Preparing your trip to Switzerland and flying to Geneva Airport? Switzerland is already expensive enough so don't get stuck with high roaming charges. The best way to avoid this is by either getting an e-sim card for Switzerland or buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Switzerland.
In this guide you can find everything you need to know about buying a sim card at Geneva Airport: where to buy a sim card, up to date prices as per August 2023, the latest info about EU roaming with Swiss sim cards, the best e-sim cards for Switzerland, my recommendation and more info about international sim cards.
As I am on a journey to visit every country in the world and the first thing I do when I get to a new country is figuring out what is the best way to get connected you can already find more than 200 sim card guides for tourists on Traveltomtom. From Barcelona to Paris and from Dublin to Frankfurt, London, Vienna, etc. but also places like USA, New York, Miami, Asia, Brazil, Bali, Bangkok, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kenya, Singapore, Sydney and many more.
The easiest way is to stay connected is to get an e-sim card. It is the easy, fast and convenient, but not always the cheapest option.
If you for some reason weren't able to buy a sim card at Geneva Airport and want to buy a Swiss sim card then check out my complete guide for buying a sim card for Switzerland in 2023. Flying to Zurich next time then save my guide for buying a sim card at Zurich Airport.
When planning your next adventure abroad come to Traveltomtom for the latest e-sim card and prepaid sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark me!
Why buying a sim card for Switzerland
There are many reasons to stay connected when traveling to Geneva, but the main reason is that it makes life so much more convenient when you have a working data connection on your phone. Ordering an Uber, getting directions from Google Maps or looking for a cool nearby rooftop bar is not possible without and data on your phone.
Also think about emergencies, checking your banking apps, etc. Don't depend on public WiFi. There is no guarantee, it can be slow and keep in mind that public WiFi is through an UNSECURED network. The use of a VPN is recommended.
Traveltomtom recommends buying a Lebara sim card at Geneva Airport. This prepaid sim card plan will give you unlimited data for around $1.5 per day. For Switzerland that is a pretty good option.
Although Lebara is the best-buy prepaid sim card at Geneva Airport, in general a Swisscom sim card is rated as the best tourist sim card for Switzerland. Unfortunately you can't buy a Swisscom sim card at Geneva Airport. If you can wait to Geneva city center you can buy a sim card of Swisscom in one of their retail stores. For more info check out my complete guide for buying a sim car for Switzerland in 2023.
If you want to arrive prepared for your trip to Geneva then you can already arrange everything online within just 2 minutes. Have a look into buying an e-sim card for Switzerland. It already starts from just $4.5 USD. See below for more info.
Another great alternative is finding a travel sim card with global coverage that suits your trip to Switzerland. Check out my article about buying an international sim card in 2023 and find everything you need to know including some great sim card deals for Europe and Swiss.
Another solution to stay online when traveling to Switzerland is a portable WiFi. Very old-school but it still works. Check my article about how to get WiFi when traveling for an HONEST review of these pockets WiFi's.
Best e-sim cards for Switzerland
An e-sim card is the easiest way to get data on your phone when traveling to Geneva in 2023 and also the most convenient way to get connected. No more swapping physical sim cards or visiting a store. Order an e-sim card online, get a QR-code, follow the steps and you are online in no-time.
Check out the following Switzerland e-sim card deals:
- 1 GB data for 7 days = $4.5 USD
- 2 GB data for 15 days = $8 USD
- 3 GB data for 30 days = $10 USD
- 5 GB data for 30 days = $14.5 USD
- 10 GB data for 30 days = $24 USD
- 20 GB data for 30 days = $38 USD
Click here to order a Switzerland e-sim card directly online.
The above data-only e-sim cards for Switzerland are from Pilatus Mobile. Calling and texting is not supported and data is only valid in Switzerland. Pilatus Mobile operates on the 4G/LTE network of Sunrise and Salt.
If you want an e-sim card that also can make calls go for an international e-sim cards that is also valid in Switzerland and 70 more countries. These international e-sim cards also include calling time:
- 8 GB data + unlimited calls/text valid for 14 days = $29.90 USD
- 20 GB data + unlimited calls/text valid for 14 days = $49.90 USD
- 30 GB data-only valid in Switzerland only = $69.90 USD
Click here to order an international e-sim card for Switzerland.
With an e-sim card your keep your number from home, but make sure your phone is e-sim card compatible before ordering an e-sim card for Switzerland.
Those who prefer a physical prepaid sim card or in case your phone is not compatible with e-sim cards you can also still order a prepaid sim card for traveling in Switzerland on the internet and get it shipped to your home address. Check out the above offer from Orange for example. This international sim card with coverage in Switzerland gives you 20 GB data for $49.90 USD. Click here to order this international sim card for Switzerland directly or find more info.
Swiss sim cards and free EU roaming
Switzerland sim cards and traveling in Europe are a bad combination! There is NO free EU roaming on Swiss sim cards. Reminder, Switzerland is a European country but is NOT PART OF THE EU! Therefore, if you are going on a trip around Europe I recommend you check out my article with the best sim cards for traveling in Europe in 2023.
Free data roaming in the EU means that if you buy a sim card in Amsterdam you can use your data, voice and text allowance all over Europe at NO extra costs, also in Switzerland. But not the other way around! For more info on EU data roaming check out my complete guide with tips for buying a local prepaid sim card on arrival in Europe in 2023. Find more about these roaming rules, Brexit and exceptions and find a breakdown of the best sim card per country.
