Are you planning to explore the beauty of Turkey? If so, getting a sim card will be your best bet! Having access to the internet while travelling can make navigating new cities easier than ever. From discovering the finest restaurants to finding directions to your accommodation, booking taxis and sharing photos with your family, you can do it all on the go!
While roaming might be an option, the charges can quickly add up, especially when travelling internationally. Therefore, we always recommend opting for either an eSIM or purchasing a local sim card to access local phone rates. Thankfully, obtaining either an eSIM or a local sim card in Turkey is a breeze! However, it does help to know which one suits you best.
This guide is designed to provide you with all the information you need to know about purchasing a sim card in Turkey, including updated pricing and the best sim card to purchase for your specific needs.
The best sim card in Turkey is the eSim offered by Airalo. Turkey is one of the rare locations where purchasing an eSim works out significantly cheaper than purchasing a local sim card due to the exorbitant prices that the official stores charge tourists. By opting for an eSim you should be able to buy a suitable sim for around half the price of visiting a local store.
If your phone is not compatible with eSims then your only option will be to visit a local store to purchase a local sim card. I recommend visiting an official Turk Telekom store as their network offers the best coverage and reliability in Turkey. They will only allow you to purchase their tourist sim package which will likely cost you around 30 USD. The staff are always helpful and will ensure your phone is set up before you leave the store.
You will need to visit a store, register your passport and wait for them to set everything up which can take 30 – 60 minutes which is another reason I recommend an eSim when visiting Turkey.
A Tourist Sim Card in Turkey costs around $30 USD, or 28 EUR, in November 2023, however, the exact price will often depend on the store you visit and the plan you choose.
Alternatively, an eSim in Turkey will cost between $4.50 USD and $26 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 Turkey which includes 5GB of data which is valid for 30 days and costs $12 USD.
Turkcell, Vodafone, and Turk Telekom are the main sim card providers in Turkey, offering a wide range of services and competitive packages to cater to the diverse needs of the population.
As the largest provider, Turkcell boasts exceptional coverage and network quality. They offer various tariffs, including prepaid and postpaid options, along with affordable data plans for both local and international usage.
Vodafone is another popular choice in Turkey, offering innovative services such as their Red packages which include unlimited talking and texting. They also provide advantageous international roaming deals, making it convenient for frequent travelers.
Turk Telekom, the state-owned operator, also offers comprehensive mobile communication services. With their flexible payment options and attractive data packages, they strive to meet the demands of customers across the country.
Turkcell is a leading telecommunication company in Turkey that offers tourist SIM cards, catering to the needs of international visitors. With nationwide coverage and high-speed internet, these SIM cards provide seamless connectivity for travelers. Additionally, Turkcell’s tourist packages usually include ample data, local minutes, and international calls, making it convenient for tourists to stay connected with their loved ones while exploring Turkey. The company’s customer service is reputed for its support in multiple languages, ensuring a hassle-free experience for travelers in the country.
The price of a Turkcell tourist sim card in Turkey is between $30 and $40 USD, or 28 and 37 EUR. It is not possible for a non-Turkish resident to purchase any other sim plan from here..
The plan offered by Turkcell stores includes 20 GB data + 200 minutes + Free WhatsApp valid for 1 month.
Vodafone is a prominent telecommunications company offering tourist sim cards in Turkey. Their sim cards provide convenience and connectivity to travelers, allowing them to stay connected with loved ones and access the internet while exploring the country. With reliable coverage and competitive rates, Vodafone’s tourist sim cards offer a seamless browsing experience, ensuring a hassle-free trip for tourists visiting Turkey. Stay connected and navigate effortlessly with Vodafone’s convenient and cost-effective solutions.
The price of a Vodafone tourist sim card in Turkey is between $30 and $40 USD, or 28 and 37 EUR. It is not possible for a non-Turkish resident to purchase any other sim plan from here..
