Traveling to Europe any time soon and planning your trip? Don't get stuck with high roaming costs or slow overseas data roaming bundles, they limit your internet speed! Get the best network, free data roaming in all EU countries and the best network. This is your guide for buying a sim card for Europe with everything you need to know and up to date prices per country as of June 2021.
All the info about buying a sim card in Europe is based on my own experience, I traveled to every country in Europe multiple times to find out about the best sim card per country.
The first thing I do when I get to a new country is buying a local sim card to get connected. On my journey to visit every country in the world I made it to some off the beaten path countries and even wrote local sim card guides for these places: Zambia, Uganda, Namibia, El Salvador, Honduras, Lebanon.
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 always much cheaper than international sim cards. However if you are planning a trip to multiple countries you can check my article for the best travel sim cards in 2021.
This article is focussed on local sim cards in Europe, so if you are looking to buy a Europe sim card for travelers directly online, then I recommend you to go to my article about the best Europe sim cards for tourists in 2021.
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.
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Please NEVER pay this much for a European sim card!!!! This honestly feels like scamming tourists!
It is an example of the outrageous prices I found that they offer to tourists in Milan. 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 expensive!
Don’t worry in this guide I will list every country separately and point out to you what is the best sim card for tourists. In some European countries you can get a sim card for $10 with 20 GB data.
Why buying a local sim card in Europe
First of all you don't want to rely on WiFi when traveling. Yes, your hotel offers free WiFi and trains and busses do, as well as bars and restaurants. But there is no guarantee the WiFi is working, is fast enough and most definitely public WiFi is an UNSECURE connection! Simply don't rely on others for getting internet when traveling.
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.
Third, local sim cards in Europe are the CHEAPEST way to get connected and even better news these day: there is FREE EU ROAMING!
European sim cards with FREE EU data roaming
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.
For people looking for a sim card to travel in Europe this was the best news ever of course!
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.
Check the link for a list of the best European sim cards for travelers that you can buy online before your trip.
Mobile internet operators in Europe
The list of European mobile internet operators is VERY long as every European country has its own providers. Although some brands are present in multiple countries: Vodafone, Orange, 3 (Three), T-Mobile.
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.
Where to buy a Europe sim card
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
Official retail stores
Apart from Denmark you can buy a sim card in any official internet provider retail store. Mostly these stores have the best deals and there is always some kind of promotion ongoing.
Convenience Stores, supermarkets and gas stations
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.
Therefore I never recommend tourists buying a sim card for Europe at these kind of places.
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.
Buying a sim card in Austria
When flying to Vienna, then buying a sim card at Vienna Airport is a little complicated as the best sim card for traveling in Europe can be found at the Bipa Store. For €10 you get 4 GB data + 1,000 minutes + 1,000 sms. You will have to activate this sim card yourself. Better is to wait till you get to the city center in Vienna or anywhere else in the country.
I recommend the 3 Austria sim card for traveling in Europe. As of April 2021 3 Austria offers a sim card for Europe with 8 GB data + 2,000 minutes and texts for €15. Click here for more info buying a sim card in Austria.
Buying a sim card in Belgium
When buying a sim card in Belgium I recommend Orange. They have the best Europe sim card deals in Belgium. For €10 you get 4 GB data + 50 minutes in all of Europe. When flying into Brussels airport you can find the same prepaid sim card for €15. Click here for more info about buying a sim card at Brussels Airport.
Buying a sim card in Croatia
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 2021, 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.
Buying a sim card in Denmark
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.
Denmark sim cards are expensive and the value for money is not good! Also for Denmark counts that ordering a European sim card online is the best thing to do.
Buying a sim card in Estonia
For traveling in Estonia i recommend you buying a TELE2 prepaid sim card for only €3,95. You get 5 GB data for 7 days, but this data is NOT valid in the EU, only in Estonia. Click here for more info about buying a sim card in Estonia 2021.
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.
Buying a sim card in Finland
Despite being such an expensive country Finland has good prepaid sim card deals for tourists. DNA offer the best sim card for Finland for €5 only and it comes with €5 credit. Unlimited data, calls & text costs just €0,89 per day. This super flexible deal is great for traveling in Finland, however this prepaid sim card does NOT include free roaming in Europe. Therefore buying a sim card in Finland is NOT the best for traveling in Europe. More info in the link.
Buying a sim card in France
If arriving in France the best prepaid sim card for Europe is Free Mobile. As of April 2021 this might even be the best prepaid sim card in Europe, however you can only buy it in France! For €19,99 you get 150 GB data in France and 25 GB free roaming in Europe, unlimited calls/text in Europe are included. Free Mobile sim cards are 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.
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 2021.
Buying a sim card in Germany
Germany used to be one of the worst places for buying a sim card for traveling in Europe. Although Germany sim card deals at Berlin and Frankfurt Airport are still pretty bad, all around Germany you can now find ok sim cards for tourists. Vodafone Germany offers 10 GB data + unlimited calling/texting valid all over Europe for €20. For more info check my article about buying a sim card in Germany.
Buying a sim card in Greece
On the streets in Athens you can get the best deals when looking for Greece sim cards for tourists. From the Vodafone vendors you get 4 GB data and a lot of calling minutes for all over Europe for €10. Buying a sim card at Athens Airport is much more expensive and it is better to wait till you get to the city.
Greece sim cards are not the best for traveling onwards in Europe.
Buying a sim card in Hungary
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.
