Traveling abroad to places like Europe can be expensive when it comes to cell phone service. Technology has come a long way, though, and now you can just get a different SIM card when you travel. What works in one country, though, may not be the best choice in another.
What is the best SIM card for Europe? The best SIM card for Europe depends on what country you are visiting. Wherever you visit, you will want to get a SIM card from a local mobile network. Grabbing a SIM card will save you loads of money when it comes to surfing the Internet or making calls.
With more than four dozen countries in Europe, take a look at what I found for each one.
What Are the Best SIM Cards for Europe?
Let’s look at each European country from A to Z. Note: If you are from a European Union (EU) state and have an active plan, then you can use your plan's allowance without being charged roaming fees. If you have a plan that does not include free roaming in the EU, then getting a local SIM card would be a good option. If you are on a prepaid plan, check out the conditions of your provider to see whether roaming is included for free or not.
Albania SIM Cards
Albania has four mobile providers, and all have relatively decent coverage. Vodafone Albania is the best choice for a SIM card in this country.
Vodafone offers various plans, and they are all very affordable, even though the carrier is the most expensive in the country. For example, for just over $10, you get 400 minutes of talk time, 400 messages, and 6 gigs (GB) of data.
Andorra SIM Cards
Picking a SIM card in Andorra is simple because there is only one operator, Andorra Telecom. The carrier sells its prepaid SIM cards under the brand name Mobiland Clic!.
The SIM card will cost you around $16.50 but comes with the same amount of credit. You can add small amounts of data for between $1 and $6.
Armenia SIM Cards
Armenia also has mobile service providers. You want to go with VivaCell MTS Armenia. It is the leading provider and has the best coverage and fastest speed. It will cost you more than the others, but we all want good coverage and fast Internet, right?
You can buy a SIM card for less than a quarter ($0.25) and then add data. You can get from 200 MB to 5 gigs for anywhere between a quarter and just over $8.
Austria SIM Cards
You can choose from three major carriers for SIM cards in Austria. Your best bet in this country is a prepaid SIM card through T-Mobile Austria.
A SIM card costs around $11 and includes 5,000 units. This means you get 5 gigs of data OR 5,000 minutes OR 5,000 texts. So, you can use it however you want.
One important note with this SIM card is to check the Internet speed; they differ between SIM cards.
Azerbaijan SIM Cards
Azerbaijan has three carriers that offer SIM cards. Azercell is the best choice for a SIM card in this country. Its network covers 99% of the country.
You can buy a SIM card for less than 3 bucks. You can add anywhere from 60 MB of data to unlimited for anywhere from under $1 up to around $18.
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Belarus SIM Cards
Belarus offers SIM cards through four different carriers. Coverage can be tough in a land covered by rugged terrain in many areas, but the carrier MTS Belarus does a pretty good job and is your best bet in Belarus.
You can buy a SIM card with anywhere from 2 gigs to 6 gigs of data. It will cost you just over $4 to over $9. Check the length of time your SIM card is valid for; it can range from 7 to 30 days.
Belgium SIM Cards
Belgium has three major carriers, and they all have excellent 4G coverage. The best choice in this country is a SIM card through Orange Belgium.
First, you buy a SIM card for around $16.50. This includes a $16.50 calling credit, 1 gig of 4G data, 500 MB for Facebook and Twitter, and unlimited texting. Since that is not much data, you can add on 4 gigs for another $16.50.
Bosnia and Herzegovina SIM Cards
Once again, you have three carriers to choose from in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Herzegovina. Your best bet for a SIM card here is m:tel. This carrier is the second largest in the country but offers good deals and a specific plan for tourists.
You will want m:tel’s Frend, which is their prepaid SIM card. It will cost you just over $2 and comes with that same amount of credit, so basically, it is free. M:tel’s tourist specific plan includes 30 additional minutes, an additional .50 of credit, and 5 gigs of data for around $14.50.
