Everything to Know About SIM Cards for Greece

September 25, 2023

Travel has always been my one true love. Although I’ve visited many countries in the past few years, my first trip to Greece still sticks out in my mind as the most memorable. Boasting fascinating and rich culture, along with magnificent mountains, clear beaches, and impressive history, this country blew me away.

From my first trip to the moment I’m writing these words, I’ve managed to travel to Greece several times. And well, I’m always planning my next trip back there. 

The first part of any trip is planning and packing. Luckily, after years of practice, packing is something I have down to a science. And one thing that has been added to the list in recent years and will never be taken off is a digital SIM card. After fumbling with too many local SIM card companies or attempting to rely on free WIFI, I’ve found that an eSIM is a far better option. 

Being connected to the internet while traveling is a must. Not only does it allow you to make phone calls home, but it also gives you the ability to research accommodation and transportation, map out routes, report emergencies, and more. In Greece specifically, there are so many hidden gems and tiny villages that you just have to see to believe. But having a SIM card, and being connected to the internet, makes it far easier and quicker to discover these spots. 

In the following post, I’ll share with you everything I’ve learned about purchasing data plans while abroad, and let you in on my secret for the most cost-effective and easy option!

Greece Santorini view of blue domes on the sea background

Do you really need a SIM card for Greece?

Listen, I used to be the kind of traveler who would sleep in a camping tent in remote places and sometimes even without showering, just to save a dime. These days, however, I’m a little more organized, and some might even say bougie. With age, I’ve just realized the importance of comfort. Whereas I once went months without an internet connection, I now believe in the power of being connected, especially for talking to friends and family and sharing all the beautiful moments I am experiencing with them. Plus, with solid internet, I’m able to check the availability of accommodation and transportation, which is a massive help. 

So, whether you’re flying to Corfu, Mykonos, Athens, Santorini or any other destination in Greece, the ability to move independently and freely from the moment your foot touches the airport, is the best decision you can make. Here are some benefits of having a data plan abroad:

  • You can navigate the route from the airport to the hotel – whether by public transportation or by car.
  • You can book hotels and places to stay almost anywhere.
  • You won’t need to plan set meet-up spots with friends.
  • You don’t need to rely on free WIFI from cafes and shops
  • You can call friends and family in the country using regular calls or through apps like WhatsApp.
Greek flag on the background of the sea

The Traditional SIM Card Approach

Today, every company that provides cellular services also offers international data packages. Each company offers a slightly different package, and the terms and conditions vary depending on the country you choose to fly to, the amount of data you want, and for how long. There are a few more fine print details, but we’ll get to those later.

I don’t like to be a downer, but I’m going to do it anyway because it’s the truth. Almost all of the packages offered by phone providers are way too expensive. Once in a while, you can find a good deal, but you’ll really have to dig! 

What are the pros and cons?

Without being too pessimistic, there are no advantages at all here. All the packages of the major companies are expensive, and if you are not a subscriber through the same company, you will probably have to go through the tedious process of changing SIM cards when you leave and return from the country.

The bottom line? There are not so many advantages, but it can be reasonable if you are planning a trip of just a few days and price differences do not bother you much. 

The International SIM Card Method

Many major companies allow customers to purchase an international SIM card that includes a data package that is suitable for hundreds of countries. 

Advantages and Disadvantages

In my opinion, the need to change your SIM card on every flight is a major disadvantage, especially if you travel a lot or travel for business often. However, this can be a reasonable option if you regularly visit the same country. In this case, you can get relatively reasonable prices and a fixed phone number.

Ancient Greek landscape

What about buying a local SIM card and data package?

Buying a local SIM card is not a bad option at all, if you don’t mind running around right after your flight to find a company that will sell you a SIM card at a good price.

There are three major mobile companies in Greece, and a bunch of smaller ones that I would not recommend to you because their SIM cards do not work that well throughout Greece.

The major companies are Cosmote, Wind, and Vodafone. They are reliable companies that support mainly 4G infrastructure, and 5G is also available, but its coverage is limited to certain areas in Greece (Athens and its surroundings). You can find these companies in the city centers or at the airport, assuming you arrive during their hours of operation. In Greece, you can buy a local SIM card in almost any store, and in most cases, this will also be the cheapest option.

The prices of local packages range widely in prices, so it is advisable to pay attention to where you buy and do a small comparison before. Keep in mind that all stores are closed on Sundays, so it is recommended to plan accordingly.

What are the pros and cons?

Overall, this is not a bad option at all if you want basic browsing services. In the past, I found a local SIM card at a great price. But there are a few minor drawbacks, the first is that you will have to wait until you arrive in Greece to purchase the SIM card. The second is that you will have to replace your SIM card with the local SIM card, which can be a bit of a hassle. Apart from that, I don’t have much opposition to local SIM options.

Typical Greek landscape, white buildings with blue doors and purple blossoms

Digital SIM – eSIM from eSIMple 

If you’re like me, and convenience reigns supreme, then you will surely agree that eSIMple is the best choice. With this company, I can purchase a digital SIM. This means that I can set it all up through an app, removing the need for a physical SIM card. Long live the wonders of technology! 

The other thing I like about this option is that even after I return home, I don’t have to disconnect. The SIM stays with me in my phone until the next time, without interfering with the cellular company I’m subscribed to. I just register it in advance and activate it as soon as I land. It’s so convenient and saves me so much time that I’d rather be spending on the beach. And most importantly, all the packages that eSIMple offers are at fair prices that just about any traveler can afford. 

The Pros and Cons

As noted, there are so many advantages when it comes to eSIMple. First, it’s not a physical SIM card. It’s embedded in the device once and for all. The second advantage is that I can choose the data package I need and increase it at any time, from anywhere. And the third advantage is that all packages are at affordable prices. I always know what I’m paying, without any surprises. 

What are the disadvantages? The only disadvantage is that eSIMs are not compatible with all devices yet. Hopefully, one day all devices will support this super convenient system!

Final Thoughts

By finding an internet and calling package that works for my needs, I’ve been able to maximize my time in Greece and every other country I have the pleasue of visiting. Staying connected truly makes all the difference in ensuring an enjoyable trip. 

If you’re wondering where to buy your eSIM card, we invite you to the eSIMple family. Let us know if you have any questions! 

Would you like to hear more? Feel free to leave your details and we’ll get back to you soon!

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