Best eSIMs for Europe in 2024

eSIM setup screen displayed on iPhone 14 Pro
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Hadrian)

eSIM cards have revolutionized the world and made life easier for frequent travelers. If you travel frequently across Europe, getting a physical SIM card in every new country you visit becomes stressful, but eSIMs have solved this issue. An eSIM is embedded in your phone, and you can seamlessly connect to new networks while you travel.

European travelers have endless eSIM options, and it can be challenging to pick a suitable one. However, you’ve arrived at the right place, which will help you make an appropriate choice. This guide will explore the best eSIMs for Europe and the factors to consider when choosing one. 

The best eSIM for Europe in 2024 in full:

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Best eSIM overall

Website screenshot for Airalo

(Image credit: Airalo)
Best overall

Specifications

Price: starting at $4.5 for 1GB data for 7 days
Devices supported: Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Sub-regional plans available
+
5G connectivity
+
Easy to setup

Reasons to avoid

-
No phone number

Airalo is a cost-effective eSIM that works in 39 European countries. It supports 5G connectivity, and you can choose a specific data plan and validity period. You can choose a plan covering the whole of Europe or a sub-regional plan like Eastern or Northern Europe. Note that Airalo offers data-only plans, meaning you won't get a phone number for calls and SMS. However, you can use VoIP apps like Skype and WhatsApp to call and text with your data.

Airalo is noticeably easy to activate and use. You'll download the app from the Play Store or App Store, scan a QR code, and activate the eSIM. Airalo supports many payment options, making it easy to pay from anywhere.

We like that Airalo offers a variety of data plans for European users. The 1 GB plan costs $5 and lasts up to 7 days. The 5 GB plan costs $20 and lasts up to 30 days. The priciest plan is 100 GB, which costs $185 and is valid for 180 days.

With an Airalo eSIM, you don’t need to bother switching between SIM cards when traveling across Europe. You'll enjoy swift 4G connectivity and 5G in some cities in the 39 supported European countries. The main drawback is that an Airalo eSIM offers only data– you don’t get an assigned phone number to make calls as you travel across Europe.

Read our full Airalo review.

Best eSIM for sub-regional plans

Website screenshot for AloSIM

(Image credit: AloSIM)
Best eSIM for sub-regional plans

Specifications

Price: starting at $4.5 for 1GB
Devices supported: Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Widespread coverage
+
Sub-regional plans available
+
Easy to setup

Reasons to avoid

-
No conventional phone number

aloSIM is one of the best eSIM providers, and it has widespread coverage in Europe. It's available in 34 countries, offering excellent network speeds, including 2G, 3G, LTE, and 5G. You can choose the plan covering 34 European countries or a sub-regional plan covering 11 Eastern European countries.

aloSIM is easy to activate and use– you can buy and set up the SIM in a few minutes. Afterward, you can install the Android or iOS app to activate your plan. The app is intuitive and easy to navigate.

This eSIM provider offers data plans of 1 to 10 GB. You can pay $5 for 1 GB for 7 days, $8 for 2 GB for 15 days, $13 for 3 GB for 30 days, $20 for 5 GB for 30 days, or $37 for 10 GB for 30 days. Every data plan comes with a free international phone number to receive calls—a U.S. or Canada number that works over data or Wi-Fi, so it is not really a “phone number.”

With aloSIM at your side, you'll never pay roaming charges when you travel across the 34 supported European countries. Your data is unthrottled, and you can top it up if you run out of your initial allocation. Buying an aloSIM requires little identification and documentation.

Read our full AloSIM review.

Best eSIM for affordability

Saily landing page

(Image credit: Saily)
Best eSIM provider for affordability

Specifications

Price: Starting at $1.65 for 20 GB of data
Devices supported: Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Widespread coverage
+
Cost-effective
+
5G connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
No phone number

Saily is an affordable eSIM provider with widespread coverage across Europe. It is offered by the same company behind NordVPN, one of the best virtual private network (VPN) apps. Saily works in 150+ countries, including 37 in Europe.

