Toll fares can take away quite a chunk of the travel budget. The return fare to southern France from northwestern Europe will amount to about 120 euros (without trailer), but toll roads are relatively quiet and generally are in excellent condition, so speedy travel is almost guaranteed (apart from traffic jams in the holiday season). At regular intervals there are Parking and toilet facilities, playgrounds for kids and catering options. However, fuel along the toll roads is considerably more expensive than elsewhere. Please check on our tips for cheaper refueling in Europe.
If you prefer to avoid toll roads, set this option in your navigation device or do not follow the signs Péage (France: follow par RN), Pedaggio (Italy) or Peaje (Spain). Many toll-free roads in France and Italy which serve as an alternative to the toll roads are plagued by heavy trucks and are very busy, so relaxed or fast driving is hardly an option. Besides, Some highways in France (map of toll-free autoroutes), Spain (autovias) and southern Italy are toll-free.
The toll for some popular holyday routes as of March 2011 for a passenger car:
With an online route planner you can calculate the cost of the toll roads before departure.
Viamichelin provides the quickest or shortest route but also the toll that is due (with or without caravan) and the exact locations where the toll has to be paid. This Michelin route planner also has information about speed cameras and work on roads in France.
Toll rates in Spain are quite high, but there are many dual carriageways, the autovías, almost parallel to the autopistas (toll motorways with AP-number), which are free and almost as fast. These autovias are often busier and have more exits. The toll for some popular holyday routes as of March 2011 for a passenger car:
For all toll rates, see the official site of the Spanish toll companies.
Compared with France and Spain tolls in Italy are rather moderate. The toll for some popular holyday routes as of March 2011 for a passenger car:
For toll rates, see the official site of the Italian toll companies.
Paying toll in France, Italy and Spain is a fast and easy procedure with a credit card. In France choose the lane with the sign CB (Cartes Bancaires) or the symbols above (2) or (3) on the picture. The toll gates with the symbol CB have ticket machines and you can only use these if the vehicle (and trailer) do not exceed a height of 2 meters (class 1). With a caravan you can not take these lanes as the toll for a car with caravan is higher and the ticket machines can not computethe rate. In Italy, choose the lane with Carte/ Viacard, in Spain with the sign Vias Automáticas, with a credit card symbol. First you put the toll ticket that you took from the machine at the entrance of the toll section ain the slot of the machine, followed by your credit card, which emerges again after a short moment. By pressing a button a receipt will be delivered. The barrier opens and you can continue ypur journey. The queues at the automatic gates are almost always much shorter than at the manned gates.
Note: Payment with a debit card (a bank card with the Maestro logo) is not possible at the toll stations in France. You need a credit card (Visa Card or MasterCard) or cash! In Italy the toll companies now accept cards with the Maestro logo, so paying by debit card should be possible. We have not yet been able to try this.
For tolls see the official site of the Portuguese toll company.
In Austria there is a toll for driving on the highways (A roads) and several motorways (S-roads), in the form of an Autobahnvignet, available abroad at automobile associations (ANWB, AA, ADAC), at the border and at petrol stations in and around Austria. There is a one-week vignette (10 consecutive days, € 8), a 2-month vignette of € 23.40 and &a sticker for one year for € 77.80 (valid from December 2011 to January 2013). You don't have to pay extra for a caravan or a trailer, motorcycles have to pay € 4.60, € 11.70 and € 31.
The fine in the absence of a vignette is at least € 120 ("Ersatzmaut"), but can also be much higher, from € 300 to € 3000. Besides the vignette Austria has toll for a number of tunnels and mountain routes. The Brenner motorway is € 8 per passenger car, the Tauernautobahn, the Tauern Tunnel and Katschbergtunnel € 9.50 and the Großglocknerstraße will cost you €28. An overview of open and closed Alpine passes in Austria and other countries is at Das Alpenportal.
In the Czech Republic a vignette is required for most highways, which is available at the border and at major petrol stations. For passenger cars (including caravan), the rate for 7 days is CKZ 310 (approx € 12) for 1 month CKZ 440 (approx € 17) and for one year CKZ 1500 (approximately € 58). Annual stickers for 2012 are valid until January 31, 2013. Motorcycles are exempt from the toll.
For a number of highways in Slovakia a vignette is required. For 1 week it will cost € 7, for 1 month € 14 and € 50 for one year. The vignettes can be purchased at the border and petrol stations.
In Hungary a toll sticker is required for virtually all motorways and some other roads. There is no windscreen-sticker, you have to purchase an 'e-vignette' at the border or at a petrol station. This means that the car registration number is entered in the toll registration system — you just get a receipt. Your license plate will be photographed automatically at checkpoints along the highway. A vignette for 4 days costs about € 4.40 to € 5.70 (summer), € 9.50 for 10 days and one month will cost approximately € 15.75 euros. If you are not registered on the highway, the fine can amount to over € 400.
In Slovenia for cars up to 3.5 tonnes a vignette is required for the highways. This vignette replaces the toll collection. For heavier cars, the old toll system will be continued for the time being. There are vignettes for one week (€ 15 for cars with or without caravan, € 7.50 for motorcycles), one month (€ 30/€ 15) and a calendar year (€ 95/€ 47.50) for sale. The vignettes can be purchased at the toll stations, supermarkets and petrol stations in Slovenia and petrol stations in neighboring countries (border area). The vignette is not valid in the Karawanken tunnel (Austria-Slovenia border), where you pay an additional € 6.50 with or without a caravan.
Netherlands There are two toll tunnel: The Kiltunnel at Dordrecht (car € 2.00, € 1.40 card with telecard) and the Westerscheldetunnel, with a rate of € 4.80 for cars (with electronic T-tag € 3.75). A car with caravan pays € 7.15 (€ 5.60 with t-tag).
Belgium has one toll tunnel, the Liefkenshoektunnel in Antwerp. The rate is € 4.50 for a passenger care when paid by credit card in the automatic lane (blue arrow) and € 5.50 if you pay cash. A vehicle exceeding a height of 2.75 meters (some campers!) pays € 16 or € 18 each way. The Liefkenshoektunnel may be an alternative when there are traffic jams on the Antwerp ring, for example at the toll free Kennedytunnel. In exceptional circumstances, traffic through the Liefkenshoektunnel is toll free, which will be announced on the notice boards along the road.
In Denmark you pay toll for the Storebaelt Bridge, connecting the islands of Fünen and Seeland on the route to Copenhagen. The fare is around € 31 for a passenger car up to 6 meters (with or without caravan), and for cars with or without caravan and longer than 6 meters around € 47. The Öresund Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmö in Sweden is also a toll bridge — for a car up to 6 meters the toll is € 39, and for a car with caravan or a motorhome longer than 6 meters € 78.
An extensive summary of European tolls can be found at the Belgian Mobility club VAB (Tolls).