Buying a SIM Card in Greece

Greece is a unique destination that offers visitors a rich history, great weather, and great food. Over the years I have been to Greece several times and each time I wish I had stayed longer.

Staying connected in this land of grilled meats and feta cheese is as simple as losing weight. SIM cards can be purchased easily and the costs can be reasonable if you choose the right package.

Here are the facts.

Have you purchased travel insurance for Greece? You can get travel insurance for Greece that covers everything from medical emergencies to cancelled flights, lost luggage, theft, and other sticky situations. For over a decade, we have been using World Nomads.

Companies

  • We recommend Vodafone for most travellers

 Three cell networks are available in Greece: Vodafone, Cosmote and Wind. Various retailers also offer service on one of those three networks.

Cosmote offers the best coverage and speeds while Wind has low prices for a limited area. Vodafone is somewhere between speed, coverage, price, and both.

Although I have used Vodafone in Athens in the past, this time I was sticking to the western side. My route took me from Corfu to smaller islands farther south in the Ionian Sea, where I spent a week-long sailing vacation. I opted for Vodafone after checking the coverage map, availability of credit stores and the availability of SIM and credit cards.

How to buy a prepaid SIM card in Greece

 It was easy to buy a Vodafone SIM card and get service, at least in Corfu. It’s possible to have an identical experience in any other part of Greece where there is enough tourism.

There are a few Vodafone stores in Corfu Town’s downtown. I visited the one near San Rocco square. Although it’s small, the store is very popular with tourists due to its central location.

A staff member asked me what I wanted and suggested a few options to help me get through my two weeks in the country. To purchase a SIM card from Vodafone stores, you will need your passport. Staff will also take a photocopy.

After I had swapped SIM cards, Vodafone sent me a few texts and my data began working immediately. This entire process took only five minutes.

Do you prefer to travel and not buy SIM cards? To stay connected in Greece or across Europe, you should order one in advance

The Orange SIM comes with 20GB of data and 1000 international texts. It also includes two hours of international calling. It’s available for two weeks in 30 European nations and includes US delivery. Get 20% off your order by using the code SIMOFF20 during checkout

There are other options for those who travel longer or need a hotspot to make calls, send texts and receive data. Affordable eSIMs are also available for iPhones with supported operating systems. You’ll be connected quickly and easily, no matter what you do.

Prepaid SIM Costs

 The SIM card costs five euros in-store, with no credit. You’ll need to top it off with at least EUR10 before it can be used..  The default package includes 250 minutes of talk and 500MB data. It is valid for one month and costs EUR8.50.

 

Top-up vouchers are available in EUR10 to EUR15, EUR20 and EUR30 versions. A 12% tax is added. This means that your EUR10 top up will only add EUR8.93 on your balance.

Are you still confused?

If you require more data than what the default package provides (and you will, if your stay in the country is longer than a week), there are several options to add more.

  • 4GB available for 5EUR per week
  • 1GB is valid for a single day for 1EUR
  • 3GB available for a single day at 1.50EUR
  • For 3 EUR, 5GB is valid for a weekend.
  • 12GB available at night (8pm-8am) for 7EUR
  • A summer promotion giving unlimited data for 30 days, for 9.90EUR

If you are visiting Greece for 30 days and need unlimited calls, texts and data, the total cost will be EUR30. This includes the SIM card, as well as EUR25 of credit to cover the default calls and data packages plus any extra data.

If you prefer to mix and match different data packages, I suggest that you add enough credit at the time of purchase to cover your anticipated needs. After activating the packages, either via the My Vodafone App or by calling 1252

There’s an alternative if you only require data. Vodafone’s Giga WiFi, which is a bit awkwardly named, offers the best data value in Greece. You’ll be charged 4.95EUR for 10GB and 9.95EUR each for 40GB.  This offer is valid for one whole month. This SIM is data-only and does not include calls or texts.  It is important to ask questions.

There are also tourist-specific packages . Some are data-only and some include a number of minutes of international calling. You can compare the prices and details to the current prepaid pricing and take a look at them.

Ask about any current promotions before signing up. These can be much more valuable, especially for heavy data users.

Anecdotal reports have started to surface (see comments below) that Vodafone stores in highly-touristic areas refuse to sell prepaid packages except those with the highest price. If this happens and the staff member refuses to budge then you can simply walk away and choose another provider.

Topping Up

 Top-ups can be purchased at any Vodafone store (store locator available here), and thousands of kiosks, service station, and supermarkets throughout the country.

Data Speeds and Coverage

 Although there are many areas in Greece that offer 4G/LTE service via Vodafone, the majority of them are located in major cities You may happen to find it elsewhere  You can find it on the island and on the mainland, but you shouldn’t count on that.

On Greece’s west coast, coverage and speed were surprisingly variable. Corfu Town, despite having the most people, had the worst reception speed and reception. Due to the stone buildings around me, I received very little service in the old town. However, things were much better elsewhere.

Things improved significantly further down the coast. While sailing between Lefkada and Meganisi on the mainland, I was able to get reliable HSPA+ service. I also had good speeds when I checked. LTE would occasionally come up, but it was rarely lower than 2G. I never lost my signal.

Athens had 4G/LTE services that were much more popular, thanks to the faster speeds.

EU Roaming

G Because Greece is a member of the European Union it is subject to EU roaming regulations. The “roam as at home” rules eliminated roaming fees in large parts of Europe in 2017. You can use any SIM card from any EU country to access all other EU countries. at no extra charge.

However, there are exceptions and limitations, especially for large data packages. Double-check all details before you make a purchase.

 

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