If you plan on visiting Portugal, having a sim card will be essential for accessing the internet and making your travel experience smoother. With internet access, you can easily navigate unfamiliar cities, discover the top-rated restaurants, find directions to your accommodation, book transportation, and share precious moments with your family through photos while on the move.
While roaming is an option, the international fees can quickly accumulate. Therefore, we highly recommend considering either an eSIM or a local sim card in order to access local phone rates. Fortunately, obtaining either option in Portugal is a breeze, but it’s helpful to know which one suits you best.
This comprehensive guide provides you with all the information you need to purchase a sim card in Portugal, including current pricing and our recommendation for the most suitable sim card for your needs.
The best sim card in Portugal is the Portugal eSim offered by Airalo. The Airalo eSim costs roughly the same for the same amount of data as NOS or MEO, two of the top local operators. Since eSims are the most convenient option for travellers I recommend purchasing the Airalo eSim over a physical sim card. You’ll save the time and hassle of visiting a store once you arrive in Portugal.
With Airalo you will have the option to choose exactly how much data you require which could cost you even less than a visitor sim from NOS (the cheapest Airalo sim card costs just 4 EUR), however, we recommend the 11 EUR option with 5GB data. The Airalo sim card uses the NOS network so you can be assured that you have the best network coverage and reliability in Portugal.
If your phone doesn’t support eSims (most phones are eSim compatible, including all iPhones since 2018) then the best local sim card is the visitor sim offered by NOS. NOS has the best coverage in Portugal and the 5GB sim for 10 EUR is fantastic value.
A Tourist Sim Card in Portugal costs 10 EUR in February 2024, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Portugal will cost between $4.50 USD and $32 USD. This, again, depends on how much data you require and which eSim provider you choose.
I generally recommend this Airalo plan for most tourists visiting Portugal which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $10 USD.
In Portugal, there are three main SIM card providers that dominate the market: NOS, MEO, and Vodafone.
NOS is a popular choice for both locals and tourists, offering competitive prices and a wide range of plans. They provide excellent network coverage throughout the country and offer various data packages to suit different usage needs.
MEO is another prominent player, known for its reliable service and high-speed internet connection. They offer attractive bundles that include TV and internet services, making them a preferred choice for those who want all-in-one packages.
Vodafone is also a reliable option, with extensive network coverage and competitive prices. They offer flexible prepaid and postpaid plans, allowing customers to tailor their services according to their needs.
Overall, these three providers offer reliable services and competitive pricing, ensuring that customers have a variety of options to choose from based on their preferences and requirements.
NOS, a telecommunications company in Portugal, offers tourist SIM cards that cater to the needs of travelers. These SIM cards provide excellent mobile coverage and data packages at affordable prices. With NOS SIM cards, tourists can easily stay connected with loved ones, navigate through new cities, and access important travel information. Whether it’s browsing online, sharing travel moments, or making calls, NOS SIM cards ensure an enjoyable and hassle-free experience for tourists exploring Portugal.
The price of a NOS tourist sim card in Portugal is 10 EUR.
The plan offered by NOS stores includes 5GB 5G data + 1000 minutes valid for 4 weeks.
Meo is a renowned telecommunication company in Portugal that offers tourist sim cards to visitors. With Meo’s sim cards, tourists can enjoy reliable and fast internet connectivity throughout their trip. These sim cards provide ample data allowances for browsing, streaming, and sharing memorable moments on social media. Meo’s network coverage is extensive, ensuring seamless connectivity in most parts of the country. Don’t miss out on staying connected while exploring Portugal with Meo’s tourist sim cards.
The price of a Meo tourist sim card in Portugal is 9.99 EUR.
The plan offered by Meo stores offers 5GB 5G data valid for 1 month.
Vodafone in Portugal offers tourist sim cards for travelers seeking seamless connectivity. With widespread coverage and reliable network speeds, Vodafone ensures a hassle-free experience during your visit. These sim cards come with generous data allowances, allowing you to stay connected while exploring the vibrant cities, picturesque landscapes, and stunning coastlines of Portugal. Vodafone’s tourist sim cards also provide affordable and flexible options, making it a convenient choice for tourists visiting the country.
The price of a Vodafone tourist sim card in Portugal is 20 EUR.
The plan offered by Vodafone stores includes Unlimited data valid for 15 days.
Identify mobile providers: NOS, Meo and Vodafone are your best options in Portugal.
