While traveling abroad, it’s essential to be able to make calls or have internet access for things that pop up. Getting an Iceland SIM card to use during your trip will be invaluable as you make your way around the island. Let’s talk about prepaid SIM cards and answer questions like if you can buy a SIM card at the Iceland Airport. Hint: You can, and it’s quite easy.
Why an Iceland SIM Card is Useful
There are many reasons for getting an Iceland SIM card. First and foremost, your cell phone may not work in Iceland. We are on the European system, so while most European phones will work, a lot of North American ones or those from other places will not. And even if your phone does work, unless you have unlimited global roaming, you’ll be charged roaming fees and surcharges by your provider. Many European companies have plans that allow you to travel to Iceland and not pay roaming charges, so check beforehand.
If, however, you do have to pay and you have an unlocked phone, it’s quite easy to use one of the prepaid SIM cards at your disposal. Just pick one up, switch it out with the SIM currently card in your phone and you’re all set.
How Much is a SIM Card in Iceland?
The prices vary depending on which company you opt for and what your needs are. If you want a package that includes unlimited call minutes or unlimited talk text, it’s going to cost you more than a card that you top up. I’ll outline the costs of a SIM card in Iceland when I talk about the companies and different options available. But in general, look to spend around 20 or 25 bucks for data and calls or just data on a card that you can top up.
Options for a Prepaid SIM Card in Iceland
The company most Icelanders will probably recommend to you is Síminn. They have the largest mobile coverage network in Iceland, so you’ll always be able to stay connected. Through their website you can choose either the prepaid data plan with 10 GB of data or the prepaid starter pack. With the starter pack, you get 5 GB of data, 50 minutes of calls, and 50 texts. The calls can be made to 55 different countries around the world.
The Síminn prepaid SIM card will cost you 2.900 ISK (around $23 or 20€). If you opt for the starter pack for your mobile phone, the price is the same. You’ll need to use your credit within 30 days. Packages with Vodaphone and Nova (the other two mobile options) are similar. You can also stop by the Vodaphone store in downtown Reykjavik, but it’s a little far from the center.
Síminn will also deliver it to your hotel if you have one your first night, so your prepaid SIM card in Iceland will be waiting for you when you arrive.
You’ll get pretty good 2G and 3G coverage all around the island on all of the networks. Vodaphone is cheaper if you plan on staying mostly in cities and populated areas. I highly recommend Síminn for travel to more remote areas. Their coverage is the best out of the three options available.
Where to Buy a SIM Card at the Iceland Airport
If you don’t want to wait for arrival at your hotel, you can pick up your prepaid SIM cards at Keflavik Airport. It’s a quick, easy, painless process that should only take you 10-15 minutes. Once you’ve left the baggage claim area, look for the 10-11 supermarket close to the Ginger and Dunkin’ Donuts. Ask one of the cashiers for a SIM and they might also help you activate it. SIM cards are also available at 10-11s throughout the city if you don’t get one at Keflavik.
I recommend changing it there in case there are any problems. You’ll need to check the size of your current SIM (nano, micro, or standard) to make sure you break the Iceland SIM out of the plastic frame at the right size. With certain models (like LG phones) you can slide it out with your finger and others (like iPhones) you’ll need a small paperclip or something similar to eject the SIM holder.
While you’re running errands for your Iceland trip, be sure to also stop by the duty-free shop to pick up any liquor, beer, or wine you plan to drink. You’ll save yourself a ton of money as alcohol can be quite expensive in bars, restaurants, and liquor stores.
Do You Need Wifi in Iceland?
Yes, I would highly recommend it, especially if you are camping. One of the reasons for your vacation is probably to disconnect and relax, and I think that is a very valid goal. I’m not suggesting you get a prepaid data SIM card Iceland so you can be glued to your phone the entire trip. It’s for more practical purposes, like using Google Maps if you get lost, or contacting someone in the case of an emergency.
We already rely on our phones for so much in our home countries, and Iceland is unlike anywhere you’ve ever been. That’s why it makes sense to have data while on the road. You’ll be able to use Wifi at some (but not all) of the campsites you stay at, but why not have the option to connect at any time? Even if it’s just to check the weather forecast to make sure that driving conditions are safe.
An Iceland SIM Card: Is It Necessary?
It’s really easy to get a card with calls or a prepaid data SIM card in Iceland and I highly recommend that you do it. The coverage map varies from carrier to carrier, but you can’t go wrong with Siminn. Stay connected in order to have a safe trip and to get help with navigation if needed.