How to buy a SIM Card at Madrid Airport & City Best Plans + Updated Price

Madrid is the vibrant capital city of Spain, known for its rich culture, architecture, food and nightlife. As the transport hub of the country, Madrid Barajas Airport sees over 50 million passengers pass through every year.

If you’re visiting Madrid, having connectivity during your trip is key to making the most of your time there. Getting a local Madrid SIM card for your phone allows you to access maps, translation apps, social media and keep in contact with friends and family back home.

Buying a SIM card at Madrid Airport or in the city is easy, affordable and gives you flexibility during your time in Spain. This guide will outline everything you need to know about getting connected in Madrid.

sim card at madrid airport

I. Should You Buy a SIM Card at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD)?

Madrid Barajas Airport has excellent facilities, with SIM card vendors located in the arrivals area. Purchasing a Spanish SIM card at Madrid airport upon arrival takes the hassle out of sorting your connectivity once you leave the airport.

However, there are also plenty of places to purchase SIM cards around the city center. The main considerations are:

Convenience

  • Buying airside means you have a working SIM as soon as you clear immigration
  • City center stores may require more time and effort to reach

Cost

  • Airport prices are generally more expensive
  • Better value deals available around Madrid city

Choice

  • Major operators and pre-paid SIM cards available airside
  • Wider range of providers and data plans in the city

Overall, purchasing a SIM card at Madrid Airport arrivals hall offers a very convenient option to get connected quickly. But heading into Madrid itself will present you with cheaper deals and more choice.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Madrid-Barajas Airport?

Madrid airport map
Madrid airport map

There are a couple options for buying a SIM card at Madrid Airport:

  • In Terminal 1 (T1), you can purchase a SIM card from the Betel phone store located between 10am and 7pm.
SIM card from the Betel phone store
SIM card from the Betel phone store
  • In Terminals 2, 3 and 4 South (T2, T3, T4S), the WH Smith shop sells SIM cards and is conveniently located in each terminal. They are open early from 5:45am until late at 7:30pm.
The Market convenience store on the ground floor
The Market convenience store on the ground floor
  • For travelers in Terminal 4 (T4), you can find SIM cards at The Market convenience store on the ground floor. It is open from 8am to 8pm.
  • Another option in T4 is Tienda del Viajero, located on the 2nd floor in the departures area. It sells SIM cards and is open daily from 6:30am to 11pm, though times may vary during holidays.

You may consider ordering a SIM card online from providers like Spain Internet or Canary Islands Spain Internet and having it delivered to your hotel. This removes the airport markups but you need to plan ahead.

III. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Madrid Airport – Registration Process

What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Madrid Airport
What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Madrid Airport

Purchasing a SIM card as a foreign tourist visiting Spain requires:

Identification

  • Valid passport or government-issued photo ID

Registration

  • By law, SIM card must be registered to your passport
  • Requires filling out a registration form

Payment

  • Most major credit/debit cards accepted
  • Cash also widely accepted

Top-up credit once you're downtown or in shopping areas, not at the airport, as top-ups there will also likely be more expensive. Carrefour markets are recommended as a safe option.

Overall the process only takes a few minutes. Being prepared with the above makes it quick and hassle-free to get connected on arrival into Madrid.

IV. Best Tourist Madrid Airport SIM Cards Options and Price

The main Spain network operators like Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo have prepaid SIM cards designed for tourists on sale at MAD Airport.

Some of the best options include:

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

All provide generous data allowances lasting 2-3 weeks for most tourists, with options to add more later if needed. 

Tip: Activate a data package as soon as possible, as without a package rates can be as high as €0.60/10MB on some operators like Orange.

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

Spain eSIM by Gigago
Spain eSIM by Gigago

Instead of buying a prepaid SIM card at the airport in Spain, travelers can purchase a Gigago eSIM which is a digital SIM card installed directly on eSIM-compatible phones.

Gigago offers prepaid data-only eSIM plans for Spain that include:

  • Coverage on the reliable Orange network across Spain
  • Plans with validity periods ranging from 3-30 days and data allowances from 300MB per day up to 50GB
  • Instant activation - no registration required
  • Data-only plans so WhatsApp, FaceTime, and other messaging/calling apps can be used over WiFi or mobile data
  • Ability to tether/use as a mobile hotspot included on most plans
  • 24/7 support via WhatsApp

Gigago’s Spain eSIM plans are a convenient option for travelers, providing connectivity in Spain without needing to purchase a local SIM. The prepaid data plans start from $5 for short trips and offer great value versus using roaming plans with your home provider.

For Spain, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 3 days with $3.50 . What is great about Gigago’s Spain eSIM is that its plans’ costs are diversifying, varying between $3.50$125.98 . 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.

VI. Where to Buy a SIM card Outside Madrid Airport?

Where to Buy a SIM card Outside Madrid Airport
Where to Buy a SIM card Outside Madrid Airport

When venturing beyond the airport in Madrid, you’ll find a wider variety of options for snagging a SIM card, often at better prices than those offered within the terminals. Here’s a breakdown of different locations and what you can expect:

Official Carrier Stores:

Visit the official stores of major mobile providers such as Movistar, Vodafone, and Orange to purchase a SIM card tailored to your needs. You can also order a SIM card directly from their websites and have it shipped to any Spanish address for a small fee.

Phone Stores:

  • The Phone House: This chain store has several locations in Madrid and sells prepaid SIM cards from various carriers like Orange, Vodafone, and Yoigo. They often have promotional deals and bundles with phones. 
  • MovilZona: Similar to The Phone House, MovilZona offers a wide range of prepaid SIM cards and can help you choose the best one for your needs. 

Kiosks and Newsstands:

  • Sol Kiosko: Located in the heart of Madrid near Puerta del Sol, this iconic kiosk sells prepaid SIM cards from Orange and Vodafone. Convenient for a quick grab on the go. 
  • Kiosco Gran Vía 51: Another centrally located kiosk on Gran Vía, offering prepaid SIM cards from various carriers like Yoigo and MásMóvil. 

Department stores like El Corte Inglés and MediaMarkt also have phone sections where you can buy SIM cards, especially near travel-related departments.

VII. FAQs about Buying a SIM Card at Madrid Airport

Can I use eSIM/Dual SIM?

Yes – major operator SIM cards work on Dual SIM + eSIM phone models. Alternative options like Gigago Spain eSIM also available.

How long does the SIM card registration process take?

Just 5-10 minutes. You will fill in a simple form and provide passport for proof of ID. Know your duration of stay too.

Do the SIM cards have unlimited data?

Most tourist SIM card plans have a fixed data allowance, after which you can purchase a top-up. Options like Gigago Spain eSIM provide unlimited 4G data.

Can I use the SIM card across Europe?

Standard EU roaming is included with Spanish SIM cards, allowing you to use call/text/data allowances when traveling across Europe. Some add-ons provide global coverage too.

VIII. Conclusion

Getting connected with a SIM card in Madrid is quick and easy, whether you pickup at the airport or in the city.

Heading into the city itself presents cheaper deals and greater choice of providers. While El Corte Inglés, Gran Via and Plaza del Callao are go-to destinations for sourcing the best SIM card options for tourists.

Finally, don’t overlook eSIM alternatives like Gigago Spain eSIM that can instantly provide unlimited data both in Spain and globally.

So review all options and choose the right plan to stay connected on your Madrid trip!