MEO SIM Cards & eSIM for Tourists How to Get and Activate

Having a working phone is essential when visiting Portugal, so getting a local SIM card or eSIM is important. MEO is one of the main telecommunications providers in Portugal. This guide will provide information on MEO, why it’s a good option for travelers, the best MEO connectivity choices, where to buy MEO SIM cards and eSIM plans, how to activate and use them, and other key details tourists need to know.

I. Quick Facts about MEO

MEO SIM card and eSIM featured image
MEO SIM card and eSIM featured image

MEO is a leading mobile and internet provider in Portugal with excellent nationwide coverage. Below are some quick facts about the company:

  • Found year: 2007 (current company formed)
  • Full Name: MEO – Serviços de Comunicações e Multimédia S.A
  • Services: Mobile plans, home internet, TV, landline, smart home, Fiber Optic, ADSL, Satellite TV
  • Subscribers: Over 4 million
  • Coverage: Covers Portugal nationwide through fiber optic, ADSL, satellite and mobile networks
  • Stores and Agents: Over 300 MEO stores and 2,500+ agents nationwide
  • Customer Support: Phone, chat, social media in Portuguese and English 24/7

With widespread 4G/LTE coverage even in rural areas, good speeds, and competitive pricing, MEO is a great option for tourists visiting Portugal. 

II. Why MEO When Traveling Portugal – Coverage and Speed

1. MEO Coverage in Portugal

MEO Portugal coverage
MEO Portugal coverage map (Source: nPerf)

MEO has over 9% population coverage across Portugal including islands like Madeira and Azores. It covers major cities/tourist areas as well as rural regions and highways.

  • MEO trailed NOS and Vodafone with lower overall availability of 96.6% of time.
  • Its 5G availability of 11.2% of time was the lowest of the three operators.

MEO has strong penetration indoors/underground with good speeds thanks to ample 4G/LTE spectrum holdings. Even in remote areas, MEO users can stay connected. 

2. MEO Speed

Mobile operators speed in Portugal
Mobile operators speed map in Portugal (Source: OpenSignal)

According to Opensignal and ANACOM speed tests, MEO offers:

  • MEO won the 5G download speed award outright with the highest score of 306.4 Mbps.
  • Its average download speed of 49.1 Mbps was still very good overall, second only to NOS.
  • Average Upload Speed: 11.1 Mbps
  • MEO was joint winner in some experience categories as well.

So speeds are fairly fast for streaming, web browsing, using maps/transport apps and making VoIP calls. MEO network allows HD video streaming and lag-free gaming without any issues for tourists exploring Portugal.

III. What are the Best Connectivity Options of MEO for Travelers to Portugal?

Here are some of the main ways tourists can use MEO services during their trip:

  • MEO SIM Card: Buy a Portugal SIM card at MEO stores to use in an unlocked phone
  • Pocket Wifi/Mobile Hotspot: Rent a MEO mobile hotspot to connect multiple devices like laptops, tablets etc.
  • Roaming: Enable roaming on your home mobile plan to use MEO network
Connectivity OptionsProsCons
MEO SIM CardCheap, easy to getOnly works in one unlocked phone
Pocket Wifi/Mobile HotspotConnect 5-10 devices, portableExpensive to rent, battery life limitations
RoamingUse own number, seamless, free in Europe areaVery expensive, risk of bill shock

Getting a prepaid MEO SIM card is easiest and most affordable option for individual tourists to stay connected through their Portugal trip.

IV. Best MEO SIM Cards for Tourists & Cost

MEO SIM card and eSIM
MEO SIM card and eSIM

Here are some of the best tourist MEO SIM card plans:

MEO SIM PlanPrice (per week)DataValidityCalling Mins
MEO Prepaid SIM 1GB€3.8 EUR – $4.2 USD1GB1 month500 minutes/sms
MEO Prepaid SIM 3GB€4.6 EUR – $5 USD3GB1 month500 minutes/sms
MEO Prepaid SIM 5GB€5.4 EUR – $6 USD5GB1 month500 minutes/sms


  • No contracts or commitments required
  • Plans include free incoming calls/texts
  • SIM cards compatible with unlocked phones
  • Top-up to extend validity & balances
  • Maximum download speeds of 300 Mbps

MEO tourist SIMs provide ample data and minutes for short and long vacations, available at stores across Portugal, Portugal airports and online through other providers’ websites. 

V. Does MEO Support eSIM in Portugal?

Yes, MEO launched eSIM support in 2020. MEO postpaid and some prepaid plans now come with eSIM option. With eSIMs, you don’t need to physically insert a plastic SIM card. The plans get directly downloaded and activated on compatible phones and smart watches.

A good option for you if you want to connect internet right after landing in Portugal is setting up eSIM. While MEO offers decent eSIM options, considering tourists often prefer flexibility and ease of purchase, we would recommend exploring eSIMs from GIGAGO. Here’s why:

  • Variety of packages: GIGAGO offers diverse eSIM packages for Portugal, ranging from small data allocations to unlimited data with varying validity periods. You can choose based on your needs and budget.
  • Convenience: Purchase and activation occur entirely online, eliminating the need to visit a physical store.
  • Multiple operators: GIGAGO partners with multiple operators in Portugal, ensuring wide network coverage and potentially better deals.
  • Competitive pricing: Often, GIGAGO offers competitive pricing eSIM plans including MEO.