Bulgaria SIM Cards
Bulgaria, perhaps surprisingly, has some of the fastest Internet in the world. There are three major carriers to choose from for your SIM card.
For the best coverage and price, Vivacom is your best option. You can get 4 gigs of data and 100 minutes of calling time for around $6. Keep an eye on how long your SIM card is valid. Most in Bulgaria are limited to 20 days or less.
Channel Islands (Jersey & Guernsey) SIM Cards
RELATED: Want to learn more about SIM cards in the Channel Islands? Check out my Channel Islands SIM card buying guide with up-to-date and detailed information regarding prices and packages.
Croatia SIM Cards
A SIM card from T-Mobile costs about $2, and then you can choose from one of four packages. The most popular package is around $15 and gives you 6 gigs of data, 1,000 minutes of talk time, and 1,000 texts.
Cyprus SIM Cards
A starter SIM card is just over $8 and includes around $5 in credit and 100 texts. You can add up to 3 gigs of data for about $16.50.
Czech Republic SIM Cards
There are three primary mobile providers in the Czech Republic, and although the SIM cards there certainly are not the cheapest, you will still save money buying a local one.
Vodafone Czech Republic is your best choice for a SIM card here. It is the smallest provider of the three but still has reliable coverage and fast speeds. You will buy a starter SIM card for less than 9 bucks and then add data to it. You can get from 150 MB of data to 1.5 gigs for between $4 and $15.
Denmark SIM Cards
First, although Denmark is a prosperous country, it is not very well organized when it comes to tracking down a prepaid SIM card. None of the major carriers offer prepaid SIM cards. You will have to buy one online or head to the local 7-Eleven to find one.
Once you hit the convenience store, you should be able to find a Lebara Denmark or Lycamobile Denmark SIM card. You can buy a SIM card for around $7.50, but it comes with no data, so you will have to add some. Fortunately, you can do this pretty cheap. For $15, you can get 60 gigs of data and 10 hours of calling time.
ALSO: I recently went to Denmark and tested out Lebara Denmark and Lycamobile Denmark. You should read those reviews and my Best Prepaid SIM Card in Denmark: Ultimate Comparison post!
Estonia SIM Cards
Tele2 Estonia offers the best coverage in Estonia. For a little over $4, you will get 3 gigs of data, 300 local talk-time minutes and 30 texts. This card is valid for 30 days.
UPDATE: When I went to Estonia in 2019 and 2020, I learned that the coverage with all Estonian providers is almost the same. After doing my Estonian SIM card comparison, I learned that each Estonian operator is the best in some way. Read my Best Prepaid SIM Card in Estonia: Ultimate Comparison post to find out why!
Faroe Islands SIM Cards
Finland SIM Cards
Buying a SIM card in Finland is a bit tricky as they are basically only sold at R-kioski shops, which is a convenience store chain. Most staff at these stores are not very knowledgeable about the SIM cards.
France SIM Cards
France has plenty of options for buying your SIM card, including online, at the airport, or at shops in any popular tourist areas. There are four main providers from which to choose your SIM card.
Your best choice for a SIM card in France is one through Bouygues Telecom. You can get 2 gigs of data good for a month for around $22. If you want to make calls, though, you will have to add an extra package.
Georgia SIM Cards
You can choose from one of three leading mobile Internet providers in Georgia. Your best choice in this country is a SIM card through Beeline Georgia.
The SIM card costs a little over a dollar, and you can add from 1 to 30 gigs of data for anywhere between $1.50 and $9.50.
If you care about coverage, MagtiCom will be your best bet.
Germany SIM Cards
Germany is one of the more expensive countries to buy a SIM card. Usually, if the SIM cards among the carriers were comparably priced, I would recommend the one with the best coverage. In Germany, though, the SIM card with the best coverage is much more expensive.
So, if you are looking for the best deal, you should go with a SIM card from O2 Germany. Their plans offer unlimited calling and texting and data ranging from 1.5 gigs to 5 gigs. They cost between $11 and $28.
