As a big fan of mobile internet there is no way I can go without being connected. As soon as I arrive in a new country I buy a local sim card. I have made countless trips to Turkey and checked out all the mobile internet providers to see what Turkey tourist sim cards they offer. Turkey sim card for tourists are cheap, but prices vary depending on where you buy them.
This article is updated as of March 2021!
Traveling to Turkey and in need of inspiration? Find here a list of the best places to visit in Turkey. What about the Switzerland of Turkey or Maldives-like beaches? Hidden Monasteries and well preserved UNESCO heritage sites? Click on the link to find them all around the country.
Traveling to Turkey during COVID
Even in the recent months I have traveled to Turkey. Did I experienced a lot of issues because of COVID? NO, not really to be honest! In contrary to what you will read in the news I hardly saw any sights of the Corona Virus, yet I saw with my own eyes how Turkey tourism suffers under the international restrictions.
Where all places open? YES. Do you need to wear a mask? Yes and no, depends where you go and which Turkey tourist attractions you visit! Do you need a PCR test to enter? Yes.
Read all about my experiences traveling to Turkey during COVID in my latest Turkey travel blog. Find it all in the link: face mask rules, domestic flights, safety measures, social distancing, etc.
RELATED: Ultimate Turkey Itinerary for 14 days, including all the best places to visit! Check it out and don't miss any of these Turkey top sights.
Tourist SIM card for Turkey in 2021
If you are looking for a tourist sim card in 2021, Turkey has not that many options to be honest. There are only three mobile internet providers in Turkey and when I started looking around I was a little shocked. In a country where you can have a sandwich, a tea and a bottle of water for less than $3 I expected competitive prices for Turkey sim cards. Unfortunately buying a Turkey sim card for tourists is expensive compared it to its neighboring countries.
Sightseeing in Istanbul is a lot cheaper than sim cards for tourists. Check here for a free walking tour of Fener Balat and marvel at this hip up and coming neighborhood with its colorful houses. Done with the standard things to do in Istanbul? Check this list of hidden gems in Istanbul and go off the beaten path. Other great recommendations in IStanbul are: Turkey's biggest mosque, Uskudar, Kadikoy, all in the Asian part of the city.
When flying to SAW Airport or the new IST Istanbul Airport then you might want to buy a sim card for Turkey straight on arrival. I also researched the airports for you, click on the link to read more! They costs a little more, but not significantly.
More Related Articles
Mobile internet providers Turkey
There are three different mobile internet providers in Turkey: Vodafone, Turkcell and Turk Telekom. They have stores all over Istanbul, Izmir, Antalya and all the other popular tourist destinations in Turkey. Also you can find them on most international and domestic airports, like SAW Airport and IST Airport in Istanbul. Finding a shop to buy a Turkey prepaid sim card is not that hard.
What I would suggest though is that you go to one of the official internet provider stores of Vodafone Turkey, Turk Telekom or Turkcell. These have of course the best deals, the others are just resellers.
What to bring when you buy a sim card in Turkey
Your passport! With a proper photo ID you won't be able to buy a Turkey sim card.
Prices Turkey sim card as of January 2021
Vodafone Turkey prepaid sim card
I checked out several Vodafone Turkey stores and all of them sell only 1 prepaid sim card for tourists:
- 200 TL ($35): 750 minutes - 250 sms and 20 GB data.
This Vodafone prepaid sim card is valid for 30 days and only for use in Turkey, not in the rest of the EU!
The Vodafone Turkey website now claims to offer a Tourist sim card for 40 TL ($7) with 20 GB 750 minutes and 1,000 sms, valid for 28 days. It sounds too good to be true and it unfortunately is, because when you click on order it gives either an error or suddenly everything changes to Turkish language without a translate option.
Well.. I would say give it try! May be for you it will work.
Turk Telekom prepaid sim card
At the Turk Telekom they have much more prepaid sim cards for tourists:
- 150 TL ($26): 750 minutes and 10 GB data.
- 200 TL ($35): 750 minutes and 25 GB data.
And there are several more with big data bundles, see below.
A prepaid sim card from Turk Telekom is definitely cheaper than Vodafone Turkey, they offer better value and more options for tourists. For more info check the Turk Telekom website, however it is a little bit difficult to find the right information in English.