Like Airalo, Saily only supports data plans without phone calls or SMS. We picked it because of its affordability and widespread coverage, with plans starting from just $2.49 weekly for 1 GB, depending on the country. You can choose a data plan between 1 GB and 20 GB, with the latter typically costing $28.99 monthly.

This eSIM provides speedy 4G or 5G connectivity as you travel across Europe. It removes the need for physical SIM cards and mobile contracts whenever you visit a new destination.

The main drawback we observed is Saily's limited data options. The highest plan you can get is 20 GB, unlike Airalo, which offers up to 100 GB. Saily also has no pay-as-you-go option, unlike some other eSIM providers.

Read our full Saily review.

Best eSIM for customizable plans

Website screenshot for Holafly

(Image credit: Holafly)
Best eSIM for customizable plans

Specifications

Price: Starting at $19 for a 5-day unlimited internet plan
Devices supported: Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Unlimited data
+
Widespread coverage
+
Customizable data plans

Reasons to avoid

-
No phone number

Holafly is an eSIM provider that gives unlimited data, unlike other providers with capped data plans. It offers plans ranging from 1 to 90 days, and you’ll enjoy unlimited data as long as your plan hasn’t expired.

An unlimited data plan is preferable if you plan to travel for a long time. It ensures you have data as you visit multiple countries, with no need to monitor your data usage constantly. Holafly works in 32 countries, from the U.K. to Romania, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, and more.

A good thing about Holafly is that users can customize their plans. You can choose the exact number of days, and Holafly bills you according to what you choose. For instance, 1 day costs 6 euros, 5 days costs 15 euros, 20 days costs 57 euros, and 90 days costs 129 euros. Holafly is more expensive than Airalo and Saily, but the unlimited data makes up for the high cost. 

With Holafly at your fingertips, you don’t need to worry about data access when traveling across Europe (in supported countries). Holafly doesn’t offer a phone number with its eSIM, but you can call via WhatsApp and other VoIP apps. Use code TECHRADAR to get 5% off. 

Read our full Holafly review.

Best eSIM for network coverage

Bouygues my European eSIM landing page

(Image credit: Bouygues my European eSIM)

5. Bouygues my European eSIM

Best esim for network coverage

Specifications

Price: Starting at $43 for 30GB
Devices supported: Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Includes a phone number
+
Direct activation (no need to download an app)

Reasons to avoid

-
Capped data plan

Bouygues Telecom is a well-known French mobile carrier. It offers an eSIM with coverage in all European countries, enabling you to enjoy vacations or business trips without worrying about roaming charges. 

This eSIM includes 30 GB of data valid for 30 days. It comes with a French phone number, which gives it a competitive advantage over other eSIMs in this guide. Many eSIM providers don’t offer phone numbers because of the complex infrastructure and regulations required to do so. However, if your eSIM comes from an established telecoms firm like Bouygues rather than a non-carrier provider, it’ll almost always include a phone number. 

Bouygues Telecom’s my European eSIM costs 39.90 euros ($43). After purchasing the eSIM online, you must scan a QR code on your smartphone to trigger the activation request. If you’re within Europe, you can activate your Bouygues eSIM immediately after triggering this request. There’s no need to download any app as with the other eSIMs on this list. You can transfer your Bouygues eSIM profile from one smartphone to another or delete it when you no longer need it.

Best eSIM for calling and SMS

Orange eSIM landing page

(Image credit: Orange eSIM)

6. Orange eSIM

Best esim for calling and SMS

Specifications

Price:
Devices supported: Android, iOS

Reasons to buy

+
Widespread network coverage
+
Includes calling and SMS

Reasons to avoid

-
5G is restricted to the priciest plan

Orange is the largest French telecommunications company by market share. Like its rival Bouygues Telecom, Orange offers an eSIM package that works in most European countries. Customers can get up to 50 GB of data and a French phone number with up to 120 minutes of calling and 1,000 texts. 

