Going to Greece for a few days, weeks or months?
One of the best things you can do is buy a local SIM card in Greece – no matter how long you plan on staying.
The last thing you want to ruin your trip to this beautiful country is to realize you have no data, no way to get directions or contact anyone! Some people rely on wifi but that only works if you’re simply staying at the hotel and/or know your way around already.
Even then, if you want to post a Story on Instagram, capture your BeReal on time or check Google reviews of a restaurant – you’re going to want to have data on hand, at all times.
If it’s your first time traveling to Greece or if you’re a digital nomad staying for a couple of weeks, it’s a no-brainer to get a local SIM card in Greece. For several obvious reasons, but also for the price!
We spent 2 months in Greece (yes 2 months in paradise, we know) as digital nomads, we researched the companies, bought our SIM cards and chose the best plans for our time there.
Save yourself the hassle, worry and anxiousness of traveling around without being connected to the internet and get a SIM card in Greece!
QUICK ANSWER: Our SIM Card Greece Recommendation
There are 3 major SIM card providers in Greece: Cosmote, Vodafone and Wind. We recommend Cosmote because they are fairly inexpensive and the network coverage map is pretty spread out across the country. You can buy a Greek SIM card at any Cosmote stores in Athens or on the islands and they will help you out. For a prepaid mobile internet plan, it only costs €12.90 for 15 GB per month.
Why Buy A Local SIM Card in Greece?
The best reason is the price!
It’s always cheaper to buy a local prepaid SIM card everywhere you go rather than using your roaming data. We’ve been to 30+ countries and this has always been the case, no matter how far or wide we’ve traveled.
The 2nd best reason is to always stay connected to the internet. I don’t know about you but I could not live without it anymore. I can only imagine how people would have traveled back when there weren’t any mobile phones let alone the internet! Thankfully, it’s made travel so much more accessible and less stressful, if we’re honest. If you want to do things like:
- Get directions via Google Maps
- Check opening and closing hours of restaurants
- Order a Bolt or Uber
- Post about your trip on social media
- Contact people and businesses via WhatsApp
- Book day trips or excursions
- Find good restaurants using Google reviews
and so much more, you’re going to want to buy a SIM card in Greece! Our data plans have saved us multiple times from getting lost, getting on the wrong metro and avoiding tourist-trap restaurants.
While you could rely on wifi, it’s not a very safe option for your data and privacy. Most free wifi spots are public which means they aren’t protected in any way. If you care about your privacy and data, it’s best to get data instead of relying on wifi. When we do connect to wifi, we always make sure to have our VPN on. If you want to know more, we wrote a review about the best digital nomad VPN.
There are so many reasons to buy a SIM card in Greece instead of using your roaming data plans which can get very expensive and rely on free public wifi. Your wallet and privacy/data will thank you later for buying a SIM card instead.
Is Buying A SIM Card In Greece Complicated?
Buying a SIM card in Greece is not as difficult as you might think.
You just need to know what you’re doing – choosing the right company, the right data plan and that’s it! It’s very easy to find the stores and stalls you need to buy a SIM card. Whether you are in mainland Greece or on any of the stunning islands – you won’t have a problem finding stores (unless you’re on really remote islands obviously).
It’s easy enough to buy a prepaid package as a foreigner and you can usually buy it via a credit card or cash whichever store you purchase it from.
If you continue reading, you’ll know everything to buy the right SIM card in Greece for your travels.
The Easy Guide To Buying A SIM Card In Greece in 2023
- Which SIM card company should you go with?
- Where do you buy a Greek SIM Card?
- Which data plan should you buy?
- How do you top up or recharge for the next time?
All these questions are valid! If you take the time (like you are doing so by reading this blog), you will understand which company is best for you, the widest coverage and get the best value for money.
After evaluating all of our options, we found the best company with great coverage and fair prices. Here is a complete guide to buying a SIM card in Greece for tourists, digital nomads and remote workers visiting the beautiful country.
3x Things To Consider Before Buying A Greek SIM Card
Before you commit to a company and buy a Greek SIM card, there are 3 things you need to consider. This is the criteria we usually look at before buying a SIM card in places like Guatemala, Colombia and Mexico (+ Greece obviously).
Matthew is big on getting value for money (on more than just which SIM cards we buy). Whenever we land in a new country, it’s the first thing we buy and he researches it so in-depth (probably more than necessary lol). But we can be confident we always choose the best company with the best possible price to get our value for money.
The best way to identify if you’re getting a good price is to see how much data you’re getting vs the number of days vs the price you have to pay – that’s the easiest way to compare. If we find a data plan is a little more expensive but it also gives you more data then it might be better value for money.
Does the network have an extensive coverage map? If you plan on visiting some Greek islands, you need to double-check the nationwide coverage of a mobile phone company.
Some companies are better than others in terms of coverage on the mainland vs the islands. You’ll still get some coverage, it just might be a little slower than you’re used to (eg. 3G instead of 5G). It’s worth paying a little more if you get better coverage – the point is to get data everywhere you travel right?!
The main difference you’ll see between Greek SIM card providers is the amount of data they are offering you. Only buy the amount you think you’ll need (then add 2-3 GB more just in case).
