Help us plan our Europe roadtrip.
May 5, 2010 12:01 PM   Subscribe

Requirements for travel on European highways (payment, etc.)?

My family and I are going on a road trip (on a rented van) through some European cities. I got charged with the task of finding out what the requirements are to travel on the highways, as in, types of payment or related stuff. I have no idea where to start, so I’m asking you guys for info. The trips we’ll be making include:

-Milan to Munich
-Munich to Salzburg (with a possible side-trip to Fussen)
-Salzburg to Venice
-Venice to Florence
-Florence to Rome

If you have any useful info on any or all of these, thanks in advance!
posted by CrazyLemonade to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I drove in Italy. The highways are fairly simple and easy to drive on. Getting into the cities is difficult. Many Italian cities have zones where you aren't allowed to drive without a permit. These areas are marked with signs, but sometimes the signs are awkwardly placed. For instance, in Pisa the sign designating the area a restricted zone was halfway down the block. We had to make a u-turn in treacherous traffice to avoid getting a ticket.

In Florence, we accidentally drove into a restricted zone and our hotel was able to give the police our license plate number so we wouldn't be ticketed.

If you get one of these tickets, the rental company will end up biling your credit card if you end up with a ticket.

I haven't driven in Germany, so I can't comment on that.

I recemmend as a way to learn about traveling by car in Europe. I found this site very helpful in learning the traffic rules, road signs, etc for Europe.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:18 PM on May 5, 2010

I think you can find most of what you want using Wikipedia as starters:

For Germany:

For Italy: and

I used my US (State) Driving License in France and Italy with no problems. Also remember you will need insurance, so ask your current insurer...........

And Google is your friend!
posted by lungtaworld at 12:18 PM on May 5, 2010

Via Michelin does this - estimated fuel costs, road tolls, timing, the ability to choose the quickest or shortest or cheapest route and more. On the front page, look on the left, and click the "more options" menu.
posted by mdonley at 12:18 PM on May 5, 2010

If you need one, don't forget to get an international driving permit.
posted by jardinier at 12:21 PM on May 5, 2010

in Italy, unless your van has a telepass, which is an electronic thingy that registers and bills you as you cross dedicated gates at the highway entrance/exit, you simply get an entrance ticket and pay at your exit, either at a cashier or at an automated teller. At those you can use cash or a debit card.

In Austria, you need to stick a Vignette to your windshield. You buy it immediately before or after crossing the border (look for the red "Hier gibt's die Vignette!" sign) and the seller punches in the start validity date. They are available (I think) for 10 days, 1 month and 1 year. The Europabrücke on the Brenner highway has a separate toll.

In Austria you are required to have a first-aid kit in the van. That can be bought at the border, too (or in every supermarket).
posted by _dario at 12:25 PM on May 5, 2010

Seconding Via Michelin. Plug in your routes and it will tell you the tolls as part of the driving directions.

How are you getting from Germany to Italy? Going through Austria we had to have a Vignette too. We did Munich -> Austria -> Slovenia -> Trieste once.
posted by vacapinta at 12:42 PM on May 5, 2010

Yes, definitely don't get caught in Austria without a valid "vignette" on your windshield. And do remember that you may have to pay additional tolls for tunnels. (The Tauern tunnel, for example, costs €12 to go through -- it's more expensive than their 10-day vignette.)

If you pass through Slovenia on the way to Italy, you will also need a vignette. The weekly sticker is €15.

In short, don't risk not getting a vignette in either place. The responsible authorities are pretty thorough, and they hear the "I-had-no-idea" argument every day.

Have a great trip!
posted by Ljubljana at 1:24 PM on May 5, 2010

I overlooked one point: from Milan to Munich the best way is across Switzerland (and a bit of Austria), of course, via Lugano -> St. Bernardino tunnel -> Chur -> Bregenz. It's about 500km. You'll need a Vignette for Switzerland, too. I don't recall if the tunnel has a separate toll but I think it doesn't.
posted by _dario at 2:47 PM on May 5, 2010

The AA has guides to driving requirements for each European country here.
posted by Jim H at 1:59 AM on May 6, 2010

In Austria you are required to have a first-aid kit in the van

I can't speak for Austria, but in France the emergency kits must be kept accessibly IN THE CAR and explicitly NOT in the trunk. Just FYI.
posted by whatzit at 12:37 AM on May 8, 2010

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