Turkcell prepaid sim card
We already saw that Turkcell already has the best Turkey mobile network, let's see what kind of Turkey prepaid sim cards for tourists they offer. They only sell one prepaid Turkey sim card:
- 149 TL ($26): 200 minutes - 1000 sms and 20 GB data.
This packages is valid for 30 days. Extra top-ups are cheap:
- 39 TL ($7): 6 GB.
- 49 TL ($9): 10 GB
For more info about this Turkey prepaid sim card check out the Turkcell website.
Turkey 4G/5G network in 2021
Turkey is pretty advanced when it comes to mobile technology. Turkey is a big country and all those millions of Turks love the internet. Therefore the Turkey sim card business is booming, however there is still no 5G in Turkey as of March 2021.
Prepaid sim cards are pretty expensive. Prices are important of course, but so it the network strength. That said all the popular tourist destinations in Turkey now have a 4G connection and they say they are rolling at 5G in the second half of 2021.
If you go off the beaten path in Turkey, 4G coverage becomes rare. The country is simply too big. Below you can see the Turkey 4G/5G mobile internet coverage maps per provider, updated March 2021. For more detailed maps click on the link above.
Turk Telekom 4G/5G coverage map
Vodafone Turkey 4G/5G coverage map
Turkcell 4G/5G coverage map
Based on the 4G coverage maps Turkcell still has the best 4G network in Turkey as of January 2021. If you travel to the more remote areas in Turkey then Turkcell is the best Turkey sim card for you. Turk Telecom has a much weaker network, but if you only stay in one of the famous Turkey tourist destinations then Turk Telecom will be just as good as the others.
Internet speed Turkey
With a respective 33th place on the world ranking, Turkish mobile internet speed can be expected around 30 Mbps on average. While researching the best sim prepaid sim card for Bulgaria I found out that the internet speed in this Turkish neighboring country is even slightly faster with 32 Mbps.
Looking for amazing hotels in Istanbul? Check out my best hotels in Besiktas on the Bosporus blog.
Claim your free $30 Airbnb Credit!
Register a new account through this link and get $30 off your first booking! This is the easiest $30 you have ever earned in your life! A couple clicks and 1 minute is all it takes. Register here!
Best sim card for Turkey in 2021
My conclusion after reviewing all the prepaid Turkey sim cards is that Turkcell is the best Turkey sim card for for tourists! They have the best Turkey mobile network coverage in 2021 and also the best prepaid sim card deals. For $26 you get 20 GB data, 200 minutes and 1,000 sms in Turkey.
For most tourists 20 GB data is more than enough for their Turkey trip. In case you need more internet you just top up and it is easy.
Order a Turkey sim card online
If you want to be online as soon as the plane lands then order an international sim card online that you can use in Turkey. The following ORange sim card will be shipped to your home address and is already activated.
- 10 GB data
- NO calls
- NO text
- valid for 14 days
Portable Wifi device for Turkey
he disadvantage of buying a new SIM card is that first off your phone has to be unlocked! Second you always get a new number, which of course can be annoying. Therefore I also use Tep Wireless, a portable WiFi device that lets you connect your smartphone, laptop or tablet wherever you go for just a couple bucks per day. Check it out!
Buying a Turkey sim card for tourists at Istanbul airport
Prices at airports are almost more expensive and so in Turkey. Arriving at Istanbul SAW Airport? Check out the link to read my article about buying a Turkey sim card at SAW airport. When you arrive to Turkey at the IST Istanbul Airport then click on the following link for buying a sim card at IST. For the record a Vodafone Turkey sim card at IST Airport starts from $60! So if you want to save a couple dollar then wait till you get to the city.
Free $30 Airbnb Credit? Have you already signed up for an Airbnb account?
I can get you $30 off if you register through this link, it only take 1 minute!
Travel insurance for your Turkey trip!
Make sure you have travel insurance when you travel to Turkey! Cancellations, delays, overbookings, unexpected medical costs... make sure they are covered! Get a free quotation below...
What to do in Istanbul? There is so much more than visiting the Grand Bazaar, the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Taksim. Click on the photos below to read see where to find the best viewpoint in Istanbul: Buyuk Valide Han will blow your mind! Or read about the best day trips from Istanbul and see what it looks like to climb the minaret of the amazing Edirne Mosque and dont forget to explore the colored houses in Istanbul.
May you have any further question please do not hesitate to leave me a comment below. Enjoy your trip to Turkey!