The tax on products ensures that the purchase of these products is higher. Occasionally there are promotions in Dutch stores – tax-free – where no VAT has to be paid. This can make a huge difference, especially on large or expensive purchases. You can also shop tax-free at airports and cruise ships. There are two tax-free paradises in the Alps. These are the Italian Livigno and the Swiss Samnaun. For lovers of tax-free shopping and who enjoy holidays in Italy, a visit to Livigno is worthwhile. Livigno is a tax-free paradise.
- Duty-free paradise Livigno in Italy
- Accessibility Livigno
- From Switzerland
- From Italy
- Grant tax-free status
- Cheap shopping
- Opening hours
- Top brands
- Cheap fuel
- How much can you enter?
- Winter in Livigno
- To ski
- Summer in Livigno
- Tourist facilities
- Other tax havens
Duty-free paradise Livigno in Italy
The Italian town of Livigno is known as a winter sports resort, but also as a tax-free paradise. Livigno is located at an altitude of 1815 meters and has around 5000 inhabitants. Originally it consisted of three small villages. The village is about 5 kilometers long and is somewhat hidden in a valley. It is located on the Swiss-Italian border and between the Alps and the Dolomites. It falls under the province of Sondrio, which in turn falls under the Lombardy region.
Livigno is somewhat hidden in a valley – which is also the case with the Swiss duty-free paradise Samnaun – and is therefore not easy to reach. You can get there by car in three ways.
Are you on holiday in Switzerland and want to go to Livigno? Then you can get there from two sides:
- via the Bernina Pass
- via the road from Zernez in Switzerland to Glorenza in Italy (the first part of the exit to Livigno is a toll road)
Are you in Italy? Then you can get there via:
- the town of Bormio
Livigno / Source: Maralb56, Pixabay
Grant tax-free status
There are stories that in ancient times people inexplicably disappeared while collecting taxes in Livigno. But is that true? It seems more likely that it was given tax-free status because people left the difficult-to-access Livigno en masse. The state wanted to prevent that and thus ensured that the population stayed. In 1805, Napoleon ensured that no excise duties had to be paid. This was also honored by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1818. It was not until 1960 that tax-free status was made permanent by the European Economic Community (EEC).
There are no fewer than 250 stores where you can shop tax-free. There is a huge choice of different products. You can go here for:
- shoes and clothes
- cool sunglasses
- jewelry and watches
- sports equipment
- smoking materials
There are also shops that sell souvenirs, but also food shops. Food and reading books are subject to VAT (around 4%), but this rate is lower than in the Netherlands. So still cheaper.
The shops open at 9am in the morning. Closed from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM due to lunch break. Afterwards they are open until 7:30 PM in the evening (with the exception of May and November, when they are open until 7:00 PM). In August the afternoon closure is slightly shorter. The shops then open their doors again at 2 p.m. and are open again until 7:30 p.m. Please note that in the months of May, June, October and November the shops are not open on Tuesdays.
As mentioned earlier, there are no fewer than 250 shops in Livigno. The shops where you can go include:
- Timberland Store – sells various Timberland items, such as clothing and shoes for men, women and children
- La Botia Noa – sells books and stationery
- Edwin’s Wood Sana Baby – in addition to wood carvings, it also sells baby items
- La Galleria – sells bags, among other things
- Enoteca San Giovanni – sells alcoholic drinks
- Alpe Livigno – sells cheese and cold cuts
- Ottica Mottini – sells contact lenses in addition to sunglasses
- La Pastorella – sells top brands of perfumes
- The Bike Store – shop ideal for cyclists
- Sport Adventure – sells equipment for winter sports enthusiasts and cyclists
- Orologi & Co – Watches & Jewels – sells jewelry and watches
There are different stores for some categories. There are quite a few shops that sell sports equipment. For a complete overview of the shops in Livigno, it is better to consult the internet. Of course, items such as hats, scarves and gloves are also sold with the Livigno logo on them.
Various top brands are sold in the shops in Livigno. This includes:
- Ray Ban
- The Nord Face
In addition to affordable shopping, the prices for petrol and diesel are also a lot lower than in the Netherlands. There are several gas stations along the main road.
How much can you enter?
You are not allowed to take unlimited goods from Livigno. There are rules attached to this. It is therefore better to adhere to this to avoid problems with customs. Someone aged 18 or older may import the following:
- Cigarettes: 200 pieces
- Small cigars: 100 pieces of maximum 3 g. per Unit
- Cigars: 50 or 250 grams of tobacco
- Beer: 16 liters
- wine: 4 liters of still wine
- 1 liter with an alcohol content of 22% or more
- 2 liters with an alcohol content of less than 22%
- 1 liter of undenatured ethyl alcohol with an alcohol content of 80% or more
This includes perfumes and eau de toilettes.
- You may import 30 to 40 cl per person
- Coffee: 2 kilos per person
- Meat: 5 kilos per person
- Sugar: 10 kilos per person
- In addition to a full tank, you can also take an extra 10 liters with you.
No rights can be derived from the above quantities or amounts. To avoid problems, ask in the shops in Livigno.
Winter in Livigno
The winters are harsh and there is a lot of snow, but the sun also shines brightly. Temperatures can drop as low as -30 degrees °C in winter. It is therefore also called Piccolo Tibet , or Little Tibet . The winter period lasts from November to May.
You can ski on both sides of Livigno. This is very nice for sun lovers. This way, as soon as one side is in the shade, you can go to the other side to ski. Unfortunately there is no ski connection from one side to the other. In total there are 115 kilometers of ski slopes and most of the slopes are red. The highest slopes are at an altitude of 2797 meters. Livigno is also very suitable for small children.
Summer in Livigno
From May the winter season is over in Livigno, but that does not mean that you cannot come here as a tourist. In the summer you can enjoy beautiful walking and cycling here. Many people come to mountain bike. Various routes have been set out. It is also possible to enjoy the water of the Lake Livigno reservoir. Even golfing is possible here. The average temperature in summer is around 18 degrees °C.
Although Livigno is a small village, there are quite a lot of facilities for tourists. There are various hotels, apartments and bed & breakfast options. The prices in restaurants and hotels are the same as those of other hotels/restaurants in Italy, but the VAT rate is also lower (around 10%).
Other tax havens
In addition to Livigno, there are a number of tax havens. These include:
- The Swiss Samnaun
- Marshall Islands
- Dubai in United Arab Emirates
- The islands of Guernsey and Jersey (Channel Islands)
- Duty-free shopping in Samnaun in Switzerland