Vignettes by country

By Lorenz Rychner
This item appears on page 13 of the October 2015 issue.
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I read Bruce Berger’s account of his misfortune with the mandatory road-tax stickers that tripped him up in Switzerland and, in a costly manner, in Slovenia (Sept. ’15, pg. 13).

Allow me to point out that a number of countries in Europe, among them Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland (and, soon, Germany), each have independently instituted prepaid road-tax stickers, commonly called vignettes, which are mandatory for travel on fast highways (“Schnellstrassen” in German) and expressways (Autobahnen) in most of these countries and on most any roads in Bulgaria.

When you rent a car in or near these countries, consider your travel plans and ask for a vehicle that has the appropriate stickers already on the windshield. With a bit of luck, you may find stickers for neighboring countries already affixed. They are “impersonal,” not tied to a specific user, so you may benefit from somebody else’s earlier sticker purchase.

Each of the countries mentioned above has its own vignette, available in various permutations, and the finer points of the requirements for usage vary. They are available at gas stations (“Tankstellen” in German), tourist information offices and some newspaper/tobacco shops and other retail outlets. 

For the countries above, here is an overview of the vignettes required for cars (usually up to 3.5 tons). Motorhomes, vans, trucks and motorcycles may have their own types of vignettes.

Austria has the following three validity-duration stickers: 10-day (8.70, near $9.80), 2-month (25.30) and annual (calendar year plus December and January at each end, 84.40). Learn more at www.asfinag.at/toll/toll-sticker.

Bulgaria requires its road-tax sticker for most roads, not just the major highways. Bulgaria has the following three validity-duration stickers: 7-day (5), monthly (13) and annually (34). Additionally, a number of bridges and tunnels are subject to extra fees. Visit www.dalnicni-znamky.com/en/vignette-highway-toll-bulgaria.html.

Czech Republic has the following three validity-duration stickers: 10-day (10), 1-month (14) and annual (calendar year plus December and January at each end, CZK1,500, near $62). Visit www.motorway.cz/stickers.

Hungary no longer has a physical sticker. Since 2008, it has used an electronic scanning system with a prepaid e-vignette that comes in three durations: 10-day (HUF2,975, near $10.65), 1-month (HUF4,780) and annual (calendar year plus one month, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31 of the following year, HUF42,980). Visit https://ematrica.nemzetiutdij.hu and also visit www.tolltickets.com/country/hungary/vignette.aspx?lang=en-GB.

Romania has the following four validity-duration stickers: 7-day (3), 30-day (7), 90-day (13) and 12-month (28). Additionally, a number of bridges over the Danube are subject to extra fees. Visit www.dalnicni-znamky.com/en/vignette-highway-toll-romania.html.

Slovakia has the following three validity-duration stickers: 10-day (10), 1-month (14) and yearly (calendar year plus one month, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31 of the following year, 50). Visit www.tolltickets.com/country/slovakia/vignette.aspx?lang=en-GB.

Slovenia has the following three validity-duration stickers: 1-week (15), 1-month (30) and yearly (calendar year plus December and January at each end, 110). Visit www.slovenia.info/?faq=200&lng=2&redirected=1.

Switzerland has only one sticker, valid for the calendar year plus December and January at each end, for CHF40 (near $41). Detailed info can be found at www.ch.ch/en/swiss-motorway-sticker, where it explicitly says, “Stickers for a day, a week or a month do not exist.” Look for links to “Motorway sticker — where to buy it, how to display it, refunds” and “On what roads do you need a ‘vignette’ (motorway tax sticker)?”

Additionally, to date, Germany has had neither a toll-road system nor a vignette system for personal cars, but a vignette system is scheduled to go into effect in 2016. This is currently a political hot potato.

And in Italy, where toll roads are operated by a multitude of different companies, there is a prepaid card (Viacard) that can simplify life enormously by allowing you to use a dedicated express lane at toll booths. Visit www.telepass.it, which is hard to navigate.

Read about tolls as well as all manner of important information on the helpful website of the Italian Automobile Club, www.aci.it/il-club/soci-in-viaggio/driving-in-italy/driving-in-italy-inf....

About toll roads, it says, in their document entitled “Motorways,” “Foreign motorists holding a credit card issued in Italy — exclusively Carta Sì (Visa or MasterCard), Agos, American Express — or a current account with an Italian bank that allows shop-online service can subscribe to the Telepass service and can therefore use ‘Telepass lanes’.”

You may have to wait until you arrive in Italy to buy the Viacard.

