Do you want to visit Portugal but aren't sure if you'll need a Portuguese SIM card? Then you've come to the right place!
This article will inform you all you need to know about the best SIM card in Portugal for tourists. We'll go through if you really need a Portuguese SIM card for your trip to Lisbob, where you can obtain one, and how much it costs.
Furthermore, we will introduce you to the main mobile carriers in Portugal, answer frequently asked questions, and introduce you to alternative methods of obtaining a SIM card, such as e-SIM cards.
Continue reading to get the most out of your holiday in Portugal!
Is a Portuguese SIM card truly necessary for my Portugal vacation?
First of all, we'd want to address one of the most important problems, such as whether you even need a Portuguese SIM card for your upcoming vacation to Portugal.
- If you are from Europe, you probably don't need a Portuguese SIM card because roaming inside the EU (and the European Economic Area) is free since 2017. This means that in most cases you can use your existing SIM card in Portugal without paying additional costs. However, your service provider may impose restrictions on foreign use, which you should check to avoid unpleasant surprises.
- If you are not from Europe and are travelling from the US or another part of the world, getting a SIM card in Portugal to avoid expensive international roaming costs makes a lot of sense. Purchasing a local SIM card assures that your mobile data connections are reliable, secure, and quick throughout your Portugal vacation, allowing you to communicate easily.
Get your Portuguese SIM card online before your vacation
Another great option is to opt for an e-SIM card. These are virtual SIM cards that may be used instead of a physical SIM card on your smartphone. Our recommendation is the practical Holafly eSIM card, which has an unlimited mobile data amount at 4G/LTE speeds.
Activating the Holafly e-SIM card is simple and takes only a few minutes at home. There's no need to waste time searching for a local SIM card or choosing which cellular service is best for you.
Now, let's look at the costs and terms of this eSIM card:
This is How Holafly's eSIM card works:
- Choose a data plan from the options and purchase the Holafly prepaid e-SIM card here.
- You will be emailed a QR code containing the e-SIM card right away.
- One day before your trip, scan this QR code.
- Turn off cellular data from your local wireless service provider.
- Set your phone's options so that your phone uses Holafly's mobile internet.
- When you arrive in Portugal, activate your QR code, enable data roaming in your phone's settings, and use your Holafly eSIM card during your stay in Portugal.
Please note: Please check that your phone is unlocked and compatible with the Holafly service before purchasing your Holafly eSIM card. A list of compatible devices is available here:
From iPhone XS, XR and newer models; Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Fold, Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and other new models; Huawei P40, P40 Pro, Huawei Mate 40 Pro and newer models; Google Pixel 3, 3a (some versions do not support eSIM), Google Pixel 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5 and later models; Oppo Find X3 Pro, Oppo Reno 5A, Motorola (2019) and the Motorola Razr 5G (dual SIM).
Here is another way to check your phone's compatibility:
→ For Android devices, navigate to "Connections" > "SIM card manager" in the settings menu. If you can add a mobile plan, this means your smartphone supports eSIMs.
→ For iOS devices, open Settings and go to "Cellular Data" or "Cellular Plan". If you see "Add a Cellular Plan" or "Add a Data Plan" this suggests your iPhone supports eSIMs.
Prices for Holafly eSIM are listed below. The most popular tourist attractions are highlighted in red.
- 5 days of unlimited data in Portugal (approx. €19)
- 7 days of unlimited data in Portugal (approx. €27)
- 10 days of unlimited data in Portugal (approx. €34)
- 15 days of unlimited data in Portugal (approx. €47)
- 20 days of unlimited data in Portugal (approx. €57)
- 30 days of unlimited data in Portugal (approx. €69)
- 60 days of unlimited data in Portugal (approx. €87)
- 90 days of unlimited data in Portugal (approx. €99)
Renting a portable WiFi device for your trip to Portugal is another great choice. You may use this portable device to connect multiple devices to the Internet, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, at any time and from any location.
The 4G/LTE network reaches Portugal and other EU countries, allowing you to surf as if you were at home.
The renting procedure is simple:
- Reserve the Pocket WLAN devices using this link.
- Have it delivered to any address in Portugal of your choice, including your hotel.
- During your travel, use the device according to the directions provided.
- Before leaving, return the device by packing it in the pre-paid, self-addressed envelope and mailing it as instructed.
As a result, you will always have consistent internet connectivity during your vacation in Portugal. Click on the following link for further information on the tariffs and terms:
Where can I buy my Portuguese SIM card in Lisbon?
1. In the city
All over the city, there are a number of ways to buy a prepaid SIM card. You can go directly to the branch offices of mobile phone providers such as MEO, Vodafone and NOS. You can usually find these shops on busy streets, train stations and in shopping malls.
Alternatively, each of the three providers has dozens of locations around the country where you can easily purchase a Portuguese SIM card. Each of these companies has multiple stores across the city, so you should be able to find one easily, for example in the city center, the Baixa district or the Amoreiras Shopping Mall.
2. At Lisbon Humberto Delgado International Airport
Tourists arriving by plane can also buy a prepaid SIM card for the Portugal at Humberto Delgado Airport. However, we do not recommend this option as the choice is very limited.
From the For €25 you will get 10 GB data in Portugal and Europe.
Buying a sim card at Lisbon Airport is more expensive, which is why it is better to wait until you get to the city. For example, there is currently only one Vodafone shop at Lisbon Airport.
- Tip: If you want to use a SIM card as soon as you arrive in Portugal, you should consider purchasing an eSIM card for Portugal in advance.
What do I need to buy a prepaid SIM card in Portugal?
Buying a prepaid SIM card in Portugal, unlike in other European nations, is simple, with no paperwork or registration fees.
All you require is an unlocked mobile phone. In some cases, a photo ID, such as a passport, ID card, or driver's license, may be required.
The mobile phone providers in the Portugal at a glance
- In Portugal, there are various mobile phone operators offering a variety of pricing and services.
- All three major mobile operators offer 5G speeds except Vodafone.
- Vodafone offers 4.5 LTE services.
- MEO is Portugal's leading mobile operator, followed by NOS and Vodafone.
Cost of buying a prepaid SIM card in Portugal for tourists
Below you will find the best Portuguese offers for prepaid SIM cards, which in our opinion are the most interesting for tourists.
- 5 GB Data use, 1000min calls and messages for 30 days 10€
Tip: Don't forget that 5GB bonus on the first three top-ups equal to or greater than €7.5
- 10 GB of data use, 500 minutes to all national calls + 50 mins call to several other countries (to EU and UK, USA, Canada, Angola, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand, Cape Verde, Guinea, Morocco, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe ) for 30 days 25€
- Unlimited Data, for 30 days 35€
Tip: For an extra 50€, you may buy the Vodafone Wi-Fi Spot 4G.
- 1 GB Data use, 1000 min calls and messages for 17€
- 10 GB Data use, 3500 min calls and messages 29€
- 50 GB Data use, 3500 min calls and messages 40€
Our opinion on the best SIM card in Portugal
We think that Holafly's eSIM card is the best prepaid SIM card choice in Portugal. Whereas most Portugal prepaid SIM cards only provide you with a limited amount of data, Holafly's eSIM card offers a varied range of rates at an affordable price.
This allows you to easily access the internet, use social media, or use WhatsApp without worrying about running out of data. Furthermore, getting and activating the Holafly eSIM card is simple and quick because you can do it all online in minutes without replacing your traditional SIM card or waiting in line.
Overall, the Holafly eSIM card is a practical and cost-effective option for visitors to Portugal and other EU countries who want to stay in touch with family and friends.