Motorway or old Brenner road to Italy?

For everyone who wants to travel to Italy from the general direction of Munich, there have been two options since the 1970s: the old Brennerstraße or the Brenner autobahn. In the 1960s, before the Brenner motorway was built, all goods and holiday traffic rolled over the Brenner highway. Even today, many people switch to the scenic country road for various reasons. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t really save on Brennerstrasse:

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Immer wieder beeindruckend die Architektur der Brennerautobahn

The Brenner motorway on the Italian side, north of Bolzano

Brenner motorway

The Brenner autobahn runs from Innsbruck in Austria (Brenner autobahn, A13) over the Brenner Pass to Modena in Italy (autobahn A22). It was built in the 1960s and 1970s and was one of the first mountain highways in the world. In the north it is connected to the A12 Inntal Autobahn and joins the Italian A1 in the south.

The Brenner motorway is well developed and is constantly being renovated. There are always construction sites, even during the vacation months, large traffic jams are rare, especially if you drive at night you can travel very comfortably. Often there are speed limits of 110 km / h, in the Italian part the same prevails as in all of Italy Speed ​​limit of 130 km / h. There are numerous rest stops (eg Autogrill, more recently “Hermes”) along the route, all of which have been using the toilet since 2011 for free and snacks or Italian coffee are available at relatively cheap prices. As a rule, in contrast to German rest stops, they also cook freshly.

the Europe bridge near Innsbruck, the centerpiece of the Austrian Brenner motorway (A13), is the highest girder bridge in Europe with a height of 190 m above ground. At the time of its completion, it was the tallest bridge in Europe.

Tank tip: In the village of “Brenner” there is a Shell petrol station, which is located directly on the old Brennerstraße (just leave the autobahn). Here you can get relatively cheap fuel on this route. The Shell petrol station is right next to the Brenner Outlet Center.
Update June 2015: Thanks for the following tip, Wipptaler: “The OMV at the Brennersee motorway exit or even better the ENI / Gutmann in Gries am Brenner are cheaper.” > More fuel tips.

In contrast to the country road, the Brenner motorway is toll. The use of the motorway entails the following costs:

  • for the Austrian part, including the A12, will be a vignette needed. (10 day vignette costs approx. 8 EUR, Price overview vignette)
  • At the main toll station in Schönberg, a Special tolls iHv approx. 9 EUR be paid. (also on the way back)
  • From the Italian border (A22) the “normal” Italian. Motorway toll to be paid. From the border to Modena, for example, that’s about 20 EUR.
    The toll costs can easily be calculated here.
  • All in all, you come up with the route Munich> Modena about 36 EUR toll costs.
Autostrada Alpe Adria in Richtung Norden.

Scoreboards indicate the flow of traffic or dangers such as traffic jams or construction work.

Autostrada del Brennero

The Brenner autobahn heading south in winter near Sterzing

Brenner Landstrasse (old Brenner Pass)

Before the opening of the Brenner autobahn in the 1970s, all traffic from Innsbruck had to run on this simple main road. The route is nowadays no longer optimally maintained and especially difficult for trucks to drive because of the many curves. There is also a lot going on here during the week agricultural transport. In contrast to the motorway, the route is complete toll free. She is considered one of the scenic alpine routes and leads partly in gentle serpentines through the mountains. For many holidaymakers in Italy, it is now an alternative to using the toll motorway. Since the route takes a more direct route than the motorway, it is quite a bit shorter. Even if you can save a good 36 EUR, you have to accept several disadvantages with it:

  • The street is often overcrowded during peak travel times
  • With several trucks, the beautiful panoramic route quickly becomes a crawl drive
  • often construction sites
  • Overtaking is due many confusing curves not possible
  • many small places on the way, no flowing traffic as possible on the autobahn
  • many speed controls (so to speak for “toll evaders”)
  • much more strenuous driving than on the motorway

If you take into account the points mentioned and take into account the increased fuel consumption and wear and tear and the longer journey time, you should seriously consider whether it is worth driving the Brennerbundestrasse.

The landscape of the Brennerstraße has a lot to offer, especially when the weather is nice. It is interesting to see how the Brennerstrasse, the Brenner Railway route, and the Brenner motorway run directly parallel for much of the route.

Impressive. Major parts of the Autostrada del Brennero run on bridges

Brenner motorway (left) which is almost completely on concrete pillars.

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Europabrücke from below: The Brennerbundestraße leads through the valley, which is spanned by the Europabrücke. The Brenner motorway runs along it

Toll-free: over the most beautiful mountain passes

The actually most beautiful routes over the Alps lead over mountain passes. So you can get around the Brenner autobahn with the Timmelsjoch very well. This spectacular panoramic road also costs € 16 toll, but every euro is worth it. The road, which is ideally designed for tourism (and also for trailers), leads over 30 hairpin bends up to over 2,500 meters. Other top recommendations for mountain passes are, for example, the Jaufenpass (Meran <> Sterzing) and the Penser Joch (Bozen <> Sterzing). We have always found a lot of great photos and route tips for inspiration in the magazine Curves Norditalien (15 €). However, the Timmelsjoch is only open in the summer months. (Show status online). Trip over the Timmelsjoch and cappuccino at “Gabers Imbiss”:

Conclusion

The old Brennerstrasse is very scenic and is reminiscent of the 1960s, when all tourist traffic passed en masse on this pass. Even today it is still worth a detour. Unfortunately, especially by the Austrian police, there are often speed controls to keep the “toll evaders” on the toll motorway. The route is in peak travel times often crowded.
For the Brenner autobahn one has to relatively high toll paid However, it is very comfortable to drive on, well-developed and mostly free of traffic jams. Tip: Set off at night or early in the morning during peak travel times. You always have one on the autobahn, too great panoramic view of the Alps, many tunnels and bridges show the architectural and technical know-how of the 1960s that can be found in the mountain highway – you save yourself compared to the main road Time, wear and tear on the car and fuel. If the way is too long, it is always worth spending the night in the Alps (hotel tips).

Where can you get the best coffee & espresso along the Brenner motorway to Italy?

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