Depending on your network, it can cost up to £2.29 per day to use your phone in Spain. We review the best SIM cards for using your mobile phone in Spain.

Spain continues to be the top destination for British holidaymakers, with more than 18 million Brits visiting every year. Whether you’re there to enjoy the food and culture, or there to enjoy the seaside resorts in the Canary Islands and along the Costa del Sol, you’ll probably want to use your mobile phone whilst you’re there.

On most major UK networks, European roaming charges have now returned. This means it can cost up to £2.29 per day to use your UK SIM card in Spain. This can add an extra £16 to your phone bill for a one-week trip or an extra £32 for a two-week trip. Thankfully, it’s possible to side-step these charges by getting a £1.29 Pay As You Go SIM with inclusive roaming in Spain. Alternatively, you can get a local SIM card on arrival in Spain, with plans available from €10 per month.

In this article, we’ll look at the multiple ways to use your mobile phone in Spain. We’ll compare the costs of roaming on a UK SIM card and review the best UK plans for roaming in Spain. We’ll also look at how you can get a local SIM card in Spain and the coverage that’ll be available on it.

Best Spain SIM Card: Lyca Mobile (UK-based SIM)
Recommended Plans:
Inclusive Features:
  • Pay just £1.29 for up to 30 days use in Spain, Europe & the UK.
  • Use your inclusive minutes to call home to the UK & locally in Spain.
  • Get instant delivery with eSIM & use it alongside your current SIM.
  • No contract & no credit check. Cancel anytime.
Compatibility: Works with most unlocked smartphones (including iPhone & Android)
Free SIM Card: Get Lyca Mobile SIM (from £1.29 per month) →

Using Your Mobile Phone In Spain

If you’re planning a trip to Spain, there are three ways to use your mobile phone whilst you’re there:

  • You can roam on a UK-based SIM card. This is the easiest and most straightforward way to use your phone in Spain. You’ll have a UK-based phone number (+44) and you’ll pay your UK mobile network for usage.
  • You can buy a Spanish SIM card on arrival. You can get a SIM card from one of the local mobile networks in Spain on arrival. You’ll get a Spanish phone number (+34), along with large data allowance (e.g. 40GB data for €10). You will, however, need to buy and register the SIM card with your passport on arrival, which can be a bit of a hassle and take some time.
  • You can buy a low-cost eSIM for Spain. You can get an fully-featured eSIM from Lyca Mobile, or a data-only eSIM from Airalo. This saves you time and money but you’ll need to have an eSIM-ready phone to use it.

The following table shows a side-by-side comparison of the three options:

Roaming on a UK SIM card Buying a Spanish SIM card on arrival Buying an eSIM to roam in Spain
Best for most short-term visits to Spain.
Best for extended trips & heavy data users.
Best if you’re departing soon and want an eSIM quickly.
You’ll have a UK-based number (beginning with +44). You’ll have a Spanish number (beginning with +34). You’ll have a UK phone number (+44) with a Lyca Mobile eSIM.
Some UK networks charge up to £2.29 per day. However, others allow you to roam at no extra cost in Spain. Plans start from €10 per month. You can get a SIM card from Movistar, Orange, Vodafone ES or Yoigo. Get an eSIM from Lyca Mobile or Airalo. Plans start from £1.29 per month with calls, texts & data.
You can roam in Spain for up to 60 days every 120 days. A fair use limit will apply. Use your phone in Spain for as long as you like. Best for long trips and heavy data users. Good for short term use in Spain (up to 60 days every 120 days).
There’s no hassle: just set up & activate your UK SIM card before you depart. You’ll need to buy & activate your SIM card for Spain on arrival (e.g. at a phone store). You can set up and activate your plan on any compatible eSIM-ready phone.
No need to register with the authorities in Spain. You’ll need to register the SIM card with the Spanish authorities. No need to register with the authorities in Spain.

If you’d like to use your mobile phone in Spain with the least amount of hassle, we’d normally recommend roaming on a UK-based SIM card.

