This guide will uncover everything you need to know about Spain SIM cards and how to buy the best Spanish prepaid SIM card plans that will allow you to access the Internet and stay connected in Spain with ease.

Spain sim cards for travelers

II. Should You Get a SIM Card in Spain?

Good to know: The cost of mobile data in Spain is low. 

Can tourists get a SIM card in Spain?

Yes, tourists can get SIM cards for Spain without restrictions to access mobile data services during your stay. 

Tourists DO NOT NEED to sign any contracts or provide any extensive identification documents like passports when buying prepaid SIM cards from major Spain mobile internet providers. Basic personal details like names may be enough.

Should you get a SIM card for Spain travel?

Yes, again. 

In fact, there are many options to having mobile internet in Spain, but getting a SIM card for Spain is one of the easiest ways for travelers. 

Let’s dig into other options:

  • Data roaming: it is expensive 
  • Pocket WiFi: it is easy to lose the device and the insurance for the pocket WiFi is expensive. 
  • Free WiFi: slow speed, unstable coverage, high risks of losing personal information.
  • An embedded SIM card (virtual, digital SIM): convenient but requires eSIM-supported mobile devices.

Each way has its own pros and cons. But, SIM cards / eSIM (if your phone supports it) seem to bring overall good performance. 

By having a Spain SIM card (it is mentioned to be the local SIM), you can access fast and reliable cellular data, ensuring you can be “online” as scheduled.

Important Note: Ensure that your phone is unlocked so your phone can receive signals of major Spanish mobile operators.

III. Types of Prepaid Spain SIM Card for Tourists – Which One is the Best?

Types of Spain sim cards

Tourists to Spain can choose from 02 types of Spain SIM card for their trip:

  • Prepaid physical Spain SIM cards
  • Prepaid Spain digital SIM (eSIM)

Here is a table that compare them by criterias:

Prepaid Physical SIM Cards for SpainPrepaid Digital SIM Cards (eSIM) for Spain
Features– Traditional SIM cards that you insert into your phone to access mobile data.- Include 2 types: data-only and data + voice + text
– Digital SIM cards that are embedded into your phone’s motherboard- Include 2 types: data-only and data + voice + text
Where to buyBuy online and wait for delivery or buy in stores of a carrier orauthorized retailer Buy online from an eSIM provider or mobile network operators 
Setup and ActivationPlug the SIM into the SIM tray. Then, switch off and on to restart– Scan the QR code received in email after paying.- Things will be set up within 2 minutes- Activated when connecting to the supported network
CostVary depending on the network carriers, the data, and validity.Vary depending network, data, validity, and often slightly higher in compared with physical SIM 
Pros– Can pre-purchase by buying online, at the airport or in the cities.
– Be prepared for Internet access before arrival
No need to queue a line or wait for SIM deliveryNo more swap the SIM cardNo need to show passportSet up in just 2 minutesUse 2 SIMs at a time (one primary, one eSIM)
ConsNeed to go to the stores or wait for SIM deliveryRequire ID / passport for verificationOnly use 1 SIM at a timeRequire eSIM supported phones

Based on the table above, it can be said that eSIM has many advantages over physical SIM. But, your phone needs to be equipped with eSIM technology if you want to use it.  

▶ Our recommendation:

Choose prepaid data-only eSIM for Spain travel if your phone supports eSIM and you do not need to make any analog calls and texts. Otherwise, choose a physical one. 

