Every year, Budapest in Hungary hosts the Sziget Festival. Originally founded as the Diáksziget or Student Island in 1993, the Sziget Festival marked my first time of attending such a big event solo, and I had a blast! Below, I'll tell you all about the Sziget Festival, what it was like, and the most important details about the upcoming 2023 edition.
- What is Sziget Festival Budapest all about?
- The performance venues
- Other Sziget activities
- 1. The Beat Stop
- 2. The traveling funfair
- 3. The bungee jump
- 4. Ferris wheel
- 5. Brand stands
- 6. Hungarikum Village
- 7. Luminarium – Daedalum
- 8. Before I Die
- 9. The ArtZone
- 10. Walkabouts
- 11. WAMP designer fair
- 12. Sport Zone by Jana
- 13. Green Sziget Center
- 14. Party bars
- 15. E.on Oasis
- 16. Chess Tent
- 17. EU Meeting Point
- 18. NGO Island
- 19. Tent without Borders
- 20. Sziget Portal
- 21. Fulldome
- 22. Instax garden
- 23. Love Chapel
- 24. XS Land
- 25. Living statues
- 26. Tiny Bauhaus
- 27. Museum Quarter
- 28. I Ching Labyrinth
- 29. Wishing tree
- 30. Ibis Open Studio
- The VIP area
- Sziget food and drinks
- The toilets
- The Sziget app
- Other Sziget services
- Is Sziget festival safe?
- Should you go all 7 days?
- What it's like to attend Sziget solo
- Sziget festival 2023 lineup
- Sziget boat party
- Where to buy Sziget festival tickets
- Sziget festival accommodation
- How to get to Sziget festival
- What to pack for Sziget
- Paying at Sziget
- Have Fun at the Sziget Festival
- Don't forget travel insurance
What is Sziget Festival Budapest all about?
Since the Sziget Festival (“Sziget” meaning “island” in Hungarian) first took place in 1993, the event has grown exponentially year after year, and now it hosts hundreds of acts and brings in more than 500.000 people from all over the world. Literally. I joined some Sziget Festival Facebook groups, and even people from New Zealand have attended.
This event markets itself as being more than just your average Budapest music festival. Love, freedom, and the power of diversity are at the core of everything you will find here, and while the tunes are important, these values take center stage.
In addition to music, the Sziget Festival program embraces all forms of art, and throughout the event, you will come across art exhibitions, makeshift museums, circuses, theaters, and more. Essentially, the festival aims to cater to every taste, and this can be seen in the Sziget lineup – which I will talk about in more detail below. Stay tuned.
Finally, to top it all off, Sziget gives as good as it gets. Every year, the festival pairs up with a charity it wants to support.
Sziget usually takes place in August. The Sziget Festival 2023 dates are from August 10 until August 15 inclusive.
Sziget festival location
So where is the Sziget festival?
The Sziget Festival takes place on Óbudai-Sziget (“Old Buda Island”) in the middle of the Danube River, just outside the heart of the Hungarian capital Budapest. It unofficially changes names for seven days and becomes the Island of Freedom.
The unbeatable location of Sziget means that if you’ve never been to Budapest, you can perfectly combine your festival experience with a trip to the city. You can use my 4-day Budapest itinerary while you're there.
Combining a city trip with the festival is super easy as loads of public transport will take you from the city center to the Sziget Festival island and back. See below for more info on that.
The performance venues
The Sziget 2023 Festival program is spread out over many different stages and other areas. Let's have a look.
1. Sziget Main Stage
The Main Stage is Sziget's largest stage, where you can see all the big names perform.
The Main Stage also features short performances and speeches as part of the “Love Revolution Special.” They aim to give a voice to different causes and problems.
The Main Stage is an outdoor stage with plenty of space in front of it to hold festival-goers, with two massive screens to the sides and bars as well as exit and entryways all around.
There is no artificial shade around the main stage, so if you want to see something early in the day and don’t want to stand in the blistering sun (it was around 30°C for most of the festival when I was there), you have to either go right in front of the main stage, which blocks the sun, or further away under a tree, for example.
