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Roaming in Spain: is it free or how much does it cost?

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Last update: October 16, 2023
Fernando Carrillo
51 people have read this post in the last 12 months
In a nutshell

SIM card Spain is one of the options available to have internet while you travel around the country, but you can also use eSIM, wifi or roaming. We show you the different options you have so that you can choose the one that best suits your travel needs.

Enjoy roaming-free trips in Spain with Holafly

Internet in Spain: all options

If you are going on a trip to Spain, one of the first questions you will surely ask yourself is how to have internet while you enjoy your holidays, to connect with your family, send photos of your trip or find the route to the hotel.

Several alternatives are available to have internet connection while you travel:

  • eSIM
  • SIM card
  • Roaming
  • Wifi

Here we show you the different plans and prices so that you can decide which option best suits your needs. Don't be left without internet while you enjoy your holidays and don't worry about the high roaming costs that can occur.

Before analysing each of the options, we leave you with a table so that you can compare the prices of the different plans in a general way:

Different options for internet in Spain
Service Price by day Data
Spain eSIM
  • From £19/5 days
  • Unlimited
SIM Card Spain
  • From £29/14 days
  • 8GB
Wifi Spain:
  • Portable
  • Public

  • From £4/day
  • Free

  • From 1GB
  • Unlimited
Roaming in Spain
  • From £2/day

  • From 1GB

Spain SIM card: having internet while traveling

Using a SIM card is one of the most common options to have internet while travelling. In this case, we have to replace our usual SIM card with a new one. To use this option, you can buy the card before you arrive at your destination or once you are there.

If you choose to buy this card once you are at your destination, you can find it at the airport or in the shops of the companies operating in the country. The main companies operating in the country are Movistar, Vodafone and Orange.

On the other hand, if you prefer to have internet as soon as you arrive in Spain and not have to look for a card, you can buy the SIM card online. There are many websites where you can buy it and have it delivered to your home before you go on holiday.


eSIM Spain: another option

One of the best options to have internet while traveling in Spain is the eSIM card. These virtual cards work thanks to a virtual chip in the mobile phone that allows you to have internet connection while you are abroad. Holalfy eSIM is one of the options you can find to use this modern technology.

eSim Spain
Mobile
Prepaid: 5 days expiry
Data Unlimited

Coverage
AT&T
Connection speed 4G
Pay as you go£195 days expiry
taxes included

If you choose this option, you should know that Holalfy offers different plans and prices to suit the needs of the trip you are planning. Here are some of them:

Holafly Spain data plans
Plan Price Data
5 days £19 Unlimited Data
7 days £24 Unlimited Data
10 days £29 Unlimited Data
15 days £44 Unlimited Data
20 days £49 Unlimited Data
30 days £59 Unlimited Data
60 days £77 Unlimited Data
90 days £87 Unlimited Data

As you can see Holafly eSIM offers different plans and prices to suit the needs of the trip you are planning. Data is always unlimited, you just have to choose how many days you want to have internet while you travel and sign up for the plan. Holafly uses the coverage of Movistar, one of the largest operators in the country, so you will have coverage in almost all national points.

Please note that not all devices are compatible with eSIM. Therefore, we recommend that you check that the device you are going to use can have this technology. If you have any questions you can contact Holafly.

If the eSIM has convinced you, but you want to consult other companies that offer these services, here are some options that you can consult to contract a card that adapts to what you are looking for:

Truphone
RedteaGO
Mobimatter
Ubigi

Roaming in Spain: ¿can I roam while I travel?

Of course you can roam in Spain, most UK carriers have roaming partners in Spain, so you can still use your data services, send text messages or make phone calls through the entire country, whether you are in Barcelona, Valencia or any other Spanish city. You should know that you are subject to a reasonable use policy (1) .

What is more, you do not even have to do anything special, your phone will automatically connect to the Spanish network. However, you need to make sure that your phone has data roaming on before you leave the UK or you will not be able to roam in Spain.

You can also roam in other countries outside of Europe, so you can use your SIM to get data roaming in Mexico or, depending on your carrier, to get free roaming in the United States or even data roaming in Japan.

If you are not sure whether or not your phone has data roaming on, you just have to take a quick look in your phone's settings, you will find it under the Internet and Network menu.


Is data roaming free in Spain?

Data roaming used to be free in Spain, this means that in the past you could use your phone without paying any additional charges, though some fair use policy charges could apply. However, since 2021, UK operators are allowed to reintroduce roaming fees across EU destinations, so depending on your provider, roaming in Spain could not be free of charge.

The Roam Like Home initiative was proposed by the European Commission and it only applied to European phone carriers, since United Kingdom left the EU, UK operators no longer have to offer free of charge roaming outside of the United Kingdom, that is why roaming in Spain, or any other EU country for that matter, could not be free for you.

Even though some phone companies are reintroducing roaming charges in Spain, like EE, Three or Vodafone, others are not. For example O2 and Virgin Media recently announced they will still offer free roaming in Spain to all their customers.


