Traveling to Turkey as a tourist can be an exciting and memorable experience, but staying connected on the go can be challenging. For this reason, we will give you information about buying and using sim cards for tourists in Turkey.
Using your home country’s mobile network can be costly, especially when it comes to roaming charges. But if you have an international sim card, you can connect to the internet as you wish with this modem.
Another solution is to buy a local SIM card in Turkey.
In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of getting a SIM card in Turkey, compare major mobile network operators, and provide tips and advice for maximizing your mobile experience while in the country.
You can also learn how to search within Turkey with our Turkey area code article.
Table of Contents
- Do tourists need a SIM card in Turkey?
- Buying SIM Cards in Turkey for Tourists in 2023
- Buying Online eSIM in Turkey for Tourists
Do tourists need a SIM card in Turkey?
This question is personal. It may vary depending on the operator you use in your own country and the length of stay in Turkey. If you are going to stay in Turkey for more than 3 days and do not have an international sim card, it would be good to buy one.
The telecom company you use in your own country may have an agreement with the telecom companies in Turkey and you can use your own sim card in Turkey at a low cost.
For example, Vodafone is used in many European countries and Turkey. It may be more cost-effective to choose Vodafone international packages instead of buying a new sim card.
If you are planning to spend a short time like 1-2 days in Turkey, you can manage with free public internet. Although it is a bit slow, there is free internet service in almost all hotels and cafes. In addition, some municipalities have free internet service in their parks.
If you plan to stay in Turkey for more than 3 days and want to travel constantly, purchasing an eSim card or a physical sim card will be more affordable and the coverage will be wider.
Buying SIM Cards in Turkey for Tourists in 2023
If you want to buy a sim card in Turkey in 2023, you can buy it from physical dealers or buy a sim card online before you come to Turkey.
It might make more sense to buy online. However, if you plan to stay in Turkey for a short time and don’t want to spend a lot of money, you can try to settle for free WiFi.
Let’s take a quick look at the online sim card options in Turkey and the sim card brands that have physical stores in Turkey.
Buying a Sim card from the airport
Airports are the first place you can buy a sim card as soon as you arrive in Turkey. Almost all airports in Turkey have stores where you can buy prepaid lines.
The fact that the staff working in the stores at the airport speaks English is an advantage for you, but the sim cards sold at the airport are 2-3 times more expensive than normal.
Therefore, if you do not have an urgent business, it may make more sense to consider other options.
Buying Sim Cards in stores in the city
You can find stores where you can buy sim cards in all streets and shopping centers of Turkey.
The brands that you can buy sim cards in Turkey are Vodafone, Turkcell, and Türk Telekom.
You can find cheaper alternatives from the physical dealers of these brands compared to the airport. However, you may not find an English sales consultant in every dealership. But you can get your work done by using translate.
After purchasing a sim card in Turkey as a tourist, your sim card will be activated immediately.
If you are going to buy a sim card in Turkey as a tourist, you will probably be given one of the special offers created for tourists. It would be good to find out how much internet and speaking rights you have at the time of purchase.
Now, let’s talk about operators that also have physical stores in Turkey.
Vodafone is one of the most common operators in Turkey and you can find its store everywhere.
Vodafone has a package called “Tourist Easy Package”, specially created for tourists. After purchasing a sim card, your Tourist Easy Package will be active. You can use this sim card in Turkey for 30 days.
Vodafone provides service in nearly 25 countries. If you are using Vodafone in your own country, you can buy the overseas package without buying a new sim card in Turkey. This way it can be more affordable.
If you have a complaint about your Vodafone sim card, you can call 542 and talk to a customer representative who speaks English.
You can access Vodafone’s Sim Card for Tourists page here.
Turkcell is another sim card company widely used in Turkey. You can find a Turkcell store almost anywhere.
As a foreign tourist, you can buy a prepaid sim card from Turkcell with your passport.
You can choose a sim card with 20 GB of internet and 200 minutes of talk time at Turkcell, or you can buy a sim card that you can pay as you go.
Turkcell call center number is 532 and you can access the web page for the Turist line here.
3. Türk Telekom
Another sim card company is Türk Telekom brand. You can find Türk Telekom stores like Vodafone and Turkcell everywhere.
Türk Telekom is the brand where you can buy the cheapest sim card in Turkey.
Türk Telekom offers three different options for tourists who want to buy sim cards in Turkey.
The cheapest tariff offers 750 minutes of talk for 28 days, 750 SMS, and 25 GB of internet and the price is 85 TL.
Another tariff offers 1500 minutes of talk time, 1000 SMS, and 50 GB of internet. You can use the sim card with a 5 GB social media gift for 28 days. The price of this sim card is 165 TL.
The tariff with the most internet offers 75 GB internet and 750 SMS rights are defined with 750 minutes of talking. The price of this sim card is 165 Turkish Liras and it has a 15-day usage period.