The main stage has two massive water sprayers that sprinkle soft water drops on the crowd. That felt nice at 30°C, but on the other hand, I felt like a lot of water was wasted here that could have been used better – for example, to keep a bit of the dust down that presented itself throughout the whole week.
2. FreeDome presented by Mastercard
FreeDome is the second biggest stage, right behind the Main Stage, and is located in a big tent with open sides. It offers all kinds of musical performances from 5 p.m. until well after midnight.
3. Samsung Party Arena
The Samsung Party Arena becomes active at 10 p.m. This is where festival-goers go for all things electro, from techno to minimal, trance, and house. On the program was a mix of new DJs and well-known names.
4. TicketSwap Colosseum
The TicketSwap Colosseum was another area for fans of electronic music. Consisting of an outdoor circular area, it had DJs from noon until 3-4 a.m.
5. Europe stage
While this stage's name may suggest otherwise, the outdoor Europe stage presents upcoming artists from all over the world – not just Europe – from early afternoon until right before midnight.
6. Global Village
Previously, this outdoor stage only showcased Hungarian bands, but in 2019, it had a mix of artists from different regions around the world. You could see them perform from late afternoon until the evening, when a DJ would take over.
Outside, there was a daily circus act and campfire singing session, whereas the tent showcased music typically linked to cultural minorities. In general, this is a stage that gets you dancing and jumping.
7. Music Box
The Music Box is a small, intimate outdoor stage active during the evenings. It's a good spot to discover some new singer-songwriters.
8. Light Stage
The Light Stage is part of a chillout zone at the entrance of the Alternativa camping and is open to all Szitizens. It had promising European artists in the afternoons and a DJ set at night.
9. Tribute Stage presented by AMC
The outdoor Tribute Stage schedules tribute bands every night, followed by a DJ set. This is where you go for music by bands you have yet to see live, like Abba, Queen, and AC/DC.
10. Theatre and Dance Field
I did spend a lot of time at the Theatre and Dance Field, which consisted of both an indoor stage (in the tent) and an outdoor stage. This area is dedicated to contemporary dance, but many performances also held theatrical and acrobatic elements.
11. Everness Chill Garden
The Everness Chill Garden area was super cool as it had many places to just sit and relax. It added a lot to the festival experience. Here you could lay back, enjoy a drink, play modern board games, take workshops, and listen to loungy tunes.
12. Magic Mirror
The Magic Mirror tent aims to be a space where everyone feels safe and welcome. It promotes openness and acceptance through acts that portray queer culture in various ways. There were talks, stand-up comedy, acrobatic performances, parties, and more.
I saw one hell of a cabaret here, as well as some comedy.
13. Cirque du Sziget
I loved the circus stages at Sziget! There's an outdoor stage, and then there's also a big circus tent. At both, you can see acts all day long.
This was one of the places that made the Sziget festival experience a success for me. I don't know if I would have been entertained for seven days if there were only musical performances. But I'll come back for this stage without a doubt.
If everyone in the front sat down, you had a good view of the outdoor stage, but in the tent, getting a seat in the middle was pretty important. Doors opened about 10 minutes before the show started, but you'd have to come and queue at least half an hour beforehand to get a good spot.
I didn't know this, so I watched my first show at the tent from one of the sides, and it just wasn't that great. You could see everything regardless of where you sat, but all of the shows I noticed were performed facing forward. So if you were sitting on the side, you didn't get the full experience.
Another tip I want to give for getting a good spot is to check both entrances. Last year, a clear entry was at the front of the tent, but one was tucked away near the back. Often, when there was already a queue at the front, there were no or almost no people at the back.
Other Sziget activities
The cool thing about the Sziget Festival in Budapest is that there are at least as many side activities as performances. It's impossible to list all of them, but I've done my best to mention the main ones below.
1. The Beat Stop
At The Beat Stop tent, you can try a bunch of musical instruments. Some people just gave it a first go, but others were clearly musicians themselves, and at one point, there was a cool little jam session with a guitarist and a drummer.
2. The traveling funfair
Oh, to feel like a kid again! At the funfair, you can play all kinds of old-school games, rent some juggling material, watch musicians, and see a puppeteer perform.
3. The bungee jump
Kind of self-explanatory: you can bungee jump at Sziget. If I'd ever do this (I won't), I wouldn't do it at a festival, but lots of people seemed interested.