III. Buy Best Spain SIM Card Packages for Tourists and Price – Which to choose?

Good to know: 1 EUR = 1.0198 USD (as of December 2023)

Spain has 04 major mobile internet providers which are:

  • Telefonica Spain (Movistar)
  • Vodafone Spain
  • Orange Spain
  • Yoigo Spain (this is the biggest mobile virtual network operator in Spain, using the telecom infrastructure of Movistar)

Let’s see prepaid plans for tourists of each provider:

1. Buy Movistar Spain SIM Card Plans and Price

Here are the prepaid plans for tourists from Movistar Spain:

  • Prepago Plus: 40GB of data at 5G speed + unlimited national calls and 200 international minutes, used for 4 weeks = €10 ~ USD $10.19.
  • Prepago Premium: 80GB of data at 5G speed + unlimited national calls and 400 international minutes, valid for 4 weeks = €15 ~ USD $15.29.
  • Prepago Total: 140GB of data at 5G speed + unlimited national calls, valid for 4 weeks = €20 ~ USD $20.38.
  • Additional Line Prepago 5: 5GB of data at 5G speed + 20 national minutes, valid for 4 weeks = €5 ~ USD $5.09. The first two fees are free.
  • Tarifa Habla 6: Calls only, 6 cents/min. Call establishment 30 cents (USD $0.31).

2. Buy Vodafone Spain SIM Card Plans and Price

Here are Vodafone Spain’s prepaid plans for tourists: 

  • Vodafone One Conecta: 5GB data, infinite calls and texts in Spain, used for 1 month = €15/month ~ USD $15.20. No permanence contract.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 5GB: 5GB data + 100 minutes calls + 100 texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 7 days = €12 ~USD $12.16
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 15GB: 15GB data, unlimited calls and texts in Spain, valid for 7 days = €20 ~ USD $20.26.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 30GB: 30GB data + unlimited calls and texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 30 days = €35 ~ USD $35.44.
  • Prepago Turista: €5 credit = Minimum charge €10 ~ USD $10.13. Add data, calls and texts as needed in Spain and Europe.
  • eSIM: Virtual SIM card activated online for compatible devices. Plans same as physical SIM cards.

3. Buy Orange Spain SIM Card Plans and Price

The prepaid plans for tourists of Orange Spain are listed below. Note that all plans cover Spain and EU:

  • Tarjeta Regalos Orange: From €10 (USD $10.15). Provides credit to buy data, calls and texts in Spain.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 10GB: 10GB data + unlimited calls/texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 7 days = €15 ~ USD $15.22.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 50GB: 50GB data + unlimited calls/texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 30 days = €30 ~ USD $30.41.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 100GB: 100GB data + unlimited calls/texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 30 days = €50 ~USD $50.68.
  • Móvil Internacional: 500MB data + 100 minutes to call abroad from Spain, valid for 1 month = from €3/month ~ USD $3.04.
  • eSIM: Virtual SIM activated online for compatible devices with plans available for tourists.

4. Buy Yoigo Spain SIM Card Plans and Price

Below we gather Yoigo’s prepaid tourist plans for travelers to Spain:

  • Tarjeta Yoigo: Minimum top up €10 (USD $10.15). Provides credit to buy data, calls and texts.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 10GB: 10GB data + unlimited calls/texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 7 days = €15/7 days ~ USD $15.22.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 30GB: 30GB data + unlimited calls/texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 30 days = €25 ~ USD $25.34.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 60GB: 60GB data + unlimited calls/texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 30 days= €40 = USD $40.56.
  • Tarifa Flex Turista 100GB: 100GB data + unlimited calls/texts in Spain and Europe, valid for 30 days = €60 ~ USD $60.75.
  • eSIM: Available for compatible devices. Plans are the same as physical SIM cards.

Note: No contracts, pay as needed with flexibility.

▶ Our recommendation:

According to the above mentioned information, each mobile internet provider of Spain has different plans for tourists to Spain. Though these providers do not require prepaid customers to sign any contract or provide valid passports while making a purchase, customers still need to visit the store.

To avoid this hassle, you can consider buying eSIM from eSIM providers like Gigago. No contract, no walking to the store, no passport presentation. Just doing all things online, and you get the eSIM Spain within 2-5 minutes.  

