Milan – known for being Italy's most fashionable city, cathedrals & museums.
It is also Italy's second-largest city (behind Rome).
Surprisingly, Milan is home to three airports: Milan Malpensa (the largest), Milan Linate (LIN – second-largest) & Milan Bergamo (BGY – low-cost carrier airport 45 KM away from Milan) – one more than Rome.
Generally, most international flights, especially intercontinental ones, will fly into Milan Malpensa, so you have to read that guide.
Quite some, but not all, intra-Schengen flights use Milan Linate (especially ITA Airways (formerly Alitalia) because intercontinental flights are not allowed at this airport).
Writing a list of all the cool things to do in Milan would require another blog post (or a dedicated Milan blog), so I will save you from that because you want to know what SIM card options are available at the airport.
Anyway, which SIM cards are available at the airport?
You can get a TIM Italy, Vodafone Italy, or Lycamobile Italy SIM card for between 64 EUR (68.50 USD) and 85 EUR (90.95 USD).
But… is Italy not known for having the cheapest mobile data rates in Italy (as I mentioned in my Italy SIM card buying guide)?
That is true… but SIM cards that are sold at Italian airports are severely overpriced 🥲.
Anyway, let's review all your options and see if getting a SIM card at Milan Linate Airport is even worth it.
Original publication: 6th of October 2023. Last updated: 15th of January 2024.
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Mobile Operators in Italy
Before I tell you about the SIM card and eSIM options you have at Milan Linate Airport, you first need to know about all the mobile operators in Italy.
Italy has five mobile operators and various Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) offering prepaid services easily accessible to travelers:
- Wind Tre (formerly Wind and Tre)
- TIM Italy (Telecom Italia)
- Vodafone Italy (Italia)
- Iliad Italy
- Fastweb Italy (Italia)
- Coop Voce (TIM Italy MVNO)
- Digi Mobil Italy (TIM Italy MVNO)
- Ho Mobile (Vodafone Italy budget sub-brand)
- Kena Mobile (Wind Tre budget sub-brand)
- Lycamobile Italy (Vodafone Italy MVNO)
- Postemobile (Wind Tre MVNO)
- Tiscali (TIM Italy MVNO)
- Very Mobile (Vodafone Italy budget sub-brand)
Only Vodafone Italy SIM cards are sold at Milan Linate Airport (which is worse than at Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP), where Vodafone Italy's are available, but also TIM Italy's and Lycamobile Italy's).
Moreover, Vodafone SIM cards are only sold in pairs of two by Forexchange… even if you only need one.
Why this is the case, I cannot tell. But if you are lucky (mostly kind), the salespeople may sell you a single SIM card for half the price of a pair (imagine if they still charged you full price, lmao).
Where only two options are available, costing 64 EUR and 69 EUR (although the latter is often out of stock).
This is the airport/tourist tax people talk about regarding airport SIM cards 🗿.
Alright, back to what Milan Linate Airport Airport offers us.
Where to Buy a SIM Card at Milan Linate Airport
Vodafone Italy SIM cards are sold by the currency exchange office (Forexchange) in the arrivals hall at Milan Linate Airport.
The airport does not have multiple terminals, so everyone arrives at the same arrivals hall.
And you will see the Forexchange store after luggage claim and customs in front of you.
They even have this banner letting you know SIM cards are sold here.
No other store sells SIM cards at Milan Linate Airport – not even in the arrivals hall.
If you arrive late (because your airline is delayed by 3:05 hours…), you are out of luck, as the store closes fairly early.
While Italy is known for having insanely generous data plans, like the example below, the activation fees are high, negating the savings for short-term travelers.
So, while paying 64 EUR for 000 GB of data may sound alright/cheap compared to what you can get in your country, it is outrageous by Italian standards 🥲.
Consider that if you are debating between getting a SIM card at the airport (convenience) or Milan proper (cheaper).
So let's see which Vodafone Italy SIM cards Forexchange has for us.
What SIM Cards & Plans Does Vodafone Italy Sell at Milan Linate Airport (+Prices)?
Vodafone Italy SIM cards are available at Milan Linate Airport, costing 64 EUR or 69 EUR (both giving you two SIM cards) from Forexchange in the arrivals hall.
Yes… you cannot buy a single Vodafone Italy SIM card if you simply need one (unless you are lucky – more about that later).
Vodafone Italy (Italia) is the third-largest mobile operator in Italy.
But it is the mobile operator with the fastest 4G/LTE speeds.
Vodafone Italy SIM cards are only available from Forexchange – a foreign currency exchange store – in the arrivals hall.
After luggage claim and customs, you walk into the arrivals hall and see Forexchange in front of you on the right side.
It is practically impossible to miss it.
Because my flight arrived 3:05 hours late (making me eligible for EU261, although it is taking ITA Airways already three months to process my claim, smh), the store was closed.
But I asked an Italian friend of mine to confirm whether the same options as at Milan Malpensa Airport are available at Milan Linate Airport, and that is the case.
So I can tell you which SIM cards Forexchange sells at the airport.
You have two options: one with 100 GB of data (64 EUR) and another with unlimited data (69 EUR).
At Milan Malpensa Airport, the unlimited data SIM card is almost always out of stock, while they often have this one at Milan Linate Airport.
But the 100 GB SIM card is not even the true data allowance… it is the combined data allowance of two SIM cards.
So you get 50 GB each… plus 100 minutes (so 50 minutes each again) – for a combined total of 64 EUR (32 EUR per SIM card).
So… why do I not talk about the allowances for each SIM card individually – does that not make more sense?
Yes, it would, but Forexchange only sells Vodafone SIM cards in pairs.
So if you are a solo traveler like me… sucks to be you. Pay up for two SIM cards or get none 🥲.
Although one salesperson at Milan Malpensa Airport was kind enough to sell me two SIM cards for about half the price (34 EUR), you should not expect this to happen at Milan Linate Airport (or even at the other one, to be honest).
Why she still gave me two SIM cards, I do not know – but at least I could give them both to my boyfriend and his mom, who joined me for our Europe trip that summer 😎.
Because I was paying half the price, the salesperson told me (verbally) that I would only get 25 GB per SIM card – I could deal with that.
You know what is funny? The plan she sold me is Vodafone C'all Power, which officially costs 8.99 EUR for a month (excluding a 3 EUR activation fee), giving you 70 GB of data and unlimited minutes and SMS.
Look how you get done dirty by Forexchange 🥲.
One thing Forexchange cannot do for you either is give you Vodafone Italy eSIMs (even though they are available to prepaid customers).
Fortunately, travel eSIMs for Italy are available for reasonable prices.
Even unlimited data options are available.
Another perk with them is that you do not have to deal with Italy's SIM card registration (which is mandatory – even at Forexchange).
I write about the best travel eSIMs for Italy in my Best Italy eSIM buying guide.
I even tried many of them extensively for my Italian eSIM review series.