Tolls in europe

When you travel by car in europe, there are often additional charges on the freeway: the tolls. No matter where you travel, the toll regulations are different in every country and violations are subject to high fines. So that it does not become unexpectedly expensive for you, you should inform yourself about the most important regulations and special regulations.

Definition: what are tolls?

In many countries of europe it costs money, highways, expressways, bridges or tunnels to drive on. The so-called toll is used to maintain the infrastructure of the roads and to cover construction and operating costs. Furthermore, the toll is supposed to reduce the number of vehicles on the roads due to its costs. This is intended to reduce congestion and the negative impact on the environment on the freeways. If you do have to wait on the freeway, our tips for avoiding stress in traffic jams will help you.

Paying tolls abroad

Difference between toll and vignette

A distinction is made between two systems: route-based tolls and compulsory vignettes.

The route-related tolls is a road toll. You pay this toll when you enter or leave the country at a designated toll booth. the amount depends on the distance you travel on the toll route. The amount thus depends on the length of the route ridden and in some countries even by vehicle class. Motorcyclists, for example, pay less than motor home drivers with a vehicle over 3.5 tons.

The vignette against this is a sticker you have to put on your windshield. You buy them at border crossings, gas stations or rest stops on the highway. Look out for points of sale that are marked with a vignette symbol.

The vignette allows you to access for roads, tunnels and bridges, which, however, is limited in time over a period of validity. The vignette shows that you have paid a toll and thus facilitates the controls.

How to affix the sticker correctly?

The application of the vignette often causes confusion. After you have completely peeled off the backing film, you should affix the sticker to the inside of your car windscreen attach the sticker – preferably in the upper area or behind the rear view mirror. It is important that the vignette is clearly visible and not damaged shows. If you have a tinting strip on your windscreen, the vignette must not be behind it in any case. Also on the side windows or the rear window it loses its validity.

Motorcyclists also need a toll sticker, but where do they actually affix it?? The best way is to stick it on the tank or the fork leg, because the vignette should also be clearly visible on the motorcycle and not get damaged.

How to remove the vignette?

Mostly it is a big annoyance for travelers that the vignette is difficult to remove. You should remove expired vignettes anyway, so that there is no confusion at controls. If the vignette cannot be easily replaced, you can use a toll sticker provided for this purpose vignette scraper use. but here a conventional glass scraper will do as well.

If the sticker still remains on the windshield, you can remove it with a sticker damp clean cloth remove. This usually works without any problems, because vignettes are water-soluble.

What is the electronic toll?

In the countries of portugal and poland there are for the toll already electronic payment systems, where the driven kilometers are recorded by a transponder and you pay the amount afterwards.

In austria, in addition to the conventional vignette, there is the digital vignette, which you can order online. Please note, however, that the austrian e-vignette is only valid for 18 days after your online order and is linked to your license plate number. You can also get electronic vignettes for hungary, bulgaria, romania and slovakia. In dublin, london and north of milan, there are some stretches of road for which you have to buy a vignette before your trip register online must.

What is a special toll?

If you pay a toll for bridges, tunnels or passes is levied, this is a special toll. This is how driving on the oresund bridge between malmo and copenhagen costs you a fee. in holland you pay for the passage of two tunnels and the crossing of the willem-alexander-bridge. In austria, you pay both your regular vignette and an additional fee for certain tunnels and passes, such as the brenner freeway or the grobglockner high alpine road. In switzerland, the situation is similar: here, the passage through the st. bernhard tunnel and various tunnels costs an extra fee.

The special toll awaits you in the following european countries:

  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Netherlands

But there is also the so-called city toll, a charge for driving through city centers to reduce congestion and emissions there. These include:

In which countries do we pay tolls?

While tolls have not yet become compulsory in germany, you will be asked to pay, especially in the west, east and south of europe. If you want to arrive in your vacation destination in comfort, you should always look for a free alternative route via the country roads when planning your route, because these are usually not only toll-free, but also much more beautiful.

In the following european countries you will have to pay a toll on some expressways and freeways route-related tolls, the toll is based on the number of kilometers driven. The entire road network is not always subject to tolls.

  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • portugal
  • Serbia
  • Macedonia
  • Bosnia-herzegovina
  • Serbia
  • Belarus

A vignette is required in these european countries:

  • Romania
  • Austria
  • Switzerland
  • czech republic
  • Hungary
  • Bulgaria
  • Slovakia

However, there are also european countries where even no fee for the use of the roads:

  • Moldova
  • Ukraine
  • Monaco
  • Estonia
  • Iceland
  • Sweden

Tolls: how much do you have to pay??

The tolls in europe vary greatly and there are no uniform rules yet. To give you an overview, we have summarized the regulations for the most popular vacation destinations in europe:


In france you pay a toll, the peage at the entering or leaving freeways and expressways. You pay between seven and 16 cents per kilometer – at every freeway exit. However, this varies depending on the section, route and vehicle class.

