Make an International Phone Call in Spain

Calling the USA, UK, Australia & Europe from Spain

Tuenti, a popular option for making calls when visiting Spain
Tuenti, a popular option for making calls when visiting Spain. Image: (c) Damian Corrigan

Need to keep in touch with loved ones while on your travels in Spain? There are a number of options open to you for making international calls here. Matters are made much easier if you have a cell phone that is compatible with Spain's network (some older American phones won't be compatible). 

First things first: find out if you have a compatible phone. Your phone needs to be unlocked and GSM compatible.

Get Multiple International Phone Numbers on a Single Phone

By far the best solution now for making international calls in Spain is the new Toggle Mobile service, which gives you nine international phone numbers on a single SIM.

The Most Convenient Phone and Data Solution When You're in Spain

If you don't have time to book order a special SIM for traveling, the Tuenti SIM from Telefonica is easily available and includes the following: 

  • 1Gb of Data for internet and email on your smartphone
  • First 30 minutes of every phone call within Spain is free
  • Free to receive calls from any country.
  • Calls to the EU cost 36c per minute (with a 60.5c connection charge).
  • Calls to other countries cost 1.03€ per minute (with a 96.8c connection charge) 

You can get a Tuenti SIM at the Telefonica building on Gran Via in Madrid and, I believe, any Movistar store.

Happy Movil SIM card

Happy Móvil charges 5.8c per minute for calls to landlines in Western Europe, the US & Canada, and Australia. Cell phone calls cost 20c per minute (5.8c to the US and Canada). Taxes are not included in the above cost and there's also a 30c connection charge. Receiving calls is free, no matter where the call comes from.

Advantages of Happy Móvil

  • Very easy to use Buy the card, put it in your phone and voila you have a Spanish SIM card. Just dial the numbers as normal.
  • Low initial cost For 10€ you have a card with 5€ of credit that you can start using straight away. According to the Happy Movil website, this 5€ will get you 71.5 minutes of call time to calls charged at 5.8c/min. Note this is for one continuous call - because of the 30c connection charge, if you make more calls you will not get the full 71.5 minutes.
  • Not the cheapest calls When you add the 30c connection charge and the taxes, the price becomes less competitive.
  • Calls within Spain are also cheap: calls cost 15c/minute any time of day (10c/minute to other Happy Móvil users), plus tax.

Get a STA cell phone with International Calling SIM 

STA has a number of options available to you, starting with a Siemens phone and SIM card for under $30.

Buy a STA Cell Phone with International SIM. Features of the STA phone and SIM package include:

  • Buy a STA Cell Phone with International SIM
  • A Siemens A70 cell phone that will work anywhere in the world.
  • SIM comes pre-loaded with $10 of calling credit.
  • Receiving calls in Spain is free.

Friends and family can call you from the USfor free on a toll-free number (free for 30 minutes, after that you will pay 49c per minute, but it remains free for them.)

Use a Calling Card from a Phone Box or Hotel Room 

These are on sale at most convenience stores and are a popular option. They might occasionally work out cheaper than a locutorio but often they don't. They have the advantage of working on any telephone, but they are not always reliable and if you don't use up all your minutes before you return home then you've wasted money.

Visiting a Locutorio 

Locutorios are public telephone centers that have private telephone booths from which you can call home. These are usually very cheap, although a very small minority try to rip you off - check the price before you make your call). You are billed when you leave and you are free to make as many calls as you like. These centers usually also have internet. This is the method I use personally as I only have to pay for the calls I have made.

Rent or Buy a Phone 

Go into any telephone shop in Spain and buy a phone. Phones can cost as little as 40€. Then either get a Happy Móbil SIM card or Euro direct calling card. Companies such as OnSpanishTime.comwill rent you a mobile if you'd prefer. They also provide 800 free minutes to call back to U.S.A. and Canada for each rental.

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