Toll Roads in Europe: Everything You Wanted to Know
It is a great idea to drive a car in Europe, but apart from the peculiarities of traffic rules in the country where you plan to travel, you should know in advance about the peculiarities of using the roads. You’ve probably heard that there are toll autobahns in European countries. How much does it cost to drive along such a highway and is it possible to avoid unnecessary expenses – we talk about this today in the blog of the tour operator Aves Travel. All figures given are for passenger cars weighing up to 3.5 tonnes.
Where in Europe you can drive for free
Everywhere. According to the law, every toll highway has an alternative free option. And it’s not about the quality of the coverage – it is the same everywhere, but it is offered to pay for comfort and high average speed.
But there are countries where there are no toll highways at all:
In Lithuania, the payment for entry to certain roads is taken only from trucks and cars engaged in passenger transportation. In Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Denmark, the Netherlands, Iceland, Sweden, Great Britain, there are no toll roads, but there are short sections or single tunnels that you have to pay to use.
How turnstiles work
Even in neighboring countries, the rules for entering toll roads may be different. For example, in Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, you need to buy a vignette, while Poland and Croatia use turnstiles. The fare in the case of turnstiles is calculated based on the length of the covered segment.
Poland. At the entrance to the toll autobahn, you need to get a ticket, according to which the mileage and the amount of payment will be calculated at the exit. It is better to keep this coupon in order not to pay the maximum amount. Price: up to PLN 0.38 for 1 km. For example, the A1 motorway: the tariff for 1 km is PLN 0.16, the total amount for crossing the toll section is PLN 29.90. (about 7 euros). There are roads with different cost per kilometer depending on the site, for example, the A2 and A4 highways.
Greece. For a hundred kilometers of a toll road, you need to pay about 6-9 euros. Cash only. There are bridges and tunnels for paid use.
Croatia. Cards are not accepted everywhere, so it’s best to take some cash with you. The fare can range from 1 to 16 euros. There are bridges, for the use of which there is an additional charge (about 5 euros).
Spain. You can pay by cash or card. For example, from Barcelona to Zaragoza (about 300 km) you can travel for 30 euros, and from Madrid to Toledo (70 km) – for 7.5 euros. There are paid tunnels.
France. The fare depends on the road chosen, for example, from Paris to Lyon – 35 euros, and if you go from the capital to Lille – 16 euros. The use of bridges and tunnels is additionally paid – from 2.6 to 43.5 euros.
Norway. You can pay in cash, by card or through the AutoPASS digital service. How it works: the system fixes the car number at the entrance and independently withdraws the amount from the bank account. There are toll tunnels and bridges, for example, the tunnel connecting the western and eastern parts of Oslo. In addition, you must pay an environmental fee if you decide to enter the center of some large cities, and for driving on studded tires.
Portugal. Here you have to pay for all the highways. You can pay in cash or by credit card, at the entrance / exit or through a digital service. Easy Toll – for paying by card at the entrance to the highway. TollCard – prepaid cards in denominations of 5, 10, 20 or 40 euros. The use of some bridges is additionally paid – on average 2-3 euros.
Macedonia. It is better to have small cash in your wallet here. The cost of using toll roads depends on the length of the section: from 0.5 to 2 euros.
Italy. On average, the cost of a kilometer of a toll highway will be about 0.08 euros. A system similar to the Portuguese one works here: at the entrance / exit or through the VIACARD prepaid card (25, 50, 75 euros). Please note that this card is not accepted in Sicily. There are tunnels, the use of which is paid additionally (14–45 euros). There is a toll highway calculator for building the best route.
What is vignette
Vignette (vignette, vignette) is a system of payment for using a toll highway widespread in Europe. In different states, it can be purchased in the form of a sticker on the windshield at gas stations or immediately at the border.
The cost of a vignette depends on the type of car you are driving and its validity period. In most cases, at the time of purchase, you will need to indicate the car number, country of registration and enter bank card details. Place the vignette in the upper left corner of the windshield. Availability and validity will be monitored by cameras installed on toll roads.
Austria. For passenger cars: € 9 for 10 days, € 26 for 60 days, € 87 for 365 days. Stickers are sold at almost any gas station near the border. Also in Austria there are tunnels and roads, travel through which is paid additionally, for example, 9-9.5 euros will cost the movement on the S16 Arlberg Straßentunnel.