Roaming charges in Spain: how much does it cost?

Roaming charges in Spain may vary from provider to provider. However, most phone companies will charge you £2 per day to use the data and minutes included in your UK contract. Also, this charges will only apply if you use your data or voice allowance, if you do not make a phone call or connect to the 4G or 5G network in Spain, you will not have to pay anything.

On the other hand, if you haven't upgraded your contract or signed up to a new phone provider during 2022, in most cases you will not have to pay this additional fee to roam in Spain. So, for instance, if you've been an EE customer since 2017 and you haven't upgraded your contract, you will still have free roaming in Spain.

If you want to know if the new Spanish roaming fees apply to you, contact your phone provider. However, if you haven't changed your contract during 2022 or the end of 2021, there is a high chance that you still have free roaming in the EU and, therefore, in Spain. Just keep in mind that Turkey is not part of the EU or EEA, so you won't get free roaming in Turkey


How can I avoid roaming charges in Spain?

There is an easy way to avoid roaming charges in Spain, how about buying an Holafly eSIM card? This company offers different data plans, from 3GB to 10GB, that allow you to freely use your phone during your trip to Spain without extra charges or unreasonable roaming policies.

Holafly international eSIM cards offer a reliable connection as they use the network from Telefónica, one of the biggest local carriers in Spain. What is more, you do not need to worry about roaming charges as you will have a fixed price data plan, meaning you know exactly how much you will pay for your internet.

Check out Spanish data plans with Holafly

But how is this different from buying a SIM in Spain? First, it is way more convenient, as Holafly will deliver the SIM right to your email after the purchase, this means you do not have to wait for it to be delivered through mail. Secondly, you already have your SIM with you when you arrive at the airport, so you can fully enjoy your trip.

Also, with this SIM you will be able to roam in other European countries, so this means it is also the best roaming data plan for Europe.

Roam in Spain like a local with Holafly


Wifi in Spain: portable and public

One of the first options we think of, when we want to have internet while traveling, is public wifi. This option is not the most advisable, since these public networks have no protection against possible cyber-attacks and what can be a saving ends up being a problem.

Public networks are open to hacking, so we recommend that you do not use them. Even so, if you want to use them, it is best not to enter sensitive data such as bank accounts or credit cards.

If you want to connect several devices at the same time we recommend the pocket wifi. This device works thanks to a small portable router with a data speed that works similarly to the router we have at home.

This option is much safer than public wifi, and because of its small size, you can travel around Spain with the device in your pocket and always have a connection.

However, if we compare pocket wifi with eSIM, we can say that the former is usually more expensive than the latter. Among other things, the pocket wifi is hired on a rental basis, so it is usually more expensive and, if you lose it, you will have to pay compensation to the company.

Sign up for Holalfy eSIM for Spain


Recomendations for travel to Spain

In Spain you can do many different activities, from going to the beach or to the mountains, to visiting a winery or one of its great museums. Don't miss anything and enjoy the internet while traveling in Spain.

One of the things you should be aware of is that the plugs are different. If you don't want to run out of battery power for your devices, we recommend that you buy an adapter before you travel or at airports.

If you're a digital nomad lucky enough to be able to stay in the country for an extended period of time, you can get around by car or public transport, as the country is very well connected. You can rent a car at the various airports or move between the various public transport stations.

For a great experience, we recommend that you purchase an eSIM so that you can have Internet access while you travel. If you are lucky enough to be able to travel to various destinations or want information about other countries, here are some that may be of interest to you.


Frequently asked questions about roaming in Spain

Will my phone have to be on roaming in Spain?

If you are going to use your UK SIM card your phone has to be on roaming in Spain. However, if you opt for an Holafly SIM card or a national SIM, you do not need to turn on data roaming on your smartphone.

Which network gives best coverage in Spain?

Telefónica, Vodafone, Orange and Yoigo are the biggest phone carriers in Spain, which means their networks offer the best coverage in Spain, both in roaming or through local SIM cards.

Fuentes del artículo
  1. Roaming: what you pay to use your smartphone in another EU country. (n.d.). Your Europe. Consulted in https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/consumers/internet-telecoms/mobile-roaming-costs/index_en.htm
Our methodology
Roams offers a free information and comparison service, which tries to help anyone find the product that best suits their needs. To ensure that the data presented is correct, extensive market research and product analysis is carried out. Our database of mobile phone and internet rates is updated every day. The content is frequently reviewed by a team of writers with previous experience and/or specific training in telephony.

Personas que han participado en este post:

Fernando CarrilloRoams
Actualizado por Fernando Carrillo

Fernando estudió Administración, Publicidad y Relaciones Públicas. Con más de dos años de experiencia en Roams, Fernando es experto en el asesoramiento sobre telefonía, tarifas de móvil e internet. Además, también es especialista en canales de televisión y las distintas ofertas que tienen los operadores con tv.

Nadia Pérez
Edited and revised por Nadia Pérez