Are you planning a trip to Europe? Dreaming of tasting a gelato in Venice, sipping wine on the French Riviera, or hiking through the epic mountains of Switzerland? A trip to Europe is at the top of everyone’s bucket at some point.

You’ve probably already exchanged some cash into Euros, charged your camera and packed the sun cream, bt have you thought about how to get the best deal on a sim card?

Getting a sim card is often overlooked on the travel “to do” list. But you will know it’s important if you’ve ever been stung by roaming charges from your normal provider. Or worse still, it hasn’t worked at all!

In this buying a sim card in Europe guide we’ll help you to get to grips with all of the options, plus some other things you may not have considered.

GigSky Europe
GigSky Europe

GigSky Europe

  • Price > From $0.00
Jetpac eSIM Europe
Jetpac eSIM Europe

Jetpac eSIM Europe

  • Price > From $1
SimOptions Europe
SimOptions Europe

SimOptions Europe

  • Price > $14.90
Sim Local Europe
Sim Local Europe

Sim Local Europe

  • Price > $21.80
Holafly Europe Sim
Holafly Europe Sim

Holafly Europe Sim

  • Price > €29

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Why Buy a Sim Card For Europe?

Everything we do nowadays seems to be connected to the internet and travel is hard without it. Even in Europe where places are well set up for tourists, having a reliable internet connection can save you a ton of time and money. If you are deciding on getting a local or international sim there are a few things to note.

Sure your hostel or a cafe may have free Wifi, but the likelihood is the connection will be slow and insecure. Imagine trying to watch YouTube with constant buffering. Or having to buy a coffee every time you get lost and need to use Google Maps. 

Of course, a lot of cities also offer Wi-Fi hotspots in Europe. The trouble with relying on these is you will be stuck in one place, trying to gather all of the information and update your Instagram, instead of actually enjoying the destination. And logging on to new hotspots can be time-consuming and frustrating.

Your home sim may work in Europe, but it also may not be the best solution. Expensive roaming charges and connections that are unreliable in foreign places are all too common.  

The best option is to get a sim card for Europe, so you are free to roam and use your phone as you please.

So, lets get started and help you find the best sim for traveling Europe.

Buying a Sim Card For Europe – Things To Consider

Everyone’s needs are different when it comes to data usage. What may work for one person might be completely different to another person’s requirements. There are a lot of variables to be taken into consideration.

In this guide to buying a sim card in Europe, we will examine all of the options and work out what is right for you.


Of course, we all love a bargain and Europe is a pricey place to be a broke backpacker. Nobody likes getting ripped off by plans offering very little at an extortionate price.

But cheap sim cards aren’t always as good as they seem, you have to check the details carefully as extra data or top us can be costly.

For example, some local sims in Europe can only be topped up by a card registered in that country. It pays to read the details, so this guide will only cover EU sim cards that can be used AND topped up throughout the European Union.


Always pay attention to how much data you’re getting to start with. Sure it might be cheap, but if you burn through it in a couple of days and have to pay a hefty top-up charge you haven’t saved anything. Always check the price of data top-ups after your initial purchase.

You can check your normal daily usage with your current sim provider. It’s helpful to factor in a little more due to extra things like Google Maps, translation apps and creating epic Spotify playlists for long road trips.


Coverage is often overlooked when buying a Sim abroad but is something we would all check at home. Europe has a huge variety of networks and some are more widespread than others.

Are you staying mainly in cities? Or in more out-of-the-way spots? Will you be visiting islands? Or perhaps even be climbing mountains? These are all important factors to consider when buying a Sim in Europe.

Work out which provider has the best coverage in the places that you will be visiting. It’s pointless having unlimited data if you can’t use any of it!

Read our individual country guides to find out the best sim cards for each country in Europe.


Some companies like to get all of your information and turn buying a Sim into an elaborate exercise in signing you up to an email list. 

