How to Buy a SIM Card at Barcelona Airport & City Best Plans + Updated Price

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.

sim card at barcelona airport

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. How to get a SIM Card at Barcelona Airport (BCN)?

You can choose some options to buy a SIM card at Barcelona airport (BCN):

  • Purchase Upon Arrival: Buy a SIM card from kiosks or shops in the arrival area. This allows you to compare different plans and prices on the spot, though it might consume some extra time.
  • Pre-Order and Collect at the Airport: Order a SIM card online before your trip and pick it up at a designated counter upon arrival. This option saves time and ensures you have a plan ready to use immediately.
  • Opt for an eSIM (if Compatible): If your phone supports eSIM, go for this option. You can activate it digitally using a QR code or an app, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Barcelona – El Prat Airport?

Where to Buy a SIM Card at Barcelona - El Prat Airport?
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 map store at BCN airport
Tech & Fly map store at BCN airport
  • 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.
  • Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Relay Stores:

Relay map store at terminal 1 at BCN airport
Relay map store at terminal 1 at BCN airport
  • 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.
  • Opening hours: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Both Tech & Fly and Relay stores accept cash and credit/debit cards as payment. Staff also speak English to assist international travelers. 

III. Do SIM card shops at BCN airport open after midnight?

No, SIM card shops at BCN Airport usually close by midnight. Although the airport operates 24/7, most shops and services, including SIM card kiosks, shut down around 10 PM to midnight.

As a result, if your flight arrives late at night, these stores will likely be closed, and you won’t be able to buy a SIM card immediately. To avoid this inconvenience, it’s recommended to plan ahead by either pre-ordering a SIM card online or opting for an eSIM, provided your phone supports it.

III. Tourist SIM Card at Barcelona Airport – Best Options and Price

Vodafone plan data for tourists to Spain
Vodafone plan data for tourists to Spain

The best SIM card options for travelers at Barcelona El Prat Airport are: Orange, Vodafone, Movistar and Yoigo.

SIM CardData ProvidedCall MinutesValidityPrice (EUR)Price (US$)
Orange Holidays Pass 530GB50 mins to Spain & others5 days€15~ $16.3
Orange Holidays Pass 1560GB100 mins to Spain & others25 days€25~ $27.2
Vodafone Prepago S25GB300 mins in Spain28 days€10~ $10.9
Vodafone Prepago M50GBUnlimited in Spain28 days€15~ $16.3
Movistar Prepago Plus10GBUnlimited in Spain30 days€10~ $10.9
Movistar Prepago Premium20GBUnlimited in Spain30 days€15~ $16.3
Lebara200MBUnlimited in Spain30 days€7~ $7.6
Lycamobile1GBUnlimited in Spain30 days€10~ $10.9

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.

IV. 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.

What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Barcelona - El Prat Airport
What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Barcelona – El Prat Airport

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.

V. Spain eSIM by GIGAGO – an Alternative to Prepaid SIM Card at Barcelona Airport

Spain eSIM by GIGAGO - an Alternative
Spain eSIM by GIGAGO – an Alternative

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 $3.00  
  • Easy online signup & activation through website & app
  • Dual SIM mode allows using local SIM card simultaneously

Spain eSIM Data Plan Options

Spain eSIM by Gigago
Spain eSIM by Gigago

For Spain, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 3 days with $3.00 . Gigago’s Spain eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $3.00$95.90 . Thus, it does not matter how Internet users you are and how long your trip is in Spain, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

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.

VIII. Conclusion

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!