My husband and I recently traveled for several weeks through Europe; and I thought I would share our Very Costly oversight. On one of these forums, I had read that we would need an "Alps pass" or would get fined. As such, I was prepared to ask at one of the petro stations to purchase one before we arrived in the Alps. Unfortunately, that information was not entirely accurate. We drove over the border from Italy to Austria and Immediately got pulled over and slapped with a €120.00 fine. If you are thinking about driving in Europe, please know that Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland all require a "Vignette" to be on their roads. The woman who fined us in Austria was at least nice enough to tell us that all of these other countries require them as well, not just Austria. The one for Austria fuel stations sell the stickers and you can get them for as little as €6.00. The one for Austria lasted for 10 days. Switzerland is the only one that requires you to buy their annual sticker which runs around €90.00. As such, we were very careful not to cross over into Switzerland.--Hope this helps! :)
Good warning, but to be more precise, at least for Austria and Switzerland, the vignette is required to travel on motorways, aka, Autobahn. So if you stay off these express highways, you do not need them. And the Swiss vignette is 40 CHF, more like 35 EUR, and it is good for the year. Austria you can get short term vignettes, 9.20 EUR for 10 days. And they must be properly attached to the windshield, otherwise they are not valid.
Austria has also moved over to a digital annual vignette, which means no sticker on the windshield. If you rent a car in Austria, your car will come with a digital vignette, so don’t panic if you don’t see a sticker. Just confirm with the rental car agent.
New European drivers see also https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/driving-europe-tips.
... all require a "Vignette" to be on their roads.
Not for all roads, but for Autobahn/Motorway/Freeway only, in all mentioned countries.
kcmoog, a perfectly warranted warning to others. However your post has some small errors.
- "all require a "Vignette" to be on their roads." - not quite, the Vignette is a toll charge for driving on Autobahn/autoroute/motorways/whatever they are called in the other countries. If you stick to other roads you do not need one. It is however difficult to travel long distances without going on an Autobahn/whatever.
- The Austrian Vignette costs € 9,20 for 10 days or € 26,80 for 2 months.
- The Swiss Vignette costs CHF 40 for one calendar year (not €90, they don't use €'s in Switzerland). There is no shorter-term option.
If you rent a car, it will usually already have a Vignette on it for that country, but not for others.
"I was prepared . . . to purchase one before we arrived in the Alps. . . . We drove over the border from Italy to Austria" - according my geography, if you cross the Italy-Austria border you are already in the Alps, the Italian Alps.
It looks like you were lucky, as the fine could have been a lot higher. This from Wikipedia....
"Since 1997, vignettes are required for all vehicles of up to 3.5 tonnes, driving on motorways and expressways (prefixed with letters A and S) under federal administration. Vignettes are overseen by the police and toll-sheriff employees of the federal motorway administration. A €240 fine with an additional obligatory payment of a substitute toll are charged to travelers without a valid vignette, and unpaid fines lead to penalties between €300 and €3,000. Furthermore, the vehicle may be confiscated from foreigners to guarantee payment of the penalty."
Hopefully you had an International Driver's Permit as I believe those are also compulsory in Austria (and Italy).
Just as a side note - I began seeing the red Austrian tollway vignette symbol on the A8 Raststätten signs almost immediately upon leaving the Munich metro area. We purchased ours well before the Austrian border to avoid possible long queues at the border Raststätten/service area.