O2 will work in all the major tourist areas, but if you plan to venture off the beaten path, a SIM card from T-Mobile is a better option. You will pay a lot more, but you will have coverage.
Greece SIM Cards
Greece has three leading carriers that offer SIM cards. Unlike most other countries, you can actually get the best deal with great coverage through a lesser-known carrier. A prepaid SIM card through Frog is your best choice in Greece.
Frog operates on one of the primary carrier’s networks, so the coverage is excellent. They also offer very affordable plans, ranging from under 6 bucks to around $9. Those plans come with 60 minutes of calling and 5 to 10 gigs of data.
Gibraltar SIM Cards
Hungary SIM Cards
Hungary has three major carriers for SIM cards. The coverage among these three carriers is about the same, so it really comes down to price as far as choosing the best SIM card.
T-Mobile Hungary will give you the most flexible plan and the best bang for your buck. The carrier only offers one SIM card. It will cost around 7 dollars for 1 gig of data and 80 minutes of talk time. You can add 3.5 more gigs for $12.
Iceland SIM Cards
Your best bet in Iceland is Siminn. The carrier is the market leader in the country and has the best coverage. You can buy a voice and data card for around $23. This comes with 50 local minutes, 50 texts, and 5 gigs of data. You can also buy a data-only card for about 16 bucks, which includes 1 GB of data and then add data.
Ireland SIM Cards
You will buy a SIM card for around $11 then add your plan to it. You can add 1 gig of data for just under $6 or 5 gigs for just under $17.
Isle of Man SIM Cards
Italy SIM Cards
Italy is another affordable country to buy a SIM card. You have a few more options to choose from in Italy with five mobile carriers.
Wind Italy is your best SIM card for traveling throughout Italy. The company only offers one plan, which includes 500 minutes of calling time and 20 gigs of data for around $28.
Kazakhstan SIM Cards
Depending on who you ask, Kazakhstan may be considered to be part of Europe, while others say it is part Asia. Either way, what is essential is what SIM cards you can buy there. Well, good news, Kazakhstan is another affordable country when it comes to SIM cards. Bad news, coverage is reliable in urban areas but degrades as you venture out into more remote regions.
With that said, Kcell is your best choice in Kazakhstan. It is the largest operator in the country and has pretty fast Internet speeds and good coverage.
You can buy a prepaid SIM card for less than 4 bucks and add a data package. Data packages range from 5 gigs to 40 gigs and will cost you under $4 up to around $13.
UPDATE: Recently, I have changed my mind and would recommend Beeline Kazakhstan instead because their coverage is almost as good as Kcell, but much cheaper
Kosovo SIM Cards
Kosovo has two major carriers, and both have comparable coverage and prices on SIM cards. Your best bet, in this case, is to go with IPKO.
You can buy an IPKO SIM card for just over $3. Then you can add from 1 to 7 gigs of data ranging in price from around $1.50 to over $8.
UPDATE: New IPKO customers get 100 GB, 100 minutes, and 100 SMS as a welcome bonus for joining IPKO. Another good reason to choose IPKO!
Latvia SIM Cards
Latvia has very cheap SIM cards and fast Internet speeds, plus you may not even need a SIM card. The capital city of Riga is known as the European capital of WiFi, with close to 1,000 hotspots around the city. Be aware, however, that public WiFi hotspots are unsecure, which is why I would recommend using a VPN when you decide to use open WIFI connections. I have been using NordVPN for years, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a subscription. Get yours today!
Anyway, If you still want a SIM card, LMT is your best choice. It has the most extensive coverage and offers plenty of options. Your SIM card is actually free, and then you add your desired plan. If you want calls and texts, you will pay between $1 and $3. You can add 10 gigs of data for just over 6 bucks.
Liechtenstein SIM Cards
Of the two carriers offering SIM cards in Liechtenstein, Swisscom Liechtenstein is your best choice.
A starter SIM card is around 20 bucks but includes a $20 credit. You can add anywhere from 200 MB of data up to 5 gigs of data. The price depends on the length of time you want the data available.