Buying a sim card in Ireland
When Ireland is your first stop in Europe then you consider yourself lucky when it comes European sim card deals. In my guide for buying an Ireland sim card I named Vodafone as the best Ireland sim card for tourists. For €20 you can already get a sim card for Europe with unlimited data.
If you are flying to Dublin Airport you can buy a Vodafone prepaid sim card valid all over Europe with 20 GB data and unlimited calling/texts for €25. Not a bad deal either, check my guide for buying a sim card at Dublin Airport for more info.
Buying a sim card in Italy
Yes an Italy sim card is a great deal for traveling in Europe! For €20 you get 40 GB for traveling in Italy of which you can use 20 GB for data roaming in the EU. No need to order a sim card for traveling in Europe online when your Europe trip starts in Italy. However, I do NOT recommend you to buy a sim card for Italy at any of the airports. At Venice Airport, Rome Airport and Milan Airport sim card deals are way overpriced. Just wait till you get to the city! Click the links for more info per specific airport.
Buying a sim card in The Netherlands
My passion for writing about European sim cards for tourists started at Amsterdam Airport. Born and raised in The Netherlands I felt embarrassed what kind of sim cards we sell for tourists. 500MB for €20? SCAM! Read my article why I do NOT recommend tourist buying a sim card at Amsterdam Airport. In 2021 it did NOT get better, sim cards are still really expensive.
The same counts for buying a sim card in The Netherlands for traveling in Europe. Prepaid sim cards in The Netherlands are expensive. Vodafone offers the best deals as of April 2021: 10 GB data and 100 minutes valid all over Europe for €34.
Although prepaid sim cards are cheap in Holland they do have the best 5G network of Europe by far. Almost the whole country is covered with 5G in The Netherlands.
Buying a sim card in Norway
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.
Flying to Oslo? Then buying a sim card at Oslo Airport is even slightly cheaper. Check the link for more details about this Lycamobile sim card.
Buying a sim card in Poland
Because a data sim card in Poland is so cheap, they do NOT qualify for EU roaming. Buying a sim card in Poland for traveling in Europe is useless as data can’t be used outside of Poland. When traveling to Europe and Poland is your first stop than order a sim card for traveling in Europe online.
Buying a sim card in Portugal
Portugal is one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe and has some sim card deals for Europe as well. A MEO Portugal prepaid sim card gives you 5 GB data + 500 minutes/texts for €5 per week. For traveling around Europe that is not a bad deal. Click here for more info about buying a sim card in Portugal.
The best sim card at Lisbon Airport is a Lycamobile sim card with 4GB and 500 international minutes for €10, but the data is only valid in Portugal. Therefore I recommend you to buy the slightly more expensive Vodafone Portugal sim card. For a complete guide for buying a sim card at Lisbon Airport click the link.
Buying a sim card in Spain
When Spain is you first country on your Europe trip you are spoiled for choice. You can find some great deals for Europe sim cards in Spain in 2021. The best one is Vodafone with 16 GB data 300 minutes in Europe for just €10, Orange offers the exact same deal in Spain. Check out all the offers and details in my article buying a sim card in Spain in 2021.
Buying a sim card in Slovakia
When traveling to Slovakia get yourself an Orange sim card. They offer the best deals as per April 2021 and come with free roaming in the EU. For €12 you get 11 GB data and €2 calling credit, valid all over the EU. A great sim card for traveling in Europe as well. Check the link for info about buying a sim card in Slovakia.
Buying a sim card in Slovenia
Being one of the smallest countries in Europe Slovenia does NOT have great European sim cards deals. However the local sim cards are cheap. For €6,99 you 10 GB data from which you can use 3,6 GB as free roaming in the EU. Check out my guide for buying a prepaid sim card for Slovenia for more info.
Buying a sim card in Switzerland
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.
Buying a sim card at Geneva Airport gets you the same issue. All prepaid sim cards are only valid in Swiss.
Buying a sim card in Sweden
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.
Buying a sim card in United Kingdom
First of all despite Brexit you are still able to use FREE roaming in Europe when buying a sim card in the UK. For more info check the link!
Everywhere around the UK you will find mobile phone stores from EE, 3, Vodafone and O2. The best sim card for Europe travel in 2021 that you can find in the UK is 3. They offer a prepaid sim card with unlimited data, calling and sms for $35.
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.
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Buying a sim card for Europe online
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. Below you will find a small selection.
All the following Europe sim cards you can order directly from the Simoptions website and get shipped to your home address before you trip to Europe.
1. Orange Holiday ZEN - $29.90
- 8 GB data
- Unlimited calls in Europe
- 30 minutes worldwide
- Unlimited sms in Europe
- 200 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
2. Three PAYG AIO15 - $29.90
- 10 GB data
- Unlimited calls within Europe
- Unlimited sms within Europe
- Valid 30 days
- 12 GB data
- Unlimited calls within Europe
- Unlimited sms within Europe
- Valid 30 days
- 20 GB data
- Unlimited calls in Europe
- 120 minutes worldwide
- Unlimited sms in Europe
- 1,000 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
Personally I would recommend the last two linked options: Three or Orange. Sim cards will be shipped to your home address and are automatically activated from its first use. Click on the links above or the banner below for more info.
I hope all the above tips for buying a sim card in Europe were helpful. May you still have questions please don’t hesitate to leave me a message below. I am more than happy to help you out with any sim card related questions as well as travel tips for Europe.
Looking for off the beaten path destinations in Europe then click on the link and I bet most of those you have never even heard of.
Enjoy your trip to Europe!