Are you planning a trip to Greece? So you’ve got your euros, packed your swimsuit and charged your camera? Ok good. But one thing that is all too often overlooked when we plan trips is sorting out a local sim card.
If you’ve ever found yourself being stung by insane network roaming charges, or suddenly unable to connect to the internet, you know that failing to get a local sim sucks. In this post we will tell you everything you need to know about choosing and buying a sim card for Greece.
We’ll take a look at some Greece sim card providers, prices, coverage and a couple of other things to consider.
OneSim e-Sim World
- Price > From $13
- Price > From $29.99
- Price > From $7.99
- Price > From $15.95
Why Buy a Sim Card For Greece?
Like it or not, the reality of travel in 2022 is that we all rely on our phones a lot. We use them to find legit cabs, to navigate strange cities and to translate our desperate pleas for help.
Whilst your native sim card may well technically work in Greece, this doesn’t mean you should ever rely on it. Firstly, overseas sim card use is typically, seriously bloody expensive. There are daily roaming charges, inflated data prices, and in many cases you will even be charged if somebody calls you!
It gets worse, as non-local sims also have a tendency to stop working completely at crucial moments. One minute you’re happily using your phone’s overpriced data to find your way across Athens’ neighbourhoods and then suddenly – nothing – as you move into a different coverage zone and lose all connectivity.
Note that any other EU or even European sim will probably work seamlessly in Greece.
For these reasons and more, if you are visiting Greece, then you should get a sim card.
Of course, the notable exception here is EU residents. If you fall into this category then your EU sim should work exactly as it does at home. There will be no extra charges and your provider *should* have arrangements with local networks to ensure an uninterrupted service.
Note – ‘Should’ doesn’t always mean ‘Is’. My EU sim card sometimes failed when I was in other EU and Schengen countries. If you are an EU resident planning on spending a lot of time in Greece, then you may still wish to consider sorting a local sim.
Buying a Sim Card For Greece – Things To Consider
Choosing a Sim Card for Greece is like choosing a pair of shoes or choosing a wife; some work for you better than others depending on what your personal needs are and of course, depending on your budget.
Let’s break down the major considerations;
We all love a bargain. Especially in a semi-expensive country like Greece. Getting a good deal is hard-wired into us broke backpackers so obviously price is always going to be a determining factor. The primary aim here is to identify who is offering the most data/minutes at the best price.
You will generally find that some providers offer really good deals if you buy big. Which leads us to the next point.
Pay close attention to how much data you are actually being offered. A lot of sim card providers try to tempt you in by offering low prices, but knowing full well that you will burn through the allocated data in no time, forcing you into a pricey top up.
A good idea is to check your personal average data use, and then factor in the fact that you will probably be using more than usual as you rely on maps and translation apps.
This one is also often overlooked. Not all network coverages are equal. Some providers offer fantastic coverage across an entire nation whereas others specialise in particular areas.
This is very pertinent with Greece in particular as a lot of providers excel in covering the mainland, but don’t quite do the islands so well and vice versa. However, as a general guide, you can expect at least some form of 4G on all of the islands and either 4G or 5G on the mainland.
It is worth having a rough idea of where in Greece you will stay and where you will be going before making a purchase. It’s also usually worth paying a bit more to get better coverage. I mean, cheap data is pretty pointless if you can’t even get connected.
These days, you can usually get a sim card pretty quickly, easily, and without too much hassle. Therefore you should try to avoid companies who are insisting on too much paperwork, who want too much information, or who take too long to get you set up.
There are a few exceptions to this, such as police states like Pakistan and Russia but these are the minority. Oh, and getting a sim card in India is always going to be a nightmare because India is India.
One thing to consider is whether the sim you are buying has an indefinite lifespan or an expiration date. Some will stop working (after say 30 or 60 days) and cannot be topped up. Others will last forever (plastic never dies…) as long as you keep topping them up.
This isn’t really a massive issue if you are visiting on a one-off, two-week vacation but may become an issue if your plans are open-ended, or if you plan on coming back in the future.
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. It’s just 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.Buy an eSIM!
Where To Buy a Sim Card For Greece
There are loads of places to buy sim cards from in Greece. You can buy from the airport, from a phone shop, or even on the street. You can even buy one from this thing they have called the internet.
In The Airport
One classic option is to buy a sim card in the airport the minute you land. This means that you get it sorted immediately and can get online right away to book yourself an Uber if you wish. The staff at airport Sim card kiosks almost always speak English, are very helpful, and will make sure that everything is working before you leave.
There are however some downsides.