There was this other fairground thing too, where you took a seat and were kind of thrown in the air. No idea what that is called though :-)
4. Ferris wheel
If you want to get literally high without doing anything as crazy as a bungee jump, you can ride the ferris wheel overlooking the main stage.
5. Brand stands
Lots of big brands like H&M and Levi have their own stand or area at the Hungarian music festival. When I was there, H&M had a bunch of selfie spots, Deichmann had a pop-up store where you could customize your shoes, and you could get your makeup done at NYX.
6. Hungarikum Village
At the Hungarikum Village, you can learn all about Hungarian culture by playing folk games, learning folk dances, watching performances, and more.
7. Luminarium – Daedalum
The Daedalum is a maze of domes that visitors can explore and experience by finding their way through it. I'm afraid I haven't tried this attraction.
8. Before I Die
Before I Die is a wall where people can write one thing they want to do before they die. There is also a booth where you can record yourself saying what you want to do before you die, and those recordings would display next to the wall.
The idea behind this interactive work of art is to encourage people to share their fears and dreams in the common space.
9. The ArtZone
The ArtZone is a large area with galleries, art installations, a design store, and many workshops. I was surprised by how popular the workshops were. Some of them even had people queueing to get in.
You can try your hand at woodwork, still life painting, and stenciling or create a bag from old posters – just to name a few things.
While most of the things to do and see at Sziget happened at one fixed place, there were also a bunch of walkabouts – like street artists – who made their way around the festival grounds and surprised people with their quirkiness.
The people rode big dodos, the man on his moving piano, the giants, and the massive wooden camel.
11. WAMP designer fair
Sziget doesn't have your typical festival market selling cheap sunglasses and woven bracelets. There are a few stands like that, but the market comprises Hungarian designers selling cool jewelry, t-shirts, bags, and other, often handmade, things.
12. Sport Zone by Jana
Dancing is one of many sports you can practice at the Sziget music festival. At the Sport Zone, you can borrow gym equipment, attend street workout classes, and play beach volleyball, streetball, petanque, badminton, and table tennis.
There's also a football table, dart station, rowing machine, and adventure park. You can go climbing, play billiards, or ride a stationary bike. It's crazy!
13. Green Sziget Center
The Green Sziget Center hosts daily talks on anything related to sustainability. Go, listen, and discuss.
14. Party bars
Many (Hungarian drink) brands have their own outdoor bars at Sziget; some are quite big. They have DJs playing between performances, especially at night, so even if none of the “famous” DJs tickled your fancy, you have plenty of places to get your groove on.
15. E.on Oasis
A chillout zone where you can charge your phone and use the free WiFi.
16. Chess Tent
At the Chess Tent, you can play the game, take lessons, watch demonstrations, and listen to analysis. There was even a tournament when I went.
17. EU Meeting Point
The EU Meeting Point is a place to learn about and discuss everything related to the European Union. Different organizations have stands there, and you can ask questions or discuss EU-related matters important to you.
18. NGO Island
At the NGO Island, you can meet with members of a whole bunch of non-governmental organizations that all aim to make the world a better place.
19. Tent without Borders
The Tent without Borders has daily talks and workshops on human rights, migration, diversity, and helping those with less. I didn't pay this tent much attention, and now that I'm looking at its program again to write this article, I'm sorry I didn't.
20. Sziget Portal
The Sziget Portal is a part of the Tent without Borders and allows you to talk to someone standing in front of another portal somewhere else in the world.
The Fulldome is a giant white dome with a 3D animation projected inside. You lie down on comfortable beanie bags while watching it. It wasn't mega spectacular but still good fun to do, and while the line always looked long, the “show” itself only lasted 15 minutes or so. Plus, a lot of people could enter at once, so I didn't have to wait that long to get in.
22. Instax garden
This is precisely what it sounds like—a photo spot where you can get a funky Instax photo taken.
23. Love Chapel
At the Love Chapel, you could get “Sziget Married.” Basically, you do the whole vow thing just for fun.
24. XS Land
XS Land offers games, sports, and other activities for physically disabled people.
25. Living statues
This one is kind of self-explanatory as well :) A few living statues were posing on one of the walkways at Sziget.
