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Which SIM Card to get for travel to Iceland?

Compare local prepaid SIM card options and Nomad's eSIMs

· 4 min read

With the solar cycle peaking in 2024, this year is set to be the best year in over two decades for northern lights viewing. If you are one of the many who have plans to visit Iceland and join a tour to view this spectacular sight, you might also be looking for ways as to how you can get an SIM card or eSIM to help you stay connected while on this adventure. Let's take a look at your various options!


Main Telcos in Iceland

Iceland has a few major telcos providers, namely Siminn, Vodafone Iceland, and Nova. Of the three, Siminn stands as the oldest and largest telecommunications company, and is said to provide the most extensive coverage in Iceland.

Vodafone is Siminn's biggest competitor, also providing relatively good coverage but at lower prices. On the other hand, Nova is said to provide the best 5G network at affordable prices, but coverage is not as extensive as Siminn and Vodafone Iceland. That is to say, if you are only going to be in the capital, Nova might be a good option; but if you will be traveling out or to different parts of Iceland (which you probably will, if you are planning to go on an Aurora tour), then Nova might not be as good an option.

Can I get an Iceland prepaid SIM card upon arrival?

All three providers offer prepaid SIM card options, which you can pick up from the convenience store at the airport after arrival. Note that all three providers do not have booths or counters at the airport, so if you are planning to get a prepaid SIM at the airport, you can only get it from the convenience store.

Siminn Prepaid Plans

Siminn's offer a prepaid plan at 3,000 ISK (~22 USD), which includes 10GB of mobile data, 50 minutes of international calls, and 50 SMS. You can easily top up your allowance via the Siminn web store or their app. Your top-up options have various tiers, starting from 800 ISK (~6 USD) for 500 MB of local data.

If you are planning to pick up a Siminn SIM card, you have the option of ordering them in advance from their website and getting it mailed to your hotel in Iceland or to pick it up in stores.

Vodafone Iceland Prepaid Plans

Vodafone Iceland also offer prepaid plans starting from 1,790 ISK (~13 USD), which includes 3GB of data allowance. You can easily top up your SIM card, with top-up options ranging from 1GB for 2,190 ISK (~16 USD) to 500GB for 10,190 ISK (~74 USD).

It is important to note that Vodafone Iceland requires an additional charge of 108 ISK (~0.78 USD) for blocks of 15MB of data if you plan to use your plan for tethering.

Nova Prepaid Plans

Nova's prepaid plans range from 2GB of data for 2,190 ISK (~16 USD) to 100 GB of data for 3,990 ISK (~29 USD). All plans come with unlimited local talk time and SMSes, and is valid for one month.

Top-up options are also available starting from 2GB of data at 2,290 ISK (~17 USD) to 250 GB of data for 7,290 ISK (~52 USD). Each top-up also includes some data allowance that you can use in EEA countries.

Nomad's Iceland eSIMs as a cheaper and more convenient alternative

Regardless which Icelandic provider you decide to go with, the prepaid options are only available in the physical SIM card option. You will need to head to the convenient stores at the airport or local stores in town to pick them up. While Siminn offers delivery of the SIM card to your hotel, it also means you will not have connectivity until you arrive at your hotel.

Instead of picking up a local SIM card, a travel eSIM is likely to be a better option. With travel eSIMs, you can buy, install, and activate your eSIM even before your trip. This allows you to get connected to the local network as soon as you arrive in Iceland.

Not only do Nomad's eSIMs provide better convenience, they are also more cost-effective than getting a local prepaid SIM card. Nomad's travel eSIMs for Iceland ranges from 3GB of data for 12 USD to 15GB of data for 27 USD, which is actually cheaper than if you were to get a local prepaid SIM card!

Nomad's travel eSIMs do not include a phone number, and does not support calls and messages. But, if all you need is mobile data, then a Nomad eSIM would be a very good option. Nomad also allows tethering of data at no additional charge, so you can share your data across your devices if needed.

Of course, you do need to ensure you have an eSIM-compatible device and that your phone is not carrier-locked.

Get a Nomad travel eSIM for Iceland for your Aurora adventures

Nomad's eSIMs for Iceland work with all three major telco operators in Iceland. This gives you the flexibility to change networks as you explore Iceland. The eSIM will automatically connect to the operator that has the best signals, but if you have a preferred network, you can also easily do so in just a few taps of your device.

If you are unsure how much data you need for your trip, Nomad also has a Data Calculator that can help you find the plan that is most suitable for you. Also check out our blog post on data-saving tips when traveling to keep your data usage in check when traveling.

Nomad also has a 24-hour customer support team. So, in the event where you face difficulties while using your eSIM, rest assured there will be someone available to help you resolve your issues!

And if your northern lights adventure is taking you to other Nordic countries, you can also consider picking up an European regional eSIM instead! Nomad's eSIM for Europe provides coverage in Iceland, Norway, Finland, and many other European destinations worldwide. From as low as 15GB of data for 29 USD, you can seamlessly stay connected as you travel through Europe!