Orange offers three Holiday eSIM plans: 4.99 euros for 1 GB (without calling or text), valid for 7 days, 19.99 euros for 12 GB (30 minutes calling and 200 texts), valid for 14 days; 39.99 euros for 30 GB (120 minutes calling and 1,000 texts), valid for 14 days; or $49.99 euros for 50 GB (120 minutes calling and 1,000 texts), valid for 28 days. Users can enjoy high speeds of 4G, LTE, or 5G (only available on the 50 GB plan)

This eSIM has rigid plans that cannot be customized, as you can with Holafly. We also don’t like that 5G is restricted to the most expensive plan. However, Orange’s extensive network coverage and robust SMS and calling allowance make up for these drawbacks.

Best eSIMs for international travel FAQs

Factors to consider when choosing an eSIM

1. Coverage

Coverage is the first thing to consider when choosing an eSIM that works in Europe. What countries does the eSIM provide network connection in? Europe has 44 sovereign countries, and the ones you travel frequently to determine the eSIM package to choose. 

It’s a good thing that some eSIM providers offer sub-regional packages for Eastern or Northern Europe. This way, you can pay for a cheaper package only covering the few countries you’ll be visiting instead of a more expensive package covering the whole of Europe.

If you’re a frequent tourist or business traveler, you can choose a package like the Bouygues my European eSIM, which works in all European countries. The rule of thumb is that eSIMs from established telecom firms offer more widespread coverage than those from eSIM-only providers like Airalo and Saily. The higher the coverage, the more you should expect to pay.

2. Phone number

Most eSIM packages don’t come with phone numbers. The exception is eSIM packages from telecom firms like Orange and Bouygues, which almost always include a phone number.

Most eSIM packages don’t include phone numbers because of the complex infrastructure and strict regulations required to offer them. Any company issuing a phone number must have a service provider license, which is very expensive to get. In contrast, data-only providers can easily tap into the infrastructure of existing telecom firms to provide network connectivity.

If you need a phone number for calls and SMS, look for an eSIM package from a well-known European telecom firm. But if you require only data, you can choose from Saily, Holafly, and Airalo. 

3. Data allowance

Look at the data plans and see the highest amount of data you can get under a single plan. If you’re a heavy internet user, you’ll likely need an eSIM with a robust data offering, i.e., 20 GB and above. The good news is that many eSIM providers offer up to 50 GB on a single subscription, and you can top up your data if the initial allocation runs out. 

Some providers offer unlimited data, eliminating any worry about accessing the internet when you travel across Europe (these are usually from established telecom firms with robust infrastructure).

Always check if the eSIM allows you to use your mobile phone as a hotspot, which is important if you’ll be commuting a lot during your visits. 

4. Length of stay

The duration of your trip is an essential consideration when choosing an eSIM package. Most eSIM providers limit the validity of your data and calling allowance. The smaller the data allowance, the shorter it lasts. For instance, you can find a 1 GB plan that lasts for barely 7 days or an unlimited data plan for 30 days. The longer the duration, the more expensive the eSIM package, but the price is worth it because it lets you avoid more steep roaming charges.

5. Pricing

Of course, pricing must be considered when choosing an eSIM bundle. It’s necessary to choose a bundle you can afford without stress. Some eSIM providers offer fixed plans, while some allow you to pay-as-you-go. The latter is preferable if you’re not sure about the duration of your trip, while the former is preferable if you know the exact length of your trip and how much data, calling, and SMS allowance you need.

The good news is that there’s no shortage of affordable eSIM packages. You can find an unlimited data package for as low as 15 euros, depending on the validity period. The longer the period, the higher you should expect to pay.

Even if an eSIM package seems expensive at face value, consider that it saves you from potentially steep roaming costs when you travel. It’s not uncommon for people to rack up hundreds of euros in international roaming charges because they used a lot of data, SMS, and calling allowance. With an eSIM package, you’re assured of paying a fixed price beforehand and only topping up if necessary. In contrast, international roaming prices vary depending on the countries you visit, and you can end up paying much more than you expect. 

Stefan Ionescu

Stefan has always been a lover of tech. He graduated with an MSc in geological engineering but soon discovered he had a knack for writing instead. So he decided to combine his newfound and life-long passions to become a technology writer. As a freelance content writer, Stefan can break down complex technological topics, making them easily digestible for the lay audience.