomtom is not a big fan of unlimited data sim cards.

Always ask yourself is unlimited truly unlimited. Is there a catch? If the unlimited data is not on max data speed, then there is a so called FUP. Which means that your data speed will be capped after you used an X amount of Gigabytes. 

Holafly is an eSIM card provider that sells eSIM cards with unlimited data for Turkey and uses a so-called Fair Use Policy (FUP). Holafly does NOT specify what the FUP is. Which is very dissatisfying.

Traveltomtom does NOT recommend Turkey eSIM cards with unlimited data plans with an FUP. On Holafly sim cards I experienced a reduce in data speed after using more than 2 GB per day. After I contacted support they explained me that I had to wait for 24 hours until my data speed was restored to normal.

Those 24 hours were a nightmare as my data speed was barely enough to use WhatsApp. Social media was not even loading!

Especially on days that you have a long bus or train ride and you need a lot of data, you definitely don't want any data speed restrictions that day.

Again, Traveltomtom does NOT recommend eSIM cards for Turkey with unlimited data. But if you think you will never use more than 2 GB per day, then Holafly might be your favorite eSIM card. However, if you don't use so much data per day then what's the point of an eSIM with unlimited data... is what you have to ask yourself.

An eSIM card with 20 GB or 30 GB data is for most tourists more than enough. If your trip to Turkey is about 10 days then you have 2 to 3 GB data per day, which is a lot! Check out this Airalo eSIM card for $26 USD with 20 GB data or this Jetpac eSIM for $25 USD with 30 GB data.

There are a lot of different specifications per eSIM card. Another reason why I advice you to take a close at my comparison of the best eSIM cards for traveling to Turkey in 2024 before choosing your favorite.

Are eSIM cards the best way to stay connected when traveling to Turkey?

eSIM cards are the easiest and fastest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Turkey, but are they also the best way to stay connected when traveling to Turkey?

There are 3 ways to stay connected when traveling to Turkey: 

  • Local prepaid sim cards
  • International prepaid sim cards
  • eSIM cards

Let's compare eSIM 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 often a cheaper way to stay connected, depending on the length of your trip. Local prepaid sim cards often offer bigger data plans than eSIM cards. However, local prepaid sim cards can only be purchased on arrival in Turkey in a phone store and NOT on the internet.

More info about the best Turkey sim cards for tourists can be found in my complete guide for buying a sim card for Turkey in 2024.

For example in the link above in my comparison of the best prepaid sim cards for tourist in Turkey you will find that the best prepaid tourist sim card in Turkey costs $27 USD and comes with 20 GB data.

If this sounds like something you want then on arrival in Turkey you will need to find a sim card shop nearby your hotel.

The sim cards you can buy at Istanbul or Izmir Airport are much more expensive. At the international airports in Turkey they sell tourist sim cards for tourist prices. It is NOT recommended to buy a sim card at the airport in Turkey.

A reminder there is already an eSIM card for Turkey with 30 GB data for just $25 USD and you can directly order it online.

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.

The local prepaid sim cards for tourists you buy in Turkey are all 5G ready. All of the mobile internet operators in Turkey (Vodafone, Turk Telekom and Turkcell) allow prepaid users to use the 5G network. 

International prepaid sim cards

international prepaid sim cards for turkey

If your smartphone is not eSIM compatible you can order an international prepaid sim card for traveling to Turkey. Some of them are great for using in Turkey as well as in all other countries in for example Europe, USA, Asia and you can easily order them online. 

If after visiting Turkey you are traveling onwards to Europe or Asia then check Traveltomtom's list of the best eSIM cards for traveling in Europe in 2024 or the best Asia tourist sim cards in 2024.

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!

Click here to order an international prepaid sim card for Turkey directly online

eSIM cards

There are two different eSIM cards: 

  • eSIM cards that you buy on the internet through a third party
  • eSIM cards that you buy in Turkey in a mobile internet provider store 

The big difference is that eSIM cards provided by the local internet operators in Turkey: Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom can only be purchased at one of their phone stores around Turkey. 

However, as of 2024 eSIM cards are still limited available for prepaid tourist sim cards. Although officially Vodafone, Turk Telekom and Turkcell offer eSIMs for tourists, in many shops they will tell you that they ran out. Traveltomtom personally shopped around in Istanbul to find out if eSIM cards were available for tourists.

In some Turk Telekom stores they even gave me a clear NO, some Vodafone and Turkcell stores said: yes, we offer eSIM cards for tourists. Then on top of that when opting for an eSIM, phone stores charge an extra fee of $10 USD.

It was very random, most of the stores of Vodafone and Turkcell still said: no, we don't do eSIM cards for tourists.

On arrival at the international airports in Turkey they only sell physical prepaid sim cards for tourists. Read all about it in my detailed guide about buying a sim card at Istanbul Airport.

eSIM cards vs. local prepaid sim cards

Getting an eSIM card is the easiest way to stay connected when traveling to Turkey, no doubt! You arrange everything online within just a couple clicks. Right here, right now and you are all set for your trip to Turkey. 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 eSIM card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists? When we compare Turkey eSIM card prices with local prepaid sim cards for Turkey, Traveltomtom comes to the simple conclusion that eSIM cards for Turkey that you buy on the internet are in fact cheaper than local prepaid sim cards for tourists that they sell in mobile phone stores in Turkey.

Turkey has so called visitors sim cards for tourists and they are specially designed for foreigners buying a sim card with a non-Turkish passport. They are also specially designed to make a lot of money on tourists. The cheapest tourist sim cards start from $25 USD and up. You can buy them in the official retail stores of Vodafone, Turkcell and Turk Telekom in the city center of every popular tourist destination in Turkey.

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. On top of that there are much better deals online and with these eSIM cards as soon as the plane lands you are connected. Therefore Traveltomtom recommends to order one of the listed best eSIM cards for Turkey in the comparison above. 

Many reasons why a lot of travelers simply get an eSIM card for Turkey. Faster, easier, less stress and even cheaper.

Data speed

Another difference between a local prepaid sim card and an eSIM card is that eSIM 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 eSIM cards through an MVNO are the last ones in line when the line is busy. Especially during peak times, the performance of an eSIM cards is less compared to a local prepaid sim card from a mobile internet operator. 

Bottomline: the data speed of eSIM cards can be less compared to a local prepaid sim card. 

I am sure some of the above tips for finding the best eSIM card for your trip to Turkey were helpful. I hope that after reading through my comparison, tips and tricks it was easier to make a decision and order your eSIM card for Turkey right away.

If you still have any questions about eSIM 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 July 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.

Enjoy your trip to Turkey!