Travelling to Austria by car

Driving through Austria by car involves a number of rules. In this article you can read all recommendations to ensure a lovely and carefree holiday in Austria. You can read about refuelling, paying toll charges and vignette and other requirements that apply to travelling through Austria.

Mandatory to have in the car 

When you drive through Austria, you must have the following items in the car:

  • A first aid kit: Every car must have a first aid kit with basic medical supplies. This is extremely important in the event of an accident or illness during your trip. Make sure the first aid kit contains all the necessary items and that it is complete before you start your journey.
  • Warning triangle: In the event of a breakdown, a warning triangle must be placed approximately 50 meters away from the car. This will warn other drivers that there is an obstacle ahead to prevent further accidents.
  • Safety vests: Everyone in the car must have a safety vest that meets the EN471 standard requirements. The safety vest must fit over your clothing and must be worn when you leave the car in case of an emergency or breakdown.
  • Toll vignette: All cars driving on Austrian roads must pay toll charges. You will find all the information to buy this vignette here.
  • Snow chains: During the winter months, snow chains are mandatory if indicated by signs along the road. It is strongly recommended that travellers always keep snow chains in their car when traveling through Austria, as they can come in handy when needed.
  • Winter tires: Between 1 November and 15 April, your car must be equipped with winter tires.

Toll roads and vignettes

A vignette is mandatory for most motorways in Austria. Here you can read more about the vignette for Austria. There are also a few separate roads for which you must pay toll charges.

You will need a vignette for your holiday to Austria. It is available online and is valid for the normal motorways. In addition, there are also sondermautstrecken, mainly tunnels, for which you can pay with a special toll vignette. Using a camera on Austrian motorways means that your license plate is scanned and that you can make the best possible use of your holiday in Austria. These include the following roads:

  • A9 Pyhrn motorway – Bosruck and Gleinalm tunnel
  • A10 Tauern motorway – Tauern tunnel and Katschberg tunnel
  • A11 Karawanks motorway – Karawanks tunnel
  • A13 Brenner motorway - Brennerpas
  • S16 Arlberg expressway - Arlberg tunnel

Traffic jams in Austria

In the high season there are busy points on the motorways in Austria that you should take into account. Below we will discuss traffic information, including the busiest interchanges and most common traffic jams. This way you can plan your route as smoothly as possible during your holiday to Austria. Here are the roads to avoid:

  • A10 Salzburg – Villach
  • Fernpasstraße B179
  • At the border crossing with Germany (Kufstein A12)
  • Expect heavy traffic in Italy (Brennerautobahn A13). 

In the high season, traffic congestion and the number of traffic jams in Austria increase due to the increased intensity of traffic.

Refuelling in Austria

When you are in Austria, you must also refuel your car. All types of fuel are available in Austria and, although they may have different names, petrol prices here are generally much lower than in Germany. This makes driving to Austria even more worthwhile.

  • E95 is known in Austria as Super or Bleifrei.
  • Superplus 98 is also called Super Plus
  • Diesel and LPG have the same name in Austria.

Cheap fuel in Austria?

  • Fuel prices are lowest on Sunday and Monday
  • Next to the motorway, the petrol price is already lower than on the motorway
  • Refuel before 12:00 p.m., then prices are often lower

Traffic rules in Austria

If you want to drive in Austria, you should be familiar with the country's traffic rules. When you comply with the laws of Austria, you can not only avoid fines, but also get on the road safely. What do you have to pay attention to:

  • That you have a valid toll vignette for Austria. For a one-off fee, motorists, motorcyclists and campers can legally drive on the road network in Austria with a valid car vignette. Be sure to buy it before you leave.
  • Children crossing the street always have priority. It does not matter where they cross.
  • It is prohibited to use a mobile phone, even when you are stuck in traffic. Using a mobile phone while cycling is also not allowed.
  • In Austria, the speed limit on motorways is 130 km/h, unless indicated otherwise.
  • Emergency services have priority in traffic. Motorists should always give way to emergency services. It is of the utmost importance that there is always a central aisle that is more than sufficient for emergency responders to pass.

Fines in Austria

Driving in Austria can be a pleasant experience, but it is important to know the local speed limit. Within built-up areas the maximum speed is 50 km/h, outside built-up areas, the speed limit is100 km/h and on the motorway, you can drive up to 130 km/h. Fines vary:

Inside and outside built-up areas

  • Exceeding up to 10 km/h: € 20 or more
  • Exceeding 11 to 20 km/h: € 35
  • Exceeding 20 to 25 km/h: € 35 or more
  • Exceeding 26 to 30 km/h: € 50 or more
  • Exceeding by more than 30 km/h: € 150 or more and possibly a driving license suspension
  • Exceeding by more than 40 km/h: € 300 or more and possibly a driving license suspension.

Motorways (130 km/h)

  • Exceeding up to 10 km/h: € 20 or more
  • Exceeding 11 to 20 km/h: € 35 or more
  • Exceeding 20 to 25 km/h: € 50 or more
  • Exceeding 26 to 30 km/h: € 50 or more
  • Exceeding by more than 30 km/h: € 150 or more and possibly a driving license suspension.
  • Exceeding by more than 50 km/h: € 150 or more and possibly a driving license suspension.

Other traffic fines in Austria

  • Driving through a red light: € 70 or more
  • Parking fine: € 20 or more
  • No seat belt: € 35 or more
  • Using phone while driving: € 5 or more
  • Driving without toll vignette: € 120
  • No winter tires or snow chains: € 35 or more

Best route from the United Kingdom to Austria

If you want to travel through Austria during the high season, the best route from the Netherlands to Austria is via Munich, Ulm-Bregenz or Passau-Linz. 

It is wise to leave early and take your time so that you can avoid traffic jams and arrive at your destination faster. When passing through Munich, keep in mind that the traffic there is often heavy. Once past Munich you will be able to drive with ease and reach your destination in no time!.

Latest news

View the latest news for Austria below, or view all news.

7 Nov 2023

Winter sports areas in Austria that you can reach without a vignette

Ski areas where no vignette is required

Every year thousands of people go on a winter sports holiday and Austria is one of the most popular countries for winter sports enthusiasts. However, it is not a cheap sport and that is why it is useful to save a little on the costs here and there. For example, by only driving on roads that are not subject to toll charges. How do you still get to your destination? You can read it later in this article.

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4 Oct 2023

From 2024, Austria will introduce the 1-day vignette.

1-day vignette for Austria

From 2024, Austria will introduce a a-day vignette for the first time. The mandatory vignette that applies to all vehicles on Austria’s motorways, already had a variant for 10 days, for two months and for the entire year. The new vignette, available from 2024, will be valid for one day and is ideal for travellers on their way to Italie or the Balkans. Here you can read everything about the new Austrian toll vignette for one day.

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4 Oct 2023

Arlberg tunnel will be open for the 2023/24 winter sports season

After being closed for months, the Arlberg tunnel will reopen for the start of the winter sports season. The Gotthard tunnel is also open again after a short closure due to a crack. Here you can read everything about the reopening of the Austrian tunnels.

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