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

When traveling to Portugal, having access to mobile data is key for using maps, translations, rideshares, and more. Purchasing a local Porto SIM card can often be the most affordable way to get connected. This guide covers everything you need to know about getting a SIM card at Porto’s airport (OPO) or around the city.

sim card at porto airport

I. Should You Buy a SIM Card at Porto Airport (OPO)?

Deciding whether or not to buy your SIM card at the airport vs. in the city depends on your priorities:

Yes – Buy at Porto Airport

  • Convenience: Skip having to find a store in an unfamiliar city
  • Immediate activation: Connect to the internet right after landing
  • Variety of options: Choose from multiple providers

No – Wait to Buy in Porto City

  • Cheaper prices: Airport shops often charge higher prices
  • More shop options: More providers and plans available in the city
  • Avoid queues: Long lines at airport stores during peak arrival times

In summary, buying at the airport is best for convenience and ensuring connectivity upon arrival. Venturing into the city may offer cheaper rates and more plan variety, but requires more effort.

II. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Porto Airport

If you decide to buy your SIM card at Porto Airport (OPO), here are the main ways to purchase:

1. Online Purchase for Airport Pickup

  • Limited providers: Only a few providers like Vodafone allow online purchase for airport pickup
  • How it works: Order a SIM card online in advance, then collect from the airport shop upon arrival
  • What to bring: Passport, payment confirmation email, unlocked phone
  • Cost: Varies, can be cheaper than in-person airport rates

Pros

  • Avoid queues at the airport shop
  • Convenient, fast pickup process

Cons

  • Selection more limited than in-airport shops
  • Risk of pickup delays or issues

2. In-Person Purchase Upon Arrival

Located in the departure area of Terminal 2, the Vodafone store sells prepaid SIM cards with data plans. They offer reliable coverage throughout Portugal.

Papelaria DIVERS – This newspaper/magazine shop located inside the non-public areas of the airport terminals sells LycaMobile SIM cards. It’s not visible from the arrival gates so you’ll need to ask for directions.

Loja CTT – The Portuguese postal service CTT has a shop after passport control in Terminal 2 where you can find some SIM brands like LycaMobile.

The Portuguese postal service CTT has a shop after passport control in Terminal 2 where you can find some SIM brands like LycaMobile.

For those connecting onward flights, it’s best to purchase your SIM card in Porto city once you collect your luggage. Near the airport, stores like Vodafone and MEO in the shopping centers in Maia municipality have reliable stock.

The LycaMobile and Vodafone options available inside Porto Airport offer a convenient purchase on arrival. But for more choice of plans, it may be better to take a taxi to stores near the airport exits once you clear customs controls.

III. What to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Porto Airport

To ensure a smooth SIM card purchasing and activation process at Porto Airport, prepare the following:

Registration Documentation

You will need to fill out registration papers and show your:

  • Passport
  • Proof of address (hotel confirmation)

Forms of Payment Accepted

Have ready:

  • Cash (Euros)
  • Credit card
  • Debit card

Phone Unlocking

Make sure your phone:

  • Is unlocked to accept a foreign SIM card
  • Has battery charged to activate the new SIM

Compare mobile plans ahead of time to have provider and pricing details ready when you reach the kiosk. Peak arrival times often have long queues, so research beforehand allows for quicker purchasing.

IV. Best Tourist SIM Card at Porto Airport – Options & Cost

The Vodafone Travelers SIM card costs 20 EUR and includes 10GB data, 500 minutes/SMS, and 30 international minutes/SMS to EU/EEA countries valid for 30 days.
  • The Vodafone Travelers SIM card costs 20 EUR and includes 10GB data, 500 minutes/SMS, and 30 international minutes/SMS to EU/EEA countries valid for 30 days.
  • The Vodafone Go Total SIM card costs 30 EUR and includes “unlimited data” at speeds of up to 50Mbps (throttled to 10Mbps for over 200GB usage) valid for 30 days. This SIM has local use only without roaming.