If your mobile network will charge you extra for roaming in Spain, consider getting a one-month Pay As You Go SIM card with inclusive European roaming. For instance, Lyca Mobile offers a Pay As You Go SIM from £1.29 per month (this is a special offer for February 2024). You’ll get inclusive roaming in Spain & other EU destinations:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited10GB
(10GB roaming)
£1.49
for 3 months, then £5.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited15GB
(12GB roaming)
£1.80
for 3 months, then £8.50/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited20GB
(12GB roaming)
£2.39
for 3 months, then £7.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited88GB
(12GB roaming)
£8.00
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
UnlimitedUnlimited
(35GB roaming)
£9.99
for 6 months, then £25/month

There’s no contract and no credit check on Lyca Mobile. This means you can change or cancel your plan at any time. On top of that, you can choose a Lyca Mobile eSIM for greater convenience, or a normal SIM card if you prefer:

  • Get a Lyca Mobile eSIM for instant online delivery. If you have an eSIM-compatible phone (such as the iPhone 11, Galaxy S20, Pixel 3 and newer devices), you can order a Lyca Mobile eSIM. With the eSIM option, you simply need to scan a QR code on your phone. You’re then ready to save money on your trip abroad to Spain. In many cases, you’ll also be able to use the Lyca Mobile eSIM alongside your current SIM card through dual-SIM functionality.
  • Get a physical SIM card in the post. If you choose a physical SIM card, this will be sent out to you through the post. You can expect it to take up to 5 working days for the SIM card to arrive (though it will normally arrive faster than that). A physical SIM card will work inside any unlocked mobile phone (there’s no need to have an eSIM-ready phone).

See all Lyca Mobile SIM & eSIM Deals →

Roaming On Your UK SIM Card

The easiest way to use your mobile phone in Spain is through international roaming on a UK-based SIM card.

As a result of the UK leaving the European Union, most of the major UK networks now charge you extra for using your phone in Europe. This means you might need to pay up to £2.29 per day to use your phone in Spain.

Roaming Charges In Spain

The following table shows the cost of using your mobile phone in Spain, along with the coverage available and the fair usage limit on each network:

Network European Roaming Cost Roaming Coverage Fair Use Limit For Data
ASDA Mobile No extra cost 4G & 5G 5GB per month
BT Mobile No extra cost 4G 15GB per month
EE £2.29 per day1 4G & 5G 50GB per month
giffgaff No extra cost 4G 5GB per month
O2 No extra cost 4G & 5G 25GB per month
iD Mobile No extra cost 4G Plan dependent – check here
Lebara Mobile No extra cost 4G 30GB per month
Lyca Mobile No extra cost 4G Plan dependent – check here
SMARTY No extra cost 4G 12GB per month
Sky Mobile £2 per day 4G
Talkmobile No extra cost 4G & 5G 5GB per month
Tesco Mobile No extra cost2 4G
Three £2 per day3 4G 12GB per month
Virgin Mobile No extra cost 4G & 5G Plan dependent – check here
Vodafone £2.25 per day4 4G & 5G 25GB per month
VOXI £1 – £2.25 per day5 4G & 5G 20GB per month

When you’re using a UK SIM card, there’s a fair use limit in Spain. You’ll be able to use up to your UK plan allowance or up to the fair usage limit each month, whichever one is lower.

In addition, you’ll need to spend the majority of your time inside the UK (normally measured as 61 days over a 120-day period). If you spend more than 50% of your time in Spain, you’ll need to get a local SIM card from one of the Spanish mobile networks instead.