26. Tiny Bauhaus
Bauhaus! If you follow me, you know I went to Germany for the 100th celebration of the Bauhaus movement, and so it was a nice surprise to see they had a virtual reality stand at Sziget. As 2019 was a special year for Bauhaus, this stand will likely be replaced by something else in 2023.
27. Museum Quarter
With your Sziget wristband, you get 50% off at a lot of museums in Budapest until the end of August. The same applies if you have the special Sziget version of the Budapest Citypass (more about that later). So to get you in the mood, some of these museums presented themselves at the festival with interesting programs and games.
28. I Ching Labyrinth
This Labyrinth is located right by the Theatre and Dance Tent. I didn't try it as someone told me they did it once, and it took two hours because it's interactive, and you can't really decide for yourself how fast you go (and get back out again).
29. Wishing tree
People can hang little notes on a wishing tree near the main stage. Some of them I saw were funny. Others were clearly from people who wanted to hook up with just about anyone, and still, others were moving. There was one person who wished she'd be able to travel and do the job of her dreams.
Obviously, that one touched me :-)
30. Ibis Open Studio
The Ibis Open Studio is a chillout zone with a bar where you can dance, play music, create your own album cover, and meet with other people who are passionate about music.
The VIP area
I could get into the VIP area as I had Sziget press accreditation, so I can share what it was like. The VIP area is a heightened area with good views of the main stage and its own drink and food stands. It has a lot of chairs and proper tables as well as some more loungy seating options.
I went there to catch some shows on the main stage and go to the toilet, as these facilities were constantly kept clean.
The VIP area also has its own DJ at night, but I didn't think it was super successful.
Sziget food and drinks
The food at Sziget was a massive surprise to me. Not because it was that good or bad, but because it was so expensive. I'm talking prices you'd pay at a Belgian festival which even Belgians would find expensive.
The good thing is that aside from alcohol and stuff in glass bottles or containers, you can bring any food or drinks you want to the festival site. As the press center had air conditioning, I took a pasta salad with me for dinner for several days.
On the first day, I tried to eat a somewhat healthy and got a chicken skewer with some salad and a Coke (not healthy, I know). That set me back 21 USD/20 EUR, which I thought was a bit much given that the salad was just salad and the skewer had just as much onion as it had chicken.
A few vegan food stands looked good, but again, everything I saw was around 11 USD/10 EUR for a vegan burger or wrap. That's a lot of money when you know you can have a proper meal at a restaurant in Budapest for 11 USD/10 EUR.
Aside from the chicken skewer, I had chicken wings once (11 USD/10 EUR for a few wings, some fries, and a drink – that wasn't too bad), pizza multiple times, and a warm Greek salad for around 9 USD/8 EUR.
Not exactly healthy, but the pizza slices were actually good, made on the spot, and only cost a little over 3 USD/3 EUR . They were the perfect middle-of-the-night snack.
I took a photo of a drinks price list from 2019 to give you an idea of beverage prices as aside from that one Coke, I only drank water, and one energy drink a day that I brought from the city.
There are fresh water spots around the festival grounds, and they're marked on a map in your Sziget passport (a booklet full of information), but I only ever spotted one, so I'm guessing it wouldn't hurt to spot a few more. I refilled my bottle at the press area as the water from the taps by the toilets didn't taste good.
You can find both regular toilets and portable toilets at Sziget. I only used the regular toilets (not the ones in the VIP area) a few times, and they were always clean. They're the same facilities as the ones in the VIP section, with the difference that you have to get your toilet paper before you go in, and they're not constantly cleaned.
The Sziget app
The Sziget app is amazing. I hadn't expected it to be, but it was super useful. You can browse the entire Sziget festival schedule by day and venue. Clicking on the artists' names shows you more information and lets you listen to song clips.
That way, you can select the artists and activities that look interesting by favoriting them. The app then sends you a notification 15 minutes before something you want to see starts. Brilliant!
Now I wouldn't be me if I didn't make my own program in a Google Doc, but I used the app a lot as well that week. It had a “discover” section that would open the Sziget lineup per day at exactly the time it was when you checked. Handy!