LORENZ RYCHNER

Denver, CO

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

I read Bruce Berger’s account of his misfortune with the mandatory road-tax stickers that tripped him up in Switzerland and, in a costly manner, in Slovenia (Sept. ’15, pg. 13).

Allow me to point out that a number of countries in Europe, among them Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland (and, soon, Germany), each have independently instituted prepaid road-tax stickers, commonly called vignettes, which are mandatory for travel on fast highways (“Schnellstrassen” in German) and expressways (Autobahnen) in most of these countries and on most any roads in Bulgaria.

When you rent a car in or near these countries, consider your travel plans and ask for a vehicle that has the appropriate stickers already on the windshield. With a bit of luck, you may find stickers for neighboring countries already affixed. They are “impersonal,” not tied to a specific user, so you may benefit from somebody else’s earlier sticker purchase.

Each of the countries mentioned above has its own vignette, available in various permutations, and the finer points of the requirements for usage vary. They are available at gas stations (“Tankstellen” in German), tourist information offices and some newspaper/tobacco shops and other retail outlets. 

For the countries above, here is an overview of the vignettes required for cars (usually up to 3.5 tons). Motorhomes, vans, trucks and motorcycles may have their own types of vignettes.

Austria has the following three validity-duration stickers: 10-day (8.70, near $9.80), 2-month (25.30) and annual (calendar year plus December and January at each end, 84.40). Learn more at www.asfinag.at/toll/toll-sticker.

Bulgaria requires its road-tax sticker for most roads, not just the major highways. Bulgaria has the following three validity-duration stickers: 7-day (5), monthly (13) and annually (34). Additionally, a number of bridges and tunnels are subject to extra fees. Visit www.dalnicni-znamky.com/en/vignette-highway-toll-bulgaria.html.

Czech Republic has the following three validity-duration stickers: 10-day (10), 1-month (14) and annual (calendar year plus December and January at each end, CZK1,500, near $62). Visit www.motorway.cz/stickers.

Hungary no longer has a physical sticker. Since 2008, it has used an electronic scanning system with a prepaid e-vignette that comes in three durations: 10-day (HUF2,975, near $10.65), 1-month (HUF4,780) and annual (calendar year plus one month, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31 of the following year, HUF42,980). Visit https://ematrica.nemzetiutdij.hu and also visit www.tolltickets.com/country/hungary/vignette.aspx?lang=en-GB.

Romania has the following four validity-duration stickers: 7-day (3), 30-day (7), 90-day (13) and 12-month (28). Additionally, a number of bridges over the Danube are subject to extra fees. Visit www.dalnicni-znamky.com/en/vignette-highway-toll-romania.html.

Slovakia has the following three validity-duration stickers: 10-day (10), 1-month (14) and yearly (calendar year plus one month, from Jan. 1 to Jan. 31 of the following year, 50). Visit www.tolltickets.com/country/slovakia/vignette.aspx?lang=en-GB.

Slovenia has the following three validity-duration stickers: 1-week (15), 1-month (30) and yearly (calendar year plus December and January at each end, 110). Visit www.slovenia.info/?faq=200&lng=2&redirected=1.

Switzerland has only one sticker, valid for the calendar year plus December and January at each end, for CHF40 (near $41). Detailed info can be found at www.ch.ch/en/swiss-motorway-sticker, where it explicitly says, “Stickers for a day, a week or a month do not exist.” Look for links to “Motorway sticker — where to buy it, how to display it, refunds” and “On what roads do you need a ‘vignette’ (motorway tax sticker)?”

Additionally, to date, Germany has had neither a toll-road system nor a vignette system for personal cars, but a vignette system is scheduled to go into effect in 2016. This is currently a political hot potato.

And in Italy, where toll roads are operated by a multitude of different companies, there is a prepaid card (Viacard) that can simplify life enormously by allowing you to use a dedicated express lane at toll booths. Visit www.telepass.it, which is hard to navigate.

Read about tolls as well as all manner of important information on the helpful website of the Italian Automobile Club, www.aci.it/il-club/soci-in-viaggio/driving-in-italy/driving-in-italy-inf....

About toll roads, it says, in their document entitled “Motorways,” “Foreign motorists holding a credit card issued in Italy — exclusively Carta Sì (Visa or MasterCard), Agos, American Express — or a current account with an Italian bank that allows shop-online service can subscribe to the Telepass service and can therefore use ‘Telepass lanes’.”

You may have to wait until you arrive in Italy to buy the Viacard.

LORENZ RYCHNER

Denver, CO