As in the United States, many European countries require drivers to pay tolls for access to roadways. Some countries have highway tolls while others feature bridges and tunnel tolls. Unlike the US some major cities have special city, or environmental zone tolls. Here is some information on what you can expect to encounter while driving in Europe.
- Vignette stickers that are affixed to a vehicle’s front window are used in several countries to collect tolls. Stickers can be bought in advance and are typically available for time periods ranging from 10-days, 2-months or an entire year. Highway vignettes are necessary in countries such as Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland. Vignettes can be generally purchased at border crossings, gas stations, and post offices.
- Urban road tolls are charges incurred to help reduce traffic congestion plus air and noise pollution in dense city areas. Some of the most well-known cities to charge such tolls are London and Stockholm. Other countries in Europe have low emission zones that restrict entry to specific areas, allowing access only to vehicles that meet the required environmental standards. Payments vary from camera enforcement, electronic transponders and cash.
- Some countries such as France, Italy, Spain and Portugal use electronic transponders attached to the vehicle’s windshield to collect tolls. Be sure to inform yourself of the toll road types along your route and payment options for each country before embarking on your journey.