For Portugal, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 3 days with $3.50 . What is great about Gigago’s Portugal 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 Portugal, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on your individual needs and preferences. If convenience and flexible data packages are your priorities, GIGAGO is a strong contender. 

VI. Where to Buy a MEO SIM card and eSIM?

Here is a look at where you can purchase MEO SIM cards and eSIM when visiting Portugal:

1. Where to Buy MEO SIM Card for Portugal? 

Upon Arrival at Lisbon/Porto Airport: MEO stores available at arrival halls at Lisbon, Porto Airports where you can get new/topup SIM cards.

  • Guide to buy SIM card at Lisbon Airport
  • Guide to buy SIM card at Porto Airport

MEO Stores: Over 300 official stores where tourists can pick up/activate SIM cards. Staff available to assist setting up the plan. 

Other Retailers: Sold at Vodafone, Phone House, FNAC and other partner retailers across Portugal.

fnac retailer
Fnac retailer
Purchase OptionProsCons
Airport StoreConvenient upon arrivalOpening hours may be limited
MEO StoreExpert assistanceStore locations limited
Retail PartnersUbiquitous, quickStaff may lack telco expertise

Buying at airport provides convenience getting connected soon as you land. While MEO stores offer helpful staff. Both options are reliable for tourists getting MEO SIM card.

2. Where to Buy MEO eSIM for Portugal? 

  • MEO Website: MEO eSIM plans can be purchased online by existing customers logging into their account.
  • MEO App: Users can download eSIM via MyMEO app on their phones if already a MEO customer.
  • Third Party Resellers: Companies like GIGAGO allow buying Portugal MEO eSIMs without prior registration.

We recommend using a third party eSIM reseller like GIGAGO as it allows effortless purchase of MEO (and other Portugal carrier) eSIM without needing local registration details. Handy for first-time tourists. Easily set up with a reasonable price, start at only $5.

VII. How to Use and Activate MEO SIM/eSIM in Portugal?

Activating the SIM card or eSIM is quick and easy:

1. How to Use and Activate MEO SIM Card in Portugal?

  1. Insert SIM in Phone: Switch off your phone, open SIM slot, gently slideout home SIM, insert MEO tourist SIM and reboot phone.
  2. Setup Cellular Data: Go to Settings > Mobile Data/Cellular and select MEO SIM. Enable mobile data and turn on data roaming if prompted.
  3. Topup if Needed: Standard SIMs come with some bonus credit. If required, recharge with vouchers sold across Portugal.

2. How to Use and Activate MEO eSIM?

  1. Scan QR Code: If you purchased MEO eSIM card online, scan the QR activation code provided to add plan on phone.
  2. Download Profile: For eSIMs bought via apps, go to profile section and download Portugal MEO profile. Reboot device.
  3. Connect eSIM: Go to Settings > Cellular Data and select the downloaded eSIM profile. Enable mobile data and turn on data roaming.

That’s it! Both SIM card and eSIM should now connect you to high-speed MEO network across Portugal.

VIII. How to Top-up MEO SIM/eSIM

  • Online: Register your SIM card on MEO website or app to recharge using debit/credit card
  • Vouchers: Buy top-up vouchers from any MEO store, kiosks and other retailers across Portugal. Denominations from 5-25 EUR.
  • ATM: You can also recharge using Multi-banco ATMs found all over. Requires local bank card.

Validity will renew automatically whenever you add more credit ensuring connectivity throughout your Portugal visit!

IX. FAQs about MEO in Portugal

Does MEO offer 5G coverage?

Yes, MEO has launched 5G networks in parts of Lisbon, Porto and other big cities with wider rollout by 2025 across Portugal. Speeds up to 1 Gbps!

What is MEO customer service number?

16200 is MEO customer service and support helpline from any phone. You can call 24×7 and English assistance is available.

Can I use MEO SIM in Madeira/Azores?

MEO has excellent voice and data coverage on Madeira/Azores islands. So your Portugal SIM card and plan balances can be seamlessly used while visiting too.

What documents do I need to buy MEO SIM?

Most retailers sell tourist SIMs showing only your passport. Some may require ID card. No registration or tax ID documents are necessary as a foreign travelers.

X. Conclusion

Getting a MEO SIM card and eSIM or MiFi router provides excellent connectivity through your Portugal trip for great value. MEO has outstanding nationwide coverage with fast speeds for internet access, navigation, transport/travel apps, messaging and calls throughout cities as well remote regions.

Their tourist SIM card plans come with generous data and minutes valid for up to 30 days. SIMs can be purchased easily upon arrival or at MEO stores across Portugal with activation done in minutes. Hopefully this guide has provided helpful information for your upcoming Portugal vacation!