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Toll roads in Italy and Austria

I will be driving from Zurich to Orteisi in the Dolomites in late August. How do the toll roads work in Italy? Do you have to have some sort of an electronic pass? Can you pay with a credit card of do you have to pay cash? Is there someone to make change if using cash?
I have the same questions for traveling through Austria.


Posted by
23471 posts

Our experience in Italy a couple of years ago was cash and credit cards and well signed. We did tend to use cash simply because it was easier. The toll booths appeared to be unattended.

Posted by
23471 posts

Our experience was that sometimes our credit cards didn't work or maybe one in three would work. Cash always seems to work.

Posted by
1244 posts

Hi Skipper. In general, in Austria, you use a 'vignette' pass (physical or digital) for your car instead of tolls to use any freeway. However, I see it's now more a little more complicated with some sections also requiring a toll. See web site:

Posted by
2917 posts

Several years ago, we rented a car to drive from Naples to Calabria for an overnight. I had a bag of change on the car’s console so always had cash to pay the toll. One booth was manned, the other wasn’t. Also one toll stop I had to take a ticket. At the other had no tickets, which was really confusing when I drove up to the unmasked pay booth.

Posted by
1574 posts

In Switzerland you need to have a vignette; but only yearly vignettes are sold, that are expensive if you use them only once.
In Austria you need vignettes (10 days, 2 months, yearly), but you still have to pay some mountain highways like the Arlbert tunnel and the Brenner highway. Please check if the Arlberg tunnel is open when you need it as it has some long term works.
In Italy, you take a ticket as you enter highways and you pay as you exit. You can pay with credit cars, but maybe cash is easier. The lanes marked "telepass" are for use with an electronic transponder, but it makes sense only for long term use.

Posted by
20461 posts

If you rent a car in Switzerland, it will come with a Swiss vignette already attached, so you just need to buy the Austrian vignette. Coming from Zurich, you will likely use the Arlberg Tunnel and the Brenner Pass, each having additional tolls.

Posted by
33335 posts

Both Swiss and Austrian vignettes are now available as e-vignettes, purchased on line once you know the number plate and model of the car, so no sticking to the windscreen (also no souvenirs) and purchasable from the comfort of your easy chair.

Austria used to impose an 18 day cooling off period before an e-vignette was valid, making it difficult for tourists. The law about distance shopping still exists in Austria but an exception has been made.

So the Austrian e-vignette is valid from purchase now.

The special roads mentioned above are in addition to the vignette, not instead of.

Posted by
15486 posts

In Italy you pick up the ticket at the toll gate when you enter the ramp, and based on the same ticket you pay the toll at the exit toll. The toll is based on distance travelled. They basically work like a parking lot.

If you are going from Zurich via Studerno the only toll portion in Italy is from Bolzano Sud to Chiusa and the toll is €2.60. If you go via Innsbruck (Brenner Pass) the toll portion in Italy is from Vipiteno to Chiusa and the toll is €4.10.

For those amounts I wouldn’t bother to use cards. If the toll station is unmanned the cash machine gives change, but the above are the amounts you will pay, so that you know, in case you want to use the exact change. If you want a live human toll taker, choose the toll gate with white sign displaying a black hand holding cash. The one with white sign displaying cash (but no black hand), in an automatic cash machine. You can also use cards at the cash machine, but the toll gate manned by a human (black hand on white sign) takes only cash.