City Basics

City Basics


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Mail & Phones

When you're in Moscow, you need to keep in touch. Otherwise your family starts calling the embassy and your Mum gets all stressed! So send a postcard! That'll take three weeks, so better send an email instead. Don't know where to log on? Don't want to pay for crappy wireless in a dingy cafe? Read on, dear travellers....

Making a call

Calling Internationally

To phone home from a Moscow landline, you need to dial 8 then wait a little (not necessary if you have a digital line) then dial 10, followed by the country code, city code and actual telephone number.

Calling within Moscow

The Moscow city code is 495 but some parts of Moscow for example Kolomenskoye just outside the Circle Line, has the code 499. To dial numbers with a 495 code, if you are in the 495 code yourself, simply dial the number. Hey presto! Connection! If you're in the 495 area, but need to call to another code it is the same as calling within Russia, just see next section.

Calling within Russia

For calling within Russia or even within Moscow where there are different codes, simply dial 8, then wait for a long tone (not necessary if you have a digitial line), then the code of the city, then the number.

Mobile Phones

Mobiles are more popular with the local Muscovite than Japanese cuisine, drinking cocktails, shopping and fashion TV all put together. You can use your mobile phone from home if your provider has a roaming agreement with a Russian mobile company. It'll cost you though. If you call with your mobile to a Russian number, you'll need to put in all the numbers starting +7.

Russian SIM cards

If you want to avoid exorbitant roaming charges, just stick to texting or get a Russian SIM card. They range in price starting from 200Rbl up to 400Rbl depending on your chosen package. You will be asked to show your passport when you sign up for the SIM card - this is so that if you lose your phone, they can than provide you with a new SIM card that uses the same phone number.

The main providers in Moscow that provide the most reliable service are:


You can top-up your Russian pay-as-you-go SIM card at any of the top-up machines that you will find in most underpasses and phone shops. Just choose the provider you need on the machine's touch screen, type in your phone number (without the +7) and then insert the amount of money you want to top-up by.

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