Notes:

  1. EE: On EE, you’ll pay £2.29 per day to use your mobile phone abroad in Spain, unless you have the Roam Abroad add-on or Smart Benefit. You’ll continue to have free European roaming if your EE Pay Monthly plan started before the 7th July 2021.
  2. Tesco Mobile: From 2024, Tesco Mobile will introduce charges for roaming in Spain and other European countries. This will apply to all customers who joined or upgraded after the 16th June 2022.
  3. Three: On Three, you’ll pay £2 per day to use your mobile phone in Spain. This is unless your Three Pay Monthly plan started on or before the 30th September 2021 (if this is the case, you’ll benefit from inclusive roaming across Europe). You’ll also get inclusive roaming on Three’s Value and Complete Pay Monthly plans.
  4. Vodafone UK: On Vodafone’s UK plans, you’ll pay £2.25 per day to use your mobile phone in Spain. This is unless you have a Pay Monthly plan with 4 Xtra benefits, or a Pay Monthly plan taken before the 11th August 2021.
  5. VOXI: On VOXI, you’ll normally pay £2.25 per day to use your mobile phone in Spain. However, you can reduce this to as little as £1 per day when you buy a VOXI European Roaming Pass.

Best Roaming Deals For Spain

If your mobile network still allows you to roam at no extra cost when you travel to Spain, you’re probably best off using your normal SIM card when you’re there.

If they’ll charge you extra, consider getting a Lyca Mobile UK SIM card or eSIM to save money.

On Lyca Mobile, you can get a Pay As You Go SIM card from just £1.29 per month. You can use this at no extra cost in Spain. It means you’ll pay less for a whole month’s usage on Lyca Mobile than you would for just a single day of roaming on the larger providers.

The following table shows a selection of Lyca Mobile’s Pay As You Go plans:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited10GB
(10GB roaming)
£1.49
for 3 months, then £5.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited15GB
(12GB roaming)
£1.80
for 3 months, then £8.50/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited20GB
(12GB roaming)
£2.39
for 3 months, then £7.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited88GB
(12GB roaming)
£8.00
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
UnlimitedUnlimited
(35GB roaming)
£9.99
for 6 months, then £25/month

There’s no contract and no credit check when you join Lyca Mobile. You can also change or cancel your plan at any time.

See all Lyca Mobile SIM Only Deals →

Buying A Spanish SIM Card On Arrival

If you’re planning to use lots of data in Spain, or if you’re staying for an extended amount of time, it can be worthwhile getting a local SIM card from one of the Spanish networks. You can get a prepaid plan from €10 per month with lots of data included on it.

Here are the key things to know about getting a SIM card in Spain:

  • You’ll need to get your SIM card on arrival. You can go to an official phone store or reseller to get your prepaid SIM. The cheapest place to get a SIM card is in the city centre. Alternatively, you might be able to get one at the airport but it’s likely you’ll be charged extra for it. You can also get a prepaid SIM from supermarkets and corner shops, but these can be difficult to activate (see the next point).
  • You’ll need to register & activate the SIM with your passport. All local Spanish SIM cards need to be registered with your ID. The easiest way to do this is to bring your passport to an official phone store when you buy the SIM card. If you do this, they’ll be able to register the SIM there for you on the spot. If you buy your SIM card elsewhere (e.g. at the supermarket), you may need to bring it on a separate trip to the phone store for activation (as online activation won’t normally be possible if you’re a visitor to Spain).
  • You’ll need to get a pre-paid SIM (Prepago). As a traveller to Spain, you’ll need to get a pre-paid SIM card. It won’t be possible to get a contract plan (contrato) unless you have a Spanish bank account. If you want to top-up your SIM card, ask for ‘recargas’. You’ll probably need to top-up in person at a store as most UK bank cards cannot be used for topping up online.
  • Prices vary if you’re visiting the Canary Islands. Prices will be slightly lower if you’re buying a SIM card in Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria or Lanzarote. This is because they have a lower rate of sales tax (7% IGIC). This compares to the 21% IVA which is charged on the Spanish Peninsula and on the Balearic Islands. Advertised prices normally include 21% IVA.

There are four main networks you’re able to choose from for your local Spanish SIM card: Movistar, Orange, Vodafone ES and Yoigo.

In the following section, we’ll look at their prepaid plans in more depth.

Movistar

Movistar is Spain’s largest mobile network. They’re generally a good bet if you’re looking for a prepaid plan in Spain as they have some very competitive deals (such as 40GB data for €10). They also have the most extensive mobile coverage in Spain, though you’ll be limited to their 4G+ network as a prepaid customer (5G is only available on contract).

