Portugal – known for its seafood dishes, beaches & architecture.
It is also sometimes called Spain‘s brother, but the Portuguese do not always like to hear it.
They hate it much more if you ask them if they speak Brazillian 🤪 (no, seriously – do not ask that question).
But the country, especially the Azores and Madeira, is popular in general, mostly because of its favorable climate.
Besides enjoying the beaches, you can also see many famous landmarks, like Belém Tower and Castelo de S. Jorge.
The Luís I Bridge is rather iconic too, as is Livraria Lello's staircase.
And do not forget about LxFactory and the Time Out Market in Lisbon.
There is no reason to be bored in Portugal. And if you are, enjoy the beaches.
Dealing with an expensive international roaming bill will certainly not be enjoyable because you forgot to turn off international roaming.
Instead, if your phone supports eSIM, you may want to go with a travel eSIM to skip the queues in Portugal and avoid the SIM card registration bureaucracy.
So, how much do Spanish (travel) eSIMs cost?
You can get an eSIM for Spain for as low as 4.50 USD up to 99 USD from Airalo (with Fofo Mobile and MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal), Holafly & Nomad, offering between 1 GB and truly unlimited data.
There are some mobile operators who will charge you 100 USD for only 100 MB of roaming data, so these travel eSIM offers are much better than most international roaming deals.
In this guide, I will go over the eSIM options offered by the Portuguese mobile operators, Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's get started.
Original publication: 28th of August 2022. Last updated: 8th of January 2023.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the Portuguese Mobile Operators
In order to get the best performance out there, it is often recommended to go directly with the local mobile operators because you will get a higher priority on the network compared to roaming.
Currently, MEO (by Altice Portugal), NOS Portugal, & Vodafone Portugal are the only Portuguese mobile operators offering eSIMs to prepaid customers.
Travel eSIM providers Airalo (with Fofo Mobile (standard) & MEO Tourist (special)), Holafly & Nomad offer attractive eSIMs for Portugal, allowing them to be set up before arriving in Portugal and activating them as soon as you land.
Very convenient, right? And I have used eSIMs from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad before, and I can assure you they work well!
So let's check out all the options, shall we?
Airalo eSIMs for Portugal (Fofo Mobile & MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal)
Airalo eSIMs are my favorite travel eSIMs out there because they are always good value for money compared to other travel eSIM providers (especially travel eSIMs not mentioned in this guide).
And the same can be said for the Fofo Mobile eSIM – 10 GB of data is available for only 17 USD.
The Fofo Mobile eSIM uses the NOS Portugal network, which is the best overall Portuguese mobile operator (coverage and speed-wise).
So even if you go to some remote Portuguese town, you will still have reception with the Fofo Mobile eSIM.
But… there is another option in Portugal, which is objectively the best option (in this whole guide).
In fact, this option is so popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers that it is one of the most used travel eSIMs across all countries.
So, what is this option I am hyping up so much?
The MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM.
MEO struck a special deal with Airalo, where you can get the Ready to Enjoy tourist offering as an eSIM through their platform before arriving in Portugal.
It is one of the few eSIMs on the Airalo platform offering 5G NR.
And even those who do not have a 5G NR cable phone tend to go with the Airalo Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM because you can get 30 GB of data for only 2 USD more than the most generous Fofo Mobile eSIM (10 GB).
Alright, you have five Portugal Fofo Mobile and MEO Portugal eSIM options:
- Portugal/Fofo Mobile 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 4.50 USD
- Portugal/Fofo Mobile 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 7 USD
- Portugal/Fofo Mobile 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 10 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Portugal/Fofo Mobile 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 17 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Portugal/MEO Mobile 30 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 19 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
The Airalo links will automatically get you the available Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers – a code is unnecessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Honestly, the MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM gives you the best bang for your buck, and it is the eSIM I recommend the most for Portugal.
But you can consider the Fofo Mobile eSIM too.
Airalo MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM? Well, because of the following:
- You can purchase and set up your MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM before arriving in Portugal (and activate it upon landing)
- You get full (up to 5G NR) access to Portugal's best mobile operator – MEO Portugal
- The eSIMs are affordable and have generous data allowances
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
But it is not all good news with Airalo though – there are some disadvantages.
Airalo MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get the Fofo Mobile eSIM?
- You cannot call or text with the Fofo Mobile eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- You cannot get in-person support (Airalo gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit an Airalo store because there are none)
Airalo MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Airalo MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM is a great eSIM offering a lot for the money you pay (especially compared to many non-EU countries).
You get fast speeds and access to the best Portuguese network (MEO Portugal) without standing in queues.
And you even get 5G NR access if your phone supports it.
But if making actual phone calls and sending real text messages are important to you (so not through an app like WhatsApp), you may want to buy a Portuguese SIM card instead.
Holafly eSIMs for Portugal
The second eSIM provider I recommend is Holafly.
It started something revolutionary in June 2022.
Holafly offers unlimited data plans for Portugal, many other European Union member states and a few other countries.
From what I know, Holafly is the first to offer unlimited data plans for so many countries WITHOUT a Fair-Use Policy.