More options like Lycamobile available at kiosks with cheaper local prepaid plans. But those require providing a Portuguese tax ID.

The SIM card prices mentioned in the guide were current at the time of the author's visit to Portugal and may have changed since then. 

V. Portugal eSIM for Porto – An Alternative

Portugal eSIM for Porto - An Alternative

Instead of a plastic SIM card, an eSIM (or e-SIM) is a digital SIM profile installed directly on your phone.

Advantages of eSIM

  • Easy online signup, no airport queues
  • Flexible plans, more provider options
  • Dual SIM functionality – use local data alongside your regular number
We recommend GIGAGO eSIMs for travel in Portugal

We recommend GIGAGO eSIMs for travel in Portugal. Some eSIM options you can choose from only $5 for 300MB/day valid in 3 days.

Our tourist eSIMs provide medium-term plans at reasonable rates compared to airport SIMs. Sign up online and activate even before departure. 

Just make sure your phone supports eSIM functionality - newer iPhones all the way back to iPhone XS/XR and newer Samsung S22/Flip/Fold models support eSIM profiles.

VI. Where to Buy SIM Cards in Porto City Outside the Airport

Purchasing your prepaid SIM card from local provider shops around Porto can offer cheaper rates compared to the airport.

What to Prepare

You’ll still need to provide:

  • Passport
  • Proof of accommodations
  • Payment in cash or card

Where to Shop for Porto SIM Cards

MEO, Vodafone, and NOS are the three major mobile operators in Portugal, and they all have their own stores in Porto

Major carriers have stores located conveniently around city centers:

MEO, Vodafone, and NOS are the three major mobile operators in Portugal, and they all have their own stores in Porto. These stores offer the widest selection of SIM cards and plans, and the staff can help you choose the right one for your needs. You can find MEO, Vodafone, and NOS stores throughout the city center, as well as in many shopping malls.

you can usually find basic prepaid plans from the major operators

Convenience stores and supermarkets: 

Many convenience stores and supermarkets in Porto also sell SIM cards. The selection may be more limited than at a mobile operator store, but you can usually find basic prepaid plans from the major operators. Some popular convenience stores and supermarkets that sell SIM cards include Pingo Doce, Minipreço, and Continente.

We’d recommend visiting a central city supermarket like Continente Bom Dia or Pingo Doce store to conveniently compare rates and purchase SIMs.

Notice:

  • Bring your passport: You will need to show your passport to register the SIM card.
  • Choose the right plan: There are a variety of prepaid SIM card plans available, with different amounts of data, calls, and texts. Choose a plan that fits your needs and budget.
  • Check the coverage: Make sure the SIM card you choose has good coverage in the areas you will be visiting.

VII. FAQs About Getting a SIM Card at Porto Airport

Can I use a SIM card from another EU country?

Yes, “Roam Like Home” rules allow you to roam in Portugal for up to 2 months per year with no extra roaming fees. But local SIMs offer cheaper data rates.

Can I use eSIM and regular SIM together?

Yes, dual SIM phones like newer iPhones let you have both a physical SIM and eSIM activated simultaneously. Useful for keeping your home number active.

Do Portuguese SIM cards work in other countries?

Typically no – Portuguese prepaid SIMs only include domestic usage. But some carriers offer Euro roaming passes. Check your plan terms.

Do I need to show ID/passport to get a SIM card?

Yes, you need show your valid passport for the mandatory SIM card registration laws in Portugal.

Can I top up or cancel my Portugal SIM card remotely?

Yes, most major operator SIMs can be managed using your online account dashboard or mobile apps after your initial in-person registration.

VIII. Conclusion

In summary, purchasing a Portugal SIM card for your trip is easy either at Porto Airport shops or around the city. Compare your telecom usage needs and budget to pick the best location and plan. Options like eSIM may offer added convenience for shorter trips as well. Either way, a local SIM will ensure constant connectivity through your devices.