The avtoceste and hitre ceste in Slovenia
The Slovenian road network is modern and consists of a national highway network and an underlying road network which is of lesser importance. The mountainous nature of the country makes traveling on the underlying road network a time-consuming affair.
According to wholevehicles, Slovenia has approximately 39,000 kilometers of public roads. More than 6,500 kilometers of this are national roads. The largest part of the road network is managed by the municipal authorities and concerns local roads (13,000 km) and other public roads (19,000 km). Slovenia has over 600 kilometers of motorway.
A motorway in Slovenia is called an avtocesta, and is abbreviated with the letter “A”.
Motorways connect all major cities in the country. The motorway network consists of two main axes, the A1 from Koper via Ljubljana and Maribor to the border with Austria. Secondly, the A2 from the border with Austria at Jesenice via Ljubljana and Novo mesto to the border with Croatia. In addition, there are a number of shorter highways, including the A3 to Trieste, the A4 from Maribor via Ptuj to the border with Croatia, and the A5 from Maribor to the border with Hungary. Therefore Slovenia has highway border crossings with all neighboring countries. A third primary link is under development as the third development axis to run north-south through the central part of Slovenia.
- According to Abbreviationfinder, Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia.
From a touristic point of view, highways to Croatia are still missing, often missing short sections, to Istria and Rijeka. From a Slovenian point of view, these roads are not a priority as there are no serious traffic problems. Traffic jams are relatively rare in Slovenia, only around the capital Ljubljana it wants to be busy. In the summer there are often traffic jams for the border with Croatia and for the Karawanken tunnel as long as it is still single-tube.
|Motorways and Expressways in Slovenia|
|Avtocesta:Hitra Cesta: • • • • • •|
An expressway in Slovenia is called a Hitra cesta and is abbreviated with the letter “H”.
Expressways have been developed with at least 2×2 lanes and grade separated intersections, but often complete emergency lanes are missing and the expressways have a tighter alignment than highways. Most are in the coastal region, such as the H3 as the northern ring road from Ljubljana, the H4 from Razdrto to the border with Italy at Nova Gorica, the H5 around Koper and the H7 at the border with Hungary. Much of the A5 is actually built to the design standards of a hitra cesta.
The G1 between Dravograd and Maribor.
The main road network consists mainly of winding roads of little importance except for local and tourist traffic. Driving on these roads is quite time consuming as the landscape is often mountainous. These roads are generally well-maintained, but poorer roads can also be found in remote areas. Some glavne ceste are busier, especially around Ljubljana and for example the G4 to Slovenj Gradec.
Secondary road network
The border complex on the Predil Pass and the start of the R203.
The secondary road network consists of single carriageway roads with little through importance. The road network is quite dense and of reasonable to good quality. In remote mountain areas there are exceptionally bad roads. Some of the most beautiful roads in Slovenia are regionalna cesta, such as the R203 around Bovec, the R206 over the Vršičpass and the R209 around Bled and towards Bohinj.
The regionalna cesta is divided into four classes. The roads of the first category often have an interest in opening up valleys and regions not served by glavne ceste or avtoceste. Particularly in the region outside Ljubljana and Maribor, these roads still play an important role as access roads.
|European roads in Slovenia|
|E57 • E59 • E61 • E70 • E652 • E653 • E751|
The national road authority is Družba za avtoceste v Republiki Sloveniji (DARS), which manages the motorways and expressways. DARS was established on December 7, 1993 and is a public agency owned by the Slovenian government. DARS had 1,257 employees as of December 31, 2019. In 2019 it had a turnover of €523 million. About 93% of the revenue is from tolls.
Direkciji za infrastrukturo, in full Direkcija Republike Slovenije za infrastrukturo (DRSI) is the road authority for national and regional roads that are not motorways. Its English name is the Slovenian Infrastructure Agency (SIA). DRSI is under the Ministry of Infrastructure and manages 5,925 kilometers of road and 1,208 kilometers of railway.
|Junctions in Slovenia|
|Dolga vas • Dragučova • Draženci • Gabrk • Koseze • Kozarje • Malence • Podtabor • Razdrto • Slavček • Slivnica • Srmin • Zadobrova|
The R203 at Bovec, but the number is not on the signage.