IV. Where to Buy a Tourist SIM Card for Spain?

Tourists can buy Spain SIM cards with 04 ways:

  • At the airport upon arrival
  • Buy physical SIM online before departure
  • Buy in the Spain cities after arrival
  • Buy eSIM online before departure or after arrival (needs Internet to activate)

Let’s see each option in details:

1. Buy a SIM card for Spain at Spain airports

At Barcelona airport or any international airports in Spain, you can easily find either mobile internet provider kiosks or book shops that sell prepaid SIM cards for Spain.

There, you can choose from different SIM card deals that fit your needs. But, check in advance whether or not the stores open when you land because chances are they are not opened 24/7.

Price: For example, with Orange network operator, it takes €15 to get 9GB of data used in Europe (including Spain) + €5 calling credit for the Orange network. It is always more expensive than buying in the city center. 

Pros: have Internet connection right upon arrival.

Cons:  higher cost, less plan options to choose, possibly needing to queue to get SIM cards, risk of not being able to buy if the stores do not open.

2. Buy physical SIM online before departure

Getting connected during your Spain trip is so easy these days. Before departing to Spain, you can search for the online SIM provider that offers Spain-only travel SIM or international SIM cards that cover Spain, make a purchase, and wait for it to be delivered to your home address.

Price: affordable but may plus with shipping fee.

Pros: pre-prepare for Internet connection before trip, actively choose plans based on your needs

Cons: need to wait for delivery, risk of delivery delays 

3. Buy in Spain city center

You can buy prepaid Spain SIM cards either in official phone stores, convenience stores, official stores of Spain mobile internet carriers or gas stations. 

Once you are settled in your hotel, simply go to the Google Map and search for your preferred Spain SIM card providers. In Barcelona, Alicante, Madrid and Malaga, it is easy to find a store near your hotel.

Price: cheaper than buying at airports

Pros: competitive price, more options to choose from

Cons: require travel to the stores

4. Buy eSIM online before departure 1 day

This way just applies if your phone works with eSIM. If so, just simply choose the plan that fits your needs and budget, make a payment, wait no more than 5 minutes to get the QR code sent into your registered email. 

Then, you are ready to activate your eSIM. By scanning the QR code, you will have all information about your eSIM plan in your phone. No more waiting for SIM delivery. No travel to stores. No swapping the SIM card. It is as easy as counting 1, 2, 3.

Our recommendation: 

  • Among these options to buy a SIM card for Spain travel, buying eSIM online, one day before your departure date is considered the most comprehensive. It allows you to pre-order, and be active in preparing the Internet connection for your trip. It also helps save your effort, your time and your money (cheaper than other ways + no shipping fee). All in one. But, after all, this ONLY WORKS IF YOUR PHONE SUPPORTS ESIM.
  • In case your phone is of old models, consider buying a physical SIM card in advance of your trip. This also facilitates your experience on the trip.

V. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Spain?

Here is a table showing typical data needs for average traveler trips to Spain of different durations:

Trip DurationEstimated Daily Data NeedsTotal Estimated Data Needs
1 week500 MB3.5 GB
2 weeks300 MB4.2 GB
3 weeks250 MB5.25 GB

Let’s explain in details:

  • For a one week trip to Spain, the average traveler will likely need around 500 MB of data each day for things like looking up maps and directions, browsing attractions and restaurants on their phone, posting pictures and updates on social media, and light video streaming. This would add up to around 3.5 GB of total data needed for the week.
  • For a two week trip, daily data needs may decrease a bit to around 300 MB as the traveler settles into their trip. Over two weeks, total data required would be approximately 4.2 GB.
  • For longer trips of 03 weeks or more, daily usage often decreases further to around 250 MB as travelers spend less time online planning and more time experiencing their destinations. For a three week trip, estimated total data needed would be 5.25 GB.

This is the assumed average usage of data, but in fact, the usage can vary by person which depends on individual habits, access to free WiFi during the trip. 

Our recommendation: it is better to have some extra data to avoid unexpected higher usage.