Lithuania SIM Cards
A SIM card from Pildyk, which is an offshoot of Tele2 Lithuania, is your best choice in Lithuania. You can pick up a card for just over $2 then add a plan. The company offers talk and text packages as well as data. You can get anywhere from 1 gig of data to 10 GB for less than a dollar up to $11.
UPDATE: Telia Lithuania is also a good option. Their coverage is almost the same as Tele2 Lithuania‘s. If going with Telia, get the Telia Extra prepaid SIM card. You can get anywhere from 1 GB for over $2.50 to 16 GB for a bit more than $17.
Luxembourg SIM Cards
Although a small country, Luxembourg still has three carriers offering SIM cards. Post Telecom Luxembourg is the most popular choice for a SIM card.
Your SIM card costs you $20 initially and then you can add 1 gig of data for a little over $5.
Malta SIM Cards
Malta has four carriers to choose your SIM card from, and Vodafone Malta is the best choice. It offers fast Internet and great customer service.
The Epic SIM card in Malta costs around $11. You can add varying levels of talk-time, texts, and data for anywhere between $11 and $23.
Moldova SIM Cards
A prepaid card costs you just under $2, but you also get a $2 credit. That includes 300 MB of data, 30 minutes of talking, and 300 texts. You can add up to 10 gigs of data for 8 bucks.
Monaco SIM Cards
Monaco also only has one local provider, but because of its proximity to France, several French networks have worked to establish coverage there.
As you can see above, Bouygues Telecom is the best carrier in France. Their bundles for Monaco include 500 MB of data up to 5 gigs for anywhere from $5 to $45.
Montenegro SIM Cards
You will buy a SIM card for around $5.50 and then add data. You can add either 3G or 4G data, and the price ranges from about $0.50 to approximately $11.
UPDATE: I have changed my opinion lately. Instead of Telenor Montenegro, Crnogorski Telekom may be a better option because they are slightly cheaper than Telenor Montenegro. The coverage with both providers is almost the same.
Data packages with Crnogorski Telekom range from 200 MB for 1 day ($0.45) to 7 GB for 7 days ($7.60) – way better than Telenor Montenegro‘s deals!
Netherlands SIM Cards
The carrier offers three data plans ranging from 1 to 3 gigs of data, unlimited texting, and 10 to 20 minutes of calling time. The plans range from $11 to $22.
North Macedonia SIM Cards
You can buy a SIM card with unlimited calling, 100 texts, and 100 MB of data for just over $7. You can get a data-only card with 5 gigs of data for around 9 bucks.
Norway SIM Cards
There are three leading carriers in Norway. You will want to buy a SIM card from Telia Norway when you visit this country. Their network covers 98% of the population, so you should have coverage just about anywhere you go.
A great benefit of a SIM card from this company is that they have plans ranging from 1 to 3 days to ones that range from 14 to 31 days. The cost depends on the length you choose.
Poland SIM Cards
SIM cards in Poland have pretty cheap data plans compared to many other European countries. There are four carriers in Poland.
All the carriers offer comparable coverage, so the best priced SIM card is with Orange Poland. You can get unlimited text and calling and 15 gigs of data for $6.50.
Portugal SIM Cards
Portugal has three major carriers, but you will find quite a few options among those carriers. The best SIM card in Portugal is through MEO.
You will pay around $11 for a starter pack that comes with just over a $5 credit. Then you can add on whatever package you want. MEO offers voice, text, and data plans as well as data-only plans.
Finally, MEO offers special data bundles specifically for social media and streaming content for just less than 8 bucks a month.
Romania SIM Cards
SIM cards in Romania are pretty affordable. You can choose from four main carriers for your SIM card.
You will want to get your SIM card from Orange Romania when in Romania. It will cost a bit more than a few of the other plans, but the carrier offers the best coverage and highest speeds.