Other Sziget services
Sziget offers its Szitizens a bunch of (paid) services to choose from to make your stay at the festival more comfortable, such as the rental of a portable charger you can just swap in for a new one when yours is empty, and guarded Sziget festival lockers.
And then there are also the add-on activities like a pre-party, tours, pub crawls in the city center, and daily boat parties.
Is Sziget festival safe?
When looking at safety, there are two things at play: how safe you personally feel and what issues could occur because of the lack of security measures taken by the organization.
For what concerns the former, I felt super safe at Sziget. I had worried a bit about this as I was, after all, going all by myself. I'd spend whole weekdays between people drinking and doing who knows what else and would have to return to my Airbnb alone at night.
None of these things were an issue. Nobody at the festival ever bothered me. I didn't see any fights or other forms of aggression and even didn't notice anyone extremely drunk. I'm sure they were there, but probably not at the places where I hung out.
In this regard, Sziget was the chillest festival I've ever attended, and I genuinely hope that they keep it the size it is now because the fact that people have plenty of space to move around adds to the good vibe.
I also noticed that people who lost their wallets and phones actually got them back because others had returned them to the Sziget Lost and Found stand. Again, I'm pretty sure other people lost things that they didn't get back but going off what I saw happen in the groups I was in, there were quite a few honest people at the festival.
The only thing that did raise my eyebrows was the security check at the Sziget entrance. As I said, you can bring all kinds of drinks and food but no alcohol. I had a big refillable but non-transparent bottle of water with me, and not once did they check what was in it. It could've been wine, or it could've been hard drugs.
The bag searches could have been more thorough. Sometimes the volunteers merely looked inside, and other times they felt around a bit. But I could have easily hidden a knife somewhere.
My thought is that nothing serious has ever happened at Sziget, and given the relaxed vibe at the festival, I also think the organization didn’t expect any issues.
The shallow bag check may have allowed for a bit of a safety threat, but it did mean that you got onto the festival site pretty quickly, as it only took a few seconds per person.
Should you go all 7 days?
Before I left for Sziget, I was wondering what the hell I thought I was doing. Seven full days at a festival? I could have never guessed it would go by that fast, and I'd “get through it” so easily.
As you probably guessed from all the things I've listed above, there is so much to do at Sziget that it's almost impossible to try everything while still watching the shows you really want to see.
So if you have the time, I highly recommend you go for the whole week, even if it's only once. That way, you truly get to experience the festival and all it has to offer.
And regardless of how long you decide to go, I also recommend you make a program before arriving with the bands you really want to see and the other activities you want to do. The number of options can get overwhelming, and you'll lose a lot of time figuring out where to go next if you have to compare all your options on the spot.
What it's like to attend Sziget solo
Sziget was the first festival I attended solo. It was seven days in a country where I didn't speak the language. You might understand I was a bit nervous. So how did it go?
First of all, there is a Facebook group with thousands of people who attend Sziget solo. From that group, multiple Whatsapp chat groups were formed by people around shared interests, demographics, and whatnot.
If you want to meet up with people, you could do so from the moment you arrive at the festival site.
However, I quickly noticed that those who seemed to be most active in the groups were going to different shows than what I wanted to see, and as the festival is so big, it also seemed to take people quite a bit of time to find each other.
In all honesty, I couldn't be bothered. After a few shows, I realized I was fine just enjoying the things I wanted to do alone. I did meet up with a few people when they happened to be around, and I also talked to a few strangers.
Now, I know I may be different because I'm used to traveling solo and also because I don't drink alcohol and thus wasn't looking for people to drink with like others in the chat groups.
If you want to find people to hang out with at Sziget, you will. But you can also perfectly enjoy yourself solo.
Sziget festival 2023 lineup
The Sziget 2023 lineup is any music lover’s dream. It includes Billie Eilish, David Guetta, Florence + The Machine, Imagine Dragons, Lorde, Macklemore, and Mumford & Sons.
In 2019, some of the big names attending were Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, The 1975, and The National.
As you can see from the Sziget headliners, the festival offers a fantastic mix of genres, from indie to hip-hop to house. The rest of the lineup in 2019 was equally diverse, featuring names such as James Blake, Chvrches, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Tove Lo, Masego, Jain, and so many more.