Getting a sim nowadays should be fast and easy. There should be minimal documents or red tape, especially in European countries.

However, getting a sim in Italy is known for overcomplicating matters when it comes to bureaucracy. And Greece, well, it’s just Greece and everyone runs on Greek time. 

Northern Europe and Scandinavia are super efficient, as you would expect. While Eastern Europe can get complicated due to language barriers etc.


Always check the lifespan of your new sim. Many are single-use, made to be thrown into the airport bin as you leave. Something especially important if you’re considering an extended stay in Europe.

For digital nomads and long-term travellers, consider getting an open-ended sim card. Many providers will keep the card active as long as you create an online account and top up a certain number of times each year.

Where To Buy a Sim Card For Europe

Although you can buy a sim card specifically for each country in Europe, a European sim makes sense if you are visiting more than one country.


The best and easiest option for buying a sim card in Europe is to get an eSim. Simply register online before your trip. There’s no need to find an outlet, negotiate prices in a different country, or pull your phone apart on an airport counter. 

An eSim is just like a normal sim but without a physical product. The only downside is that not all phones are compatible. Make sure that your device is eSIM-compatible and that your carrier is unlocked before purchasing.

The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!
mockup of a person holding a smartphone in white background with Holafly logo

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected the minute you land. It’s that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Grab an eSIM!

In The Airport

Two girls walking towards a plane at sunset in Mexico
Photo: @audyscala

In almost all European countries you can get a sim from the airport when you arrive. 

It’s super convenient and the airport staff will usually be able to speak some English. Offers are usually well explained and quite straightforward.

Although this is an easy way to get set up with data straight away, the price is often inflated. Much like money exchanges in airports, sim providers know they have a captive audience and the price reflects that.

A good thing is that often, only the very best network providers can afford airport kiosks, so you know the network will probably have good coverage.

At a Store

There are phone stores all over the world and they usually have no problems selling a SIM card to a traveler, but it can be complicated to find one with enough data and coverage.

There are a huge number of options when it comes to buying sims at local stores in Europe. 

The main issue is that you will have to find your way around a new city without any data first to find the store. It can also be tricky negotiating a deal to get a deal in Spanish, Italian, French, German, Spanish, etc. I tried to do this to get a SIM card in Spain, it was a challenge as a non-Spanish speak!

Many large European cities (excluding Denmark) will have official internet provider retail stores like Vodafone, Orange, 3 (Three), and T-Mobile. Like in an airport, they will set the sim up for you and make sure it’s working before you leave.

You can also pick up a sim from gas stations, supermarkets and in corner shops. But this is tricky as you will need to set it up yourself, you may also need to provide ID to purchase one. It’s pointless getting a great deal if you can’t get your sim working!

You can usually ask your hostel or accommodation where the best place to get a sim locally is, sometimes they actually might sell a sim themselves. But be warned, this usually isn’t the cheapest option (again captive audience).

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Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

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Free EU Roaming

Since June 2017 people can use their EU sim card in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and in fact any EU or Schengen country without any extra charges. There are no roaming charges if you buy a sim card in one country and travel to other countries within the European Union. 

There are exceptions with some parts of Eastern Europe, especially if they’re not part of the European Union. Certain carriers also vary country to country, so it’s always best to check with the specific places you are visiting. 

But in general, EU member countries all have free roaming (note the UK left the EU in 2020 and things are still a little “up in the air”).


The easiest way to get a good deal on a sim card for Europe is to buy one online before your trip. You can shop around and find the best deal for you.

Most will post straight to your home address, just make sure to leave plenty of time for the post to arrive.

There are loads of European sim card options to choose from. To make it easier, we have compiled this easy-to-understand guide to the best sim card for Europe. 

Plus, international sim cards that are not destination specific – that means you can use them almost anywhere.

Best Europe Sim Card Providers

All of these international sim cards are perfect for visiting multiple countries in Europe with free EU roaming. 