The following table shows Movistar’s pre-paid plans from €10 per month:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
Unlimited
+200 intl.
Unlimited 40GB €10.00
1 month
Unlimited
+400 intl.
Unlimited 80GB €15.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 140GB €20.00
1 month

If you’re looking to get a Movistar SIM card, you can use the store locator on their website to find a nearby shop.

Orange

Orange is Spain’s second largest mobile network. They also offer some competitive pre-paid plans with 4G coverage, starting from €10/month for 25GB of data:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
Unlimited Unlimited 25GB €10.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 50GB €15.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 100GB €20.00
1 month

It’s also possible to get an Orange Tourist SIM card. On the tourist SIM cards, you’ll get a small allowance of minutes that can be used for calling internationally (including back home to the UK). You’ll also get unlimited data for the duration of your plan. The tourist SIM card costs €15 for 5 days or €25 for 15 days:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
50
local & intl.
Unlimited Unlimited €15.00
5 days
200
local & intl.
Unlimited Unlimited €25.00
15 days

You can use Orange’s store locator to find a nearby store. They also have a website in English that can make it a little easier to find information about their plans.

Vodafone ES

Vodafone’s Spanish mobile network offers 5G-ready Pay As You Go plans. This is the best option if you’re looking for the fastest data speeds in Spain, as both Movistar and Orange limit their Pay As You Go plans to 4G coverage.

The following table shows the Pay As You Go plans available from Vodafone in Spain:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
300
local & intl.
Unlimited 25GB €10.00
28 days
800 Unlimited 50GB €15.00
28 days
Unlimited Unlimited 100GB €20.00
28 days
Unlimited Unlimited 120GB €30.00
28 days
Unlimited Unlimited 150GB €40.00
28 days

You can use the store locator on Vodafone’s website to find a nearby store.

It’s worth noting that Vodafone Spain is a separate network from Vodafone UK. Therefore, if you have a handset that’s locked to Vodafone in the UK, it won’t work with a Vodafone Spain SIM card unless you unlock it first.

Yoigo

Yoigo is Spain’s fourth and smallest mobile network. There are few reasons to choose a Yoigo SIM card on your trip to Spain as they have poorer coverage and smaller data allowances on Pay As You Go.

The following table shows Yoigo’s Pay As You Go plans:

Network Minutes Texts Data Bundle
Cost
Unlimited Unlimited 10GB €10.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 20GB €15.00
1 month
Unlimited Unlimited 35GB €20.00
1 month
150GB €35.00
1 month

You can find your nearest Yoigo store using the locator on their website.

Other Networks

Alongside the four main networks, there are a number of smaller providers in Spain. They include Lebara Mobile Spain (which uses the Vodafone network) and Lyca Mobile Spain (which uses the Yoigo network). In both cases, you’ll find it easier getting a SIM card from the UK branches of Lebara Mobile and Lyca Mobile (as there’ll be no local ID registration required in Spain on the UK SIMs).

There’s also Lobster which calls itself the “full English mobile network”. They’re aimed at expats and they offer all of their plans along with customer support in English.

If you’re only visiting for a short amount of time as a tourist, we’d recommend sticking to one of the three big networks (Movistar, Orange and Vodafone ES). They have the most stores dotted across Spain so you can usually get a SIM from them without too much hassle.

If you’re planning to stay in Spain for an extended amount of time, it may also be worth investigating one of the smaller Spanish networks. For instance, you might be able to get a cheaper plan for less than €10/month. Alternatively, there are plans with inclusive international minutes or other features that might be beneficial for your stay (e.g. bundles that also include broadband and TV).

eSIMs for Spain

If you have a fairly modern smartphone with support for eSIM technology, you can get an eSIM plan to save money on your trip to Spain.

The biggest advantage of getting an eSIM plan is the fact it’s available straight away as an over-the-air download. There’s no need to wait for a SIM card to arrive in the post, or to waste time getting a SIM card from the shop when you arrive. You can also use the eSIM plan alongside your current UK SIM card. This means you can continue receiving incoming calls and text messages on your normal number.

