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

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

Also find out where and when to order an e-sim card, a comparison with local prepaid sim cards for Turkey and of course links to directly order your e-sim 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 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.

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 e-sim cards: USA, Canada, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Europe, Asia, Dubai, China, Hong Kong, MalaysiaThailand, 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 Turkey. These are my favorite e-sim cards for traveling to Turkey in 2024.

Then a comparison of all the e-sim card plans for Turkey with up to date prices as per April 2024. 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 about using e-sim cards when traveling to Turkey.

My recommendation

Traveltomtom recommends the following two e-sim cards for traveling to Turkey in 2024:

1. Merhaba data-only e-sim card for Turkey with 20 GB for $26 USD

best esim card for traveling to turkey 2023

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

2. Nomad data-only e-sim card with 10 GB for $15 USD 

  • 10 GB data-only e-sim
  • Valid in Turkey only
  • 5G ready
  • Valid for 30 days

By far the best value e-sim card for Turkey is Merhaba e-sim card from Airalo. It will cost you $1.3 USD per 1 Gigabyte.

A good second best is the Nomad e-sim card for Turkey that will cost you $1.5 USD per 1 Gigabyte.  

Both e-sim cards are data-only e-sim 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 e-sim cards.

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

There are 2 very important things to check before ordering an e-sim card for Turkey 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 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 e-sim cards for Turkey

There are multiple website on the internet that sell e-sim cards for Turkey. Traveltomtom recommends ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Turkey 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 Turkey:

  1. SimOptions
  2. Airalo
  3. Nomad

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 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 and Nomad only sell e-sim cards for Turkey.

SimOptions

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 an e-sim card.

Normally SimOptions is always one of my recommendations but the SimOptions e-sim card plans for Turkey are much more expensive compared to Airalo and Nomad.

simoptions esim card plans for turkey

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

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $7.90 USD
  • 4 GB data for 10 days = $17.90 USD
  • 5 GB data for 10 days = $17.90 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $29.90 USD
  • 20 GB data for 30 days = $49.90 USD

Click here to order a SimOptions e-sim card for Turkey.

These data-only e-sim cards are provided by SimOptions and are only valid in Turkey. Unfortunately they don’t specify which mobile network operator in Turkey they use, neither is there information if these e-sim cards are 5G ready. Trust me, when they would be 5G ready SimOptions would mention it, so the max data speed on these Turkey e-sim cards from SimOptions is 4G/LTE.

The SimOptions e-sim 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 e-sim cards is 1 year and the credit validity starts instantly after installing the e-sim card, even if you are not in Turkey. For more info check the SimOptions website

Airalo

Airalo is another very reputable e-sim card provider that is very much recommended by Traveltomtom. Ordering your e-sim 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 e-sim card deals.

Why using Airalo? When it comes to Turkey e-sim cards Airalo has much better e-sim card plans than SimOptions and is therefore also recommended as the best e-sim card for Turkey.

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 e-sim card for traveling to Turkey.

airalo esim card plans for turkey 2024

Here are Turkey e-sim 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 e-sim card for Turkey from Airalo.

The Airalo e-sim cards for Turkey are from Merhaba and operate on the Turk Telekom 4G/LTE network in Turkey. Unfortunately the Airalo Merhaba e-sim cards for Turkey are not 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.

E-sim card for traveling to Turkey AND Europe

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

All the Airalo e-sim cards are data-only sim cards without 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

Nomad

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 Turkey. 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 e-sim card plans.

nomad esim card plans for turkey

Here are the Nomad e-sim card plans for Turkey: 

  • 1 GB data for 7 days = $6 USD
  • 3 GB data for 30 days = $9 USD
  • 5 GB data for 30 days = $11 USD
  • 10 GB data for 30 days = $15 USD

Click here to order an e-sim card for Turkey from Nomad

The Nomad e-sim cards for Turkey are either from eSIM Go. The Nomad e-sim cards for Turkey are 5G ready, this in comparison with the SimOptions and Airalo e-sim cards for Turkey, which only support 4G/LTE network.

nomad turkey esim card specifications

The Nomad Turkey e-sim cards have to be installed on your phone within 30 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.

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. Per year I use about 40 to 50 different prepaid and e-sim 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 April 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, still more than 40 to go, but no rush. 