VII. Spain eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards to Get Internet in Spain

Spain eSIM by Gigago

As we recommended earlier, if you have an eSIM-supported mobile device, there is no reason not to choose eSIM for your trip to Spain. 

So which eSIM provider to go for? Though there are many providers out there, each has pros and cons. 

When choosing eSIM provider for Spain travel, you are advised to considered the following factors:

  • Your destination (does it include Spain only or other countries in the EU?)
  • Your trip duration (is it short or long trip?)
  • Your internet behaviors (are you a heavy, medium or light user?)
  • Your budget (are you on budget or free?)

After you have answers for all questions above, we suggest eSIM Gigago for your trip.

Here are some benefits you can reap from Gigago Spain eSIM plans:

  • Convenience: installed digitally, activated before travel
  • Cost saving: save the possible roaming fees within EU (though the EU has a policy of free roaming fee within EU, but Spain does not join the policy) 
  • Easy setup: get your eSIM ready with a few taps. Scan the QR code and you will have the Internet right after landing in Spain.
  • Flexibility: multiple plans to choose from
  • 24/7  customer support: questions are answered fast via live chat. No more hunting down for information if there are issues coming up while traveling. 
  • Reliable coverage: use major Spanish carriers to provide high-speed Internet access around the country

Gigago offers multiple data plan options for Spain, with prices ranging from $3.50$125.98 . Their minimum 1 GB/3 days starts at just $3.50 . With this range of affordable plans, Gigago can accommodate any type of user and trip length in Spain. Whether you only need occasional internet access or plan to stream extensively, Gigago has a Spain eSIM plan to fit your needs and budget. The flexibility of their pricing makes Gigago a great eSIM solution for travel to Spain.

VIII. Which Spain Mobile Networks Are The Best for Tourists?

Spain has 03 major mobile internet providers

  • Telefónica Spain (Movistar)
  • Vodafone Spain
  • Orange Spain

All operators have extensive coverage across mainland Spain as well as the Balearic and Canary Islands.

Apart from major mobile network operators, there are several major MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators) in Spain that operate on the networks of the large carriers like Telefonica, Vodafone and Orange, which are:

  • Lowi (MVNO of Orange and Vodafone)
  • Simyo (MVNO of Movistar)
  • Pepephone (MVNO of Movistar)
  • Yoigo (MVNO of Movistar)

Here is an overview of each major operator that helps you choose the best for your trip. 

1. Telefónica Spain (Movistar)

Telefónica operates under the brand Movistar in Spain. It is the largest telecom company in Spain, covering over 99% of the population. It was the   first operator to launch commercial 5G services in Spain.

Coverage: throughout mainland Spain, including rural areas

Network: 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks. 

Speed: Movistar’s 4G network has download speeds up to 300Mbps. In major cities, 5G speeds can reach over 1Gbps.

Movistar coverage map spain - Spain sim cards
Movistar coverage map in Spain (source: nperf)

2. Vodafone Spain

Vodafone is the second largest operator in Spain, covering over 98% of the population.

Coverage:  widespread 4G coverage across Spain including most villages. 

Network: high speed 4G. 5G is available in major cities and tourist sites.

Speed: average 4G download speeds of 100-300Mbps. 5G speeds are up to 1Gbps in supported areas.

Vodafone Spain coverage map in Spain - spain sim cards
Vodafone Spain coverage map in Spain (source: nperf)

3. Orange Spain

Orange is the third largest operator in the country, covering 98% of the population with its 3G and 4G networks across mainland Spain.

Coverage: across mainland Spain

Network:  2G, 3G, 4G networks nationwide. 5G is going on in key cities.

Speed: 4G download speeds average between 30-100Mbps. 5G where available offers speeds up to 1Gbps.

Orange Spain coverage map in Spain - spain sim cards
Orange Spain coverage map in Spain (source: nperf)

In summary,  all three operators have extensive coverage across Spain with high speed 4G LTE and continuing 5G expansions in major areas. If your destination is not in remote areas, you can choose one of them for guaranteed Internet experiences. 