Arrival at Geneva Airport
Welcome to one of the most well organized countries in the world and also one of the most expensive ones. Geneva Airport is pretty small and arriving here is very convenient. There is only one arrivals exit for international and European flights and if you have someone picking you up it is easy to find him or her.
There is free Wifi but you will need an activation code. You can get them for free with your passport at the Information desk.
Where to buy a Switzerland sim card in Geneva Airport
This is really simple as there is only one place in Geneva Airport where you can buy a sim card for Switzerland. When you walk out of arrivals head to the left towards the public busses and after like 50 meters you will see a huge Exchange desk on your left side. This is the ONLY place in Geneva Airport that sells Switzerland prepaid sim cards for tourists. There are no Swiss mobile shops unfortunately.
The sim card desk of the Exchange shop is only open from approximately 8:30 am to 8:30 pm. Pretty damn inconvenient for flights that arrive late. In case you are not able to buy a sim card for Switzerland at Geneva Airport then get yourself an e-sim card for Switzerland or check out my guide for the best way to get connected in Switzerland in 2023.
Prices Swiss sim card Geneva Airport in 2023
At the time of updating in August 2023: $1 USD was 0.88 CHF and 1 CHF = $1.14 USD. Prices for Swiss sim cards shown below are in Swiss Francs - CHF.
At the Exchange Shop they only sell two prepaid Switzerland sim cards for tourists: Lebara prepaid sim card and a Yallo prepaid sim card.
Another inconvenience is that you can only buy a sim card at Geneva Airport with cash (Euros or Swiss Francs) only, no credit cards or USD are accepted. That said, you are literally buying a sim card at the Currency Exchange. So it is kind of weird.
Lebara sim card Geneva Airport
Lebara Switzerland offers unlimited high speed internet for 1.5 CHF per day to be used in Switzerland only. Outside of Swiss roaming charges apply!
If you buy a Lebara sim card at the Exchange shop at Geneva Airport it will be activated for you on the spot. Then you will need to top up your credit with how many days you stay in Switzerland.
You could also opt for one of the Lebara prepaid sim card plans but don't be fooled by the names of these data packages. It says Europe Max, but data is ONLY valid in Switzerland!
For this reason I am not a fan of Lebara sim cards for travelers, but for traveling in Switzerland it is not bad and since there are not many other sim cards available at Geneva Airport it gets my blessing.
Yallo sim card Geneva Airport
The other option when looking to buy a sim card for Switzerland at Geneva Airport is Yallo. This mobile internet company operates on the Sunrise Switzerland network. At Geneva Airport you can buy a Yallo sim card with 10 GB data in Switzerland for 40 CHF, it also includes calling and texting, see above.
Roaming charges apply for traveling in Europe but you can buy the following top ups.
Best mobile data network in Switzerland
Like most other things in this country the mobile network coverage is also very well arranged. All Swiss mobile internet operators guarantee a 4G/5G signal in every tourist destination in Switzerland and even in most remote places. For the best 5G network in Switzerland in 2023 check out my article about buying a sim card for Switzerland in 2023. But let me tell you that Swisscom has the best 4G/5G network in Switzerland.
Best sim card Geneva Airport
Unfortunately there are only two Swiss sim card options available in Geneva Airport. Comparing the above mentioned sim cards is hard as they have different flexibilities and therefore depending on your needs you gotta decide for yourself what is the best Swiss sim card at Geneva Airport.
For short visits Traveltomtom recommends buying a Lebara prepaid sim card at Geneva Airport. For around $1.5 USD you get unlimited data per day. This is actually even cheaper than a Switzerland prepaid sim card from one of the main mobile internet providers.
In Geneva city you will find stores of Salt, Swisscom and Sunrise. Click on the following link to read all about the best prepaid sim card for Switzerland in 2023.
All the Switzerland prepaid sim cards sold at Geneva Airport do NOT included roaming in the EU so if you are looking for a sim card for traveling in Europe in 2023 then click on the link or consider the options below.
Order a sim card for Switzerland online
All of the above too much hassle? Don't worry! Order an international sim card online with data coverage in Switzerland and get it shipped to your home address before your trip. These travel sim cards are automatically activated from its first use AND they include free EU roaming. Check out the options below:
- 10 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- Valid 30 days
- 8 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe and UK
- Valid 14 days
- 20 GB data in all of 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
- 12 GB data in all of Europe and UK
- Valid for 2 years
Click here to order an international sim card for Switzerland directly online or find more info.
Personally I recommend the Orange sim card with 20 GB data. I have used it often for my trips to Europe and it worked great.
How to get from Geneva Airport to the city
Believe it or not but you can get free public transportation tickets! In a city where everything is crazy expensive this made me smile big time.
In the baggage hall just before you walk out of arrivals there is a machine that gives out free public transportation tickets to get you anywhere within Geneva city. The tickets are valid for 80 minutes.
I hope all the above tips for buying a sim card in Geneva Airport were helpful for your next trip to Switzerland. Let me know if you have any additional questions and I try to answer them in the comments below.
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 Geneva!
Some links in this article about the best sim cards for Geneva are affiliate links. If you buy any of the products after using tan affiliate link I will earn a small commission. This is at absolutely no extra cost to you!