Traveling to Europe any time soon and planning your trip? Don't get stuck with high roaming charges or slow overseas data roaming bundles which limit the internet speed! Get the best 4G/5G network and free data roaming in all EU countries. This is your guide for buying a prepaid sim card in Europe with up to date prices per country as of May 2023.
The first thing I do when I get to a new country is buying a local prepaid sim card to get connected. On my journey to visit every country in the world I get to a lot of places and therefore on Traveltomtom you can already find more than 150 prepaid sim card guides from all over the world: USA, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Africa, Cameroon, Tanzania, Egypt and many more.
So next time you are planning your adventure abroad come check out Traveltomtom for the latest prepaid sim card advice for your destination. Bookmark this website!
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 in general much cheaper than international sim cards.
However if you are planning a trip to multiple countries you can also check my article for the best international travel sim cards in 2023.
This article is focussed on local prepaid sim cards in Europe you can buy on arrival in the country. But if you are looking to buy a sim card for Europe directly online then read my article: best Europe sim cards for tourists in 2023 and find a list of the 12 best sim cards for Europe that you can order directly online. Including e-sim cards for Europe!
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.
Please NEVER pay this much for a European sim card!!!! This honestly feels like scamming tourists!
It is an example of the outrageous sim card prices at Milan airport. 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 this 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.
Curious about my journey to visit every country in the world? As of May 2023 I have visited more than 150 countries, many more to come in 2023. Check out my Instagram @traveltomtom for some serious wanderlust.
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 UNSECURED 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 in 2023 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.
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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: Three 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 in 2023.
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 2023, 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 2023.
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 cheapest prepaid sim card for Europe is Free Mobile. As of May 2023 this might even be the cheapest prepaid sim card deal in Europe, however you can only buy it in France! For €9.99 you get 100 GB data in France and 25 GB free roaming in Europe, unlimited calls/text in Europe are included.
This comes at a price though. Many people have reported problems with Free Mobile and that they kept charging their credit cards. Free Mobile sim cards are also 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 in 2023.
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 2023.
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 Airport and Frankfurt Airport are still pretty bad, all around Germany you can now find ok sim cards for tourists that are also good for traveling in Europe. Vodafone Germany offers 15 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 €25 you get 30 GB data for traveling in Italy of which you can use 15 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 2023 this got a little better however, buying a sim cards at Amsterdam Airport is still fairly expensive.
The same counts for buying a sim card in The Netherlands for traveling in Europe. Prepaid sim cards in The Netherlands are expensive! This Vodafone prepaid sim card deal is the best in 2023: 10 GB data and 100 minutes valid all over Europe for €34! Reminder that e-sim cards for Europe already start from $5 USD for 1 GB data.
Prepaid sim cards in Holland are not cheap but at least they have one of the best 5G networks of Europe. Almost the whole country is covered with a 5G signal. So when traveling to The Netherlands expect amazing mobile data speed with a sim card for 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 2023.
Flying to Barcelona Airport or Madrid Airport then click on the link for a complete guide for buying a Spain sim card on arrival.
Buying a sim card in Slovakia
When traveling to Slovakia get yourself an Orange sim card. They offer the best prepaid sim card deals 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 with most of the UK prepaid sim cards. There is one operator that does NOT allow free EU roaming anymore since Brexit.
Everywhere around the UK you will find mobile phone stores from EE, 3, Vodafone and O2. The best sim card for Europe travel in 2023 that you can find in the UK is 3. They offer a prepaid sim card with unlimited data, calling and sms for $35 in all of Europe. There is a fair-use policy outside of the UK though.
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, but EU roaming is NOT included.
Arriving at Stansted, Gatwick, Luton or Manchester Airport? Click on the link to read my guide for buying sim cards at these airports.
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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 in 2023. Below you will find a small selection:
1. O2 Go Card - $24.90
- 10 GB data
- $2 credit for texting
- $2 credit for calling
- Valid 30 days
2. Three data pack 8 GB - $24.90
- 8 GB data
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
- Valid 30 days
2. Three data pack - $29.90
- 12 GB data
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
- Valid 30 days
4. Orange Holiday Europe - $49.90
- 20 GB data
- Unlimited calls/sms in Europe
- 120 minutes worldwide
- 1,000 sms worldwide
- Valid 14 days
Click here to directly order one of the above prepaid sim cards for Europe online or find more info in the link. These international prepaid sim cards will be shipped to your home address and are automatically activated from its first use.
E-sim cards for Europe
There is also the opportunity to order an e-sim card for Europe. You arrange everything online within just a couple minutes. You receive a code in your email, follow the instructions, apply the settings on your phone and you are all set. Check out the following Europe e-sim card deals:
- 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 30 days = $100 USD
- 100 GB data for 30 days = $185 USD
Click here to order an e-sim card for Europe directly online or get more info. With an e-sim card you keep your own phone number and no need to swap a physical sim card.
Or order your e-sim card for Europe through SimOptions and find a deal for $24.90 USD with 10 GB data for 30 days.
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.
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 May 2023 I have visited more than 155 countries, so still a long way to go.
Enjoy your trip to Europe!