The beauty of a seven-day festival is that you can pick three or four artists you want to see each day and spend the rest of the day exploring, chilling, eating, and mingling. There’s no pressure to cram everything into one day, and there’s certainly no shortage of artists to see.
Sziget boat party
For the 2023 Sziget festival, you can get a unique sightseeing experience at one of the 4-hour Sziget boat parties carried out throughout the festival. With the regular ticket (42 USD/39 EUR ), you can join the fun onboard and enjoy the unique views of beautiful Budapest. With a VIP ticket (116 USD/109 EUR ), you can access the VIP lounge with free drinks.
Where to buy Sziget festival tickets
Make sure always to buy Sziget tickets from official vendors. That way, you know you'll get in without any trouble – or at least there won't be trouble because of your Sziget festival ticket :-)
The best place is the official Sziget festival website. It's also possible (and legal) to buy festival tickets from people who won't use theirs through TicketSwap.
Sziget festival ticket price
So how much are Sziget 2023 tickets? Well, it depends on how many days you want to come to the festival. As well as having a lineup that caters to everyone, they also have ticket options to suit all needs. If you’re hardcore and want the full Sziget experience, you can buy a Sziget 6-day pass for 390 USD/365 EUR.
If that’s too much to cough up all at once, there are options to pay in installments over three, four, or five months, but you will pay more overall for these options. Then again, I think the Sziget prices are very affordable compared to what you pay for big festivals in Belgium, for example.
Alternatively, you can opt for a Sziget 3-day pass for 278 USD/260 EUR. If you’re short on time or just have a specific act in mind that you want to see, the Sziget ticket price for a single day is 91 USD/85 EUR.
Sziget day tickets are also a great option if you want to get a first taste of the festival but want to spend more time in the city center or pass through Budapest as part of a longer trip.
Your ticket includes basic camping, but it is a little complicated, so I have dedicated a section on camping at Sziget and other accommodation options below.
Sziget festival accommodation
The Sziget festival camping
Your festival ticket is also your Sziget camping ticket and allows you to camp on Sziget Island, but it does not guarantee you a space. If you rock up until the last minute, you might struggle to find somewhere to put your tent. There is a way to guarantee yourself a good camping spot.
The first way is to purchase a moving-in pass, which lets you move in before the festival starts (Monday or Tuesday) and costs 69 USD/65 EUR.
The second way to get a good camping spot is to upgrade your camping. There are several options for this, including buying a pre-pitched tent for two people for 144 USD/135 EUR, opting for a comfort tent, which comes with chairs, a table, and extra services, for 315 USD/295 EUR, and even booking a wooden hut to stay in rather than slumming it in a tent. However, be warned that a four-person wooden hut costs 1058 USD/990 EUR.
If you really want to splash out, you can always try glamping instead of camping. It will cost you a lot more than putting up a tent, but it will seriously improve your festival experience. You can choose between hotel rooms in containers, specially designed pods, belle pads (luxury tents), and more. There is even a VIP campsite with a swimming pool.
Staying in the city center
If you're not a fan of camping, like me, staying in the city center is also an option as there is plenty of accommodation near this Budapest festival. Just make sure to book something as soon as you know you're going because places fill up fast.
How to get to Sziget festival
Getting to Budapest
The cheapest way to travel to Budapest from abroad is by bus. There are direct buses to Hungary from lots of European countries, including France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Romania, Slovenia, Poland, Italy, and more.
Check out Flixbus for a complete map of their services in and out of Hungary. Flixbus offers long-distance bus travel at low prices.
For most of us, the easiest way to travel to Budapest is to fly there. Flights from all over the world fly into Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport. If you are flying from Europe, budget airlines such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Wizz Air, and Norwegian Air all have cheap, regular flights, and there are plenty of direct flights with more reputed airlines.
If you are coming from the US, you may need to make a layover in a larger European capital, such as London, Paris, or Amsterdam, before continuing your journey to Budapest.
If you're not a fan of flying, travel to Budapest by train. The city is well-connected, and trains come in frequently from popular cities such as Vienna, Munich, Zurich, Bratislava, Prague, Hamburg, and Berlin.
Trains are comfortable and often have sleeper berths for those who want to travel overnight.
