Die Vignette

Since we're nearly halfway through January, I thought I'd point out that the car-driving residents of Switzerland have two more weeks to purchase their 2009 vignette (annual toll sticker - CHF 40) for driving on Swiss autobahns. We got ours right before Christmas, so we're all set. Oh and by the way, if you're ever touring Europe by car, be sure to check your target country's take on road taxes. Not all countries require a vignette (thank you, dear Germany), but some have toll booths (for example - la bella Italia). And some countries are real jerks about it (damn you, Austria). In case you are wondering why I don't heart Austria so much right now, here's the story:

Around mid November last year we took a quick day trip to Munich. From our town in Au, St. Gallen you can get to Munich by crossing the border at St. Margrethen into Austria, taking surface streets through Bregenz, crossing over into Germany at Lindau, and finally catching the autobahn (once one is safely in Germany). On this chilly autumn day, we decided to save a few minutes and take the autobahn in Austria, instead of side streets. After all, we'd only be on the Austrian autobahn for a few kilometers - what could it hurt? 120 Euros - that's what! Apparently, this particular stretch of Austrian autobahn is known (to everyone but us) to be a toll trap. Every Saturday, authorities are waiting at the other end of the tunnel, waiting to catch anyone without the Austrian toll sticker. Since we were pretty clueless, we thought it was some sort of border check point, so we took out our passports and sported the "I am a naive American" grin. The man told us, in English, that we needed a vignette to drive through that tunnel and that we had to pay a penalty of 120 Euros for not having it. Conveniently, he had a machine set up in his van ready to accept ATM card payments. The worst part is you can get a 10-day pass for something like 8 Euros if you don't want to buy the year-long pass for 70-something Euros. Do you realize all the goodies we could have bought in Munich with 120 EUROS?! Please don't face the same fate - learn from our humble mistake!

Photo Credit: www.deutschepost.deLink


  1. Grrrrr - that is total BS. Boo on Austria. Normally, they wouldnt even let you get on it without paying. I am totally surprised.

  2. Austria is a shocker for tolls. We recently did a trip through a part of Austria and forked out the fee for a 14 day Vignette.
    Then we still got stopped at two toll booths and paid another 12 EURO time. Apparently we were on 'special' roads.

    Topped the whole thing off with a speeding fine, 5m past the reduced speed. Just going to start circumnavigating Austria from now on!


Thanks for stopping by. Words cannot express how much I appreciate your comments!

Copyright © Amanda Freerksen 2008-. All rights reserved. Powered by Blogger.
Maira G.