And that is super exciting!
Now, I have to say that the unlimited data plans offered by Holafly are more expensive than the Airalo Fofo Mobile eSIM or the eSIMs sold by Nomad.
But if you do not want to worry about data allowances, Holafly is the one to go for.
The Holafly eSIMs use the NOS Portugal network (as well).
If you remember from the Fofo Mobile section how it is the best network in Portugal, you know you do not have to worry about network reception or speeds.
You have the following seven options with Holafly:
- Portugal unlimited data eSIM for 5 days, costing 19 USD/19 EUR/19 GBP/27 AUD/24 CAD
- Portugal unlimited data eSIM for 10 days, costing 34 USD/34 EUR/29 GBP/49 AUD/44 CAD
- Portugal unlimited data eSIM for 15 days, costing 47 USD/47 EUR/44 GBP/67 AUD/55 CAD
- Portugal unlimited data eSIM for 20 days, costing 54 USD/57 EUR/49 GBP/84 AUD/74 CAD
- Portugal unlimited data eSIM for 30 days, costing 64 USD/69 EUR/59 GBP/99 AUD/89 CAD
- Portugal unlimited data eSIM for 60 days, costing 84 USD/87 EUR/77 GBP/127 AUD/114 CAD
- Portugal unlimited data eSIM for 90 days, costing 99 USD/99 EUR/87 GBP/144 AUD/129 CAD
While I do not know which variant Phone Travel Wiz readers go with, I can tell you that the Holafly eSIMs are popular with those who simply do not want to worry about data caps.
And based on the emails I have received, the 20-, 30- & 60-day plans are popular because those who buy Holafly eSIMs tend to stay in Portugal for a prolonged period to explore the country.
As I recently started my collaboration with Holafly, it offers 5% off each purchase whenever you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – how cool is that?
- Check out my Holafly reviews
Of course, there are some pros and cons with going with Holafly, so let's go over them.
Holafly Portugal eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly eSIMs? Well, because of the following:
- You can purchase and set up your Holafly Portugal eSIM before arriving in Portugal (and activate it upon landing)
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on the NOS Portugal network – the best network in Portugal
- You do not have to deal with data caps because you get unlimited data
- You get unthrottled 4G/LTE data (77 GB – here I come!)
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
But it is not all good news with Holafly though – there are some disadvantages.
Holafly Portugal eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get a Holafly Portugal eSIM?
- While the Portuguese mobile operators do not offer unlimited data plans (yet), their plans are much cheaper than Holafly
- While you get access to the NOS Portugal network – the best network in Portugal – your speeds will not be as fast as going with NOS Portugal itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- You cannot get in-person support (Holafly gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit an Holafly store because there are none)
- Holafly is the most expensive travel eSIM provider in this guide
Holafly Portugal eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Holafly Portugal eSIM is an excellent eSIM for those who hate data caps and just want to use data the way they want.
You get fast speeds and access to the NOS Portugal network, which has the best 4G/LTE network in Portugal.
However, Holafly is the most expensive option in this guide and may not be the best for budget travelers.
Luckily, we still have one more Portugal-specific travel eSIM to go through, which is cheaper than Holafly, and has an option offering double the data allowance of Airalo, which is…
Nomad eSIMs for Portugal
The last eSIM provider I recommend is Nomad.
Nomad is just in the middle.
But that does not mean Nomad is bad – not at all.
The Nomad Portugal eSIM uses the Truphone network, which is active in any country you can think of.
In Portugal, it uses a combination of networks (mostly the MEO Portugal network, which has the best coverage together with NOS Portugal and the second-fastest speeds), allowing your eSIM to switch to the network with the best reception automatically.
This way, you will always be connected!
Nomad is a bit more expensive than Airalo's Fofo Mobile/MEO Ready to Enjoy eSIM, but cheaper than Holafly.
That is because, unlike the other two eSIM providers, the Nomad Portugal eSIM uses a combination of several Portuguese networks (MEO by Altice Portugal, NOS Portugal & Vodafone Portugal), allowing you access to the best network at your location.
And for this feature, you pay a little more than Airalo, which only uses NOS/MEO Portugal.
You have the following five options with Nomad:
- Portugal 1 GB eSIM for 7 days (TMN – new), costing 6 USD/6 EUR/5 GBP/8.50 CAD
- Portugal 3 GB eSIM for 30 days (TMN – new), costing 12 USD/11.50 EUR/10 GBP/16.50 CAD
- Portugal 5 GB eSIM for 30 days (TMN – new), costing 15 USD/14 EUR/12.50 GBP/20.50 CAD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Portugal 10 GB eSIM for 30 days (Truphone), costing 24 USD/22.50 EUR/20 GBP/32.50 CAD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Portugal 20 GB eSIM for 30 days (Truphone), costing 34 USD/31.50 EUR/28 GBP/46 CAD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
By the way, you can get 3 USD/2.85 EUR/2.45 GBP/4.10 CAD off of your first Nomad purchase by using code ADU123 – how cool is that?
- Check out my Nomad reviews
Of course, going with Nomad has some pros and cons, so let's go over them.