For reference, we typically go for 10 GB per month. This is usually sufficient for us! You also need to check as phone companies will offer less GB of data but give you unlimited social media. Always double-check which social channels exactly, but this can also work out to be a good data plan for some people.
SIM Card Providers in Greece – Your Options
When shopping for a SIM card in Greece, there are 3 major network providers you can choose from:
#1. Cosmote SIM Card Greece
This is the best and possibly biggest sim card Greece provider. Cosmote has the widest coverage network and the data has some of the fastest speeds. We decided to go with Cosmote for all these reasons!
#2. Vodafone SIM Card Greece
Vodafone is a popular phone company spread out across Europe. This means you can be confident you can use the data on your future travels to Schengen countries. Vodafone doesn’t have as wide a coverage as Cosmote and it’s a tad slower but this is definitely the cheaper option for travelers.
#3. Wind SIM Card Greece
While we were in Greece, we found Wind to be more expensive than Cosmote and Vodafone. There’s not much information about Wind online and we saw some of the stores while we were in Athens but they didn’t offer great deals!
Where To Buy A SIM Card In Greece?
There are a couple of options you can choose when buying a SIM card in Greece. Here are the 3 most common ones people do.
Option #1. Buy A SIM Card At The Airport
There are these little kiosks and stall at the Athens International Airport if you want to pick up a Greek SIM card there.
We don’t really recommend getting you SIM cards at the airport. We find that they are usually more expensive and have weird deals/data packages. Another thing – you’ve just arrived in Greece and you’re excited to get to your Airbnb/hotel. The last thing you probably want to do is sort out a SIM card!
I’m usually focused on trying to find our way to the hotel/Airbnb and that’s stressful enough. We leave finding a SIM card for Greece, once we’re in the main area instead.
If you buy at the airport, you might also not have ample choice. From what we saw, there was a Vodafone kiosk but we couldn’t see a Cosmote one. If you don’t care what company you go with – then it doesn’t really matter if you buy it at the airport. But if you do – just wait till you get to the city center.
Option #2: Buy A SIM Card At The Official Store
We recommend doing option #2!
When you buy a SIM card in Greece, we think it’s best to do it at the official store. You will have a sales rep guide you through the whole process and they can see all the kinds of deals/promotions they have going on.
We got quite the deal doing exactly this! There are plenty of official stores scattered throughout Athens. You might have to work a little harder to find the official stores when you’re on the islands but you can be sure you’re getting the real thing.
For official stores in Athens, here are some of the best places to buy a SIM card in Greece:
- Cosmote near Psyri
- Cosmote near Syntagma (we went to this one)
- Vodafone near Syntagma
- Vodafone near Omonia
- Wind near Syntagma
For official stores in Santorini, here are some places to buy your SIM card in Greece:
If you’re not sure what company to choose, you can simply head to Syntagma. They are all within walking distance from each other and you can check out each store for yourself.
Option #3: Buy It From The Street Vendors
You could do this and I emphasize the COULD part.
We don’t really recommend this because you’re never too sure if you’re getting the real deal. While they may be legit most of the time, you just are never 100% sure. You also have to show your passport to buy a SIM card in Greece, which you may not want to do if it’s not an official store. Apparently, they are legit so if you feel comfortable – go ahead and buy a Greek SIM card from them.
Most of them can be found nearby major train stations scattered throughout Athens.
How To Buy A SIM Card In Greece – Step By Step Guide
Buying a SIM card in Greece is pretty easy and straightforward. We usually arrive in Athens for a few days before heading out to the islands to get ourselves situated. Most major tourist destinations in Greece like Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, etc. are easy to buy SIM cards as people are used to serving tourists who speak English and only need prepaid plans.
We spent our honeymoon in Greece and we also spent 2 months living as digital nomads in Athens in 2021. We’ve bought a Greek SIM card twice now and it’s never been complicated. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you buy a SIM card in Greece:
Step #1: Choose a SIM card provider.
There are 3 major phone providers in Greece: Cosmote, Vodafone and Wind.
We highly recommend Cosmote because they have the best coverage nationwide, especially helpful if you plan to go island-hopping!
Step #2: Go to an official store.
Once you’ve chosen which company you want to go with, simply open Google Maps. Search for a ‘Cosmote’ store (for example) and you can choose the one that’s closest to you.
If you head to Syntagma Square, all 3 providers are located within walking distance too. It’s pretty much in the center and not a hassle to get there. You can walk into any of the official stores in that area.
Step #3: Select a data plan.
Before you can choose your data plan – you should count the number of days you’ll be in Greece (or Europe in general). You may only need a data plan for 14 days rather than 30 days and the plan varies based on this too.
For reference, 10 GB is enough for us for about 30 days. It’s up to you how much data you want to use up. Some companies start their offers at 1 GB for €1, all the way up to an unlimited number of data.
Remember: Most SIM cards in Europe also cover other European countries. If you buy a SIM card in Greece, it will likely work in other countries like France for example. This is something to think about it you’re going on a month-long trip across XYZ countries in Europe.