Find your nearest store: Locate a store or retailer by searching on Google Maps for your nearest store or asking at your hotel reception. I’ve never had issues finding a store as they can usually be found in major cities, shopping centers, or tourist areas. If possible, I always recommend to to avoid airports and head in to an official store in the city.
Bring the necessary documents: It is always a good idea to carry your passport or identification documents for sim card registration purposes. We’ve found most providers will need to confirm your identity to provide a sim card and it can be a major hassle to head to a store only to have to come back again later with your passport.
Choose your plan: Either request the plan you are after or consult with the staff in the store to select the right plan for you. My recommendations at the beginning of this guide are a good starting point, but the staff will usually be able to suggest the best option.
Pay and activate your card: Pay for the SIM card and plan, and the staff will activate it for you.
Test: It’s always a good idea to check that you can access the internet before you leave the store. I always search for something on Google then refresh my Instagram feed to check it’s working fine.
Buying a prepaid sim card for Portugal at the airport is usually considered the most convenient option for travellers arriving by plane.
However, airport stores selling sim cards are almost guaranteed to charge inflated prices, so if you are a cost-conscious traveller then you should definitely buy your sim card from a store in the city center.
In addition to this, we would argue that buying physical sim cards at all aren’t particularly convenient now that most people use esim compatible phones. If you are looking for the most convenient option, then buying an esim before you arrive or with the airport wifi is much easier and will save you having to queue up or communicate with staff.
If you must purchase a sim card at the airport in Portugal then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Portugal have stores selling sim cards. Despite the prices being higher than normal, the staff are knowledgable and will be able to get you set up with the correct sim card relatively quickly.
If you want to avoid the inflated sim card prices you’ll find at the airport and your phone isn’t esim compatible, then you’re going to need to head in to a store to buy your sim card.
I recommend visiting one of the official retail stores of the mobile internet operators such as NOS, Meo and Vodafone. Your best option is to enter their names into Google Maps and find the branch closest to your hotel or accommodation. Typically the staff in the official stores in Portugal are knowledgable and helpful which means you can ensure you’ll walk away with a functioning sim card.
Despite this, it’s always a good idea to check your internet is working before you leave the store by loading a Google search results page and your preferred social media app. You should also ensure you always bring your passport with you when purchasing a sim card in case they need to register it.
If you like to be prepared and would prefer to arrive in Portugal with your sim card all sorted and your phone ready to connect to the internet immediately then you should look into purchasing a sim card online.
The first option is to buy your sim card in advance via SimOptions, which is a company that will prepare and ship a sim card directly to your door. It’s a reliable and effective service, but with the invention of eSims it’s becoming obsolete.
The better option is to purchase an eSim online. We’ve written more on that below!
An eSim is a digital version of a traditional sim card and is most likely the future of connectivity for mobile devices. The convenience of no longer visiting a store, handing over your passport and purchasing a physical sim card is quickly making physical sim cards obsolete in favour of eSims.
We recommend Airalo’s eSim when travelling to Portugal. The Airalo Portugal eSim offers fast internet speeds, wide coverage and extremely competitive prices making it a far more compelling option than purchasing a physical sim card from any of the local sim card providers.
In order to get set up with an Airalo eSim, all you need to do is visit Airalo here and purchase the eSim online (the $10 USD plan is suitable for most travellers). Once you’ve purchased the sim card Airalo will email you instructions and a QR code. Following these instructions should take just a couple of minutes, then you’ll have a sim card in Portugal without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Portugal is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Portugal and found the service to be equal to the local sim card but without the hassle of acquiring a sim card in a store.
Airalo’s Portugal eSim uses the NOS (Optimus) network to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the NOS (Optimus) networknetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Portugal.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Portugal eSim:
1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $4.50 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $7 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $9.50 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $10 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $17 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $32 USD
30GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $19 USD
For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $10 USD which is valid for 30 days. Some travellers may prefer a larger plan, whilst travellers visiting for just a couple of days may be fine with a smaller plan.
An alternative eSim provider we can recommend is Holafly.