Nomad Portugal eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Nomad eSIMs? Well, because of the following:
- You can purchase and set up your Nomad Portugal eSIM before arriving in Portugal (and activate it upon landing)
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access on all Portuguese networks, allowing you to have the best reception at all times
- The eSIMs are affordable and have generous data allowances
- You can avoid expensive international roaming fees
But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.
Nomad Portugal eSIM Cons
So, why should you not get a Nomad Portugal eSIM?
- While you get access to four networks, your speeds will not be as fast as going with the Portuguese mobile operators themselves because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad Portugal eSIM
- You cannot call or text with the Nomad Portugal eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- You cannot get in-person support (Nomad gets back to you by email fast, but you cannot visit a Nomad store because there are none)
- Airalo is cheaper than Nomad with all variants
Nomad Portugal eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Nomad eSIM is a great premium eSIM offering.
You will always have the best reception because the Nomad because it automatically switches to the best network at your location.
Moreover, the Nomad Portugal eSIMs will be cheaper than getting the SIM cards of the four Portuguese mobile operators.
However, just like the other travel eSIMs mentioned in this guide, you do not get a (local) phone number with the Nomad Portugal eSIM.
Moreover, Nomad is not the cheapest option out there (that would be Airalo).
Best eSIMs for in Europe (not just Portugal)
So what if you plan to visit neighboring Morocco? Spain? Or any other country in the European Union?
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Fofo Mobile, Holafly Portugal, or Nomad Portugal SIMs in any other country than Portugal itself.
However, the three eSIM providers do have eSIMs covering all of the European Union and European Economic area + some other countries.
I highly recommend these Europe eSIMs if you plan to visit multiple European countries to save money!
The Eurolink eSIM is the most popular Airalo eSIM, per Phone Travel Wiz readers.
Most readers tend to visit multiple European countries, so they would rather have a travel eSIM covering multiple countries than just one (like Portugal).
The Eurolink eSIM can be used in 39 countries in Europe, including all nations in the European Union (EU).
The eSIM can be used from Iceland to Ukraine and Norway to Spain.
Below is a complete overview of countries the Eurolink eSIM works in:
- Austria 2
- Belgium 2
- Bulgaria 2
- Croatia 2
- Cyprus 2
- Czech Republic
- Denmark 2
- Estonia 2
- Finland 2
- Gibraltar 1
- Greece 2
- Iceland 2
- Ireland 2
- Italy 2
- Latvia 2
- Luxembourg 2
- Malta 2
- Poland 2
- Romania 2
- Spain 2
- Sweden 2
- Switzerland 2
- United Kingdom 2
1 on 3G only
2 (limited) 5G NR availability at no additional cost! (list updated in December 2022)
With the Eurolink eSIM, you can save a lot of money by skipping the initial SIM card costs per country you visit – averaging 10.78 USD/country in Europe (and get 5G NR access at no additional cost)!
Below is an overview of how much each Eurolink eSIM costs:
- Europe/Eurolink 1 GB eSIM for 7 day, costing 5 USD
- Europe/Eurolink 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 13 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Europe/Eurolink 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 20 USD – most popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Europe/Eurolink 10 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 37 USD – very popular with Phone Travel Wiz readers
- Europe/Eurolink 50 GB eSIM for 90 days, costing 100 USD
- Europe/Eurolink 100 GB eSIM for 180 days, costing 185 USD
Honestly, the Eurolink eSIM is my favorite Europe travel eSIM out there. Affordable, extensive & good value for your money.
I also used it during my 1-month tour throughout Europe in 12 countries.
- Check out my Airalo Eurolink eSIM review (tested in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia & Spain)
So yeah, you can say I have some experience with the Eurolink eSIM 😏.
Holafly and Nomad eSIMs for Europe
Holafly and Nomad also have eSIMs covering all of the European Union (and more).
But honestly, the Eurolink eSIM is superior (but you can consider the Holafly Europe eSIM if you want unlimited data in 30+ countries – just do not forget about code PHONETRAVELWIZ if you go with Holafly).
Overview of the Best eSIMs for Portugal
MEO (by Altice Portugal), NOS Portugal & Vodafone Portugal are the only Portuguese mobile operators offering eSIMs to prepaid customers.
But that is fine – we discussed several other options in this guide!
In terms of the travel eSIMs, this would be my recommendation order:
- Airalo's MEO Ready to Enjoy Portugal eSIM (best value for money)
- Airalo's Fofo Mobile Portugal eSIM (great value for money)
- Airalo's Eurolink Europe eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other European countries)
- Holafly Portugal eSIM (truly unlimited data plans at premium prices)
- Nomad Portugal eSIM (switches to the best network, allowing for excellent reception at all times)
- Holafly Europe eSIM (truly unlimited data plans when also visiting other European countries at premium prices)
- Nomad Europe eSIM (the best of both worlds in terms of pricing and performance)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in Portugal
Want to just use a SIM card but not your current one because roaming will be criminally expensive?
Consider getting a Portugese SIM card instead – local SIM cards are the cheapest way to stay connected abroad.
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