Get 5% of discount using the code
MYESIMNOW5
Buy my eSIM
Language
Currency
Euro
EUR - €
United States (US) dollar
USD - $
Pound sterling
GBP - £
Australian dollar
AUD - $
Canadian dollar
CAD - $
Trustpilot

Turkey SIM Card for Tourists: Prices and Where to Buy It?

Get your SIM card to visit Turkey with the Holafly digital SIM card with unlimited data that varies from $19 to $99.

Katarina

December 5, 2023

4.6 /5 Trustpilot star
Highly rated Based on +38.000 customer reviews on Trustpilot
Reviews avatar Reviews avatar Reviews avatar +1M
Trusted worldwide Over 1 million travelers across the globe have trusted Holafly
Unlimited data Unlimited data Limitless data plans in more than 170 destinations
Save money

Holafly saves you +30% compared to other roaming fees

Buy my eSIM

Buying a Turkey SIM card seems to be a bit more complicated than buying a local SIM card at other places. There is one thing that many tourists agree on – DON’T buy your SIM card for Turkey at the airport. In the best case scenario – you’ll overpay for something you could have bought for much cheaper downtown. In the worst-case scenario – you can get scammed

Digital SIM card for Turkey

>>Buy a Digital Turkish eSIM alternative with unlimited data plans<< Get 5% OFF. Code: MYESIMNOW5

However, if you’re traveling to Turkey (note that from 2021, it is officially the Republic of Türkiye), you should plan on getting a reliable internet connection during your trip

Galata tower in Istanbul, Turkey and Turkish flags
Source: Canva

If you don’t have an international SIM card, paying for data roaming can get quite expensive, and simple things like watching videos could significantly increase your mobile phone bill. Let’s break down the process of buying a Turkey SIM card most safely and conveniently.

Where Can I Buy a SIM Card for Turkey?

No matter if you are traveling to Istanbul or another part of Turkey, wait until you are at the city center before making your purchase. When buying your prepaid SIM card in Turkey, always do so in the official shops of the local mobile carriers. Look for:

  • Vodafone
  • Turkcell
  • Turk Telekom

Even if you see a huge Vodafone sign at the airport or on the mobile phone store, ask to confirm if they are official distributors. While the situation is much better these days, there used to be a recurring scam involving prepaid SIM cards aimed at unsuspecting tourists.

reddit user warns about turkish sim scam
Source: Reddit

Now that you know where to buy your tourist prepaid SIM cards, let’s explore the best local SIM card for your needs.

Which Is the Best SIM Card to Use in Turkey?

Many review websites will have people praising Turkcell prepaid SIM card as the best option for a Turkey SIM card. The users usually say it has the best coverage and is Turkey’s most frequently used mobile carrier. However, just because it works well for others, it doesn’t mean it is necessarily the best option for you. Let’s explore the offers of all three major carriers and their tourist SIM card options.

Turkcell

Turkcell is the leading cellular operator in Turkey. The company offers different services, such as mobile data, good coverage, and access to good mobile networks while in the country. However, the company currently offers only one data plan for travelers.

Turkcell logo
Source: Turkcell

Currently, Turkcell allows travelers to buy a SIM card with their foreign passport. Their Tourist Welcome Pack includes:

  • 20GB of mobile data 
  • 200 minutes to make phone calls. 
  • Unlimited messaging on WhatsApp and BiP
  • Valid for 30 days
  • Price: 349 TRY
turkcell tourist package
Turkcell Welcome Package for tourists. Source: Turkcell.

To get this SIM card in Turkey, travelers must visit a Turkcell store with their passport to get the Welcome Pack. Turkcell doesn’t offer unlimited data plans or allow top-ups on these plans.

Vodafone Turkey

vodafone turkey logo
Source: Vodafone Turkey

Coming in second place, Vodafone Turkey is another option for getting a SIM card in Turkey with their Prepaid Tourist Line. In this case, getting a SIM card as a tourist becomes a bit more complicated as a registration process is involved. Namely, to apply for a Vodafone prepaid SIM card for tourists, you must complete a form with your personal information and the city you’ll visit in Turkey.

vodafone turkey sim card purchase process
Source: Vodafone Turkey

Once your application is considered, you can pick up your prepaid SIM card for tourists at a local Vodafone store. You can also get an eSIM instead of a physical card.

vodafone application form
Vodafone application form for a Tourist SIM Card. Source: Vodafone Turkey.

