Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is the second busiest airport in Spain and one of the busiest in Europe. It handled over 50 million passengers in 2019. As an international travel hub, El Prat Airport sees travelers from all over the world passing through. For many visitors, having connectivity during their trip is essential. A local SIM card allows you to have cell phone service, and mobile data and make calls while visiting Barcelona. Here is a guide on where to buy a SIM Card at Barcelona-El Prat Airport.

SIM Card at Barcelona-El Prat Airport

I. Where to Buy a SIM Card at Barcelona-El Prat Airport

There are several options for purchasing a Spain SIM card upon arrival at El Prat Airport in Barcelona:

1. Tech & Fly

Located inside the terminal, this electronics store has a dedicated section for SIM cards. They offer Vodafone prepaid cards for tourists with various data packages.

  • Opening hours: 6 AM – 10 PM daily.
  • Location: Terminal 1
Tech & Fly at Barcelona Airport
Tech & Fly at Barcelona Airport

2. Tabacos convenience store

Located just outside the sliding door on your right hand side as you walk out of the terminal building, this convenience store sells Orange prepaid SIM cards for tourists. It’s a good option if you’re on a budget or need a SIM card quickly.

  • Opening hours: Regular convenience store hours.
  • Location: Terminal 1 
Tabacos convenience store
Tabacos convenience store

II. Barcelona-El Prat Airport SIM Card Options and Costs

The major mobile networks in Spain include Vodafone, Orange, Yoigo, Movistar, and others. Here is an overview of what’s available for prepaid SIM cards at Barcelona Airport:

SIM Card Provider Network Used Approximate Cost (EUR/USD) Data, Calls, Texts Included
Orange Orange €20-€30 / $22-33 20GB data, calls/texts in Spain and EU
Vodafone Vodafone €20-€30 / $22-33 20GB data, calls/texts in Spain and EU
Holafone Orange €9 / $10 5GB data
Lebara Vodafone €10 / $11 Some data, calls/texts worldwide
Lyca Mobile Vodafone €10 / $11 Data, international calls/texts

III. What You Need to Prepare for Getting a SIM Card at Barcelona-El Prat Airport

Purchasing and activating a Spain SIM card when you land at Barcelona Airport is quick and easy, especially if you come prepared with a few things:

  • Unlocked phone – Your phone cannot be locked or tied to a specific network back home. It needs to be unlocked to accept a Spanish SIM.
  • SIM card size – Standard or regular-size SIM cards are common in Europe. Be sure you have a standard-size SIM slot in your device. Mini and micro SIMs are less common.
  • Passport – You will need to show your passport when purchasing a SIM card in the airport shops and stores. This is for identity verification.
  • Cash – Have some Euros on hand if possible. Not all SIM card vendors accept credit cards. Cash ensures you can make the purchase.
  • Activated credit/debit card – Even if the SIM card seller accepts credit cards, your card must be active for international transactions. Call your bank to ensure your card will work if needed.

IV. eSIM as an Alternative to SIM Card at Barcelona-El Prat Airport

Europe eSIM
Europe eSIM

In addition to physical plastic SIM Card at Barcelona-El Prat Airport, eSIM is a digital alternative that is growing in availability. eSIM allows you to digitally download a SIM profile and activate it on your phone. With eSIM you avoid having to insert a SIM card.

Some advantages of using eSIM include:

  • No need to find and purchase a SIM card at the airport
  • Remote activation – can set it up before you travel
  • Ability to switch SIM profiles through an app
  • Dual SIM functionality on a single device

Vodafone, Orange, and Movistar offer eSIM services in Spain. However, eSIM support is still limited on iPhones and Android devices. Check the Europe eSIM Compatible Devices List if your phone is eSIM capable before opting for this route.

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Do I need to register my passport to buy a SIM Card at Barcelona-El Prat Airport?

Yes, you need to show your passport at the time of purchase as ID verification. This is required by Spanish law.

Can I use my SIM card at Barcelona Airport throughout Europe?

Spain SIM cards include domestic service only. For Europe roaming, purchase a SIM with EU roaming capabilities. Movistar is one option.

How can I recharge my Spain SIM card?

You can top up your SIM at stores, vending machines, online, or via recharge cards sold at shops and kiosks. Set up automatic recharge to avoid running out of credit.

Do Spain SIM cards expire?

Yes, prepaid SIM cards have a set validity, usually 30 days up to 120 days. You need to recharge to extend service before the expiry date.

Can I use a SIM card on my tablet or mobile hotspot?

Most Spain SIM cards are restricted to phone usage only. You may need to purchase a specific data SIM for tablets and hotspots. Check with the provider.

VI. Final Words

Purchasing a SIM card upon arrival at Barcelona-El Prat Airport is quick and convenient. Major providers like Vodafone, Orange, and Yoigo have stores and shops right in the arrival halls. You can also find SIM cards in vending machines and other shops in the terminals. With an unlocked phone and passport in hand, you can easily gain cell service and internet data during your visit to Barcelona.