Barcelona is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. With its beautiful architecture, vibrant culture, and lively atmosphere, it’s no wonder why millions flock here every year.
Having cellular data during your Barcelona trip is extremely handy for using maps, translation apps, and staying connected. Getting a local SIM card in Barcelona ensures you have constant data access without expensive roaming fees.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about buying a SIM card at Barcelona Airport (BCN) and in the city.
I. Should You Buy a SIM Card at Barcelona Airport (BCN)?
Purchasing a SIM card upon arrival at Barcelona El Prat Airport is incredibly convenient. However, there are a few things to consider beforehand:
SIM cards are readily available at the airport, but they tend to be overpriced compared to purchasing from an operator’s store or MVNO retailer elsewhere in Barcelona.
However, the convenience factor may outweigh the higher price.
Airport kiosks will have fewer options from carriers compared to stores in the city. You may have more choices of data plans, sizes, etc. if you wait until in Barcelona.
Length of stay
If only staying a few days, an airport SIM is fine. But for a longer trip of a week or more, you may save significant money buying a SIM with a pre-paid plan in Barcelona instead.
Overall, an airport SIM is very convenient for short stays where you need connectivity right away upon arrival. But it’s usually cheaper to wait until in the city if you have time. Consider your needs and decide between immediate access vs potentially lower long-term cost.
II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Barcelona – El Prat Airport?
There are two main options available to purchase a SIM card with data at Barcelona Airport to stay connected during your visit to Spain:
Tech & Fly Stores:
- Tech & Fly has stores located in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 of the airport.
- The stores offer SIM cards from Spain’s largest network providers – Orange, Vodafone and Movistar.
- They stock starter packs of prepaid SIM cards that come with data allocations ranging from 1GB to 100GB, depending on the package.
- Tech & Fly stores are clearly signposted after passengers exit customs and baggage claim in both terminals.
- Additionally, Relay also sells SIM cards within the airport premises. It has multiple retail stores located on the first floor of Terminal 1.
- Like Tech & Fly, Relay provides prepaid SIM cards from major Spanish carriers with varying data bundles.
- It offers a convenient alternative location within Terminal 1 for passengers to purchase SIMs.
Both Tech & Fly and Relay stores accept cash and credit/debit cards as payment. Staff also speak English to assist international travelers.
III. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Barcelona – El Prat Airport – Registration Process
Make sure to switch on data roaming and check the correct APN settings for the SIM card network before using data abroad. The article provides APN settings for most providers.
When purchasing a SIM card in Barcelona, there is some registration and verification required by Spanish law. Here is what you need to prepare:
Have Your Passport Available
- To combat terrorism and criminal activity, Spain requires registering the purchase of all SIM cards.
- At Barcelona El Prat Airport, shops will register cards efficiently using details in your passport like name, passport number, nationality, etc.
- Ensure your passport is easily accessible when buying an airport SIM card to streamline this process.
Possibly Extra Identity Verification Steps
- For some SIM card providers, purchasing a SIM card may require some additional identity verification via SMS text or smartphone app.
- You may need to provide more details, upload images of your passport, or submit a selfie for a face match. It’s an annoying extra step but likely unavoidable.
- If buying from a physical shop, employees can guide you through any additional verification needed via mobile apps. Be prepared for this possibility.
IV. Tourist SIM Card at Barcelona Airport – Best Options and Price
The best SIM card options for travelers at Barcelona El Prat Airport are:
|Orange Holidays Pass 5
|50 mins to Spain & others
|Orange Holidays Pass 15
|100 mins to Spain & others
|Vodafone Prepago S
|300 mins in Spain
|Vodafone Prepago M
|Unlimited in Spain
|Movistar Prepago Plus
|Unlimited in Spain
|Movistar Prepago Premium
|Unlimited in Spain
|Unlimited in Spain
|Unlimited in Spain
The Orange Holidays and Vodafone prepaid packages provide the best value for tourists visiting Barcelona who will use moderate to high amounts of data during their trip. They offer generous data bundles, local call minutes as well as ability to use the SIM like a local within EU countries.
The Movistar and Lycamobile options also deliver good value if you need a backup SIM for light usage.
V. Spain eSIM by GIGAGO – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Barcelona Airport
If you’d rather not deal with finding and registering a physical SIM card, there is another option – using an eSIM for connectivity instead. Here’s an overview:
What is an eSIM?