Lyca Mobile’s UK network offers fully-featured eSIM plans that allow you to call, text and use data at no extra cost in Spain. You can get a Lyca Mobile eSIM from £1.29 per month, with no contract and no credit check required:

NetworkMinutesTextsDataMonthly Cost
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited10GB
(10GB roaming)
£1.49
for 3 months, then £5.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited15GB
(12GB roaming)
£1.80
for 3 months, then £8.50/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited20GB
(12GB roaming)
£2.39
for 3 months, then £7.90/month
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
Unlimited88GB
(12GB roaming)
£8.00
LycamobileUnlimited
+100 intl.
UnlimitedUnlimited
(35GB roaming)
£9.99
for 6 months, then £25/month

See all Lyca Mobile eSIM →

An alternative option is getting a data-only eSIM from Airalo. Offered under the Guay Mobile brand, you’ll get access to 4G coverage from Movistar network when you use a Guay Mobile eSIM on your phone. However, they’re data-only plans so you won’t be able to call or text on a Guay Mobile eSIM.

The following table shows the eSIM plans that are available from Guay Mobile (via Airalo):

ProviderMinutesTextsDataPlan
Cost
AiraloNoneNone1GBUS$4.50
(~£3.60)
valid for 7 days
AiraloNoneNone2GBUS$5.00
(~£4.00)
valid for 15 days
AiraloNoneNone3GBUS$8.50
(~£6.70)
valid for 30 days
AiraloNoneNone5GBUS$11.50
(~£9.10)
valid for 30 days
AiraloNoneNone10GBUS$12.00
(~£9.50)
valid for 30 days
AiraloNoneNone20GBUS$26.00
(~£20.60)
valid for 30 days

As a special offer for February 2024, you can enter the KEN10 voucher code at checkout to get a 10% discount on your Guay Mobile eSIM. This offer is only available to new Airalo customers. If you’re an existing customer of Airalo, you can use the KEN5 voucher code to get a 5% discount.

Get Guay Mobile eSIM →

Handset & Network Compatibility

If you’re currently using your smartphone in the UK, it will also be compatible with the mobile networks in Spain. This is because the Spanish mobile networks use the same bands and frequencies that are in use within the UK.

The following table shows the bands and frequencies that are in use in Spain:

Network Provider 5G Bands 4G Bands 3G Bands 2G Bands
Movistar NR band n78 LTE bands 3, 7, 20 WCDMA 900, 2100 GSM 900, 1800
Orange NR band n78 LTE bands 3, 7, 20, 42 WCDMA 900, 2100 GSM 900, 1800
Vodafone ES NR band n78 LTE bands 3, 7, 20, 28 WCDMA 900, 2100 GSM 900, 1800
Yoigo NR band n78 LTE bands 3 WCDMA 2100 GSM 1800

You can check your handset manufacturer’s spec sheet to see a list of bands supported by your phone.

If you’re using a different SIM card for the duration of your trip abroad, you’ll need to make sure your handset is unlocked.

More Information

At present, Lyca Mobile UK is our recommended SIM card for usage in Spain. You can get a plan from them for just £1.29 per month, with inclusive roaming in Spain.

For more information, you can also see our in-depth guides to international roaming and our guide to roaming charges in Europe.

Your Comments 114 so far

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 114 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  • Tesco changing EU roaming charges now Ken and giffgaff reducing their allowance to just 5gb a month. You could offer free EU roaming and just give 100MB data which would suite me as just need to whatsapp etc.. It looks like tesco are going down the road of at the minute charges.

  • Mike Williams said:

    Every time I go to Spain for long vacations I use Lobster. They have good coverage, everything is in English (which is much appreciated). I order the SIM, pay the 28 days upfront and they ship it to the hotel. I am pretty happy with them.

  • Hi Ken

    Which other UK mobile operators sims use the local Orange network in Spain – other than three?

    Many thanks

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