Can I buy one of these Movistar SIMs at Madrid Airport?
June 22, 2022 2:58 PM   Subscribe

We're arriving in Madrid in a couple of weeks. We're looking for SIMs for our family. Looks like these "prepaid" Movistar SIMs are a great deal. Anyone know if you can buy them at the airport?

I've never been in Madrid airport, so I have no idea where to get these, if it's possible at all. We're arriving (Terminal 1), renting a car, then driving west, out of the city. So we don't want to spend more time than necessary in the airport, or in the city.

Does anybody have any first-hand experience and know if there's a shop that sells these SIMs? Or is there a shopping centre or store that I could aim for on the outskirts of the city?
posted by MiG to Travel & Transportation around Madrid, Spain (9 answers total)
I don't have any experience with the Madrid airport or Movistar SIMs, but I have purchased prepaid SIM cards on Amazon for use in Europe, and it was pretty painless. (Also WAY cheaper than any of the options my normal US-based carrier offered.)

The one I linked there is based in Spain so you'd get a "local" number, but that might not ultimately matter. Check out for comparing carriers and deals.
posted by sportbucket at 3:17 PM on June 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: My wife and I can do e-sims, and we are fine with that.

We're hoping to have our kids use their own money to buy SIMs and put them in in their phones by themselves. Sort of a "real world" education thing :-) That's why the Movistar SIM seems like a good deal. €10 for 40GB or €20 for 140GB is amazing. And they can use them in Spain and Portugal (where we will be for most of the trip).

So if I can't find these in the airport, we'll have to find a shop that sells them :-)
posted by MiG at 3:28 PM on June 22, 2022

Best answer: Terminal 1 has Betelphone, which sells SIM cards for Vodafone, Orange, and Lebara. Not sure if there's a Movistar shop in the terminal, or if there are other shops that might carry Movistar SIMs.

Otherwise, there's a shopping mall about a 10 minute drive north of the airport called Plaza Norte 2 that has two Movistar shops - one on each level. It might be on your way since you'll probably be driving around the northern outskirts of Madrid? Here's where the first floor shop is located.
posted by theory at 3:34 PM on June 22, 2022

Best answer: They will want to see your passports, if memory serves.
posted by dum spiro spero at 4:30 PM on June 22, 2022

Best answer: I should have said that it's worth stopping by Betelphone while you're in the terminal even though I can't be sure they carry Movistar SIMs -- it's certainly possible they do have them in addition to the other three services I mentioned.

And it's worth looking at those three services (Orange, Lebara, Vodafone) before you go to see if they offer prepaid SIMs similar to the one you want from Movistar, since it's easier to just pick one up at the airport than make a separate stop for it somewhere else.
posted by theory at 4:39 PM on June 22, 2022

In Spain, from my experience, when these cards are newly inserted into your phone, you will have to follow a voice menu (in Spanish). This is required to activate the SIM.

Therefore, if not proficient in aural Spanish, I would advise you get the store assistant to help you with this - otherwise, you will have a SIM card that might not be fully functional.
posted by jacobean at 5:50 AM on June 23, 2022

It was several years ago, but when I was in Madrid I bought a prepaid SIM from a Movistar store somewhere in town. As I recall there was a significant language barrier with the store associate (she spoke zero English, I speak maybe 3 words of Spanish), but I was able to stumble through it. I would definitely advise doing this at the airport if it's an option, they will probably be more used to dealing with foreigners.

Also, if you haven't already you might want to check out the Prepaid Wiki page for Spain, it's a great resource and might be a good place to compare providers.
posted by photo guy at 7:36 AM on June 23, 2022

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I'll check the airport store mentioned, and if they don't have any, we'll head for the nearby shopping centre!
posted by MiG at 7:43 AM on June 23, 2022

Response by poster: Update: we followed theory's advice and stopped by Plaza Norte 2.

As predicted, very few people spoke English, but we managed to communicate. I'm Portuguese, so I can handle Castellano if they just slow down a bit :-)

But we found the Movistar store, and a woman helped us set up 5 different SIMs for our family :-)

€10 for 40 GB, with full EU roaming is a bargain, BTW. €20 for 140 GB!
posted by MiG at 11:57 PM on July 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

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