The plan offered by Vodafone stores offers 20 GB data + 750 minutes + 1,000 sms + unlimited whatsapp valid for 28 days.
Turk Telekom is a leading telecommunications company in Turkey offering reliable and affordable mobile services. Their tourist sim cards provide a convenient solution for travelers visiting Turkey. With competitive data packages and extensive coverage, tourists can stay connected throughout their trip. Whether it’s browsing the web, making local calls, or sharing travel memories, Turk Telekom’s sim cards ensure uninterrupted communication. Stay connected and explore the cultural wonders of Turkey with Turk Telekom’s tourist sim cards.
The price of a Turk Telekom tourist sim card in Turkey is between $30 and $40 USD, or 28 and 37 EUR. It is not possible for a non-Turkish resident to purchase any other sim plan from here..
The plan offered by Turk Telekom stores includes 25 GB data + 750 minutes + 750 sms + 5 GB social media valid for 28 days.
Identify mobile providers: Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom are your best options in Turkey.
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 Turkey 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 Turkey then you will be in luck. All major international airports in Turkey 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 Turkcell, Vodafone and Turk Telekom. 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 Turkey 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 Turkey 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 Turkey. The Airalo Turkey 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 $12 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 Turkey without having to venture outside.
Our preferred eSim provider in Turkey is Airalo. We used them, alongside a local sim card on another device, for our most recent trip to Turkey 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 Turkey eSim uses the Turk Telekom to provide data and connect users to the internet. You can expect very good coverage and reliability with the Turk Telekomnetwork as they are amongst the best mobile internet operators in Turkey.
Here are the plans and prices for Airalo’s Turkey eSim:
1GB data valid for 7 days – Price: $4.50 USD
2GB data valid for 15 days – Price: $6.50 USD
3GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $8 USD
5GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $12 USD
10GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $18 USD
20GB data valid for 30 days – Price: $26 USD
For most travellers we recommend the 5GB data plan for $12 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 Turkey eSims offer unlimited data.
Holafly’s Turkey eSim uses the Avea / Fitalnetwork to provide data and connect users to the internet. This network will provide reliable speeds and coverage while in Turkey
Here are the plans and prices for Holafly’s Turkey 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
An eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a digital version of a SIM card that is built directly into a device, like a smartphone or smartwatch. Unlike physical SIM cards, you don’t have to insert or remove it from the device.
Instead, the eSIM is part of the device’s hardware and can be activated and programmed remotely by a mobile network operator. This allows you to switch between different mobile networks or plans without needing to physically change SIM cards.
eSIM technology offers convenience and flexibility, especially for travelers or people who regularly switch networks or travel internationally. You don’t have to purchase and insert physical SIM cards, which makes managing multiple mobile connections on a single device easier.
To activate an eSIM, you either scan a QR code from your mobile network operator or enter the activation details manually. Once activated, your device connects to the chosen mobile network and you can enjoy voice calls, data, and messaging services as if you had a physical SIM card.
Using an eSIM can be beneficial for various reasons. Firstly, it offers convenience as there is no need to insert or remove a physical SIM card when switching networks or plans. This is particularly useful for frequent travelers.
Secondly, eSIM allows for dual SIM functionality, enabling users to have two active mobile numbers on the same device. This can help in separating personal and work numbers or managing multiple phone lines.
Furthermore, eSIMs are embedded within the device, eliminating the need for a physical SIM card slot. This saves space and allows manufacturers to make smaller devices or utilize the extra space for other components.
Moreover, eSIMs allow activation and management of mobile plans remotely over the air, without the need for a physical SIM card or a visit to a store. This offers greater flexibility and convenience in managing mobile connectivity.
Lastly, by using an eSIM-compatible device, users can ensure they are prepared for future advancements in the technology. As more mobile networks and service providers support eSIMs, users can take advantage of new services and offerings as they become available.
Overall, eSIM technology provides flexibility, convenience, and future-proofing for mobile connectivity, making it an appealing choice 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.