At this point, you have two Vodafone prepaid SIM cards to choose from:

  • 20 GB package
  • 50 GB package

Both SIM cards include:

  • 750 minutes of domestic use
  • 250 SMS
  • Unlimited WhatsApp, Telegram, and Facebook Messenger
  • 1 Week of unlimited Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Now, the Vodafone website doesn’t give out information about the prices of their SIM cards. This makes it extremely inconvenient because you don’t get that information even if you apply. The price is revealed when you go to pick up the card.

Turk Telekom

turk telekom logo
Source: Turk Telekom

The last option available for travelers looking for SIM cards is Turk Telekom. Similar to the previous companies, they offer SIM card for tourists with different data packages. These data plans vary from 10GB to 75GB packages.

Data allowance10 GB25 GB50 GB75 GB
Minutes2507501500750
SMS2507501000750
Validity 7 days28 days28 days15 days
Price220 TRY290 TRY380 TRY380 TRY
Unlimited social mediaFree BiP and Yaayyesyesyes

These prices don’t include the Wireless License fee and Special Communication Tax. Before buying your prepaid SIM card from Turk Telecom, make sure to ask about your final price.

additional taxes and fees
Source: Turk Telekom

You only need your passport to buy a Turk Telekom SIM card directly from the store. While using a Turk Telecom tourist SIM card, you can only get one data package at a time. If the data package from the tourist prepaid SIM card is used up, the company will charge you extra to stay connected.

How to buy a tourist SIM card from Turk Telekom. Source: Turk Telekom.

Besides this, the company offers 4G/5G data speeds, good coverage nationwide, and different customer support contact methods.

How Much Does a SIM Card Cost In Turkey?

You’ll notice that the prices of Turkey SIM cards are in Turkish Lira (TRY). Since the Lira is pretty volatile and the exchange rate is unstable, it is best to calculate the price in USD at your purchase. 

SIM cards in Turkey have different prices. For example, Vodafone doesn’t allow people to know their rates if they don’t apply for a tourist SIM card, while companies like Turkcell and Turk can cost from $2 to $10. However, this is only the price of the SIM cards, as there are other fees, such as the SIM card and activation fee.

PackagePrice
Turkcell20GB of mobile data
200 minutes to make phone calls
Unlimited messaging on WhatsApp and BiP
Valid for 30 days
349 TRY
Turk Telekom10 GB/250 min/250 SMS/7 days
25 GB/750 min/750 SMS/28 days
50 GB/1000 min/1500 SMS/28 days
75 GB/750 min/750 SMS/15 days
220 TRY – 380 TRY
Vodafone20 GB package/750 min/250 SMS
50 GB package/750 min/250 SMS
N/A

Tips for Buying a Turkey SIM Card

  • Always buy your tourist SIM card from an official vendor
  • When in the store, ask the staff if they are re-sellers or official mobile vendor store for the SIM cards.
  • Buy your local SIM card from Turkcell, Vodafone, or Turk Telekom
  • Avoid buying your prepaid SIM card at the airport
  • You will need a passport to register your card
  • After 120 days, your SIM cards need to be either registered with a Turkish ID, or they will expire
  • When buying your prepaid SIM card, ask about additional fees, such as the fee for the SIM card and the SIM card activation fee.

Given that buying a Turkey SIM card can be a bit messy, you might want to consider an e-SIM card instead of a tourist SIM card. Here’s why.

The Best Alternative for Turkey SIM Cards

If you don’t want to go through the entire process of getting a SIM card for Turkey, your best option is to buy a virtual SIM card – an eSIM. 

An eSIM is a built-in version of the usual SIM cards you put in your phone. Instead of having to swap out physical SIM cards when you change carriers or travel, an eSIM is part of your phone’s hardware. You can switch carriers or plans just by scanning a QR code and downloading new settings, all from your phone. It’s super handy and safe, and it doesn’t interfere with your SIM cards. Here are some pros and cons of using a virtual SIM card:

Virtual SIM Card: Pros

Internet the moment you land – If you buy a virtual SIM card for Turkey before you travel, you can go online as soon as you land in this country. So, you’ll be able to book a cab from the airport and let friends know you’ve arrived safely. Forget about lines at airport stores, long installations, and contracts. 

An easy installation process –  There are no complicated contracts to sign or long technical instructions to wade through. You can install and activate your eSIM by scanning a QR code, or through your mobile app. 

Scanning a QR code
Source: Canva

A more secure option – Another perk of buying a digital tourist SIM card online is that you’ll receive your product before you have to use it, so in case anything goes wrong, you can call and solve any issues.

