Driving To Croatia Day 3 – Austria
Day three takes us from Neumarkt in Bavaria to a stunning campsite by a lake amongst the Austrian mountains.
For those that want to recap on the detail of the first two days below are direct links to the postings:
Croatia Online - Driving To Croatia Day 1 - Suffolk to Eisenbachtal in Germany – 500 miles
Croatia Online - Driving To Croatia - Day 2 - Eisenbachtal to Neumarkt – 212 miles
As you can see, we did not push ourselves on day 2 (or day 3, come to think of it!) so we left Neumarkt quite early, rejoined the motorway and continued south east through Germany along the E3. After refuelling (the campervan with diesel and ourselves with breakfast) in Regensberg, we carried on motoring with a stop every couple of hours or so.
At 1 30 pm we made the Austrian border and bought a vignette to allow us to use the Austrian motorways and a vignette for the Slovenian motorways. There was no opportunity for chit chat at the busy little “vignette kiosk” by the border – every question was met with a grumpy stare and a finger pointing to the price list – ie “don’t ask me; work it out for yourself”! For convenience, and a little rattled by Frau Grumpy and the queue of burly lorry drivers behind me, I purchased a two month vignette for Austria at a cost of €25.70 (about £21) when what I should have done was get one 8 day vignette for the journey there and another 8 day one for the journey back at a cost of two times €8.80 ie €17.60 (about £14). At that point I had no intention of coming back on Slovenian motorways, as I believe their vignettes have always been a rip-off, particularly given the state of their motorways, and so I bought the minimum available – a 7 day vignette – for €15. They call it a 7 day vignette but of course most people using this tiny stretch of motorway only use it as the most direct means to get to and from Croatia, so in practice it’s a 1 day vignette with the next option being one month at €30.
What you get is a sticker with notches in it, to show the validity dates, and you need to put them on the top left of your windscreen. If you get stopped and the vignettes are not stuck on your windscreen you may be fined just as if you haven’t got one at all.
The following two websites give more information on the various categories of vignette and some other useful driving information – in Austria motorhomes under 3.5 tons pay the same as cars; in Slovenia, there’s a bizarre split into two categories for motorhomes under 3.5 tons, depending on height above the axle.
And this link shows the main routes through Austria where tolls apply Austria Tolls - from the A3 in Germany the most direct route to Slovenia, and then Croatia, is via the A8 and then the A9 to Graz. From around Graz there are signs to Slovenia and Croatia.
And while we are on the subject of windscreen stickers, I had one other sticker which I did not need but might have done – one that shows I am “green enough” to enter into some of Germany’s bigger cities. It was relatively inexpensive and easy to get, and lasts for the lifetime of the windscreen it is on as long as you still “own” it – I just had to fill out a form online, load up a scan of my registration document and pay a few Euros. The sticker arrived back in a couple of weeks and it was all reasonably straightforward, even with a ten year old diesel van. Below is the link to the online application form (current cost is €6) and it works for all the cities in the scheme – I just happened to apply to Berlin because I read they had one of the more user friendly ways of obtaining it.
Now back to the drive – Austrian border negotiated, vignettes affixed, it was time to admire the magnificent Austrian scenery and experience a very sharp change of climate as we made our way south east through Austria and through a number of tunnels which cost us another €5. As well as the vignette, Austria has some additional one off tolls for “expensive” routes, for example where there are a lot of tunnels and/or where the tunnels are very long (and the A9 has at least a couple, well over 5 kilometres in length, piercing through the mountains, as well as one running several kilometres along underneath the city of Graz).
By this time it was about 3 30 pm and we were looking forward to a bit of a rest so, ACSI app consulted, we made for Aigen im Ennstall, near Liezen, and the delights of Campsite Putterersee which you’ll be able to read about on Croatia Camping Guide in a few days time. Close to a lake, mountains all around, a lovely crisp sunny evening – what more could you want?! We arrived at 4 15 pm after another 230 miles and several stops to admire the changing views. We filled up twice – once in Regensburg, Germany, where diesel cost €1.099 per litre, and once in Aistersheim, Austria, where diesel cost €1.409 per litre – gone, it seems, are the days when Austria had the cheapest fuel in Europe.
Today’s images show the lovely lake at Camping Putterersee – the dog, who can’t resist a plunge in almost any temperature, and in whatever water is available, found it bracing but invigorating!