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

A guide to finding the best prepaid SIM cards for Croatia.

phones and technology

Buying a prepaid SIM card for Croatia is a cheap and easy way to get high-speed mobile data while traveling and it can save you a lot of money compared to using your current carrier’s international plan. In this guide, I’ll teach you how to buy a SIM card in Croatia—including the best places to purchase SIM cards, tips for activating your service, and I’ll cover any quirks you might encounter along the way.

UPDATE: Most modern phones are eSIM compatible and eSIMs are MUCH more convenient than physical SIM cards. You simply buy the prepaid data plan online, scan a QR code that’s sent to your email to install the digital eSIM “card” on your phone, and you’re ready to go. There’s zero hassle.

Read The Savvy Backpacker’s Guide To The Best eSIM Data Plans for Europe or check out my guide to the best prepaid eSIM data plans for Croatia to learn more.

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

You have two main options for buying a prepaid SIM Card for Croatia:

  • The Easy Way – Buying A SIM Card Before You Travel: Buying a physical 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 – Buying a SIM Card In Croatia: Buying a SIM card after arriving in Croatia 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 after arriving is cheaper for longer trips.

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

The easiest way to get mobile data in Croatia is to buy a prepaid Croatian/European SIM card before departing from an online dealer who will mail you the physical SIM card.

There are a few European data plans aimed at visitors—they’re a bit more expensive than waiting to buy in Croatia 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 receive the SIM card, you simply install it once you’re in Croatia 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. Again, check to see if your phone accepts eSIM cards because eSIM delivery is instant and free (both and Holafly are two reputable sellers).

I estimate that you’ll spend an extra $12-$22 over the course of a two-week trip if you buy ahead vs waiting to purchase a physical SIM card in Croatia—which I think is worth the convenience.

The Best Tourist-Friendly Prepaid SIM Cards For Croatia

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

NOTE: All the SIM cards listed below provide European-wide coverage so they’re great for multi-country trips.

Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM Card For Croatia

In my opinion, the Orange Holiday Europe Prepaid SIM Card is the best full-featured SIM card option for Croatia (and the rest of Europe) because it offers generous data for a fair 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.

Unlike some other plans, the Orange Holiday Europe plan 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 Croatia SIM Card

For light data users, I recommend the $30 Orange Holiday Zen SIM Card. This prepaid SIM 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 PAYG AIO15 Croatia SIM Card

Three UK is another major European mobile carrier and their PAYG AIO15 plan is a solid value for travelers 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.

Three UK PAYG AIO15 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 Croatia

Buying a local prepaid SIM Card in Croatia is a fairly straightforward process but knowing where to buy a SIM card can be confusing because different cards are sold at multiple places—including individual grocery stores, 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, Orange Holiday eSIM, or Holafly Croatia eSIM before you arrive in Croatia—plus the service works in any European country.

Buying SIM Cards From Major Mobile Carriers in Croatia

The three major mobile carriers in Croatia are T-Mobile CroatiaA1 Croatia, and Telemach Croatia/Net2Go. They all have a 10-day prepaid “tourist” SIM card data plan which costs around $12—most will mail the SIM card to a local Croatian address or you can buy them in-store. They also have other data plans but this is going to be the best option for most travelers.

All of Croatia’s major carriers have one or two physical storefronts in major cities. 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.

Buying SIM Cards At The Airport In Croatia

All the major airports in Croatia have SIM card sellers but they’re overpriced since they’re targeting desperate, data-hungry travelers.

Newsstands, Tobacco Shops, Vending Machines, Grocery Stores, Post Offices, Etc:

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

Croatia Prepaid SIM Card Basics

SIM Card Europe Travel

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

You Don’t Need Your Passport

Many companies require you to bring your passport when buying a SIM card for registration but Croatia doesn’t require this.

Your Service Works Anywhere In The European Union

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 Croatia 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 (Before You Leave)

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.

Keep Your Old SIM Card Safe

You’ll need to reinstall your old SIM card to get your domestic service back once the trip is over.

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 Croatia

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 Croatia.

Buy 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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