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Making sure that you can stay connected while avoiding high roaming charges and overseas plans that can only provide a slow connection is probably one of your concerns while planning your trip to Athens.
That’s why most visitors prefer buying a prepaid SIM card from one of the local providers as soon as they touch ground in Greece. Still, browsing through all the different options and plans can be a headache.
Luckily for you, we’ve gathered all the information you’ll need on prepaid SIM cards, local providers, prices and network coverage in the guide that follows.
Why Buy a Local Prepaid SIM Card in Greece?
There’s no doubt that a stable internet connection is going to be absolutely necessary for your trip to Athens, be it for using one of the taxi apps that operate in the city, checking your route on a map, or finding out where is the best place to eat nearby.
Of course, you can always connect to the wifi network of your hotel or a cafe on the street, or even use one of the public wifi hotspots in Athens.
However, you probably want to avoid unsecured or slow connections and it’s always best to be able to connect to the internet no matter how far you’ve roamed.
What is the Price of a Prepaid SIM Card in Greece?
All prepaid SIM cards in Athens cost 5 EUR. However, keep in mind that this is the price for just purchasing the card without any amount of credit on it. After buying a SIM card, you will have to pay an additional amount to top it up which will depend on the plan you want to buy.
Find more information on the different providers and plans offered below.
Where Can You Buy a Prepaid SIM Card in Athens?
All the major mobile phone providers have stores throughout the city where you can buy, top-up and activate a new SIM Card.
Just head for one of the stores of Vodafone, Cosmote, Germanos, or WIND and get your new card within a few minutes.
Here are the locations of a few stores you can visit just a few minutes away from Syntagma Square:
- Address: Stadiou 9, Athens 105 62
- Phone: 00302103239996
- Address: Mitropoleos1 & Filellinon 2, Athina 105 57
- Phone: 00308011197000
- Address: Stadiou 10, Athina 105 64
- Phone: 00302103236000
Opening Hours of Mobile Phone Stores in Athens
Monday: 9am – 3.30pm
Tuesday: 9am – 8.30pm
Wednesday: 9am – 3.30pm
Thursday: 9am – 8.30pm
Friday: 9am – 8.30pm
Saturday: 9am – 3pm
How to Buy a Prepaid SIM Card at Athens International Airport (ATH)
If you don’t want to wait until you reach the city center to buy a new SIM card, remember that you can also buy one as soon as you land at the Athens International Airport.
On the “Arrivals Level” and at the “Baggage Reclaim Area”, you’ll find two different kiosks named SIM LOCAL where you can purchase a card issued by one of the major Greek providers like Vodafone. You can find the exact location at the airport here. The SIM LOCAL store is open from 6 am to 10 pm every day.
Keep in mind that their schedule might change throughout the year. You can reach them by phone at 0030-2103531315
We don’t recommend buying a prepaid sim card at Athens Airport because it’s overpriced. If you are not in a rush, wait until you get to Athens city center.
How Do You Register and Activate a Prepaid SIM Card in Greece?
According to local legislation, any visitor who wants to purchase a prepaid SIM card has to be over 18 years old and present a valid national ID issued in the EU or a valid passport.
After registering your name with the provider of your choice they will give you specific instructions on how to activate your SIM card.
In most cases, you’ll have to make a simple phone call or send an SMS before your connection is active.
Keep in mind that the same thing applies when buying a SIM card from the company reps on the street. In any case, the process will normally not take up more than a few minutes of your time.
Are There Tourist SIM Cards in Greece?
Yes. While in Athens, you might see ads and street vendors promoting prepaid SIM cards targeted specifically at tourists that offer good prices for short-term plans, but maybe it’s a bit weird to buy a sim card on the streets with someone who takes a photo of your passport.
Is There Free EU Roaming in Greece?
Yes. As part of the European Union, citizens of Greece enjoy the benefit of free roaming within the EU completely free of charge. That means that if you buy a local SIM card you will also be able to travel anywhere within the EU without having to buy a new one every time you cross a border.
However, make sure to inform your provider as this might require activating the roaming option beforehand.
Data Speed: Is There a 5G Network in Greece?
Even though Greece has been quite late to adopt the 5G network technology that many other European countries take for granted, the advancements toward building a 5G infrastructure have been swift during the past few years.
If you’re traveling to Athens or any other major city, you’ll be happy to hear that you can get a 5G or 4G-LTE connection all around the city center.
However, if you’re planning to visit a remote area (for example, taking a day trip from Athens to the Saronic Gulf islands) you might experience slower connections.
Can You Use an eSIM in Greece?
Yes. If your phone is already set up with an eSIM option, there’s no reason to buy a physical SIM card in Greece. All major operators offer the option of just buying an eSIM and setting it up within a few minutes.
However, keep in mind that you will have to pay an extra fee for purchasing an eSIM which will be approximately 10 EUR.
Mobile Internet and Phone Providers in Greece
There are only 3 major mobile phone providers in Greece. These are Cosmote, Vodafone, and WIND. In turn, there are other smaller companies or subsidiary companies that use the major networks to provide their services like Q, Frog, Vodafone CU, Cosmote What’s Up, and WIND F2G.
We recommend sticking with the main providers to ensure that your connection speed is as fast as possible.
Vodafone and Vodafone CU Prepaid SIM Cards
Prepaid SIM deals with Vodafone start at around 10 EUR and you can purchase them in any Vodafone shop downtown or at the Athens International Airport. See the prepaid bundles (including eSIMs) here.
Find a network coverage map of Vodafone in Greece here.
Cosmote and Cosmote What’s Up Prepaid SIM Cards
Prepaid SIM deals with Cosmote and Cosmote What’s Up start at around 10 EUR and you can purchase them in any Cosmote or Germanos shop downtown. See the prepaid bundles here.
Find a network coverage map of Cosmote in Greece here.
WIND and F2G Prepaid SIM Cards
Prepaid SIM deals with WIND and WIND F2G start at around 10 EUR and you can purchase them in any WIND shop downtown. See the prepaid bundles here.
Find a network coverage map of WIND in Greece here.
How Do You Top-Up Your Phone and Data Credit?
Topping-up your balance while in Greece is quite easy. You can either walk into a store and pay for credit after providing your phone number or buy a voucher at any local kiosk. These have a 16-digit number which you have to input via calling or texting a number indicated by the provider to get the amount on your account.
You will find specific instructions printed on each voucher. These vouchers usually cost 10, 15, 20 or 30 euros.
Note that there is a 12% tax charged in all top-up transactions in Greece. This means that if you pay for a 10 euro voucher, for example, only 8,80 euros will be credited to your account.
Important: Keep in mind that when you top up your balance, no prepaid bundle will be activated even if you have already activated one before. Use the instructions on the top-up voucher or ask an employee to activate the one you want for you. Spending credit without an activated bundle will be significantly more expensive!
What is the Best Prepaid SIM Card in Greece? – Our Recommendation
You won’t see any huge differences in the prices or services of any of the 3 major providers – especially if you’re only staying in Greece for a few days.
However, we recommend using Cosmote as they seem to have the best coverage throughout the country and offer a relatively faster internet connection compared to the rest.
To conclude, buying a SIM card while traveling to Athens is not going to be a difficult task. Just remember to have your passport at the ready, visit a mobile phone store or the airport kiosk, choose the bundle that suits your needs best and you’ll be good to go in just a matter of minutes.
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