European Route E45 is among the longest north-south highways in Europe, stretching between Gela in southern Italy to Alta in northern Norway.
It crosses through the famous Brenner Pass in the Alps, as well as the Kattegat strait between Fredrikshavn and Gothenburg.
While the term "E45" is in official use throughout its route, labeling and popular perception will often use national designators, especially in Germany. Other countries, such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark have the E-numbers fully integrated in the road numbering scheme, and the road is labeled as E45. Germany, Italy and Austria all use the E-numbers sporadically. They aren't signposted very often, but if you're lucky, then you might see the E45, as well as other European Routes signposted at some highway interchanges. It's best to have the national numbers of the highways you will be using memorised or written down somewhere useful, as you will need them. In this article they will be listed where possible.
All countries along the route belong to the Schengen Area, and thus there are normally no immigration checks at the borders. 2015–2021 there have been temporary checks because of the immigration crises and later the COVID-19. A Schengen visa suffices for all the journey, and EU/EEA/Swiss citizens can travel with just their ID or passport.
There are no customs borders in the European Union. Formalities for some things, such as weapons and drugs, may still need to be taken care of regarding all countries (although procedures are harmonized).
Norway does not belong to the EU, so there is a customs border, but it does belong to the European Economic Area so, in practice, few items need to be declared.
Pets need some bureaucracy. Especially, Sweden, Finland and Norway are strict on rabies and the Echinococcus multilocularis tapeworm.
In the Alps and the northernmost part of the journey, you might have to prepare for wintry conditions. In northern Sweden and onward, snowfall and freezing nights should not come as a surprise October–April, and checking weather forecast is wise also somewhat sooner and later. In winter, also note short daylight hours in the north. Southbound, you may need sunglasses and windshield in good condition, because of the sun shining in your eyes, hovering low above the horizon at high latitudes.
In the northern end the road goes through sparsely populated areas, about from Mora, Sweden. Don't expect fuel stations, repair facilities and restaurants around every corner.
- 1 Rosolini
- 2 Siracusa
- 3 Taormina
- 4 Messina is a temporary end to the paved roads. Here the E45 uses a ferry to connect to 5 Villa San Giovanni on the mainland of Italy.
- 6 Salerno
- 7 Pompei
- 8 Naples
- 9 Frosinone
- 10 Rome
- 11 Monterotondo
- 12 Marsciano
- 13 Perugia
- 14 Città di Castello
- 15 Cesena
- 16 Forlì
- 17 Bologna
- 18 Modena
- 19 Mantova
- 20 Verona
- 21 Trento
- 22 Brenner Pass
- 23 Innsbruck is the first major city after the Brenner Pass. Here the E60 merges with the E45, running along the same highways until reaching Rosenheim in Germany. The E60 connects Brest, France with Irkeshtam in Kyrgyzstan.
- 24 Wörgl is where the E641 connects to the E45, connecting to Salzburg.
In Germany motorways are called "Autobahn" and almost universally abbreviated and referred to with an "A" and those designations are different from the E designations. The latter is sometimes - but not always - shown along with the A designation.
- 25 Rosenheim, at the end of the A93, is the first major city in Germany. Here the E45 meets with the E52 and E60. The first one runs along the same autobahn until Munich, whereas the E60 runs along the same autobahn into Austria.
- In 26 Munich, the first major EU-route hub, the E52, E53, E54 and E552 meet. The E52 connects Strasbourg, France with Salzburg, Austria, the other three roads all terminate here, with the E53 connecting to the Czech Plzen, the E54 with Paris and the E552 with Linz, Austria. To get through the ring-route surrounding the city, first turn onto the A99, going through the ring-road system anti-clockwise. Turn onto the A9 once given the option to, heading for Nuremberg (Nürnberg).
- 27 Nuremberg is where the E50, E51 and E56 meet. The E50 runs from Brest in France to Makhachkala in Russia, the E51 and E56 both start here, connecting to Berlin and Sattledt in Austria respectively. To continue along the E45, turn onto the A3 heading for Würzburg.
- 28 Würzburg, together with nearby 29 Schweinfurt create a hub where the E41, E43 and E48 meet. The E41 runs from Dortmund to Altdorf, Switzerland, the E43 starts here and connects to Bellinzona, also in Switzerland, and the E48 starts here connecting to Prague. In Würzburg the A3 terminates. Turn right onto the A7 heading for Kassel to continue along the E45. The A7 runs straight to Denmark, so switching of autobahn is not necessary from this point on.
- 30 Bad Hersfeld makes up the intersection with the E40, connecting Calais in northwest France with Ridder in Kazakhstan.
- 31 Kassel is where the E331 connects to Dortmund, from where the E37 connects to Hamburg, after merging with the E22. If either Dortmund or Osnabrück are cities you'd like to visit, then follow this road.
- 32 Göttingen
- 33 Hannover is the meeting point with the E30, running from Cork, Ireland to Omsk, Russia.
- Near 34 Walsrode the road branches off with the E234 heading for Cuxhaven, north of Bremen.
- 35 Hamburg is a hub for European roads, as the E22 and E26 meet the E45 here.
