Best SIM Card for Europe: Where to buy one in 2022?

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know before you buy your Europe data SIM card and we’ll compare the best products.

If you’re planning on touring through Europe this year, you’re probably thinking about how you can connect to the internet on your travels. Well, with a data SIM card for Europe it’s never been easier – say goodbye to expensive roaming charges and connect to superfast Mobile internet in Europe at a cheap price.

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know before you buy your Europe data SIM card and we’ll compare the best products.

Table of contents

Where to buy a data SIM card for Europe?

There is one big decision to make when buying a SIM for your travel to Europe. Your options are:

  1. Buy before you go from an online shop.
  2. Buy once you land in Europe in an Orange, Vodafone, Movistar, SFR, or Three store.

Of these two choices, you can buy before you leave for Europe, using an online store like Holafly. These are the main advantages of buying online:

Advantages of buying from an online shop

  1. Internet the moment you land – you can activate your International SIM card the moment you land, perfect if you need to book a cab or message a friend or family member
  2. Multi-country options – companies like Holafly offer SIM cards that cover multiple countries. You might find it hard to find this option from local shops in Europe meaning you have to buy a new SIM card in each country you enter
  3. Don’t get ripped off – you might find a better deal from an online store, as shops in airports know they can over-charge tourists
  4. Save time – rather than having to search local shops in your destinations, buying before you go allows you to start exploring the local area straight away
  5. No communication problems – how’s your Norwegian? Kudos to you if you’ve been racking up the point on Duolingo, but unless you’re fluent in the local language it might be hard to buy a SIM card from a local shop in Europe.

That’s why we recommend buying before you go: it gives you the peace of mind to start enjoying your trip. But what advantages are there of waiting to buy your data SIM card in Europe?

Advantages of buying your data SIM card in Europe

Although it is not our recommended option, buying a SIM card does offer one key advantage:

  1. More options – given the number of brands and deals available, you’re sure to find the best SIM card for your travels. We recommend buying from a brand like Orange, Vodafone or Movistar, which offer strong coverage in many European countries

Holafly online shop

We recommend buying your SIM card before you travel from the online store Holafly. Why? Well, let’s take a look at why Holafly is the best option and look at the different deals it offers.

Advantages of a Holafly SIM card for Europe

  • Coverage in multiple European countries – covering more than 48 destinations, you can use your Holafly data SIM card for Europe no matter where you are in the continent, from Ireland and Iceland and Slovakia to Slovenia
  • Unlimited data – you can buy Unlimited data for a month or more.
  • Free, fast delivery – delivery is free and within three working days. Your delivery will contain clear and comprehensive instructions to set up your SIM
  • 24-hour customer support, wherever you are – Holafly’s support team can be reached from their online site 24/7, 365 days a year

How much does a SIM card for traveling to Europe cost?

Let’s compare the different deals that offer a Europe data SIM card and find the best deal for you.

Amount of dataDays of usePrice (USD)
Unlimited5$28,65
Unlimited10$38,52
Unlimited15$48,40
Unlimited20$58,28
Unlimited30$85,94
Unlimited60$166,94
Unlimited90$236,09
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Source Holafly

Deals offered by Holafly:

Buy your Europe data SIM card

Connection throughout the continent

Virtual SIM Card for Europe

Now we’ve learned about data SIM cards, it’s time to meet the newest way to access the internet. Virtual SIM cards or eSIM (short for embedded SIM) are new, virtual SIM cards that provide internet at a competitive price. But is a European virtual SIM card better than a traditional SIM card? The main advantage is that you can get a virtual SIM card anywhere in the world and it’s delivered to you via email immediately. Let’s take a look at their advantages and disadvantages in the next section:

Advantages and disadvantages of virtual SIM cards

Advantages:

  • Quick purchase and activation processes

Purchasing and activating a virtual SIM card is easy. You just make your purchase from a store like Holafly and wait a few seconds for a QR code to arrive on your email. With this, you can activate your virtual SIM card and be connected. There’s no physical SIM to insert or complicated instructions to follow.