In france, however, you can also bypass these stretches and save the toll charge. There are numerous routes around paris, bordeaux, marseille, lyon, in brittany, auvergne and in the alsace/lorraine that are toll-free. Avoid blue road markings, which stand for freeways. However you can special tolls for bridges and tunnels.


Greece also has route-related tolls on about ten sections of freeway, such as larisa, athens, patras, lavrio, alexandroupolis and kalamata. The journey costs between 2,20 euro and 17,40 euro. With special tolls you will also have to pay in greece.


In italy all highways cost one toll, the pedaggio, which can be up to 32,90 euro and is paid when leaving the freeway. Also special and city tolls in rome, palermo, milan and bologna are the rule in italy. The amount depends not only on the number of kilometers, but also on the height of your vehicle and the number of axles. You can keep your wallet closed only on expressways, where there are no additional fees.

Great Britain

In Great Britain you are allowed to drive on freeways and highways as well as in tunnels and on bridges from one to the other toll exempted, but in the city centers of london and birmingham city tolls apply. You can also expect to pay between four and six euros on the M6 from Birmingham to Wolverhampton.


On a trip through norway you can expect only partial tolls, tolls are charged on some roads, bridges and tunnels and in the cities of oslo and bergen. Here you do not pay directly at the tollbooths. Your license plate will be scanned as you drive through. an invoice will be sent to germany later by mail. Inquire before a longer trip to norway about the autopass box, which offers you discounts on tolls.


In croatia you pay the toll also according to kilometers driven as well as vehicle class and this must be paid when entering or leaving the freeway. Also special tolls can be due in croatia not only for bridges or tunnels but also for ferries. You pay the fees in the national currency kuna or in euro.


In spain you can expect the highest tolls in europe, which can be up to 40 euros from barcelona to valencia. In spain, all autopista, i.e. freeways as well as some tunnels and bridges toll. Alternatively you can drive on the highways around valencia, bilbao and barcelona, because there are no tolls there. But rates in spain vary from time to time.


In hungary toll sticker obligation for all freeways and expressways marked with an "M. However, the toll system in hungary works fully electronically and you can even buy a vignette for a whole year for 132,64 euro. the vignette for ten days costs 10,80 euro. If you can’t show a valid vignette, you will have to pay a fine of at least 50 euro in hungary.

Tolls at a glance

Here is a brief overview of the tolls in other countries:

country price validity fine
austria 9.20 euro 10 days replacement toll: 120 euro, fine: 300 euro
switzerland 36,50 euro 1 year 200 euro
slovakia 10 euro 10 days from 80 euro
slovenia 15 euro 7 days 300 to 800 euro, for immediate payment: 150 euro
czech republic 12,50 euro 10 days from 185 euro
romania 3 euro 7 days from 50 euro

Can you pay the toll before you start your journey??

If you need vignettes for the czech republic, austria, bulgaria, switzerland or slovenia, you can buy them before your vacation online, at the ADAC or at the respective border crossings. You can purchase the digital vignette for austria online, via app or at the road operator ASFINAG. However, this is only valid from 18. Day valid after your purchase, if you buy it online. If you buy it at a branch of the ADAC, it is valid immediately.

What happens for toll violations?

If you violate the toll obligation, you will be threatened with fines, that can be expensive. Therefore, you should always stick to the valid regulations and especially not exchange vignettes back and forth, because these are not transferable. It is best to include the toll fees in your travel budget in advance when planning your vacation!

in austria, for example, mobile monitoring systems will check whether you have a vignette. Every passing vehicle is photographed in high resolution and checked to see if there is a vignette on the windshield.

If you travel without a valid vignette and are caught in austria, you will have to pay a replacement toll pay.

  • At cars this amounts to 120 euro. If you have tried to cheat and stuck a foreign, already used vignette on your vehicle, you have to reckon with 240 euro replacement toll.
  • Motorcyclists without vignette you pay only 65 euro replacement toll without vignette and 130 euro for an already used vignette.

If you do not pay the toll, the Austrian freeway operator ASFINAG will report you to the police and initiate a fine procedure. Here you will face a hefty fine of up to 3.000 euro, which is also enforced in germany in case of non-payment. In slovenia, you can expect fines of up to 800 euros for driving without a ticket, and in switzerland and the czech republic you can pay up to 195 euros.

How to avoid stress at the toll stations?

It can sometimes be quite hectic at the toll stations. If you prefer a relaxed journey, there are a few tips you can follow. Even before you reach the toll station, you should get in the right lane in time and do not change lanes abruptly. have your EC or credit card ready and then drive close enough to the toll counter. Payment with cash is also possible as a rule.

When you leave the freeway again, you should have your toll ticket in your reach, so that it goes faster at the gates. If the barriers are open, be sure to press the appropriate button to get a receipt. If you are unsure, it is better to drive to the counters where the staff is located.

Also, avoid reversing out of toll booths at all costs. Here, too, there is the threat of high fines, which in italy, for example, can be up to 420 euro. If you absolutely have to drive backwards, inform the staff beforehand and follow their instructions.

If you take these tips to heart and drive carefully, there’s not much standing in the way of a relaxing trip. We wish you a safe journey!

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