Plans range from $6 to $10 and offer from 1,000 to 2,000 minutes of talk and text and 2 to 9 gigs of data
Russia SIM Cards
There are five leading cell phone operators in Russia, and they all compete against each other to offer the best prices.
In Russia, you will want to buy a SIM card through MegaFon Russia for the best coverage. This option may not be the cheapest, but they have the best network coverage.
The price depends on what kind of package you add on, but a plan that gives you 150 minutes of calling and 2 gigs of data is under five bucks.
San Marino SIM Cards
San Marino is such a small country located in Italy that it is covered by Italy’s antennas. This means the best SIM card for San Marino is the same as in Italy: Wind Italy. Details about that card are above, under “Italy.”
Serbia SIM Cards
Serbia is a reasonably affordable country for buying a SIM card. There are three carriers to choose from.
You will want to get a SIM card through BH Mobile. The carrier has excellent coverage and offers plans specifically for tourists. They have plans that include unlimited calling and specific amounts of data as well as data-only cards.
You will have to buy a SIM card for just less than 3 bucks then add your plan.
Slovakia SIM Cards
Slovakia also has three main carriers that offer SIM cards. You will want to go with a prepaid SIM card from Orange Slovakia when visiting the country. The carrier has the best coverage and rates.
You can get a data-only SIM card with 6 gigs of data for just over $14. For the same price, you can get a card with 100 minutes and 5 gigs of data. Both are good for 30 days.
Slovenia SIM Cards
Three of the four main providers in Slovenia offer SIM cards. Your best choice in this country is A1 Slovenia.
You can buy a SIM card for around a dollar and then an add-on package for just under $9. That comes with 10,000 units. Remember, one unit is a minute of calling, a text, or 1 MB of data.
Spain SIM Cards
Spain has four leading mobile carriers that offer prepaid SIM cards. You can order a few of them online or easily find shops in all the tourist centers or at the airport. Although SIM cards in Spain SIM cards are cheaper outside of the airport.
Your best bet for a SIM card in Spain is a prepaid one through Vodafone Spain. They offer three different packages ranging from $11 to $22 and offering 1.5 gigs to 3.5 gigs. A perk of a SIM card through Vodafone is that the second and third packages provide free social media like Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
Sweden SIM Cards
Sweden also has four main mobile providers. Three of the four sell prepaid SIM cards. Sweden is also one of the more affordable countries to buy SIM cards.
Buying a SIM card from Telenor Sweden is your best choice in Sweden. They currently only offer one option, but it is a good deal. You will get 5 gigs of data and unlimited calling for around $15.
Switzerland SIM Cards
Coverage in Switzerland is excellent no matter which network you choose, and most even offer 5G.
All three of Switzerland’s carriers offer SIM cards, but two of them do not offer a data package. Instead, you pay each day you use the Internet, and one carrier even has a cap on how much Internet you can use a month.
With that said, your best bet for a SIM card in Switzerland is through Sunrise Switzerland. The SIM card costs around $20, and you can add an unlimited package for $50. It sounds expensive, but it includes unlimited calls, texts, and data.
Turkey SIM Cards
Turkey has three providers, and Turkcell is your best choice for a SIM card here. They have the best coverage and the best deals.
You can buy a SIM card for around $26. It includes 200 minutes of talk time, 200 texts, and 20 gigs of data.
Ukraine SIM Cards
Three leading companies in Ukraine offer SIM cards. Your best choice in Ukraine is a SIM card through Kyivstar. The carrier offers four plans with varying levels of data ranging from 3 gigs to unlimited data.
The price of the plans ranges from $5 to $12. Ukrainian cell phone plans can be complicated, so be sure to ask for a prepaid card and make it clear you do not want a monthly plan.
United Kingdom SIM Cards
The United Kingdom also has five carriers to choose from for SIM cards. Your best choice here is a SIM card through EE UK.
The company offers six different plans ranging from 2 gigs of data to 16 GB of data. All plans offer unlimited texting and anywhere from 100 minutes of talking to 2,000. The prices range from $11 to $33.
