The A13 Brenner motoway

Busy transit route from Austria over the Brenner Pass to Italy

One of the first transit routes through the Alps

by Florian König, - August 29th 2023

The A13, better known as the Brenner motorway, was built in the 1960s. It is considered one of the first mountain motorways in the world and is part of the European Road 45, which stretches over a length of 5,190 km. This road connects Alta in northern Norway with Gela, a town on the southern coast of Sicily in Italy. 

Traffic on the A13 between Austria and Italy opened on 5 April 1971. The Brenner motorway, which runs from Innsbruck (Inntal motorway A12) through the Wipptal valley up to the Brenner Pass (1370 m), has marked the border between North Tyrol/Austria and South Tyrol/Italy since the Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1920. The adjoining Italian section is known as the A22, Brennerautobahn/Autostrada del Brennero or Autobrennero for short. 

The A13 Brenner motorway, which functions as a major transit route for the movement of goods between north and south, has so-called "slow lanes" - also known as slow lanes - on most of the stretch from Innsbruck to Brennero, which are used on gradients of over 3%. Although this limit is considered optimal, comparable lines in Switzerland did not make use of it until later. 

Brenner mit Europabrücke im Winter

Due to the considerable slope and the numerous side valleys that pour into the Wipptal, the A13 Brenner motorway runs on bridges for a considerable 28 % of its total length. The Luegbridge, an imposing suspension bridge that connects Gries am Brenner with the top of the pass, stands out as the longest structure with a length of 1804 metres. 

But the centrepiece of the A13 is undoubtedly the majestic Europabridge, which was built between 1960 and 1963 and is 815 metres long. With its gigantic height of 190 metres, the Europabrücke is one of the four highest bridges in Europe.

The toll for the Brenner motorway

The entire stretch of the A13 Brenner motorway is a special toll route on which motor vehicles up to a weight of 3.5 tonnes are exempt from the obligation to display a toll sticker and must pay the Brenner toll instead. Payment of this Brenner toll can be made in cash or by credit card at the toll booth. 

It is also possible to pay the Brenner toll by video system. In this case, your number plate is simply registered and you can drive through the video toll lane in a relaxed manner. You can also book the digital Brenner route toll for the A13 Brenner motorway. The main toll station is located south of the Schönberg junction, with further toll stations at all entrances and exits. For vehicles weighing more than 3.5 tonnes, the Brenner toll can also be settled via a digital toll box from our partner

The Brenner Pass, also known as Brenner or Passo del Brennero in Italian, is an important border pass in the Eastern Alps. It connects the Austrian province of Tyrol with the autonomous province of Bolzano-South Tyrol in Italy. 

As the busiest link between Austria and Italy, the A13 Brenner motorway is an important part of the European road network. However, unlike the Swiss passes, which are mainly used by rail, the focus here is on road traffic and the Brenner toll charged is used to finance the A13 Brenner motorway. 

Landkarte mit Brennerautobahn A13

In 2019, a total of 53.8 million tonnes of freight were transported via the A13 Brenner motorway. However, only a small proportion of around 26% was transported by rail, which represents an all-time low, but resulted in additional revenue through the Brenner toll

The origin of the name Brenner can be traced back to the late Middle Ages. As early as 1288, a certain Prennerius de Mittenwalde appears in a document, who owned two farmsteads on the Brenner Pass. In the course of the 14th century, the change took place that made the name synonymous with the top of the pass. In the Brixen records of 1455, the pass is referred to as the Prynner. At the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern times, the Middle or Neo-Latin name Mons Brennus finally appears.

Important connection between Austria and Italy

The A13 Brenner motorway is of great importance as a main crossing between North and South Tyrol for international goods traffic. 

The traffic connection consists of: 

  • the toll "Brenner Autobahn" A 13 in Austria, the toll "Autostrada del Brennero" A 22 in Italy, 
  • the "Brennerstraße" B 182 on the Austrian side and the SS 12 on the Italian side, 
  • a railway line, the Brenner railway with the Brenner railway station at the top of the pass, 
  • Cycle route 1 "Brenner-Salurn" on the Italian side, which is connected to the Italian long-distance cycle route network. 

The A13 Brenner motorway is an important link connecting Munich with the Po Valley via Innsbruck and Bolzano. This important route crosses both the northern and southern approaches to the Brenner Pass through the main valleys of the Alps. In the north, it winds through the majestic Inn Valley, while in the south it passes through the picturesque Adige Valley. 

In order to further promote the shift of transit freight traffic from road to rail, the Brenner Base Tunnel (BBT) is being planned. This tunnel will be built between Innsbruck and Franzensfeste by 2032 and extends over a length of about 55 km. 

The importance of the A13 Brenner motorway is also reflected in the impressive traffic volume. In 2019, it was frequented by around 16.83 million cars and 2.77 million trucks, which have to pay the Brenner toll per journey for this special route.

Brenner Autobahn A13 mit Stau

Brenner toll - toll for the Brenner motorway A13

The A13 Brenner motorway, similar to the Tauern motorway A10, the Arlberg motorway S16 or the Pyhrn motorway A9 along the Gleinalm, is charged as a route toll - the Brenner toll - which is collected in Austria independently of the motorway vignette. 

When planning your trip, you should note that on the Autostrada del Brennero A22 the toll is collected separately from Italy after the border crossing at Brenner. The kilometres travelled on the respective motorway sections are determined and settled by checkpoints on entry and exit. 

You have the option of paying the toll in cash or by credit card or opting for the practical Telepass system. At our partner you can purchase a toll box in advance and use it to comfortably start your journey.

Brenner motorway: digital video toll or classic alternative - the choice is yours

On the A13 Brenner motorway, you can pay the Brenner toll not only at numerous petrol stations and rest areas, but also at ASFINAG toll booths. These serve as checkpoints and sales booths in equal measure. 

If you want to pay the A13 Brenner motorway toll on the spot, you can do so by cash or credit card from VISA, Mastercard, American Express or Diners Club. The most important toll station on the Brenner is located just south of the Schöneberg exit, more precisely on the Brennerautobahn 4 in 6141 Schönberg im Stubaital. 

Much less effort is required with the Brenner toll with direct validity. Here you can do everything online and buy your ticket. 

Thanks to the Brenner toll, you no longer have to stop at petrol stations or rest stops on the way or join the queue at the toll booths during your journey through the mountains on the A13 Brenner motorway. Everyone who purchases the Brenner toll online is allowed to use the lane lines marked in green. Especially at rush hour, this can be an enormous relief. 

In addition to the usual debit and credit cards, you can also pay with PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay or Sofort Banking at

Photo credits: Header image © Andy Ilmberger / & Image motorway bridge @ Wolfgang /
& Image map @ Artalis-Kartographie / & 
Image motorway © Flaviu Boerescu /