  • Get a virtual SIM card anywhere in the world

Are you already in Europe and need internet? No matter where you are, you can always buy a virtual SIM card and it will arrive directly on your cell phone. There is no delivery cost and you don’t have to wait more than a few minutes.

Compared to paying for data roaming in Europe, virtual SIM cards are incredibly cheap. You pay one upfront fee for the virtual SIM card, so you don’t have to worry about surprise bills.

Disadvantages:

  • Limited compatibility with cell phones

The main disadvantage of virtual SIM cards for Europe is their limited compatibility. As a new form of technology, many older cell phones do not offer it, so before you go, check your phone is compatible.

How much does a Virtual SIM card for Europe cost?

If you own a compatible cell phone, check out what deals you can get:

Amount of dataNumber of daysPrice (USD)
Unlimited5$19
Unlimited10$34
Unlimited15$47
Unlimited20$54
Unlimited30$64
Unlimited60$84
Unlimited90$99

Source: Holafly

Buy your Europe virtual SIM card with Unlimited data

Connection throughout the continent

FAQs about SIM cards for Europe

You can activate data roaming and use data provided by your current provider. But be aware that this will be very expensive. If you plan on using this option, you can expect a hefty phone bill when you get back home. Alternatively, you could buy Pocket Wi-Fi (a portable device that generates a WiFi connection for your phone). This option is also expensive and you’ll have to carry the device everywhere. A data SIM card for Europe is the cheapest and most convenient way of connecting to the internet.

Roaming services in Europe vary between cellular providers as each operator has a different rate. But on average, the value per MB is usually between $7 and $15. Watching a movie on Netflix at that rate could cost hundreds. That’s why we recommend buying a SIM card to avoid roaming costs.

If you buy your SIM card from Holafly, you can contact their customer support team 24/7. All SIM cards come with set-up instructions.

We recommend Holafly for its quality of service, cheap price, and generous data deals.

The following phones are compatible with the virtual SIM: iPhone SE, XR, XS, XS Max, iPhone 11, 11 Pro y 11 Pro Max, 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, 12 Mini, Samsung S20, Galaxy Z Flip, Note 20 Ultra, Fold LTE, Huawei P40, P40 Pro, y Google Pixel 3, 3a,4, 4a, Motorola Razr 2019.

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Where to buy sim card when travelling to europe

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 October 2022.

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!

My recommendation

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.

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However if you are planning a trip to multiple countries you can also check my article for the best international travel sim cards in 2022.

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 2022 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!

europe sim card milan airport

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 October 2022 I have visited more than 140 countries and many more to come in 2022. 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 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 in 2022 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

Airports

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.

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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.

Best SIM card for Europe: Which one to buy?

europe sim card

The best option is the Europe data SIM card from Holafly, which offers two different cards with 8 GB or 12 GB of data. It’s valid for stays of up to 30 days and covers 48 destinations in Europe. Holafly also has virtual SIM cards available with 3GB for 7 days, 5GB for 15 days, 8GB for 20 days, or .

esim europe

  • High speed connection without surprise bills.
  • Receive your QR code immediately.
  • Connect to the best network.
  • Forget about roaming and searching for WiFi.
  • Keep your WhatsApp number.
  • Easy to set up: you’ll receive an email with your eSIM in seconds, no matter where you are.
  • Get 5% OFF. Code: roaming5

Using your cell phone in Europe

Mobile connection in Europe is one of the best in the world. EU roaming or international roaming for Europe coverage is free if you are from the European Union. The rates are the same as those offered by your carrier at home and may not be enough if you are a heavy user of data.

But if you are not from the EU, you could be charged very heavily for the Mobile Internet in Europe.

Countries like Andorra and Switzerland are not part of EU agreements, so for both EU and non-EU citizens, it is essential to buy a prepaid SIM card.