What is the cheapest e-sim card for Turkey?

cheapest esim card plan for turkey 2024

The cheapest e-sim card for Turkey is a Nomad e-sim card for just $4 USD, it will give you 1 GB data for 7 days. Airalo has the same plan, but charges $4.5 USD. These e-sims are only valid in Turkey and do not support calling and texting.

Why ordering an e-sim card for traveling in Turkey

E-sim 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 e-sim 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 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 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. 

E-sim 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 e-sim 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 e-sim card for Turkey?

Online

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

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

When buying an e-sim card for Turkey through one of the above recommended e-sim providers you only need your email address and the e-sim 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 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 your hotel? Use Google Maps. 

However, as of April 2024, some Vodafone and some Turkcell shops offer e-sim 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, e-sim 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 e-sim card with 20 GB data. So it is cheaper to order an e-sim card for Turkey on the internet.

Turk Telekom does NOT sell e-sim 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 e-sim 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 e-sim 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 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 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 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 Turkey 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 Turkey 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 order/activate an e-sim card for Turkey?

You can order an e-sim card for Turkey 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 Turkey. Or if you want to maximise your validity then activate your Turkey e-sim 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 e-sim card for Turkey

Here are some general tips for using e-sim cards when traveling abroad. These tips do not only apply for Turkey 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 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 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!

Can I trust these e-sim card providers?

merhaba esim card for turkey

All the e-sim card providers for Turkey recommended above (SimOptionsAiraloNomad) 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 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 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 Turkey e-sim cards, only RECOMMENDS you to use e-sim cards for traveling to Turkey.

Can I keep my phone number from home with a Turkey 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 Turkey. 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 Turkey 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.

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 Turkey e-sim card?

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

Does a Turkey e-sim card come with a phone number?

No, none of the Turkey e-sim 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 e-sim card comparison you can find all the specifications per e-sim card.

Can I use 5G on a Turkey e-sim card?

Yes, as of April 2024 the Nomad e-sim cards for Turkey are 5G ready. All the Airalo and SimOptions e-sim 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 e-sim cards for Turkey with unlimited data?

None of the by Traveltomtom recommended Turkey e-sim cards for tourists include unlimited data.

Even if you would come across e-sim card providers that offer e-sim cards for Turkey with unlimited data then make sure the unlimited data is on max data speed. Mostly the data speed is capped after you used X amount of Gigabytes.

Holafly is an e-sim card provider that sells e-sim cards for Turkey with unlimited data, but does NOT specify what is the exact so-called Fair Use Policy (FUP).

Traveltomtom does NOT recommend Turkey e-sim cards with unlimited data plans. There are always restrictions. And on Holafly sim cards I experienced a reduce in data speed after using more than 2 GB per day. When 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 apps were not even loading! 

Again, Traveltomtom does NOT recommend e-sim cards for Turkey with unlimited data. But if you think you will never use more than 2 GB per day, then this might be your favorite e-sim card.

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

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 Turkey in 2024 before choosing your favorite.

Are e-sim cards the best way to stay connected when traveling to Turkey?

E-sim 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
  • 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 often 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 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 e-sim card for Turkey with 20 GB data for just $26 USD and you can directly order one here via Airalo.

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 e-sim 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 sim 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

E-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 Turkey in a mobile internet provider store 

The big difference is that e-sim 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 April 2024 e-sim cards are very limited available for prepaid tourist sim cards. Traveltomtom personally shopped around in Istanbul to find out if e-sim cards were available for tourists. 

In Turk Telekom stores they gave me a clear NO, some Vodafone and Turkcell stores said: yes, we offer e-sim cards for tourists. However, they 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 e-sim 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.

E-sim cards vs. local prepaid sim cards

Getting an e-sim 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 e-sim card or a local prepaid sim card for tourists? When we compare Turkey e-sim card prices with local prepaid sim cards for Turkey, Traveltomtom comes to the simple conclusion that e-sim 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 e-sim cards as soon as the plane lands you are connected. Therefore Traveltomtom recommends to order one of the listed best e-sim cards for Turkey in the comparison above. 

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

Data speed

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 Turkey 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 Turkey 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 April 2024 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.

Enjoy your trip to Turkey!

Some links in this article about the best e-sim 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!