09 June 2009

Useful stuff: Tollways and other important road information

One great way to really enjoy the bits and bobs that make this region interesting is to go by car. However, that obviously involves using tollways, etc. run by various countries. So to help you keep the info straight, read on.

All tolls payable in Euros or by credit card.  However, there are no toll roads south of Bari, so for the Salento no worries - the dual carriageways are all free.

All cars using the motorways/tollways are required to have a vignette (basically a sticker that goes inside the front window) lest they face a massive fine. This replaced all tolls, and for passenger cars cost 15Euros/weekly vignette, 30Euros/monthly vignette, or 95Euros for a vignette good for a year. Check the official highway site for updated info. Vignettes are available at most service stations, including Petrol and OMV.

Croatia's increasingly extensive tollway network allows for payment in either kuna or Euros. Most, if not all, tollbooths also accept credit cards. Do NOT lose your toll stub - if you do, they charge you 200% of the longest possible route you could have taken (let us just say we know someone this happened to...this might be the same moment we discovered they accepted credit cards for payment). 

The Croatian Auto Club (HAK) provides current information on traffic blockages on tollways and at border crossings on their website, as well as on state radio (HRT). During the tourist season the radio updates are in English, German, and Italian as well as Croatian, so set the TA setting on your radio to 'on'.

Pay tolls can be paid in Dinars or Euros on the main exits (Belgrade, borders with Croatia and Macedonia), but the smaller exits don't always accept Euros. Also, there is a double-digit exchange fee. In other words, pay in dinars. There are exchange offices at all major border crosssing - just change 30 or so Euros and you should be fine.

Bosnia & Herzegovina
The only toll road in the country is between Sarajevo and Zenica, and it costs 1.5 KM for cars - cash only.

There is an Eco-Tax of 10 euros/car for a sticker valid for one year, payable at border crossings. The Trebinje-Herzeg Novi toll road costs 3 euros (although not sure why you would be on that road) and the Herzeg Novi-Tivat Ferry costs 4 Euros for cars.

The main freeways in Macedonia run from the entrances to Macedonia on the Belgrade/Skopje/Thessaloniki thoroughfare, as well as on the Skopje/Tetovo/Gostivar freeway, which is the primary route to Ohrid, as well as to Tirana, Albania. Payment is accepted in MKD only, so if you are coming from Belgrade make sure you stop at the border to change a bit of money. The tolls are relatively small (none over 100 MKD), but still, if you don't have any denars it is a problem. Change money at the Tabanovce border crossing as you enter from Serbia, or if coming from Kosovo, make sure you stop and get some before hitting the highway to either Greece or Ohrid.

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