Whatsapp is free on these 3 different sim cards and does not reduce your internet. You can visit the web page of the tariffs here.
If you have a problem with the Türk Telekom sim card, you can reach the call center by calling 444 1 444.
Buying Online eSIM in Turkey for Tourists
You can activate your sim card before you come to Turkey as a tourist and start using it as soon as you arrive in Turkey.
All you need to do is purchase one prepaid eSIM. If you wish, let’s take a quick look at the eSIM brands you can use in Turkey.
eSIM in Turkey with Holafly
Holafly is an eSIM brand that you can use worldwide and in Turkey.
With Holafly you can buy e-sims from 5 days to 90 days. 3G/4G/LTE speed options are available and you can purchase unlimited internet. You don’t have to pay a country change fee either.
👉🏻 You can browse here to buy eSIM for Turkey with Holafly.
How to use eSIM with Holafly?
- Check if your phone is compatible with eSIM.
- Buy your eSIM
- Scan the QR code that will come to you 2-3 hours before your trip.
That’s all it takes with Holafly.
Holafly compatible devices
Models higher than XS and XR for iPhone.
For Android devices, Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy Fold, Fold 2, Samsung Galaxy Note 20, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and later; Huawei P40, P0 Pro, Huawei Mate 40 Pro and later models; Google Pixel 3, 3a (some versions do not allow eSIM), Google Pixel 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5 and later models; Oppo Find X3 Pro, Oppo Reno 5A, Motorola Razr (2019) and Motorola Razr 5G (dual SIM).
Apart from these models, you can check if your phone is compatible with eSIM. Remember, your phone must be unlocked for Holafly eSIM to work.
For iOS devices: go to Settings > Cellular or Mobile Data; If you have the “Add Cellular Plan” or “Add Data Plan” option, your iPhone supports eSIMs.
On Android devices (Samsung): go to Settings > Connections > SIM Card Manager; If you have the “Add mobile plan” option, your smartphone supports eSIMs.
Turkey Sim Card
Turkey SIM Card, like Holafly, is a Turkey-specific eSIM brand. You can buy a physical sim card other than an e-sim card.
We recommend purchasing an eSIM if your device supports it. If it is not supported, you can buy online via Turkey SIM Card and receive your sim card at airports without waiting in line.
If you don’t want to waste time at the airport, you can also request that it be delivered to your hotel by cargo.
There is also a portable WIFI device service of this brand for $1 per day.
Turkey SIM Cards start from 5 days and there are different internet packages from 15 GB to 155 GB. Prices range from $23 to $90.
👉🏻 You can buy it by visiting the Turkey SIM Card website.
👉🏻 You can check the comments about Turkey SIM Cards on Tripadvisor.
Renting portable WIFI in Turkey
If you have come to Turkey on holiday with your family or group of friends, it would be logical to rent an internet line and a portable WIFI modem that can be used by more than one person.
This device, which is provided with Turkcell infrastructure, contains an unlimited internet sim card.
You can rent with online reservations and receive delivery from 8 different points in Turkey. Among the delivery, points are Istanbul airports and Antalya Airports. There is also a courier service to the hotel in Istanbul and Antalya.
You can connect more than one device to the internet with the Wifi service, which costs 7.99 Euro per day.
👉🏻 You can check here to rent unlimited Wifi service in Turkey.
Buy Portable Modem
As a tourist in Turkey, it can be expensive to buy a portable modem, even for a short time.
Instead of renting a modem, you can buy and use a portable modem that works with a sim card. Also, since the modem will be yours, you can use it for your next trip.
SIM Card for Tourists in Turkey – FAQ
Let’s continue our SIM Card buying guide for Tourists in Turkey with frequently asked questions.
How long can tourists use a SIM card in Turkey?
According to Turkish law, foreign tourists can use SIM cards purchased with their passports for 120 days. After 120 days, you need a Turkish ID number to use the SIM card.
Can I use my own mobile phone in Turkey?
Mobile phones brought from abroad can be used uninterruptedly for 120 days in Turkey. If you want to use your phone after 120 days, you must register with your passport. In this case, some payment is made.
Where can I buy the best SIM Card in Turkey?
You can choose Vodafone, Türk Telekom, or Turkcell for uninterrupted communication in Turkey. Türk Telekom is the cheapest among them. Vodafone has special campaigns for tourists.
Can I use an eSIM card in Turkey?
Yes, you can use eSIM cards purchased from brands such as Holafly and Turkey Sim Card in Turkey. Before purchasing, make sure to check if your device is eSIM compatible.
Is free WIFI common in Turkey?
There is free WIFI service in almost every hotel and cafe in Turkey. In addition, many municipal parks have free WIFI service and you can use it.
How much are SIM Card fees for Tourists in Turkey?
SIM Card fees for Tourists in Turkey vary according to the brand you buy. The cheapest option is Türk Telekom and its current prices for 2023 are 85 TL (5 Dollars or 5 Euros).