Guide to Buy a SIM Card at Portugal Airports

Do you want to stay connected right after landing in Portugal? Having a local SIM card at Portugal airports for your phone is important to have a great trip. In this guide, we will provide information on getting a SIM card at Portugal airports. You’ll get things about where to buy, how to get a SIM card at Portugal airport,.. to choose the right one.

Guide to buy a sim carrd at Portugal airports
Guide to buy a sim carrd at Portugal airports

I. Portugal Airport Map

Portugal airports map
Portugal airports map

Portugal has over 40 airports throughout the country. The main international airports are:

  • Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS)
  • Porto Francisco de Sá Carneiro Airport (OPO)
  • Faro Airport (FAO)

Here is a table with the IATA and ICAO codes for Portugal’s main airports:

AirportIATA CodeICAO Code
Lisbon Portela AirportLISLPPT
Porto Francisco de Sá Carneiro AirportOPOLPPR
Faro AirportFAOLPFR

These 3 airports handle the majority of international flights into Portugal. Lisbon and Porto airports also connect to Portugal’s islands like Madeira and Azores.

II. List of Portugal Border Gates

List of Portugal Border Gates
List of Portugal Border Gates

Portugal has border crossings with its neighbor Spain. The main border crossings used by tourists driving into Portugal are:

  • Caia-Badajoz (from Madrid/Spain)
  • Valença-Tuy (from Northern Spain/Galicia)
  • Castro Marim-Ayamonte (from Huelva/Seville, Spain)

Some other minor crossings are Vila Verde de Raia, Quintanilha, Vilar Formoso.

Tourists arriving by land into Portugal often come from Spain through these main border crossings. Getting a local Portuguese SIM card can be done after entering at these borders.

III. How to Get a SIM Card at Portugal Airports

How to Get a SIM Card at Portugal Airports
How to Get a SIM Card at Portugal Airports

When you arrive at Lisbon, Porto or Faro international airports in Portugal, you can easily find SIM card by following these steps below:

  • Step 1: Identify SIM card kiosks or stores at the airport upon arrival. The major airports like Lisbon and Porto will have kiosks for carriers like Vodafone, NOS, MEO.
  • Step 2: Check what plans and packages are available in terms of data amounts and validity periods. Popular options include 1 week, 2 weeks and 1 month packages.
  • Step 3: Choose your plan based on how much data you need and length of stay. Consider costs of calls/texts if needed. Staff can advise you.
  • Step 4: Present your passport for verification of identity and temporary residence in Portugal. This is a legal requirement.
  • Step 5: Pay for your chosen SIM package by cards or cash, most accept major credit/debit cards. Some kiosks offer online registration too.
  • Step 6: Insert your new SIM into your unlocked phone to activate. Ensure mobile data is switched on in settings.
  • Step 7: Use the provided activation instructions to start using data, calls and texts right away on the Portuguese network.

Portugal’s major airports have multiple options via vending machines, stores and kiosks to buy a local SIM card quickly after arrival. Below are the main major airports of Portugal which you can buy SIM card from:

IV. Should I Buy a SIM Card at Portugal Airports?

Should I Buy a SIM Card at Portugal Airports?
Should I Buy a SIM Card at Portugal Airports?

Many tourists choose to buy a SIM card at Portugal airports right after landing. Besides, there are a lot of ways to buy a SIM card instead of this traditional way

1. Advantages and Disadvantages of Portugal Airport SIM cards

Below is a comparison table summarizing the key pros and cons when buying SIM card at Portugal airport:

Convenient to get connected right away on arrival without needing to travel elsewhere. Kiosks located landside before customs.Limited time to research plans and options before purchasing. May not get the best value if buying without preparation.
Can consult staff who speak multiple languages for assistance.Airports often charge a small premium on SIM card prices compared to buying in town.
Wide selection of plans from major carriers with data options for short and long stays.Busy airports mean long queues are possible during peak travel periods.
No delivery wait times – activate your SIM instantly.Limited options for changing or returning plans after buying if needs change unexpectedly.