Holafly’s eSim is a suitable option for travellers who require large amounts of data, such as digital nomads and people who work online while they travel. All of Holafly’s Portugal eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Portugal eSim uses the Vodafone Portugalnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Portugal
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Portugal eSim:
Unlimited data valid for 5 days – Price: $19 USD
Unlimited data valid for 7 days – Price: $27 USD
Unlimited data valid for 10 days – Price: $34 USD
Unlimited data valid for 15 days – Price: $47 USD
Unlimited data valid for 20 days – Price: $54 USD
Unlimited data valid for 30 days – Price: $64 USD
Unlimited data valid for 60 days – Price: $84 USD
Unlimited data valid for 90 days – Price: $99 USD
An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital SIM card that is built into a device like a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. Unlike physical SIM cards, the eSIM does not need to be physically inserted or removed.
The eSIM is integrated into the device’s hardware and can be activated and programmed remotely by a mobile network operator. This allows users to easily switch between different mobile networks or plans without having to physically swap SIM cards.
eSIM technology offers convenience, flexibility, and ease of use, especially for travelers or those who frequently switch networks or travel internationally. It eliminates the need to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, making it simpler to manage multiple mobile connections on a single device.
To activate an eSIM, users can either scan a provided QR code or manually enter the activation details. Once activated, the device can connect to the desired mobile network and enjoy voice, data, and messaging services just like with a traditional SIM card.
Some reasons why using an eSIM can be advantageous are:
– Convenience: No need to physically change SIM cards when switching networks or plans. This is especially beneficial for frequent travelers.
– Dual SIM functionality: Allows for the use of two active mobile numbers on one device. Useful for separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
– Space-saving: Since eSIMs are embedded within the device, it eliminates the need for a physical SIM card slot. This opens up space for other components or helps manufacturers make smaller devices.
– Remote provisioning: Activation and management of mobile plans can be accomplished remotely over the air without requiring a physical SIM card or store visit. Provides flexibility and convenience for managing mobile connectivity.
– Future-proofing: As eSIM technology becomes more popular, more networks and service providers are offering support for eSIMs. Using an eSIM-compatible device ensures access to new services and offerings as they emerge.
In summary, eSIM technology offers flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it an appealing option for many users.
eSIM technology is becoming increasingly popular and is supported by a growing number of smartphones and other devices. Here are some examples of eSIM-compatible phones:
Apple iPhone series (iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 13, etc.): Apple was one of the early adopters of eSIM technology and offers support for eSIM on various iPhone models.
Google Pixel series (Pixel 3, Pixel 4, Pixel 5, etc.): Google’s Pixel smartphones also support eSIM functionality, allowing users to activate and use eSIMs.
Samsung Galaxy series (Galaxy S22, Galaxy Note 20, etc.): Many of Samsung’s flagship devices now come with eSIM support, enabling users to utilize eSIM technology.
OnePlus devices (OnePlus 7, OnePlus 8, etc.): OnePlus has included eSIM support in some of its smartphone models, offering users the flexibility of using eSIMs.
Motorola Razr (2020): The latest iteration of the iconic Motorola Razr features eSIM compatibility, enabling users to use eSIMs for cellular connectivity.
These are just a few examples, and the list of eSIM-compatible phones continues to expand as more manufacturers embrace this technology. There’s a very strong chance your phone supports eSims so if you’re unsure we recommend looking it up on our list of eSim supported phones.
Using an eSim is new for many travellers, however, the good news is it’s surprisingly easy to get set up – even for the technologically challenged!
Here’s a general guide on how to use an eSIM:
Check eSIM Compatibility: Ensure that your device supports eSIM functionality. Many newer smartphones, smartwatches, tablets, and other devices are eSIM compatible including all iPhones produced since 2018.
Obtain an eSIM: There are multiple ways to acquire an eSIM. You can purchase an eSIM online from a provider like Airalo (which we recommend) or directly from a mobile network operator. Some devices also allow you to scan a QR code provided by your carrier to download the eSIM profile.
Activate the eSIM: Your eSim provider will send you instructions to activate the sim. This will usually involve scanning a QR code, entering an activation code, or downloading the eSIM profile directly onto your device.
Set up the eSIM: Once activated, your device will guide you through the eSIM setup process. This typically involves selecting the eSIM as your preferred mobile plan, configuring settings like data roaming, and entering any necessary authentication details.
Enjoy the Connection: Once the eSIM is set up, you can use it as you would with a physical SIM card. Make calls, send messages, browse the internet, and use data services as needed. You can also switch between eSIM profiles if you have multiple eSIMs installed on your device.
Hi, I’m Mitchell. I’m a full-time traveller, explorer and travel blogger. Travel Sim Expert is a blog dedicated to helping you find the best sim card for you, no matter where you are or what your budget is.