[Updated Feb 2021]
The Austrian vignette is a toll sticker or digital permit to drive on the motorways in Austria. Failure to buy the vignette for Austria can result in a spot fine of at least €120. You can avoid this by learning all about the vignette options, prices, and where to buy it before driving in Austria.
There is more than 2,200km of toll roads in Austria. They are mostly motorways and expressways which maintenance is paid for by toll fees in the form of a vignette.
In addition, there are sectional tolls for roads which cost more to maintain. The Brenner pass toll is a good example.
Driving on Austria’s toll roads is cheap compared to Italy and France. At €92,50 for a 2021 annual vignette, the use of the motorways comes to less than 30 cents per day.
Tourists are accommodated in the form of a 10-day or 2-month vignette for a fraction of the annual Austrian vignette price.
What Is a Vignette?
A vignette is a toll pass. Instead of toll gates interrupting your journey on Austrian motorways, you are required to buy either a toll sticker or an electronic toll pass. This pass is called a vignette.
Previously, the vignette in Austria only came in the form of a window sticker. Since 2018, a digital vignette that is linked to your car’s number plate is also available.
For various reasons (details below), buying the digital vignette online isn’t an option for most tourists, especially those renting a car from a country outside of Austria.
How Much Does the Austrian Vignette Cost?
Below is the price of an Austrian vignette for a normal car or camper van for different time periods.
Where Can I Buy an Austrian Vignette?
The Austrian toll sticker is sold at most petrol/gas stations, post offices, newsagents, and tobacconists in Austria. If you’re driving into Austria from another country, the vignette will be on sale at gas/petrol stations close to the border.
Asfinag toll booths, for example on the Brenner pass between Italy and Austria, also sell the vignette. See the section about sectional tolls below.
The digital vignette, which is linked to your car’s registration number, can be bought online before your trip. This is convenient if you’re driving your own car.
However, the digital vignette is only valid after 18 days from the date of the online purchase. So buy it well in advance!
Another disadvantage of the digital vignette is applicable to rental cars coming from outside of Austria. While Austrian rental cars generally come with a valid vignette, you’ll have to buy one for your rental car if you’re entering from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, or elsewhere.
Obviously, you won’t know the registration number in advance to enable you to buy the digital vignette online in time for your trip.
There is some good news, however. The digital vignette is now also available to buy from most outlets that sell the toll sticker. Unlike when you buy it online, the validity is immediate. This is how we bought our vignette in 2021.
What’s the Fine if I’m Caught Without a Vignette in Austria?
A spot fine of €120 is to be paid if you’re unable to show proof of a valid vignette in Austria. And if there’s evidence that you tampered with a toll sticker, you’ll have to cough up €240.
Don’t take chances!
Buy the vignette, even if you’re arriving in the middle of the night. We’ve had two sets of guests who were stopped close to Innsbruck around midnight. One lot came from Munich airport, tired after more than 24 hours in transit with kids. A vignette was the last thing on their minds. Unfortunately, the policeman who pulled them off had no sympathy. They had to pay the fine of €120 on the spot.
- Thinking of not paying after receiving a fine in the post? Think again. Administrative penalties of between €300 and €3000 may be charged if you don’t pay the fine in time.
What Is Sectional Toll?
Some roads in Austria which are particularly costly to construct and maintain have individual toll stations where additional sectional tolls are to be paid. They can be found on the following motorways:
- A9 Pyhrn
- A10 Tauern
- A11 Karawanken
- A13 Brenner
- S16 Arlberg
The sectional tolls (single trip or annual permit) can be paid for in cash or by card (credit, debit, or fuel) directly at the toll gate. It’s also possible to buy a digital pass. The benefit of a digital pass is that the toll gate will open automatically when you drive through.
Sectional Toll Prices
Since most tourists won’t have use of an annual sectional toll pass, I’m only including the single trip rates for 2021.
|A13 Brenner Motorway|
|Innsbruck – Patsch/Europabrücke – Nösslach||€2,50|
|Innsbruck – Stubai Valley||€3,50|
|Matrei – Brenner Pass||€5,00|
|St Michael – Rennweg (Katschberg Tunnel)||€6,50|
|St Michael – Flachau (Tauern Tunnel)||€6,50|
|Zederhaus – Flachau (Tauern Tunnel)||€6,50|
|S16 Arlberg Tunnel|
- Motorists with an annual Austrian vignette receive a substantial discount when buying annual sectional toll passes. For example, we buy the Brenner pass toll ticket because we regularly hike or ski on the Stubai Glacier or take day trips to South Tyrol.
Who Checks If I Have a Valid Austrian Vignette?
Police and Control Officers
Will you believe me if I say that in nine years our vignette was only checked once? And that’s when I was pulled off for speeding (unknowingly driving 100km/h in an 80km/h zone on the A12 motorway) near the Arlberg tunnel.
I had to pay a spot fine for the speeding and got moaned at because our vignette was stuck too high on our big panoramic windscreen.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t spot checks. We regularly see cops pulling cars off when they exit the motorway at Hall in Tirol.
Did You Know?
Only 2% of Austrian drivers are caught without a vignette.
In addition to police officials, the toll company Asfinag has around 100 control officers who are permitted to carry out toll checks on Austrian motorways.
On multi-lane toll roads in Austria, cameras are used to check for vignettes. You may spot them on gantries spanning the motorway. According to Asfinag, the nine camera systems which are currently in use are moved to different locations every seven to 14 days.