In December 1991 Slovenia adopted Yugoslav road numbering. On April 24, 1998, Slovenia introduced its own road numbering and Yugoslav road numbering was abolished. The road numbering is subdivided into
- A-roads for highways (Avtoceste)
- H-roads for Hitre ceste
- G-roads for Glavne ceste
- R-roads for Regionalne ceste
The numbers of the G and R roads are only indicated on kilometer markers and almost nowhere on the signage. Since the mid-2010s, R and G numbers have only been indicated on the green 1000 meter sign of motorway exit signs.
On the highways, the signage is green with white letters. On the expressways and motorways these are blue signs with white letters and on the underlying road network yellow signs with black letters. The signage is generally very clear, with many references to tourist targets. However, it sometimes happens that there are a lot of destinations, especially on the distance signs. Distance signs often add 3 or 4 destinations for the next turn, which are not separated from the more distant destinations along the highway. Slovenian exonyms of Italian and Austrian place names occur, but are accompanied by the original name, e.g. “Celovec / Klagenfurt” and “Beljak / Villach”. Motorways that are not expressways also have blue signs,
In Slovenia there is a speed limit of 50 km/h inside and 90 km/h outside built-up areas. 130 km/h applies on motorways. The speed limit on expressways increased from 100 to 110 km/h on 1 July 2011.
Slovenia has open borders with all neighboring countries except Croatia. Border controls with neighboring Croatia are generally mild, especially on through routes. Waiting times are usually caused by traffic, especially on weekends in summer. When there is little traffic, crossing the Croatian border usually takes no more than a few minutes. A look in the passport is usually sufficient when one has nothing to declare.
The Slovenian motorways and expressways are subject to toll, you must purchase a vignette. The vignette has only been electronic since 2021. There are vignettes of various validity periods for sale, the short-term vignette is the most expensive in Europe and generates a relatively large amount of money for the Slovenian road authority DARS, because many tourists to Croatia only drive through Slovenia for a short time and need one and sometimes two vignettes for the outward and return journey. In addition, a separate toll is levied at the Karawankentunnel on the border with Austria. Freight traffic must use the mandatory electronic toll system DarsGo.
In 1993, the concessionaire DARS was established. Originally Slovenia had a toll system with toll gates. This was a mixed open and closed ticket toll system. In 2008, a switch was made to a vignette to reduce congestion at the toll gates. The toll gates continued to be used for freight traffic. In the first year only a half-yearly vignette or an annual vignette of €30 was for sale, in 2009 a weekly vignette of €15 was introduced. In practice this remained unfavorable for tourists to Croatia as they often need two vignettes and still have to pay €30 for only a short passage on the Slovenian motorway network, especially on the route from Italy to Istria and the eastern route from Austria to Croatia via Maribor.
The toll stations were only removed later because freight traffic had to pay tolls at the toll gates until 2018. In the first years it was possible for passenger cars to pass the toll stations at 40 km/h, later some toll gates in the middle of the complex were removed so that car traffic can drive through the toll stations without hindrance. After the introduction of an electronic toll system for freight traffic in 2018, the 32 toll stations were demolished. The last toll plaza was demolished in October 2020 on the A5 at Dragotinci. The toll plaza for the Karawanken tunnel was thereafter the only remaining physical toll plaza in Slovenia.
As of April 1, 2018, an electronic toll system for trucks called DarsGo has been introduced. Initially, 126 portals for freight toll points have been installed on all motorways and expressways under DARS management. In addition, 15 portals have been installed for the enforcement of the truck toll.
As of December 1, 2021, Slovenia switched to an electronic vignette, following most other vignette countries such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria that had this for some time.
Alternatives to the toll roads are secondary roads that have not been developed to a high standard and which take a relatively long time to drive. The route via Koper costs more toll in Italy and avoiding the toll roads on the route via Ljubljana to Istria or Zagreb makes little sense because one loses a lot of time driving on the underlying road network. The toll is best avoided on the route from Maribor to Zagreb due to the short cut through Slovenia. Since 2018, traffic can travel the entire route from Graz to Croatia via highways due to the completion of the A4.
In 2010, there were 67 deaths per 1 million inhabitants in Slovenia, a decrease of 50 percent compared to 2001. The country therefore belongs to the middle bracket of the European Union. In 2015, there were 58 road deaths per 1 million inhabitants, slightly above the EU average, but comparable to neighboring Austria and Hungary.