Virtual SIM Card: Cons

Virtual SIM cards are vailable only for eSIM phones. Before purchasing virtual SIM cards, you need to make sure that your phone supports eSIM technology. If your phone hasn’t installed a digital SIM, you can’t add it later. If that’s the case, you will have to buy a SIM card for Turkey instead of an eSIM.

Which Is the Best eSIM in Turkey?

The best thing about virtual SIM cards is that they don’t have to be sold in the country you are traveling to. You can just choose from a wide range of international eSIM alternatives. You can even purchase your digital SIM card in Turkey, or even before you start your travel. Here are some of the best alternatives to buying a prepaid SIM card for Turkey.

Holafly Digital SIM Card for Turkey: a Great Alternative

Two main benefits make Holafly the best alternative to your prepaid SIM card:

  • Unlimited data plans
  • Customizable validity – pay only for the number of days you’ll use it.
turkey holafly esim customization
International travel digital SIM for Turkey. Source: Holafly.

Due to its many benefits, the Holafly digital prepaid SIM card for Turkey has become a popular alternative for travelers. Unlike other SIM cards on the market, Holafly allows users to forget about the complicated purchase process and travel without mobile data.

Besides this, Holafly gives users access to other essential features, such as a customization feature that allows people to choose exactly how many days they are staying before purchasing an eSIM. Also, this eliminates the process of visiting physical stores to get a SIM card, saving travelers some time.

Besides this digital Turkey prepaid SIM card, there is also an option with pre-set days.

Source: Holafly
  • Holafly digital SIM card for Turkey sum-up:
  • Cost-effective eSIMs for travelers with unlimited data.
  • Hotspot and enjoy 500 MB per day to share with others.
  • Great coverage in Turkey.
  • Data customization feature from 1 day to 90 days. 
  • The activation process takes less than 5 minutes to complete.
  • 24/7 customer support & super-flexible refund policy.
  • No limit on how many eSIMs travelers can get.

Verdict

The best way to buy a SIM card in Turkey is to buy a digital prepaid SIM card with unlimited internet.

Buying a SIM card in Turkey can be tricky compared to other places. First, avoid buying a SIM card at the airport because they tend to be overpriced, and you may be scammed. Instead, head to the city center and look for official shops of the local carriers like Turkcell, Vodafone, and Turk Telekom.

Turkcell is highly recommended for its coverage and offers a Tourist Welcome Pack with 20GB of data, 200 minutes of calls, and unlimited messaging on WhatsApp for 349 TRY. 

Vodafone offers 20GB and 50GB packages with lots of data and unlimited social media use, but the price is only found out when you pick up the prepaid SIM card. 

Turk Telekom also has various plans for a prepaid SIM card ranging from 10GB to 75GB, but ask about any additional fees.

However, if you want to skip all this hassle, consider getting a digital prepaid SIM card – eSIM. It’s a virtual, embedded SIM card you can set up on your mobile phone before leaving home. 

Holafly is a great option here because they offer unlimited data and easy installation. Just scan a QR code, and you’re ready to go. Plus, you can choose the number of days you need, making it very flexible.

So, if you want to avoid the lines and potential issues, an eSIM from Holafly could be a fantastic alternative. It gives you internet access the moment you land, and you don’t have to worry about finding a store or dealing with any extra fees. It’s super convenient, especially for short trips.

FAQs About SIM Card Turkey

How much does data roaming cost in Turkey?

Data roaming costs depend on the provider, but you can expect to pay between $7 – $15. So, if you watched a movie on Netflix, it could cost you hundreds. That’s why we recommend a Turkey SIM card.

Which SIM card is best for Turkey?

When traveling to Turkey, the best SIM card to get is the digital SIM card from Holafly. Affordable for travelers and including unlimited data, users will stay connected throughout their trip without needing to spend a lot of money.

Is it worth getting a Turkish SIM card?

While people can get a Turkish SIM card as a tourist, the application process might be complicated as it might take longer than expected to receive an answer. While other companies don’t have an application process, they do have extra fees when it comes to getting a SIM card from them.

Can I buy a SIM card at Istanbul Airport?

Yes. People can get a SIM card at the Istanbul Airport as long as they have their passport with them and buy from either Turkcell or Turk Telekom.

Can I buy a Turkish SIM card in the US?

There are ways to buy a Turkish SIM card in the US, but it might be complicated. If you want to make sure you are ready for your trip, you are better off buying an International SIM card, or, even better – one of the virtual prepaid SIM cards.