A couple of benefits of this card are that the carrier has the best coverage and also has a WiFi signal in every London Underground station, where there is usually no signal.
Other Connectivity Options When Traveling in Europe
Getting a local SIM card in individual European countries is a cost-effective option to stay connected, but you have other options as well, such as roaming with your provider, getting an international SIM card, portable hotspots, and WIFI networks. Let's go through each option quickly.
Roaming with Your Provider
Roaming may sound scary because you probably read horror stories where travelers were charged for in the thousands for using their phones abroad. However, although roaming is overpriced, it does not always have to be extremely expensive.
Many providers offer roaming plans where you can roam for free in select destinations, like Europe, while other offer bundles for a reasonable fee (but the fees are not always reasonable – check out my articles where I review the roaming options of telecom providers around the world).
Nowadays, carriers allow you to use your plan's allowance while abroad for a set daily fee, which is neat. The last option is Roaming As You Go, which is how travelers get charged into the thousands because those rates are often high.
Either way, roaming is seen as the most convenient option because you do not have to change SIM cards. Which is also why roaming can be the most expensive option.
International SIM Cards
International SIM cards are cards that have been made for travelers so that they do not have to deal with roaming costs.
There are many international SIM cards out there, such as OneSimCard and SIM cards from SimOptions. These SIM cards with the same as roaming with your provider, but the charges are often way less than actually roaming because they have been set up for international travel.
International SIM cards give you the same convenience as roaming with your provider. As in, not having to get numerous SIM cards, you will not use again, and being reachable on one number instead of multiple
International SIM cards are, however, more expensive than using a local SIM card, such as a Belgian one. On the other hand, they are often cheaper than roaming with your provider. International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or those who are visiting multiple destinations in one trip.
There are SIM cards that have been specifically made for those who are visiting Europe, meaning that you can pay an upfront fee for the SIM card, which gives you some minutes, SMS, and data, that can be used in all European countries. Check out my article where I explore the best SIM cards for Europe.
Portable hotspots, or pocket WIFI, are devices small enough that they should fit into your pocket. These devices turn into your on-the-go WIFI hotspot while they connect to the cellular networks in the country.
There are many portable hotspots out there. Two reputable pocket WIFI companies I know are Skyroam (use coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ) and Vision Global Wireless. WIFI access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day. Using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Both services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
A pocket WIFI device is ideal for those who are traveling with families or multiple individuals. This way, everyone can connect to the device and enjoy the WIFI network on the go. Some companies will charge you per GB while others will give you unlimited data. Be aware of the data restrictions of your device so that you will not receive a high bill after your travels.
Free WIFI connections
Finally, we have the most cost-effective way to stay connected: Free WIFI hotspots.
Most city-centers in Europe have plenty of WIFI hotspots, so it should not be difficult to find one. You may have to register before you can use the connection. Speed can be an issue too, but you will find something that will be useful.
Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. I would recommend using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to an unfamiliar network. The VPN will encrypt your data and will keep your data private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get yours today or find out more about NordVPN.
No matter how big or small the country, there is a SIM card option in every European country. Some SIM cards are cheap, while others are expensive. Some offer attractive bundles, while others do not. Either way, using them will often be cheaper than roaming. Plus, you will have a souvenir when going back home.
What is next?
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Book Your Flight for Europe
It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Europe.
Travel by train within Europe
Europe is known for its world-class intercontinental railway system. Take advantage of this system by getting yourself a EURail or InterRail ticket! EURail and InterRail tickets can, depending on your ticket of choice, allow for unlimited travel to and within participating countries for a set price without having to worry about individual train tickets (except for certain trains that require reservations). Traveling by train is the best way to explore Europe! EURail tickets can be bought by non-European citizens, while InterRail is for European citizens.
Book Your Accommodation for Europe
I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Europe. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a European hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Europe
You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Europe, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.
Get a Travel Debit Card
Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the local currency for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.
Enjoy your trip!