Firstly, you will almost definitely pay a seriously inflated price and can always get a much better deal by shopping around. There is also often a queue at these kiosks and you can be kept waiting a while to get sorted. Finally, if you happen to land at your destination in the middle of the night or early in the morning, the desk may well be closed.
In terms of Greek Airports, the one in Athens has a Vodofone store offering the following options;
- €22,50 = 12 GB data in Greece valid for 15 days.
- €22,50 = 7 GB data in Greece + 120 minutes international + 120 minutes for Greece valid for 15 days.
At the time of writing, we are not sure whether this is the case with the smaller airports on the islands.
At a Store
There are cell phone stores dotted across the cities of the entire world. If you are able to get into a city center or a shopping mall then you can have your pick or phone stores and compare sim card deals.
Note that the older generations in Greece don’t always speak English, but the younger ones tend to have a pretty good grasp of it. Therefore the chances are that at least somebody in any given phone store will be able to assist you.
Let’s take a look at the in-store packages offered by Vodafone. The prices and deals are way much better than in the airport.
- €8,50 = 7 GB data for 15 days.
- €8,50 = 3 GB data for 15 days + international calling + texting.
- €17 = 7 GB data for 30 days + international calling + texting.
On The Street
One of the fairly unique things about Greece is that you can pick up sim cards on the street from licensed sim card sales people. They are easy to spot as they will be wearing the colourful, branded uniforms of whichever organisation they work for. They are commonly found at the entrance to public transport hubs and shopping malls.
Some of you may be uneasy sharing personal info and ID details with people on the street but there really isn’t too much to worry about. The street vendors are typically quite young meaning they tend to speak English pretty well. We spotted the street vendors in Athens & in neighbourhoods of Thessaloniki but again, we’re not so sure about their presence on the islands.
Of course, you could just buy your sim card for Greece online. Most major international networks will post it out to your home address. Do make sure you order it long enough before your trip begins though in order to avoid it turning up in your mailbox after you have already entered Greece!
Surfing the web to find the best Greece sim card options can be time-consuming and overwhelming, so thankfully we’ve done the hard work for you and made some choice selections which you can find below. It’ll make preparing and packing for Greece that little bit easier.
Best Greek Sim Card Providers
There are loads of different sim cards for Greece options and providers ranging from big international networks carriers to niche providers who only operate in Greece.
Here are some of the best deals for sim cards in Greece.
OneSim are a Boston-based sim provider who have been specialising in traveler-friendly international sim packages for some time now. Whilst they don’t offer a specialised Greece sim card, they do have a different array of International Sim Cards that will work in many different countries including Greece.
This is a great option for regular travelers who visit a number of different countries or simply make repeat visits to the same country.
If your phone is e-Sim compatible, then check out the OneSimCard eSim World package. That way, you can find out more about e-sims and how they work.
OneSimCard eSIM World
- Offers coverage in 150+ countries with free incoming calls received on an EU number in most of them.
- Sim + Data Packages from $13.00.
- No expiration date.
If your phone is NOT e-Sim card ready, then stick with plastic and check out their Europe & More Package which will work all across Europe.
- Offers coverage in Greece + European countries.
- Sim + Data Packages from $29.99.
- No expiration date.
The sheer number of different Vodafone packages available is eye-watering and we found navigating the options on their site a bit tiring! Therefore we happily boiled it down to this cheap and cheerful starter pack.
- Sim costs $7.95 and credit costs $1 per day.
- 500MB 4G data for unlimited minutes and unlimited texts, which can be used all over Europe as well as the UK.
- No expiration date.
Despite being a UK-based provider, Three offers a Greece and more SIM card. The data allowance under the basic package isn’t exactly huge though.
- $15.99 for 3GB mobile data for use in Greece and roaming in Europe.
- 12GB for $43.99.
- Valid for 60 days from activation.
What is The Best Sim Card in Greece for Tourists?
|Package||Price (basic sim)||Top Ups Allowed?||Expiration|
|OneSim e-Sim World||$13||Y||NA|
Final Thoughts on Getting a Sim Card For Greece
Greece is one of world tourism’s great cultural gems and you will have an absolute blast. And thanks to our Greece sim card guide, you will be well equipped to enjoy your trip without having to stress about data and call time.
Want another kind of sim card? Check out the revolutionary new Nomad e-sim, an app-based sim card covering over 100 countries that can be organised before you leave home! There’s also a Spanish based provider called HolaFly you also might want to check out.
Whatever option you went for, do let us know in the comments how it worked out. We always love to hear from you guys.
Bye for now, but not forever!
If you want MORE top-tier Broke Backpacker content like this, then sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get the latest and greatest!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!