Autotravel in Europe

Winter and studded tires in Europe

Requirements for the use of winter tires and snow chains in Europe

The road conditions in winter in Northern and Central (in mountainous areas) Europe, especially in places of winter rest, are significantly complicated. Snow and ice on the roads at this time is a common occurrence. As a result, the adhesion of tires to the road deteriorates.

In some countries it is required that drivers always use winter tires at a certain time of the year. In other countries it is necessary to use only under certain road conditions. And somewhere it is purely advisory.



Rules for the use of winter tires in Europe

Not in all European countries winter tires are mandatory. But even in these countries entry to some roads on summer tires without snow chains can be prohibited. In addition, the winter tires should be marked with one of the signs M+S, M.S, M-S, M&S and have a minimum depth of the tread pattern of at least 3 mm.

On the map below you can see in which countries in winter the use of winter tires necessary all the time, and in which only when the appropriate weather conditions occur.

Weather conditions are considered winter, when on any part of the road there is snow, ice or slush. And if the road is wet in combination with a temperature of about or below 0 degrees.

Map of the using winter tires in Europe

  — use of winter tires are compulsory
  — compulsory under appropriate weather conditions
  — winter tires are optional

In which countries studded tires is forbidden

Studded tires is forbidden in most countries of Eastern Europe - Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, as well as in Turkey, Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal.

Map of use of studded tires in Europe

  — granted       — forbidden

Common requirements for winter equipment in Europe

The table below shows the requirements for winter and studded tires for vehicles, the total weight not exceed 3.5 t.

The data in the table can be sorted in ascending/descending order by clicking on the column header.

Country Winter tires Studded tires Snow chains
Albania no legal requirement granted granted
01.11 - 30.04
Andorra no legal requirement granted granted
Armenia compulsory
01.12 - 01.03
granted granted
Austria compulsory 1
01.11 - 15.04
granted
01.10 - 31.05
granted
Azerbaijan no legal requirement granted  
Belarus compulsory
01.12 - 01.03
granted granted
Belgium no legal requirement forbidden 2 granted
Bosnia and Herzegovina compulsory
15.11 - 15.04
forbidden granted
01.11 - 15.04
Bulgaria compulsory 3
15.11 - 01.03
forbidden granted
01.11 - 01.03
Croatia compulsory 1
15.11 - 15.04
forbidden granted
Cyprus no legal requirement granted granted
Czech compulsory 1
01.11 - 31.03
forbidden granted
Denmark no legal requirement granted
01.11 - 15.04
granted
Estonia compulsory
01.12 - 01.03
granted
15.10 - 31.03
granted
Finland compulsory
01.12 - 01.03
granted
01.11 - 15.04
granted
France no legal requirement granted
10.11 - 31.03
granted
Georgia no legal requirement granted granted
Germany compulsory 1 forbidden granted
Great Britain no legal requirement granted granted
Greece no legal requirement granted granted
Hungary no legal requirement forbidden granted
Iceland compulsory
01.11 - 14.04
granted
01.11 - 14.04
granted
Ireland no legal requirement granted granted
>Italy no legal requirement granted
15.11 - 15.03
granted
Latvia compulsory
01.12 - 01.03
granted
01.10 - 30.04
granted
Lithuania compulsory
10.11 - 31.03
granted
01.11 - 09.04
granted
Luxembourg compulsory 1 granted
01.12 - 31.03
granted
Macedonia compulsory 1
15.11 - 15.03
forbidden granted
15.10 - 15.03
Malta no legal requirement    
Molodova compulsory 1
01.12 - 01.03
granted
01.12 - 01.03
 
Montenegro compulsory 1
15.11 - 01.04
forbidden granted
>Netherlands no legal requirement forbidden forbidden
Norway no legal requirement granted
01.11 - 15.04
granted
Poland no legal requirement forbidden granted
Portugal no legal requirement forbidden granted
Romania compulsory 1
01.11 - 31.03
forbidden granted
Russia compulsory
01.12 - 01.03
granted granted
Serbia compulsory
01.11 - 01.04
forbidden granted
Slovakia compulsory 1
15.11 - 31.03
forbidden granted
Slovenia compulsory
15.11 - 15.03
forbidden granted
Spain no legal requirement granted
15.11 - 31.03
granted
Sweden compulsory 1
01.12 - 31.03
granted
01.10 - 15.04
granted
Switzerland no legal requirement granted 4
01.11 - 30.04
granted
Turkey compulsory 1 forbidden granted
Ukraine no legal requirement granted granted

1 Under certain weather conditions (for example, snow or ice on the road).

2 In exceptional cases (in difficult weather conditions) can be allowed from November 1 to March 31 for vehicles up to 3.5 t.

3 Winter tyres are compulsory for vehicles registered in Bulgaria during wintry road conditions and are strongly recommended for visitors.

4 It is forbidden to use when driving on motorways.

What tires do I need to go to Europe in winter?

In our opinion a universal solution:

Winter tires + snow chains.


But the chains can be needed if you have to go to the mountainous areas only.

In conclusion, a small video on how snow chains can help in difficult weather conditions.

You can watch other videos on our channel on YouTube.

Related Articles :