How to Dial to and from Europe

By Rick Steves

Many Americans are intimidated by dialing European phone numbers. You needn't be. It's simple, once you break the code.

Note that whether you're calling from the US or from within Europe, calls to a European mobile phone are substantially more expensive than calls to a fixed line. Off-hour calls are generally cheaper. Also, remember that from most of Europe, it's usually six hours earlier in New York and nine hours earlier in California.

Dialing Domestically

About half of all European countries use area codes (like we do); the other half uses a direct-dial system without area codes.

To make calls within a country that uses a direct-dial system (Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland), dial the same number whether you're calling across the country or across the street.

In countries that use area codes (such as Austria, Croatia, Britain, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Turkey), dial the local number when calling within a city, and add the area code if calling long-distance within the country. Example: To call a Munich hotel (tel. 089/264-349) within Munich, dial 264-349; to call it from Frankfurt, dial 089/264-349. In some countries, particularly those with area codes, phone numbers can have varying lengths. For instance, a hotel might have a seven-digit phone number and an eight-digit fax number.

These instructions apply to dialing from a landline (such as a pay phone or your hotel-room phone) or a European mobile phone.

If you're dialing domestically in a European country using your US mobile phone, you may need to dial as if it's a domestic call, or you may need to dial as if you're calling from the US (see "Dialing Internationally," below). Try it one way, and if it doesn't work, try it the other way.

Dailing Internationally

Calling Europe from Another Country: Always start with the international access code: 011 if you're calling from the US or Canada, 00 from anywhere in Europe. Then dial the country code of the country you're calling (see chart below). If you're dialing from a mobile phone, you can replace the international access code with +, which works regardless of where you're calling from. (On many phones, to insert a +, press and hold the 0 key.)

Exactly what you dial after the international access code and country code depends on the phone system of the country you're calling. If the country uses area codes, you'll generally drop the initial zero of the area code, then dial the rest of the number. Example: To call the Munich hotel (tel. 089/264-349) from Italy, dial 00 (or +), then 49 (Germany's country code), then 89/264-349.

Countries that use direct-dial systems vary in how they're accessed internationally by phone. If you're making an international call to Denmark, the Czech Republic, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, or Spain, simply dial the international access code, country code, and phone number. Example: To call a Madrid hotel (tel. 915-212-900) from Germany, dial 00 (or +), 34 (Spain's country code), then 915-212-900. But if you're calling Belgium, France, or Switzerland, drop the initial zero of the phone number. Example: To call a Paris hotel (tel. 01 47 05 49 15) from London, dial 00 (or +), then 33 (France's country code), then 1 47 05 49 15 (phone number without initial zero).

For online instructions on calling between any two countries, see www.countrycallingcodes.com and www.howtocallabroad.com.

Calling the US from Europe: To dial the US direct, first enter the international access code (00 from Europe, or + from anywhere), then the country code of the US (1), then the area code and the seven-digit number. To call my office in Edmonds, Washington, from France, dial 00-1-425-771-8303.

European Calling Chart

Just smile and dial, using this key: AC = Area Code, LN = Local Number.

Country Country Code Calling long distance within... Calling from the US/Canada to... Calling from another European country to...
Austria

43

AC + LN

011 + 43 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 43 + AC (without the initial zero) + LN

Belgium

32

LN

011 + 32 + LN (without initial zero)

00 + 32 + LN (without initial zero)

Bosnia-Herzegovina

387

AC + LN

011 + 387 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 387 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Britain and Northern Ireland

44

AC + LN

011 + 44 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 44 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Croatia

385

AC + LN

011 + 385 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 385 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Czech Republic

420

LN

011 + 420 + LN

00 + 420 + LN

Denmark

45

LN

011 + 45 + LN

00 + 45 + LN

Estonia

372

LN

011 + 372 + LN

00 + 372 + LN

Finland

358

AC + LN

011 + 358 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

999 + 358 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

France

33

LN

011 + 33 + LN (without initial zero)

00 + 33 + LN (without initial zero)

Germany

49

AC + LN

011 + 49 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 49 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Gibraltar 350 LN 011 + 350 + LN 00 + 350 + LN
Greece

30

LN

011 + 30 + LN

00 + 30 + LN

Hungary

36

06 + AC + LN

011 + 36 + AC + LN

00 + 36 + AC + LN

Ireland

353

AC + LN

011 + 353 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 353 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Italy

39

LN

011 + 39 + LN

00 + 39 + LN

Latvia

371

LN

011 + 371 + LN

00 + 371 + LN

Montenegro

382

AC + LN

011 + 382 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 382 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Morocco

212

LN

011 + 212 + LN (without initial zero)

00 + 212 + LN (without initial zero)

Netherlands

31

AC + LN

011 + 31 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 31 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Norway

47

LN

011 + 47 + LN

00 + 47 + LN

Poland

48

LN

011 + 48 + LN

00 + 48 + LN

Portugal

351

LN

011 + 351 + LN

00 + 351 + LN

Russia

7

8 + AC + LN

011 + 7 + AC + LN

00 + 7 + AC + LN

Slovakia

421

AC + LN

011 + 421 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 421 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Slovenia

386

AC + LN

011 + 386 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 386 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Spain

34

LN

011 + 34 + LN

00 + 34 + LN

Sweden

46

AC + LN

011 + 46 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 46 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

Switzerland

41

LN

011 + 41 + LN (without initial zero)

00 + 41 + LN (without initial zero)

Turkey

90

AC (if no initial zero is included, add one) + LN

011 + 90 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

00 + 90 + AC (without initial zero) + LN

  • The instructions above apply whether you're calling to or from a European land line or mobile phone.
  • If calling from any mobile phone, you can replace the international access code with "+" (press and hold 0 to insert it).
  • The international access code is 011 if you're calling from the US or Canada.
  • To call the US or Canada from Europe, dial 00, then 1 (the country code for the US and Canada), then the area code and number. In short, 00 + 1 + AC + LN = Hi, Mom!