IX. How to Use Spain Prepaid SIM Cards and eSIM

1. Using prepaid Spain tourist SIM Cards

Here are the basic steps to use a SIM card as a tourist in Spain:

  • Buy: Buy a prepaid SIM card either online or from most major cell carriers like Movistar, Orange, Vodafone, etc. at airports, train stations, shops. Make sure your phone is unlocked.
  • Insert the SIM card into your phone: power off your phone, then insert the SIM into the sim tray, switch it on. 
  • Activate the SIM card: switch on your phone, follow the instructions to set up the card. Enter a PIN code given by the provider with the SIM.
  • Top up: Most prepaid SIMs come with a  small balance. To use more, you can top up online or buy top-up vouchers locally. 
  • Use your phone as usual.
  • Turn off data roaming if traveling within the EU. Data is added within Spain but roaming charges apply out of Spain.
  • Be aware of usage limits and fees if going over.

Pro Tip: Keep proof of your purchase throughout your trip duration to prevent any problems.

2. Setting up and activating Spain eSIM 

Here are basic steps to install and activate an eSIM for your Spain travel:

  • Make a purchase an eSIM Spain plan either from a Spanish mobile carrier or an eSIM provider like Gigago
  • Get the information sent the email registered for receiving eSIM. Scan the QR code by using your phone camera to install the eSIM profile
  • Restart your phone 
  • Check if the eSIM profile has been activated or not in the mobile settings. You should see Spanish carriers listed. OK, done
  • Use your phone to surf the Internet after arriving in Spain airports
  • Remove the eSIM profile before leaving Spain to avoid any roaming charges. 

Pro Tip: make sure your device supports eSIM before buying any plan.

X. FAQs

Can I buy a SIM card at Spain airports?

Yes. Most major Spanish airports sell SIM cards from providers like Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo. Activating and loading credit is easy there. 

Do I need to unlock my phone to use a Spanish SIM?

Most phones can accept any SIM, but if your phone is carrier locked, you may need to request your carrier to unlock it before traveling. Check your phone manual.

Which SIM card is the best for roaming in Spain?

Go for SIM cards of Orange and Movistar, which have the best coverage in Spain. But, Orange has somehow lower prices

How much data do I need in Spain?

1-2GB of data per week is usually sufficient for basic browsing, maps and social media. Heavy users may need more. Consider data packages suitable to your usage.

What documents do I need to buy a SIM for Spain?

Usually just your passport is enough for verification. Some operators may require a visa/residence permit for international visitors.

Can I use my US SIM card in Spain?

No, your US SIM card will not work in Spain because it is not compatible with European networks. You need to purchase a local Spanish SIM card.

Can my Spain SIM card work in the UK?

A SIM card purchased in Spain for use on local mobile networks will typically not work directly in the UK. However, if you turn on roaming, you can use the SIM in the UK. 

Can I keep my number when traveling back home?

No, prepaid Spanish SIMs are temporary accounts. However, many offer global roaming if needed in an emergency back home.

How do I add more credit to my Spain SIM?

You can top up online via the provider’s website/app or purchase physical top-up cards from shops displaying the provider’s logo.

Which is the best pay-as-you-go SIM card in Spain?

You can choose SIM card of Lycamobile for Spain and Europe. 

Which network is best in Spain?

Movistar is the best option for overall mobile speeds in Spain.

XI. Conclusion

Travel Spain SIM cards provide a convenient and affordable way for tourists to stay connected while visiting Spain. They can be easily purchased at airports and stores for a low upfront cost. This allows travelers to use their own device and a local Spanish number, avoiding high roaming charges from their home provider. Aside from the SIM card, if the phone is compatible with eSIM, using this virtual SIM for Spain is a great alternative to getting Internet access while traveling Spain.