An eSIM is an electronic or digital SIM card downloaded via QR code to your phone. There is no physical plastic SIM card required. Setting up an eSIM just takes a few minutes.
Advantages of eSIM over Physical SIM
- Convenience – Skip queues and paperwork at SIM retailers in the airport
- Flexibility – Change plans or cancel anytime without returning SIM cards
- Compatibility – Use dual SIM functionality with both eSIM + physical SIM
Introducing GIGAGO Spain eSIM
One excellent eSIM choice in Barcelona specifically is provided by GIGAGO, offering prepaid data eSIMs with these highlights:
- Reliable coverage on the Orange network nationwide
- Affordable daily and weekly data packages starting from $3.50
- Easy online signup & activation through website & app
- Dual SIM mode allows using local SIM card simultaneously
Spain eSIM Data Plan Options
Whether you need just a few days of light browsing or full high-speed access for an extended stay, Gigago has you covered:
- 300MB/Day: Sufficient for maps and messaging for 7 days at $5
- 1GB/Day: Enjoy social media and streaming for 10 days at $10
- 3GB for 7 Days: Plenty for navigation and photos at $12
- 10GB for 15 Days: Perfect for moderate use for 15 days at $15
- 15GB for 30 Days: High-speed data for a month at $18
Activate Your Spain eSIM Before You Go
Order, install and activate your plan before landing for effortless internet access from arrival. Say goodbye to SIM shopping―just focus on your Spanish adventures!
VI. Where to Buy a SIM Card Outside Barcelona Airport?
Keep documentation like the SIM package in case you need to reference purchase details or account numbers later.
If you want to skip the slightly inflated SIM card prices at Barcelona Airport, there are plenty of options to buy downtown as well:
- Mobile phone stores: Major mobile carriers like Vodafone, Movistar, and Orange have stores throughout the city where you can purchase a SIM card. Look for them in shopping centers, metro stations, and downtown areas.
- Electronics stores: Large electronics retailers like MediaMarkt, FNAC, and The Phone House sell various prepaid SIM cards from different providers.
- Convenience stores: Local convenience chains like Minipreço and Chino tend to have a small selection of SIM cards available.
- Online: You can buy SIM cards online from carrier websites or through retailers, then pick them up in-store once in Barcelona to avoid postal delays.
- Mobile kiosks: Look for street kiosks and vendors around tourist areas like Las Ramblas, Plaça Catalunya, and Barceloneta beach that sell SIM cards on the spot.
In essence, the best place to buy cheap SIM cards in Barcelona is downtown at carrier flagship stores or electronics shops. But Barcelona El Prat Airport also offers convenience if you need connectivity right upon arrival.
VII. FAQs about Buying a SIM Card at Barcelona Airport
Do I need to show my passport when buying a SIM card at Barcelona Airport?
Yes, you need to show your passport at the point of purchase as SIM card registration is required by law in Spain. Shops at the airport will register cards efficiently using passport details.
Can I buy a SIM card at Barcelona airport arrivals late at night?
Most SIM card provider shops are open from early morning to late in the evening. If arriving very late, you can also purchase SIM cards from vending machines. However, vending machine stock is limited to main carriers only.
Is there good 4G/LTE coverage with Spain SIM cards?
Yes, providers like Vodafone, Orange, and Yoigo have excellent extensive 4G networks across Barcelona and most of Spain. The only exception might be a few remote rural areas.
Do eSIMs work the same as regular SIM cards?
Yes, an eSIM provides the exact same cellular and data connectivity service as a regular physical SIM card. The only difference is eSIMs are configured digitally and do not require a SIM chip.
Can I use dual SIM mode with an eSIM + physical SIM?
Absolutely, having an eSIM like Gigago supports using dual SIM mode. You can have the eSIM data plan active plus a separate local SIM for calls/texts – very convenient.
Getting a SIM card at Barcelona Airport upon arrival makes it incredibly easy to stay connected straight away as a tourist. While airport prices are slightly higher, the convenience factor is well worth it.
The top recommended providers at BCN airport are Vodafone and Lycamobile for reliable connectivity around Spain. Also, consider the Gigago Spain eSIM as a convenient alternative to a physical SIM card.
Whichever Barcelona SIM card you choose, you’ll stay maximally connected through your trip with data access, location services, maps, and more!