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Greece: eSim for Dummies!

I’ve been reading all the info until my eyes are crossed about getting an eSim installed on my phone before we leave for the Rick Steves 14 day tour to Greece in 2 days. Is there a simple answer? We have iPhone 13s, already have WhatsApp installed, but want to be able to have internet access if WiFi isn’t readily available. We are on Verizon, but their international plan is $10/day. Last year in Italy my husband had a SIM card installed once we arrived.
Is an eSim card a cost effective, simple way to go? If so, what company? Thanks for any help!

Posted by
1970 posts

The two main Greek operators Vodafone and Cosmote offer prepaid cards.

Vodaphone has a 30€ offer (+ 10€ for the e-sim version) with unlimited data which you can buy here:

https://www.vodafone.gr/prepay-sim-card-greece

If you buy it online you will need to upload a scan of your passport. Otherwise there are shops or kiosks in town and at the airport

I guess Cosmote has about the same rates and offers.

Perhaps a non-European traveler who has already used a prepaid e-SIM in Greece could give you more information.

Posted by
6858 posts

Hi, Carol - before I switched to T-Mobile, which has a free international plan, I had Verizon which as you noted charges out the wazoo for int'l data. So I researched and wound up getting an eSIM, which I loved. The plan I tried was Airalo and it worked very well. It is very reasonably priced and easy to use. My plan was for Germany but I would have no reason to think that their Greece plan would not work well. The company is very easy to deal with and I have nothing but good things to say about them.

At any rate, since you are gone for 14 days, you could go with the 15 day 2 GB plan for Greece, which should be more than enough. Keep in mind that many eSIM plans are data only - no phone service. But since you have WhatsApp, you really shouldn't need it. And if you do run low on data, you can always top it off. https://www.airalo.com/greece-esim

And of course, you could also purchase the Vodafone eSIM that is referenced above. Either should work well.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks! This confirms what I was leaning towards with using Airalo.

Posted by
1970 posts

Just to point out that 2Gb of data can be reached in a few days depending on how you use your smartphone.

Social networks, navigation tools, video calls with WhatsApp, automatic backups of photos in the cloud, all consume a lot of data.

Posted by
6858 posts

I think if you use your phone sensibly, and try and save downloads and so on for when you have WiFi, you shouldn’t have any problems. I can be a data hog and used only 5 GB of data for one month in Germany.

Worst case, if you need more data, then just top it off.

Posted by
388 posts

I've used Airalo a few times and it's cheap and works well.

You can set it up so that your phone uses Airalo for data and then your normal service for text and calls for communicating with people back home

Posted by
1970 posts

I've actually heard people complain this is required in shops as well

Most European countries (or all) now have regulations requiring you to present an official ID when purchasing a SIM card, prepaid or not.

Posted by
9794 posts

Indeed. France has for years.it has to do with combatting terrorism (and keeping would-be terrorists from easily buying burner phones or burner SIM cards).

Posted by
43 posts

I'm looking at the Orange Holiday card. You can also save money by opting for the 4G vs 5G card. My phone doesn't even get 5G service so I know it'll be fast enough for me lol! They have a really good deal and it'll also work in other countries if you are moving around.

I'm with a group of 4. I'll probably do the 30GB one for $50USD because everyone can tether to my hotspot and use. You could also do a 12GB eSIM for $30USD. I just like to know I have plenty to spare just in case. It's probably overkill but....

You'll see lots of options including Orange Holiday
https://www.simoptions.com/esim-europe/

How to set up eSIM
https://esims.io/fr/blog/setup-data-esim-iphone

Posted by
1970 posts

Just to remind you that whatever network operator your smartphone will work on. And depending on where you go in Greece, there are still places where the reception is very bad or even without any network.

With free navigation applications like Google Maps or Here WeGo you can pre-download the maps and use them without any network.

I prefer to use Here WeGo which allows you to pre-download the entire map of Greece rather than Google Maps with which you have to download lots of small areas.

https://www.here.com/products/wego

For walks and hikes OsmAnd has specific options and is very good too.

https://osmand.net/