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Need to buy a cell phone



Does anyone know where I can get a cell phone, just for travel within Spain? I'd like to have one for emergencies this time, since the weather could get bad still, and there won't be as many other pilgrims on the camino. I'm flying into Madrid on Feb. 24, and probably starting Camino in Roncesvalles (depending on weather) on Feb 27 (will take bus to Pamplona on the 26th). I'm coming from the US and don't have a phone I can put a SIM card into for international usage.

Thanks for any advice,
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Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Try unlocking your mobile set in the USA before coming here, and then you will not need to top up.
Before coming over, check the handset is tri-band or else suitable for usage in Europe (we use slightly different frequencies over here)

Alternatively, if you cannot "unlock" your terminal, try to buy one second hand that is unlocked for free usage (again, check frequency bands).

Once in Spain, you will be able to buy a SIM card to top up in any Vodafone/Movistar shop, I would not recommend Orange, since they do not cover all the areas in that part of Spain.

Emergency in Spain is 112.

Buen camino!


Staff member
I am not very savvy when it comes to electronics, but if you're a low tech person, my low tech solution might work for you.

In 2000, we bought a cell phone in a Movistar store in Pamplona (they are everywhere, I bet any town over 8,000 has one). The phone was 25E and came with 25E of talk time so it was a pretty good deal. Since then, we have used it on five or six caminos, each time just buying a new card in the Movistar store when we arrived in Spain. Though I don't remember the details, I know that there are at least two different pre-paid cards, and one of the plans was definitely more advantageous for someone who was going to be using it all over Spain making short calls for accommodation and the like. So I would ask the salesperson about which card to buy. We have to get a new number every year, because it lapses after 6 months of no usage.


Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
If you want to have the whole phone business cut and dried before you arrive in Spain (including knowing your phone number) get in touch in advance with Jer at onspanishtime. He's an expat with a young family, making a living in Madrid renting and selling mobile phones to fellow English speakers. I've recommended him to several board users here, with fine results, and I use him myself when I need phone things done right.

Find all the the links you need at

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