Step #4: Hand over your passport.
Yes, you must bring your passport in order to buy a SIM card in Greece. We forgot ours the first time we went to the official store and asked if a photo of our passport would work and they said no.
We had to come back another day and get it done. This is your official reminder to not be like us and bring your passport with you the first time you buy a SIM card in Greece!
Step #5: Pay at the cashier’s desk.
As they sort out the paperwork and stuff, you will be asked to pay at the cashier’s desk inside the store. You can pay by debit/credit card or cash at the official stores and they will hand you an invoice/receipt.
Step #6: Insert the SIM card and test it before leaving the store.
The helpful staff will insert the SIM card for you. Once everything is configured, you should test out the data to make sure it works before you leave the store. I always choose to open Instagram because if it’s quick enough to load photos/videos – it should be good for everything else!
Step #7: Leave the store and enjoy Greece!
Thank the helpful staff and be on your merry way! If you have any issues, you can always go back to the official stores and they will help sort you out.
SIM Card Greece: Data Plans & Prices
We think we lucked out when we bought our SIM cards in Greece. Cosmote seemed to launch a subsidiary brand called ‘What’s Up’ (we didn’t choose the name :P). Since they were promoting this, they had an insanely good deal for anyone that signed up! We trusted the brand because it was obviously still Cosmote’s network and we bought it at the official Cosmote store.
For the What’s Up promotional deal, we got unlimited data for only €12. Crazy good deal, right?! The next month we needed to top up and sadly the deal was gone. They offered us €12 for only 7 GB. But the kind staff let us know another promotion they had – we just had to get a brand new SIM card again. So we did! The deal we got was €12 for 20 GB which is better than topping up again!
If you want the best current deals like what we got, just head to the store for the latest discounts.
Cosmote Greece Data Plan & Costs
We went with Cosmote, specifically their What’s Up brand and got an insane deal (15GB for 30 days = €12.90). I wouldn’t trust the info on the website – for more accurate prices and the best deals, it’s always best to head inside the store and ask! Online…here’s what you can expect otherwise:
- 3GB For 7 Days = €2
- 4GB For 30 Days = €8.50
Vodafone Greece Data Plan & Costs
- 3GB + Minutes For 15 Days = €8.50
- 7GB For 15 Days = €8.50
- 7GB + Minutes For 30 Days = €17
- 16GB For 30 Days = €17
Wind Greece Data Plan & Costs
We considered going with Wind but after seeing their prices and the small amount of data they offered, we quickly stepped out. Apparently, you can get better deals via the street vendors – if you feel comfortable with that. This is the deal they offered on the streets:
- Unlimited data for 30 days = €12
Our best advice would be to go to the official stores to get their current promotions. They always seem to be running something and you won’t find it on their websites online.
How To Top Up/Recharge Your Greek SIM Card
There are several ways to top up your Greek SIM card.
Top Up Via The App
Most phone providers in Greece have an app on the App Store or the Play Store. The brand we bought, What’s Up, from Cosmote also had its own app and that’s how we saw how GB we had used and had left. It’s easy enough to choose your next data plan and pay through the app.
Top Up Via The Official Store
You can always go to the official store and the staff will be more than happy to help or explain how to top up. We went back to the store because we weren’t liking the deals on the app and they informed us that if we bought a brand, new SIM card we’d get a better deal – so we did that!
Do I Need A Passport To Buy A SIM Card In Greece?
Yes, you do need a passport to buy a SIM card in Greece.
We asked and they won’t accept a photo of your passport. They need the original, physical copy in the store. If you buy 2 SIM cards, you’ll also need to have 2 separate passports. For example, you *can’t use one passport to buy 2 SIM cards. Each SIM card needs to be registered with a specific individual/passport.
Don’t Want To Buy A Local SIM? Try An eSIM Instead.
If you’re comfortable with getting to your hotel or Airbnb without a SIM card, you can quickly step out after arriving to buy a SIM card at an official store. If you’re not comfortable with doing this, you can always get an eSIM card for your first couple of days and then switch to a local one. We use Nomad eSIM and Airalo which have been pretty reliable.
Want to learn more? Make sure you check our full guide to the best esim providers while you travel. You can also check out our complete Airalo review to see why we think it’s the best eSIM company overall.
SIM Card Greece: Which Is The Best SIM Card For Travelers?
That’s the entire SIM card Greece guide! We hope you found this helpful and enjoy the paradise that is Greece.
The best SIM card provider in Greece is Cosmote (plus any of their subsidiary brands). They offer the widest coverage and still have reasonable prices for data plans. You can easily buy a SIM card in Greece from the official stores of Cosmote, Vodafone or Wind. We highly recommend buying it at their stores as opposed to buying it at the airport or from street vendors.
Remember: You DO need a passport to buy a local SIM card in Greece.
We were lucky enough to visit their store while they had a promotion for their subsidiary brand, What’s Up, and got unlimited data for only €12. Find the best data plan and price that suits you and you can enjoy your time in Greece without worrying about data!
Great advice, thank you for informing me just what to look out for when purchasing a sim card.
Matthew Metcalfe says
Awesome, glad it helped!