In summary, airports are very convenient for “grab and go” SIMs with instant connection. But taking some time to research plan options and prices online beforehand allows finding the best value, which may be at a local carrier store downtown instead.

2. Alternative Options to Portugal Airport SIM cards

If you decide not to get a SIM card at Portugal airports, what are the alternatives? Here are some options:

Buy SIM card in cityLower prices, more choicesNeed WiFi or data to get into city first
Rental WiFi hotspot/SIMConvenient, no purchase neededHigher costs, data limits may apply
Use existing SIM with roamingNo new SIM to buyVery high roaming charges unless special package
Use eSIM like GIGAGO eSIMPurchase online, no plastic SIMFlexible data packages availableRequires eSIM compatible device

In summary, buying a SIM card in the city, renting a hotspot, roaming or using an eSIM are alternatives to consider instead of buying at the airport.

V. GIGAGO Portugal eSIM – Alternative To Getting a SIM card at Portugal Airports

GIGAGO Portugal eSIM - Alternative To Getting a SIM card

GIGAGO is an established eSIM provider that offers mobile data connectivity in over 190 countries globally, including Portugal. Here are some key benefits of using the GIGAGO eSIM service for travel in Portugal:

Key Benefits

  • Compatible Phones – GIGAGO eSIM works on iPhones and many newer Android models. Check their website for device compatibility.
  • Coverage – GIGAGO provides connectivity through local provider like Vodafone Portugal. Speeds up to 4G/LTE available depending on your phone.
  • Plans – Portugal data packages like 1GB for 3 days, 500MB for 1 week, 2GB for 2 weeks etc. Multiple plan durations and amounts to customize length and data needs.
  • Europe coverage – use your plan’s data allowance in all 50+ European countries
  • Easy setup – download eSIM profile and activate in minutes on your phone
  • Local connectivity – high-speed data on local Portuguese networks
  • Customer support – email, chat phone support in English available

For Portugal, Gigago offers multiple data plan options, starting from 1 GB for 3 days with $3.00 . What is great about Gigago’s Portugal 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 Portugal, there is always an option for you with Gigago.

In conclusion, GIGAGO delivers flexible Portugal eSIM data connectivity that’s easy to setup directly on your phone, without the need for buying local plastic SIM cards.


Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about getting a SIM card in Portugal:

What documents do I need to buy a SIM card at Portugal Airports?

You typically only need your passport to purchase a prepaid Portuguese SIM card. Some stores may ask for additional ID or registration details.

Can I use my eSIM such as GIGAGO in Portugal?

Yes, eSIMs like GIGAGO work in Portugal as they provide high-speed data through local carrier networks. eSIMs make getting online easy without physical SIM cards.

Do all mobile phones work with SIM card at Portugal Airports?

Most modern unlocked phones will work, including iPhones and newer Android/Samsung models. Older devices may not be compatible with local 4G LTE bands in Portugal.

What’s the best Portuguese provider for a SIM card?

Popular options are Vodafone, NOS and MEO who have stores across airports and cities. Compare plans as prices and coverage varies.

What languages do SIM card store staff speak?

English level can vary. Airport stores likely have better English, while smaller city stores may only have Portuguese speakers. Pointing or Google Translate can help overcome language barriers.

How can I recharge/top-up my SIM card credit?

You can recharge your SIM card online via your provider account, or visit stores and kiosks that sell top-up vouchers you scratch off and enter the code.

VII. Conclusion

When getting a SIM card at Portugal airports like Lisbon and Porto is convenient but can be more expensive than buying eSIM before travel. Alternatives like eSIM service GIGAGO allow fast connectivity without the need to buy separate SIMs. With various options now available, travelers can stay connected throughout their visit with minimal hassle or language barriers.