If you are visiting just one country in Europe, check out our country-specific guides.


Established in 2010 and based in Palo Alto, California, GigSky is a mobile technology firm that specialises in providing e-SIM and SIM card data services to travellers across the globe. Distinguishing itself from the majority of eSIM providers, GigSky operates as an independent Network Operator, collaborating with over 400 carriers worldwide.

Gigsky simcard

GigSky offers competitively priced data packages accessible in more than 190 countries, along with a global sim option, several regional sim packages, and a bespoke “Land + Sea” package making it one of the best sim options for cruise-goers.

While GigSky does not provide local phone numbers, customers can still place and receive calls via apps like WhatsApp, Signal, and Skype, utilising the data included in their eSim plans


Jetpac eSim
Jetpac eSim

As our world gets smaller, staying connected while travelling becomes not just a luxury but an absolute necessity. Enter Jetpac, a cutting-edge travel eSIM provider promising seamless connectivity at low costs, across the globe.

Based out of Singapore Jetpac offers packages, designed primarily for travellers and Digital Nomads. They offer various data plans that can be used across many countries, and the service includes features like free airport lounge access if your flight is delayed.

Good news, Jetpac eSIMs are compatible with a range of devices, including many models from Apple, Samsung, and Google. If you’re wondering what the heck is an eSIM, don’t panic, it’s simple and straightforward to activate a Jetpac eSIM. Users need to sign up on the Jetpac website or app, choose a plan that fits their travel needs, and then scan a QR code to install the eSIM on their device.

We love Jetpac for its ease of setup and reliable connectivity. JetPac makes it a handy tool for international travel, ensuring continuous access to mobile data across multiple destinations. While they don’t offer local numbers, we love that most of their packs last for 30 days by default so you can just concentrate on how much data you need.

Sim Options

Homepage of SimOptions website

SimOptions is a reputable global marketplace that specialises in offering high-quality prepaid eSIMs for travellers in over 200 destinations worldwide. The platform has been dedicated to providing the best possible eSIM and international sim options at the most competitive rates for travellers since 2018. They rigorously test and select eSIMs to ensure that you receive the best connectivity and service wherever you travel.

As well as effectively acting as a broker from a number of the best eSIM providers, SimOptions also offer their own eSIM products too.

Basically, SimOptions is kind of like a market comparison website for helping you find the best sim for your travels. You simply type in your destination and they bring up the different eSIM options from a wide number of prospective providers and suppliers

Sim Local

sim local homepage
Sim Local

Irish based Sim Local specialise in providing eSIM services, primarily targeted at global travellers to help them stay connected without incurring expensive roaming charges. Based in Dublin and London, Sim Local sells local SIM cards and eSIM profiles through their retail outlets, vending machines, and online platforms.

Sim Local offers a variety of eSIM plans that can be activated instantly and are designed to provide a convenient and secure way to stay connected in numerous countries. Their services are beneficial for those who travel frequently, as they provide the option to switch between multiple eSIM profiles on a single device, depending on the user’s location and needs.

They also offer pretty comprehensive customer support and a range of payment options, including Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay, and Google Pay, all processed securely via Stripe.



The HolaFly Europe SIM Card is a prepaid unlimited data plan in Europe, covered by AT&T, one of Europe’s largest data networks.

  • Sim cost starting from 29 EUR 
  • Unlimited data in 48 countries, no calls or texts included
  • Packages between 5 to 90 days

If you want to know more, check out our HolaFly review.

Final Thoughts on Getting a Sim Card For Europe

From Italy’s iconic food and history to Greece’s glorious islands and beaches, there’s something for everyone in Europe, but staying connected can make life a lot easier.

Navigating the winding streets of Rome or the busy roads of Paris will be much simpler with the right data package. 

We hope this guide has helped you to choose the right sim card for your trip. Let us know how you get on in the comments! We always love to hear from you guys.