From Budapest to Sziget
Getting to Sziget is pretty easy once you’re in Budapest. A shuttle is set up from Budapest airport to Sziget specifically to transport festival-goers. More information about this shuttle for the 2023 edition will be released by the festival organizers nearer the time.
From the Nyugati Pályaudvar train station, take the tram 4-6 to Margit Híd-Budai Hídfő. Then hop on the HEV (commuter train) to Filatorigát, the Sziget stop. Once you’re there, just follow the crowd.
From Keleti Pályaudvar or Déli Pályaudvar, go to Batthyányi Tér and then change onto the HEV to Filatorigát.
You can also get to the festival by boat – it is on an island after all. My Airbnb was just a few minutes walk from the boat terminal, and I took the boat to the festival site and back multiple times. It was slower, but it was more relaxed than crossing the bridge to take the train and then walking some more to get to the festival site.
If you plan on visiting Budapest before, during, or after the festival, you may want to invest in a Budapest Citypass. This card gives you unlimited travel on public transport, so you can use it to get to the festival once you’ve finished sightseeing. It also offers free entry into a dozen museums and some sweet restaurant discounts.
Get your Budapest CityCard here.
Good to know
During Sziget, you can get a special Budapest Citypass which is available for 3, 5, and 13 days. It's cheaper than the regular Budapest Citypass and has all the same benefits plus some extras such as free use of the extra Sziget boat service to the island and a shuttle from Budapest airport to the Sziget festival.
I received a 13-day CityCard from the Sziget press department and found it super handy because I didn't need to worry about getting transportation tickets.
It is also possible to get a 7- or 15-day TravelCard for public transportation, which is a good and much cheaper option if you plan to go to Sziget by metro/tram/train and don't need all the benefits of the CityCard. However, remember that this TravelCard is not valid on the extra Sziget boat service. You'll need to buy separate tickets for that one.
It was worth it for me to have the special Sziget city pass as my Airbnb was just a few minutes from the boat terminal, whereas I had to cross the bridge if I wanted to take the train.
What to pack for Sziget
As I stayed in the city, the below recommendations are for things you'll need while attending the festival, but they don't include camping gear.
- swimwear – there's a beach at Sziget!
- old sneakers
- waterproof shoes
- comfi trousers
- tops and t-shirts
- a sweatshirt or two – it can get chilly at night
- a rain jacket
- paper tissues
- lip balm
- a reusable water bottle – there are water stations at the festival grounds
- wet wipes
- a credit card – Sziget is a cashless festival
- your smartphone and charger
- a power bank
- ear plugs
- painkillers and bandages
- Strepsils – you'll be screaming for all those great bands :-)
- bug spray
- snacks – you can bring your own food and drinks, just no alcohol
Paying at Sziget
Sziget operates a cashless payment system, so you won’t need to worry about stuffing notes in your bra and socks. Instead, you’ll get a handy wristband that you can top up through an app on your phone.
Simply charge it up with the amount you think you’ll spend while you’re there. If you need more, just top it up again. Any remaining funds on your wristband are returned to you at the end of the festival.
You can pay using a contactless Mastercard card if you dislike wearing your money around your wrist. I always used my contactless Wise, formerly Transferwise card, but you can also use a regular credit card.
Have Fun at the Sziget Festival
That’s everything you need to know about Sziget.
There is something for everything at this Hungarian festival, whether you’re into mainstream music, indie artists, dancing, exciting workshops, or just want to have fun on your own, with friends, or with a group of like-minded strangers.
No matter what you decide to do, you won’t regret going to Sziget Festival.
Don't forget travel insurance
Festivals are great fun, but with the many people, lots of dancing, and unavoidable fatigue, something can always happen. You twist your ankle, lose your phone, or maybe your luggage never makes it, and you need to go shopping for a new festival outfit. In all of these cases, travel insurance can help.
Don't have travel insurance yet? SafetyWing offers super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip. On top of that, they were the first travel insurance to cover COVID, and when I got COVID, they reimbursed all of my expenses without making a fuss. Their customer support team is great, and I can personally recommend them.
PIN FOR LATER
I received a press ticket to attend the Sziget festival so I could share my experience at the festival here on the blog.