For members


EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Austria’s vignette motorway toll stickers

In order to drive on Austria’s motorways, you’ll need a vignette. But what is a vignette, how do you get one - and how do you get one on the cheap?

EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Austria's vignette motorway toll stickers
A police officer inspects a vignette sticker in France. Image: JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT / AFP

Since 1997, in order to drive on Austria’s motorways you’ve needed a small toll sticker known as a vignette. 

While these may seem odd to some foreigners, they are absolutely essential – and anyone not displaying one risks a fine. 

What is a vignette?

The small stickers show that you’ve paid the tolls necessary to travel on Austria’s main arteries.

The money goes to the government and is used for funding roads. 

According to ASFiNAG, the peak body for roads in Austria and the entity which collects the fees, “almost 100 percent of all income from the sale of the vignette, the truck toll (GO toll) and the route toll flow back into the construction, operation and security of the high-ranking road network in Austria”.

You need a vignette to travel on all of Austria’s expressways and motorways, although there are some exceptions that apply currently. 

These are listed below. 

Which vehicles need a vignette?

All cars, motorbikes and camper vans on Austria’s motorways and expressways need a vignette. 

Bikes, skateboards and snowboards do not. 

Where do I get one?

Vignettes are available at around 6,000 outlets across the country, so anyone who fails to get one will have few excuses. A list of outlets is available here

If you’re reading this in an Alpine cottage with only an Internet connection and no outlets nearby, don’t fret – digital vignettes are also available online.  

Unlike the sticker, digital vignettes are affixed to the licence plate. 

I have many cars. Can I buy one per year and use it for all my cars? 

No. The stickers are vehicle specific and cannot be transferred across if you buy a new car. 

However, if you buy a digital vignette and you transfer your licence plates over to a new car, then this will be valid as digital vignettes are licence plate specific. 

What happens if I don’t have one? 

Vignettes are compulsory, meaning that everyone who does not have one is liable to be fined. 

Fines start at 120 euros – which is more than the cost of a year-long vignette – meaning you might as well go out and buy one. 

Where do I put it? 

For cars, the vignette should be put in the top left corner of the windshield or in the area behind the rear view mirror. 

The vignette should always be placed inside the window. 

For motorbikes, the vignette should be placed on a visible part of the bike which is difficult or impossible to remove. Austria’s Kronen Zeitung suggests putting it on the fork leg of the front wheel.

How much do vignettes cost? 

The 2021 annual vignette stickers will be available for purchase from the end of November 2020. 

These will cost 92.50 euros per year – an increase of around 1.5 percent on the cost of last year’s stickers – and will be apple green in colour. 

For anyone looking to save a bit of cash – and who will be sticking around in Austria for a year at least – the annual price is by far the cheapest. 

By purchasing a year-long vignette, you’ll save yourself more than 20 euros. 

New tariffs 2021 for cars: ten-day vignette: 9.50 euros, 2-month vignette 27.80 euros, Annual vignette: 92.50 euros 

New tariffs 2021 for motorcycles: ten-day vignette 5.50 euros, 2-month vignette 13.90 euros, annual vignette: 36.70 euros.

What colour is it? 

The current vignette until January 31, 2021, is blue. 

The upcoming vignette – from December 1st, 2020 – is lime green. 

What are the exceptions? 

According to ASFiNAG, five stretches of road in Austria currently do not require compulsory vignettes (as at November 2020). 

The exceptions apply to the following stretches of road:

The toll road A 1 Westautobahn between the national border at Walserberg and the Salzburg Nord junction;

The toll road A 12 Inntalautobahn between the national border at Kufstein and the Kufstein-Süd junction;

The toll road A 14 Rheintal/Walgau Autobahn between the national border at Hörbranz and the Hohenems junction

The bypass bridges to be built on the toll road A7 Mühlkreis Autobahn between the Hafenstraße junction;

And the Urfahr junction (currently still under construction) and the toll road A 26 Linzer Autobahn (currently still under construction).

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For members


Everything you need to know about driving in Austria in winter

Austria is known for having long, cold winters, which can impact conditions on the roads. Here’s what you need to know about driving in Austria in the winter. From tips to make your trip smoother to the rules you need to follow.

Everything you need to know about driving in Austria in winter

Austria’s infrastructure is built for winter weather. As soon as the temperature starts to drop overnight, gritting trucks are out in force, and roads are quickly cleared of snow during winter storms.

This makes driving in Austria during the winter months so much easier, but there are a few rules to follow as well.

Here’s everything you need to know about driving in Austria in the winter.

FOR MEMBERS: Reader question: Can I take the Austrian driving licence test in English?

Winter tyres

In Austria, all cars and lorries weighing up to 3.5 tonnes must be fitted with winter tyres from November 1 to April 15 of the following year. This is to ensure drivers are prepared for wintry conditions on the roads, such as snow and ice.

A driver can be fined €35 if caught driving without winter tyres during this time. If other road users are put in danger as a result, the fine can be up to €5,000.

The law also has consequences for insurance claims in the event of an accident while driving in the winter with summer tyres. For example, if there is a crash but the driver claims it wasn’t their fault, they have to prove that the accident would have still happened even with winter tyres to avoid blame. They then have the so-called “burden of proof”. 

Also, a tyre only qualifies as an official winter tyre (or all-season tyre) if it has one of the following labels: M+S, M.S., M&S or the snowflake symbol. 

READ ALSO: Can I use my foreign driving licence in Austria?

Snow chains and spike tyres

Between November 1 and April 15, all lorries (with a maximum weight of more than 3.5 tonnes) and all buses must carry snow chains for at least two wheels.

But the snow chains should only be used when absolutely necessary. Such as when a road is covered with snow or ice.

The use of studded tyres is illegal in Austria during the months of June, July, August and September. And if you want to use them in the winter, you need to display a studded tyre sticker (Spikeaufkleber) in the rear of the vehicle.

Spike tyres are only typically fitted on industrial or agricultural vehicles, and are not often used on Austrian roads as they can damage the surface.

Removal of snow and ice from the car

In Austria, drivers are required to clear all windows of snow and ice before driving. In fact, only clearing a small “viewing window” is illegal and can impact an insurance claim if there is an accident.

Drivers also have to clear snow from the lights and licence plate, including on a trailer. And it’s recommended to remove snow or ice from the top of a car as it can fall across the windshield while driving.

READ MORE: The story of how half of Austria drove on the left and half on the right – for 20 years

Photo by Andreea Popa on Unsplash

Road gritting and snow clearing

Municipal governments are responsible for gritting and clearing snow on public roads.

The system in Austria works well with gritting trucks regularly maintaining roads throughout the winter. As a result, roads are rarely blocked due to snow or ice in residential areas or on main roads.

However, owners of property also have to chip in and are required to clear snow from pavements and footpaths within 3 metres of their property. If there are no footpaths, then the road must be cleared and gritted within one metre of the property. 

Weather forecasts

When driving during the winter months in Austria it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast in advance – especially if setting out on a long trip. 

If heavy snow or extremely cold temperatures are predicted then try to postpone the journey, if possible. But if you have to drive, pack a few essentials in case there are delays. 

Must-have items include drinking water, a flask of tea/coffee, a shovel for clearing snow, a warm coat, gloves, a torch and a mobile phone.

Winter weather can vary between regions in Austria, particularly in the Alps. But a little bit of planning can make a big difference to your journey.

Useful links

The Austrian Federal Government guide to driving in winter

Austria by road (travel guide)