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How To Buy a SIM Card In Greece | Guide to High-Speed Mobile Data in Greece

Your guide to using SIM cards and mobile data plans in Greece.

phones and technology

Having fast and reliable mobile data on your phone while traveling around Greece (especially while island hopping) is a must these days because much of Greek life requires mobile data—you’ll need a phone to access mobile train tickets, Google Maps, restaurant menus, museum/event tickets, UBER/taxi, and much more.

In this guide, I’ll cover everything you need to know about buying a SIM Card in Greece and how to buy the best high-speed mobile data plan that won’t cost you a lot of money.

How To Buy An SIM Card With A High-Speed Data For Greece

You have two main options for buying a SIM Card for Greece:

  • The Easy Way – Buy a SIM Card Before Your Travel: Buying a SIM card before you travel is a little more expensive but it’s way more convenient (and you have mobile data as soon as you arrive in Italy).
  • The Cheaper Way – Buy a SIM Card In Greece: Buying a SIM Card after arriving in Greece can be cheaper but it’s more of a hassle because you have to track down a SIM retailer after arrival.
    • In general, it’s easier to pre-buy a prepaid data plan if you’re visiting for less than two weeks. But buying a local SIM card will be much cheaper for longer trips.

UPDATE: Most new phones are eSIM compatible—which is MUCH more convenient than physical SIM cards because it doesn’t require you to install a new physical SIM card. You simply buy the prepaid data plan, scan a QR code that’s sent to your email to install the digital “card”, and you’re ready to go. Read The Savvy Backpacker’s Guide To The Best eSIM Data Plans for Europe and my guide to the Best eSIM Data Plans For Greece to learn more.

How To Buy A Prepaid Greek SIM Card Before You Travel (i.e. The Easy Way)

The easiest way to get mobile data for your phone in Greece is to buy a prepaid European SIM card before departing.

There are a few data plans aimed at visitors—they’re a bit more expensive than buying a SIM card in Greece but there is zero hassle (no tracking down a mobile phone shop, no registering your SIM card, no dealing with people who don’t speak English, etc).

Once you get the SIM card, you simply install it once you’re in Greece and it automatically connects to a local mobile data provider.

There are a number of different mobile data plans available at (I’ve used them in the past) and they’ll ship the SIM card to you before your trip.

You’ll probably spend an extra $15-$20 over the course of a two-week trip if you buy ahead vs waiting to purchase in Greece. Personally, I think the additional cost is worth the convenience.

The Best Tourist Friendly Pre-Paid SIM Cards For Greece

Here are my top SIM cards if you’re wanting a pre-purchase your SIM before arriving in Greece:

Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM Card

The Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM Card is the best all-around SIM card option for Greece (and the rest of Europe) because it offers a lot of data for a good price—and it includes worldwide calling and texts. The main drawback is the 14-day validity period—which doesn’t matter if your trip is less than two weeks. That said, you can buy an extra 10GB of credit for an additional two weeks for around $25.

This plan also allows data tethering so you can use your phone as a mobile hotspot. Additionally, Orange is one of the largest mobile companies in Europe so they have great coverage throughout most of Europe (which isn’t always the case with smaller European carriers).

Plan Specs:

  • PRICE: $50
  • DATA: 20GB
  • CALLS: Unlimted in Europe and 1200 minutes worldwide
  • TEXT: Unlimted in Europe and 1000 worldwide
  • COVERAGE AREA: All of Europe (including Switzerland)

If you want to save a little money, check out the $30 Orange Holiday Zen SIM plan that gives you 8GB of data for 14 days.

Check out the Orange Holiday Europe eSIM if you’d rather have the eSIM version of the Orange Holiday Europe data plan.

Orange Holiday Zen Prepaid SIM Card

For lighter data users, I recommend the $30 Orange Holiday Zen SIM Card—it gives you 8GB of data for 14 days but otherwise, it’s essentially the same plan as the Orange Holiday Europe SIM.

Orange Holiday Zen SIM Card Specs:

  • PRICE: $30
  • DATA: 8GB
  • CALLS: Unlimted in Europe and 600 minutes worldwide
  • TEXT: Unlimted in Europe and 500 worldwide
  • COVERAGE AREA: All of Europe (including Switzerland)

Check out the Orange Holiday Zen eSIM if you’d rather have the eSIM version of the Orange Holiday Zen plan.


Three UK is another large European mobile carrier and their PAYG AIO15 plan is a good value for people who don’t need the 20GB offered by the Orange Holiday Europe plan. I like how the plan has a validity period of 30 days so it’s good for longer trips.

Plan Specs:

  • PRICE: $25
  • DATA: 10GB
  • CALLS: Unlimted in Europe
  • TEXT: Unlimted in Europe
  • COVERAGE AREA: All of Europe (including Switzerland)

Note: has other cards for sale but these are my preferred deals.

Where To Buy a Local SIM Card in Greece

Buying a local prepaid SIM Card in Greece is a fairly straightforward process but knowing where to buy a SIM card can be confusing since they’re sold at multiple places—including individual street vendors, airport kiosks, and retail storefronts.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle, it’s easiest to simply buy an Orange Holiday Europe SIM Card or an Orange Holiday eSIM or Holafly Greece eSIM before you arrive in Greece—plus the service works in any European country.

Buying SIM Cards From Major Mobile Carriers in Greece

The three major mobile carriers in Greece are Wind, Cosmote, and Vodafone.

