For travelers exploring Budapest, having a SIM card in Budapest is a must for smooth communication and navigation. This blog post is for tourists discovering Hungary’s lively capital, offering information from locals on acquiring a local SIM card or an eSIM. Besides, people can gain useful tips on where to purchase, cost-effective choices, and how to stay connected during your Budapest visit.

how to buy a sim card in budapest

I. Which mobile operator is the best in Budapest?

Budapest is a top European capital, a hotspot for tourists who need quality mobile connections. You might be curious about which mobile provider gives you the best service when you’re in town.

To ease your mind, we’ve gathered information on the main operators in Budapest (Telekom, Vodafone, and Yettel), covering everything from their network reach and speeds to their plans, strengths, and weaknesses.

Operator Coverage Speed Plan (USD) Pros Cons
Telekom Extensive nationwide coverage, including in Budapest 4G/5G with average speeds of 50-150 Mbps ~ $10-$25 per week Reliable network, a wide range of plan options More expensive compared to competitors
Vodafone Comprehensive coverage in Budapest and major cities 4G/5G with average speeds of 40-120 Mbps ~ $8-$20 per week Competitively priced plans, good value Coverage may be slightly less reliable than Telekom in some areas
Yettel (formerly Telenor) Good coverage in Budapest, with some gaps in rural areas 4G with average speeds of 30-100 Mbps ~ $6-$15 per week The most affordable option, a simple plan structure Slower speeds and less reliable coverage compared to Telekom and Vodafone

Recommendation: Telekom for the best mobile experience in Budapest. What about the rest?

  • Good value: Vodafone (balance of coverage, speed, price)
  • Budget choice: Yettel (lower price, potentially lower performance)

II. Best Budapest SIM Card and cost

Budapest SIM cards offer highly affordable pricing. Below are the typical prepaid Hungary SIM Card price you can refer to:

Operator Type Cost (USD) Notes
Yettel Prepaid $10 Includes 5 GB, 25 minutes of calls.
Vodafone Prepaid $3 Includes 100MB of data.
Telekom Prepaid $14.10 Includes 4GB of data, 200 minutes of calls, and 200 SMS.

Budapest SIM cards vary in price from 990 HUF (about $2.40) for a 1 GB prepaid SIM to 6990 HUF (about $16.80) for a 20 GB prepaid SIM. Postpaid SIMs are pricier than prepaid ones.

III. Where to buy a SIM card in Budapest

In any country/city, not excluding Budapest, there are 2 places where you can easily find a SIM card: at the airport and in the city.

1. Getting a SIM Card at Budapest airport

Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport (BUD), the largest and busiest airport in Hungary, has two locations to buy Hungary SIM cards:

  • Vodafone store – Located in Arrival Hall 2A, this is the only place to buy prepaid SIM cards at the airport.
  • Relay Convenience store in both Terminal 2A and Terminal 2B, offers SIM cards from different operators.

The prices at the airport are more expensive compared to buying a SIM online or in the city center.

vodafone store budapest airport
Vodafone store at Budapest airport

2. Getting a Prepaid SIM Card in Budapest City

If you want affordable mobile service while visiting Budapest, getting a prepaid SIM downtown is the way to go. Here are some place suggestions for you: 

  • Mobile Carrier Stores: Major providers in Hungary – Telekom, Vodafone, and Yettel – have stores across Budapest, including at the airport, train stations, and the city center.
  • Supermarkets and Convenience Stores: Supermarkets such as Tesco, and CBA, and convenience stores like Volánt offer prepaid SIM cards, convenient to grab while doing errands.
buy a sim card in budapest city

IV. eSIM for Budapest travelers – a smart alternative

Hungary esim
Hungary eSIM

Buying an eSIM for your travels to Budapest is considered the most innovative way. It’s no wonder that eSIM is so commonly used today. That’s because:

  • It’s easy to set up, needing no physical SIM card.
  • You can choose from many plans without “leaving your hotel”.
  • It keeps you connected without high roaming fees.

There are 2 ways you can get one:

1. From major carrier websites: The major carriers in Budapest that offer eSIM services are Telekom, Vodafone, and Yettel.

  • Carriers offer eSIM plans with data packages at competitive rates.
  • Major carriers provide eSIMs for broad network coverage and support.

2. Buying eSIM from eSIM Retailers: highly recommended

Benefits of buying from here:

  • Exclusive eSIM packages from Vodafone in Hungary
  • Easy eSIM activation and management
  • Variety of plans to suit different needs: 1GB-20GB or 1GB-3GB daily
  • Affordable prices compared to traditional roaming: start at $9
  • Responsive customer support for all wonders
Get Hungary eSIM – Beat roaming fees and bypass airport SIM shops

V. Things to prepare when buying SIM cards in Budapest

You usually don’t need special papers to get a local SIM card in Budapest, Hungary. But here are some things to remember:

  1. ID: You’ll probably have to show your passport or ID when getting a SIM card. It’s to confirm who you are.
  2. Payment: You can pay with cash or card for a SIM card in Budapest. It’s good to have both just in case.
  3. Unlocked Phone: Ensure your phone can use a local SIM card by checking if it’s unlocked.
  4. Local Address (optional): Some operators might ask for a local address, like your hotel, but only sometimes.

The process of buying a SIM card in Budapest is generally straightforward. The staff will guide you through the process and assist you in selecting the appropriate SIM card and data plan for your needs.

VI. Tips and recommendations on buying a SIM card in Budapest

For a smooth stay in Budapest, staying connected is key. Here’s what you need to know about buying a SIM card in Budapest:

  1. Embrace bargaining culture – Mobile providers in tourist areas may overprice. Politely negotiate for better deals.
  2. Try shared SIM cards – Save by using one data plan for multiple devices when traveling with others.
  3. Discover hidden gem shops – Explore local mobile stores for offers big providers may not promote.
  4. Stay flexible – Tourist SIM cards often require short commitments.
  5. Check roaming policies – Understand roaming rules, especially if leaving Budapest. The right SIM can save you money.

Just have fun and be a bit quirky. If you’re nice and respectful, the Budapest SIM card vendors will probably join in and give you a memorable buying experience.

VII. FAQs about getting a SIM card in Budapest

What kinds of SIM cards can I get in Budapest?

Budapest has a mix of SIM card options like prepaid, pay-as-you-go, and contract plans, each with different data, call, and text allowances.

Can I just use my current SIM card in Budapest?

You can use your current SIM card in Budapest, but you might want to turn on international roaming or get a local SIM card to avoid pricey roaming fees.

How do I get my SIM card working in Budapest?

To activate your SIM card in Budapest, just follow the instructions that come with it or give the customer service number a ring.

Is it simple to top up to my SIM card in Budapest?

Absolutely, you can top up your SIM card easily in Budapest at phone shops, convenience stores, or online using the provider’s app or website.

VIII. Conclusion

Getting a SIM card in Budapest is pretty simple. With lots of providers, different plan choices, and valuable tips, connecting with a local SIM is a breeze. Whether you’re a tourist or a local, having a Budapest SIM keeps you connected, online, and making calls while you explore the city.

And remember, leave the comments below to tell us about your experience when getting a SIM card/ eSIM in Budapest.