> SlowTrav > Switzerland > Instructions for Visitors

Phoning To, From and Within Switzerland

Pauline Kenny

Calling to Switzerland from the US and Canada, long distance calls from Switzerland, placing phone calls within Switzerland, how to dial, how to pay.


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Switzerland Telephone Numbers

Swiss phone numbers have two parts: area code and phone number. The area code is 3 digits and begins with a zero (I don't know if this is different for cell phones as in Italy). Example city codes: Lucurne area 041. The phone number is 7 digits.

City codes beginning with 8 are reserved for toll-free numbers and codes beginning with 7 are reserved for Internet services.

Phoning to Switzerland from the US and Canada

To dial Switzerland from the US:

  • first dial the US long distance code 011

  • then the country code (41 for Switzerland)

  • then the area code (drop the leading zero)

  • then the number

For example, if the Swiss phone number is 041-637-5555, dial as follows:

Do I Drop the Leading Zero in the Area Code?

Yes. When dialing to Switzerland from another country, drop the leading zero on the area code. When dialing from within Switzerland, dial the leading zero.

Why is There a Plus Sign (+) at the Start of the European Phone Number?

European phone numbers are frequently written in the format +44-07981-555555. The plus indicates that you have to dial your long distance code first (in the US the code is 011, in Europe it is 00).

Time Change

Switzerland is six hours later than the US east coast (EST). For example, at midnight in New York City, it is 6:00 AM in Zurich. See The World Clock for complete information.

The Best Way to Pay for International Calls from the US/Canada

Read about the options for paying for international calls from the US/Canada.

Phoning from Switzerland to the US, Canada and Other Countries

To call another country from a Switzerland:

  • first dial the Europe long distance code 00
  • then the country code (1 for the US and Canada, 44 for the UK)
  • then the area code and number

Country codes of other countries: US-1, Canada-1, United Kingdom-44, France-33, Germany-49, Spain-34, Switzerland-41

The Best Way to Pay for International Calls from Switzerland

Read about the options for paying for international calls from Switzerland.

Phoning Within Switzerland

When calling a Swiss phone number from Switzerland, always dial the complete area code. (But, when calling from the US, drop the leading zero in the area code.) Sometimes you will be given the phone number without the leading zero, but you will need to add in the leading zero when dialing from within Switzerland.

When dialing within a town, you still need to dial the area code with the leading zero first.

Using Phones in Vacation Rentals

Most phones in vacation rentals are attached to a box which counts, by 10 rappen per click, the time you use for non-toll-free calls. In some vacation rentals there is also a set fee added to this (e.g. 25 CHF for phone setup).

Usually you can unplug the line to the phone and connect it to your computer (it is an American style phone plug).

We use Earthlink from Switzerland and the access number is not toll-free, so we pay the Earthlink surcharge (about $6.00/hour) and we pay for the phone call too. Recently, 2 weeks of moderate computer usage (email and very little web time) cost 50 CHF - so about 25 CHF per week.

Earthlink lists the Swiss access number as 842111902, but you have to add a zero when dialing the number in Switzerland (so it really is 0842111902). Toll-free numbers start with "0800", and you do not pay for the call. For example, the MCI long distance access code is 0800-89-0222 - so you do not pay locally when you call this number.

Other Phone Information


www.wtng.info: World Telephone Number Guide with complete information on how to dial other countries.

www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/: The World Clock, see what time it is in the country you are calling.

www.kropla.com: Steve Kropla's Help for World Travelers, with worldwide electrical and telephone information.

www.voltagevalet.com: Voltage Valet, with a website full worldwide electrical and telephone information and a store selling adapters etc.

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