Each company has physical storefronts in major cities that sell prepaid SIM cards. Their employees will likely speak some English but it’s not guaranteed. That said, they deal with phones all day so you shouldn’t have too much trouble.

Each carrier has various different SIM card plans at multiple price points. Plan options change often so it’s hard to truly know what’s available until you visit in person.

  • Wind and Wind’s budget subsidiary carrier called Free2Go: According to their website the cheapest plans start around $13/GB so it’s a little pricy.
  • Cosmote: Cosmote is Italy’s largest mobile network. They have various unlimited data plans that last from 24 hours to a full week.
  • Vodafone: Vodafone is more affordable with 15GB plans that cost around $20.

NOTE: Many of these SIM cards only come with limited data so you’re required to “top up” in order to get the full amount of data.

Buying SIM Cards At The Athens Airport

There are a few SIM Card sellers at the baggage claim area of the Athens airport but I recommend skipping them as they’re very overpriced.

Third-Party Phone Shops

There are many mobile phone shops throughout Greece that sell a range of phone plans from multiple mobile carriers. Employees might be able to offer some help getting set up but service probably won’t be as good as carrier-specific shops.

Newsstands, Tobacco Shops, Vending Machines, Etc:

SIM cards are sold in multiple smaller shops at airports, train stations, and randomly throughout most cities. Don’t expect any customer service at these locations and options will be limited.

Greece Prepaid SIM Card Basics

Here is some helpful background info on mobile data plans so you have a better idea of how mobile data service works in Greece.

You’ll Need Your Passport To Buy A SIM Card in Greece

You’re required to provide your passport when you buy a SIM card in Greece. The shop will make a copy of your passport.

You’ll Get European Union-Wide Coverage

A law was recently passed in the EU which banned mobile carriers from charging roaming fees within the EU—which means a SIM card you bought in Greece can be used in Frace without paying any extra fees. This is great for travelers because you can use one plan everywhere.

  • Here are the countries/areas where there is no data roaming: Andorra, Azores, Aland islands, Austria, Balearic Islands, Belgium, Canary Islands, Cyprus, Corfu, Crete, the Cyclades, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faeroe Islands, Finland, France mainland, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Guernsey, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Jersey, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg. Madeira, Malta. Isle of Man, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Rhodes, Romania, Spain, United Kingdom, San Marino, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden, Vatican

Your Phone Must Be Unlocked

Some mobile carriers (mainly in the US, Australia, and New Zealand) “lock” their phones so they’ll only work on that carrier’s network—this typically applies if you have a plan that includes a free phone with a multi-year contract. You’ll need to contact your carrier and have them “unlock” your phone so it will accept a third-party SIM card.

In the US, carriers are required to unlock phones if the customer requests it but it’s rarely unlocked by default. That said, a few carriers still make customers jump through hoops to unlock their phones so don’t put this off until the last minute or you could be out of luck.

A New SIM Card Gives You A New Phone Number

Installing a new SIM card gives you a new phone number so your old number won’t work until you reinstall your original SIM card (unless your phone has two SIM slots). So, if people need to reach you, you’ll need to tell people your new European number.

Furthermore, lots of websites and apps use two-factor authentication that’s connected to your phone number so that will no longer be an option with the new SIM installed. And if you use Uber/Lyft, you’ll need to update your new phone number in the app when you install your new SIM.

A benefit of getting an eSIM instead of a physical SIM is that you keep your original phone number.

How Much Mobile Data Do You Need?

As long as you’re not streaming music/videos or uploading a ton of photos, you probably won’t use more than 3GB-6GB of mobile data a week.

If you’re spending a lot of time on social media (notably Instagram and TikTok) then you might use a bit more but if you’re just doing normal web browsing and using Google Maps then you might only use 1-2GB a week.

More Tips On Using Your Mobile Phone In Greece

I’ve written extensively about using smartphones and data plans in Europe as well as tips for buying SIM Cards For Visiting Europe but below are some more helpful tips about using your phone in Greece.

Get A Portable Battery Charger

Traveling with your phone will quickly drain your batteries so I highly recommend a portable battery. I use Anker PowerCore 10000 because it’s tiny and affordable but there are multiple options.

Take Steps To Lower Your Mobile Data Usage

Data can be expensive and it’s extremely easy to unknowingly burn through a lot of data because many apps use data in the background. Facebook, email, Instagram, Snapchat… those all constantly use data throughout the day without you knowing it. That’s it’s important to know how to limit your data usage.

Use Airplane Mode And Block Data to Specific Apps

I’ll put my phone in Airplane Mode because that disables all data (but GPS still works in Airplane Mode). You can also go into the settings and disable data access to each individual app. I’ll go in and turn every off except for things like Google Maps or others that I’ll use more frequently — this way when I turn off Airplane Mode only those apps that will use data. Then I’ll turn Airplane Mode back on when I’m done.

Download Offline Maps

Google Maps lets you download entire city maps so they can be used offline. As an added bonus, GPS doesn’t use data so offline Google Maps works fairly well (but not all functionality works). Here is a good YouTube video that explains everything.

Make Calls Over WiFi

WhatsApp is an excellent app for free calling and text messages — I’ve found that many Europeans exclusively use WhatsApp to communicate (including many Airbnb hosts).


Here are a few more country-specific SIM Card guides I’ve written:

More Europe Travel Tips From The Savvy Backpacker

James Feess
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