Which European data SIM card gives me the most mobile data at the lowest price and with the best coverage?

The longer the distance you travel, the more data you’ll require. This could be provided by a SIM card like Holafly’s, which costs $40 for 4G speed data in 48 European destinations.

Let’s take a look at what deals are offered by Holafly.

Europe sim card holafly store

Holafly offers two SIM cards for Europe, both for stays up to 30 days. One has 8GB of data for €34 and the other 12GB of data for €44. Both at 4G speed. Here are the main advantages of a Holafly eSIM.

Benefits

  • The SIM card covers 48 destinations in Europe.
  • You will have unlimited data
  • Keep your WhatsApp number and stay in touch with loved ones.

Europe SIM card from TravelSIM

TravelSIM offers you a Europe SIM card at €39 but charges you for shipping, which ranges from €10 and €12. The card has 5 GB of mobile data and is valid for 30 days.

Benefits:

  • It has a Europe-only tariff.
  • They offer options that vary by the amount of data.

Limitations:

  • Charges shipping and VAT.
  • You will have to buy the card separately (no mobile data) to take advantage of this product.

Europe SIM card from One SIM Card

With the One SIM Card, the SIM alone costs £18, which includes approximately 600 MB of mobile data. You will also need to purchase a mobile data plan, ranging from 500 MB to 5 GB of data. It will allow you to receive calls in Europe free of charge, although you will be charged an additional fee to make calls.

Benefits:

  • Customer support in English and Spanish 24/7
  • Many types of mobile data packages in Europe.

Limitations:

  • You will have to pay at least two fees, for the card and the data package.
  • You must pay for shipping unless you exceed a minimum amount of purchases (from €50 to €100).

Comparison of best prepaid SIM cards for Europe

Now that you know what’s good and what’s not about each option, here’s a comparative table of prepaid SIM card prices, so you can find the best and cheapest option.

SIM Card for Europe travel: which one to buy?

The best European data travel SIM card is from Holafly, which allows you to surf at 4G speed in 48 European destinations. And all at a low price.

It has coverage in:

The UK, Aland Islands, Austria, Azores, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Réunion, Romania, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Vatican City.

Holafly data SIM card to traveling for Europe

Holafly’s data SIMs allows you to receive calls (thanks to the coverage of UK operator Three) and has two options: either 10GB or 12GB of mobile data.

They also offer 24/7 tech support in English. It is easy to use, simply insert your SIM into your mobile and activate data roaming.

This Europe SIM does not cover the internet in Albania, Montenegro, Switzerland, or Andorra. For these countries, you can consider Holafly’s specialist SIM card for Switzerland and Andorra.

If you are traveling to Europe from a different continent, you might want to choose an eSIM, as it does not require physical delivery. You receive it immediately so you have internet when you land.

FAQs about SIM card for travel to Europe

Roaming is free for EU and partner countries, thanks to agreements that offer free-roaming or “home free” to EU citizens.

If you are not an EU citizen and you are going to travel to a European country, the best way is to buy a Europe SIM card that offers an Internet connection for a fixed cost. There are data or prepaid SIM providers on the market with coverage in most countries in the region.

If you are travelling around Europe, some Europe SIM card providers offer them online on their websites such as Holafly, SimOptions, and TravelSIM. If their delivery options do not include your country of residence, you can opt for their eSIM card offers, which they will send to your email address. Remember that Europe prepaid cards should give you coverage in all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

The Holafly Data SIM gives you internet service in the following European destinations: the United Kingdom, Aland Islands, Austria, Azores, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guadeloupe, Guernsey, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Isle of Man, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Martinique, Mayotte, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Réunion, Romania, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Vatican City.

Source https://esim.holafly.com/sim-card/europe-sim-card/

Source https://www.traveltomtom.net/travel-tips/buying-a-sim-card-in-europe

Source https://roami.ng/sim/europe-sim-card/

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