- 36 Flensburg
- At 37 Kolding the E20 and E45 meet. The E20, which has many ferries along its route, connects Shannon in Ireland to Saint Petersburg, Russia.
- 38 Aarhus
- 39 Aalborg, the largest city in northern Denmark, is where the E45 meets with the E39, which starts here and runs to Trondheim in Norway.
- 40 Frederikshavn is the start of the ferry into Sweden's Gothenburg.
The E45 through Sweden, also called Inlandsvägen (The Inland Road), is the longest Swedish road, a few kilometres longer than the parallel E4. The first short stretch from Gothenburg is limited-access expressway (motorway), the rest is ordinary paved road, some stretches down to 6 m wide. Much of it runs parallel to the Inlandsbanan railway. North of Östersund the E45 goes through some of the least inhabited areas in Sweden.
- 41 Gothenburg, Sweden's largest port and second city; junction with E6
- 42 Trollhättan
- 43 Vänersborg
- Dalsland with 44 Mellerud and 45 Åmål
- 46 Säffle
- 47 Grums
- Fryksdalen with 48 Sunne and 49 Torsby
- 50 Malung
- 51 Mora
- 52 Orsa
- Härjedalen with 53 Sveg
- 54 Östersund
- 55 Strömsund
- 56 Dorotea
- 57 Vilhelmina
- 58 Storuman (junction with Blue Highway/E12)
- 59 Sorsele
- 60 Arvidsjaur
- 61 Jokkmokk
- 62 Laponia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site national park system. There is a road to Kvikkjokk by Padjelanta National Park some 7 km north from Jokkmokk and the road goes through Stubba Nature Reserve and Muddus National Park after Porjus. There is a junction for Ritsem in Stubba.
- 63 Gällivare, junction with E10
- 64 Karesuando, E8 is at the Finnish side of the border crossing, E6 is 160 km away by E8.
The E45 runs in conjunction with European route E8 south-east from Karesuvanto to Palojoensuu, before running east to Hetta, then north to the border (Kivilompolo) along Finnish national road 93. The municipality (Enontekiö) is the second least densely populated in Finland, with less than 2,000 people on 8,400 km2 (3,200 sq mi). It is part of the Sámi native region.
E45 runs along the route of the former Norwegian National Route 93 from the border with Finland up to Alta, and is one of the fastest routes to the North Cape.
- 67 Kautokeino
- 68 Alta – one of Europe's most northerly cities.
In Sweden and beyond, collisions with elk, deer and reindeer are a risk. Don't ignore the warnings: you don't want a 400 kg elk coming through your windshield. Watch the edge of the forest and slow down if you see an animal. If one suddenly crosses the road in front of you, try to steer behind it. If the animal may have got hurt, mark the spot and report the accident according to each country's procedures, to allow it being found promptly by hunters or reindeer handlers. If you collided with a boar or bear, drive a bit forward, mark that place instead and explain the arrangement to the authorities, as these animals are dangerous when hurt.
- European route E4 Spans 1,590 kilometres between Haparanda in the north and Helsingborg in the south.
- European route E6 shares as bit of road with the E45 near Gothenburg. The route runs all the way from Trelleborg to Kirkenes in the far north-east of Norway, close to Russia. The road is very scenic, running through fjords and mountains, and for 1,000 km in the Arctic.
- European route E8 from Turku in south-western Finland to Tromsø in Norway, along the Finnish west coast and by the rivers at the border to Sweden.
- European route E10 meets the E45 in Gällivare, Sweden, from which it connects to Luleå and Å in Norway.
- European route E12 from Mo i Rana in Norway to Helsinki in Finland, with a ferry over the Gulf of Bothnia, in Norway and Sweden following the Blue Highway.
- European route E14 connects Trondheim with Sundsvall, and as such its length of 449 km is entirely in Scandinavia.
- European route E16 , like some other E-routes listed below starts in the British Isles and officially crosses the North Sea by boat to Bergen, albeit as of 2020 there are no ferries plying the routes of such E-roads (ie. between a pair of ends of the roads). From Bergen it makes up the main road to Oslo, then it goes north a bit, crosses into Sweden and ends in Gävle.
- European route E18 begins in Kristiansand (likewise coming from Ireland and the UK but with no ferry), follows the coast up to Oslo, then goes to Stockholm and Kapellskär, crosses over to Naantali near Turku by ferry, and continues to Helsinki and to the Russian border, ending in St. Petersburg.
- European route E20 comes in from the UK to Esbjerg, and the Scandinavian section crosses Denmark west to east, then crosses Öresund bridge from Copenhagen to Malmö. Then E20 connects Sweden's three biggest cities, going up to Gothenburg (together with E6), then to Stockholm before crossing by ferry to Tallinn.
- European route E22 is one of the longest European routes going from the UK deep into Asian Russia. The Scandinavian section goes from Trelleborg along Sweden's southern and eastern coasts to Norrköping where it's supposed to cross the Baltic Sea to Ventspils, Latvia (no ferry for this exact leg either).
- European route E39 stretches from Nørresundby in Denmark to Trøndelag in Norway and like the E6, the route crosses through many beautiful fjords and mountains.
- European route E63 is completely in Finland. It goes northeast from Turku along highway 9 to Kuopio, then follows highway 5 up to Sodankylä.