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

Tuesday 7 November 2023 at 08:36

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.

Winter sports in Austria

With winter approaching, another important period is coming up for Austria, because winter tourism is an important source of income for Austria. To make the ski areas more accessible, a number of (sections of) motorways are exempt from the requirement of having a vignette. So you can save money on your journey by going to a ski area where you can get to without paying toll charges.

For the winter sports tourist coming from the Netherlands, the ski areas that you can reach without toll charges are mainly in the north of Austria. If you travel deeper into the country, or drive on to Italy, you can hardly avoid the requirement to buy the vignette. These are some of the ski areas that you can easily reach without a car vignette.

Motorways without a vignette requirement

The 4 sections of motorways without a vignette requirement, are the following:

  • A1 Westautobahn: from Walserberg border crossing to Salzburg-Nord in the province of Salzburg
  • A12 Inntalautobahn: from the Kiefersfelden border crossing to Kufstein-Süd in the province of Tyrol
  • A14: from the Hörbranz border crossing to Hohenems in the province of Vorarlberg
  • A26: from the Linzer Westring, this highway is still under construction and is located in the province of Upper Austria

Ski areas and the vignette requirement

With these toll-free motorways in mind, you can plan your journey to your winter sports area without having to buy the vignette.

Saalbach – Hinterglemm

The ski area Saalbach – Hinterglemm is one of the most popular destinations for winter sports fans, with 270 kilometres of continuous slopes for all levels. In addition, the ski area is known for its fun après-ski setting, so many people come to this area every year. You can get to this area without having to buy the car vignette.

Make sure you drive towards Austria via the A93 in Germany, at Oberaudorf you take exit 59 across the border into Austria. Via the B172, B178 and B311 you drive to Maishofen where you take the Saalbach - Hinterglemm exit. This is the fastest route to this winter sports destination in the province of Salzburg.

Vignette Saalbach Hinterglemm Saalbach

Zell Am See – Kaprun

Zell am See – Kaprun is also a popular ski area amongst holidaymakers and the route is almost the same as the route to Saalbach – Hinterglemm. However, instead of taking the exit at Maishofen, you continue on the B311 to Zell Am See. The ski pass of the beautiful Zell Am See – Kaprun area is also valid in the Saalbach – Hinterglemm ski area. This will give you access to more than 400 kilometres of slopes from this winter sports resort which can be reached relatively easily and cheaply.

SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser – Brixental

The Wilder Kaiser - Brixental area is located in the winter sports province par excellence, Tyrol. The area has 270 kilometres of ski slopes and can be reached via roads that do not require a car vignette. The approach route to this ski area is partly the same as in the previous ski areas mentioned, but instead of leaving the motorway in Germany, you continue to drive on the German A93 all the way to Austria, where it changes into the A12. Make sure that you are no longer on the motorway after the Kufstein - Süd exit, because from that point onwards you must pay toll charges for the A12. By taking the road towards Egerberg you can reach the villages surrounding the Austrian ski area.

KitzSki, Kitzbühel & Kirchberg

KitzSki, the Kitzbühel & Kirchberg ski area, is of course known for the legendary Streiff slope, where one of the toughest World Cups in professional skiing takes place every year. However, this region is also an excellent destination for beginners and slightly advanced winter sports enthusiasts, because the ski area has 233 kilometres of slopes and 41 kilometres of ski routes.

The ski area is part of the Brixental region and therefore the approach route is almost the same as that of SkiWelt Wilder Kaiser. Drive on the toll-free section of the A12 into Austria, and take the Kufstein - Süd exit towards Bocking on the B173, after a stretch on the B178 and B161 you arrive in the centre of this ski area.


Lech is of course best known as the favourite ski resort of the Dutch royal family. From Lech you have access to more than 300 kilometres of slopes in the Ski-Arlberg ski area, including that of Warth - Schröcken. You can get there without needing a car vignette, but you will have to avoid most of the A14 and the Arlberg tunnel, which becomes a toll road from Hohenems. Instead of driving into Austria via the A14, you can cross the border via the German A7 at Füssen and then follow the B198 at Reutte towards Warth. From Warth it is only a short distance to Lech. It must be said that this route is sometimes closed during heavy snowfall.

Vignette Lech Austria Lech

Tiroler Zugspitz Arena

The Tiroler Zugspitz Arena ski area has 147 kilometres of ski slopes and attracts thousands of winter sports enthusiasts every year. It is one of the best cross-country skiing areas in the country, making it ideal for endurance athletes. The Tiroler Zugspitz Arena ski area can be reached, just like Lech, for example, via the German A7. You then cross the border at Füssen and the road then changes into the B179. Follow the B179 all the way towards Ehrwald or Lermoos, where most people in the area stay.

Damüls – Mellau

The Damüls - Mellau ski area is located in the welcoming Bregenzerwald in the western province of Vorarlberg. Damüls received the title of snowiest village in the world in 2006, which means you are virtually guaranteed snow in this snowiest area. With the 3TälerPass you can get a ski pass for 32 ski areas including Damüls - Mellau, Warth Schröcken and Diedamskopf, with hundreds of kilometres of snow-sure slopes. The first section of the A14 to Hohenems is toll-free, so you do not need a car vignette to drive into the country. Then take exit 14 towards Bregenzerwald to reach Mellau via the B200 and a little further Damüls in the middle of this beautiful ski area.

Car vignette for Austria

The Vignette for Austria was first introduced in 1996 and the vignette is required for most of the road network in the Alpine country. The cars on the motorways are checked with cameras, so it is almost impossible to avoid a fine if you do not buy the mandatory car vignette.

However, a number of sections of motorways and B-roads are exempt from the vignette, meaning you can reach a number of areas without buying a vignette. This can save you some nice pocket money that you can spend on nicer things during your holiday in Austria than paying toll charges.

One-day vignette for Austria

If you still have to use the motorway for a day, for example for a day out by car from the winter sports location or because a back road is closed due to bad weather, you will no longer have to buy a 10-day vignette from 2024. From January, a one-day vignette will also be available, which allows you to drive on the Austrian toll motorways for 24 hours

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An agreement is concluded between you and the official authority of the relevant country that issues the vignette, with regard to the vignette requirement.

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