I’m going to Sziget Festival Budapest 2019! How’s that for a travel announcement? :) In my teens and early twenties, I used to go to several festivals every summer and then I somehow let life take over. But I never lost the love for a multi-day live music party and the Sziget Festival is one that lasts for seven days.
I’d already wanted to go for last year but it didn’t work out back then in terms of planning so this year I made sure I arranged everything on time – especially since Ed Sheeran is on the Sziget 2019 lineup and I love his music.
From August 7 until August 13, I’ll be listening to music performances, marvel at circus acts, and hopefully meet a bunch of new cool people. I’m working with the Sziget press office as I want to update this article to make it a handy Sziget festival guide once I get back, so they’re supporting me with Sziget 2019 tickets and flights.
When I’m back, I’ll tell you all about how it’s been but until then I want to provide you with the information you need to plan your own trip to Sziget 2019.
What is Sziget Festival Budapest all about?
Since the Sziget festival first took place in 1993, the festival has grown exponentially year on year and now it hosts hundreds of acts and brings in thousands of people from all over the world. Literally. I joined some Sziget festival Facebook groups and there are even people from New Zealand there who are going.
The Sziget music festival markets itself as being more than just your average music festival. Love and freedom are at the core of everything you will find here and while the music is important, these values take center stage.
In addition to music, Sziget embraces all forms of art and throughout the festival, you will come across art exhibitions, makeshift museums, circuses, theatres and more. Essentially, Sziget aims to cater to every taste, and this can be seen in the Sziget festival line-up – which I will talk about in more detail below.
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. This year, it has chosen Superar, an NGO that brings the power of music to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Sziget is also an eco-friendly festival and has implemented projects and ideas to make the event as green as possible.
Are you sold yet?
Sziget usually takes place in August. In 2019, the Sziget festival dates are from August 7 until August 13 included.
Sziget festival 2019 location
The Budapest 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. For seven days, it unofficially changes names and becomes the Island of Freedom.
If you’ve never been to Budapest you might want to 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 there is loads of public transport that will take you from the city center to the Sziget festival island and back. See below for more info on that.
Sziget festival lineup 2019
Jut some of the big names on the 2019 Sziget program are Foo Fighters, Ed Sheeran, Florence and the Machine, Post Malone, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, The 1975, and The National.
As you can already see from the Sziget headliners, Sziget offers a fantastic mix of genres, from indie to hip-hop, to house. The rest of the lineup is 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.
You can find the rest of the Sziget 2019 program, as well as more Sziget information on the official website.
Where to buy Sziget festival tickets
Where to get your Sziget festival tickets
Make sure to always 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 ticket :-)
The best place is the official Sziget festival website mentioned above.
Sziget festival ticket price
So how much are Sziget 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 7-day pass for €339.
If that’s too much to cough up all at once, there are options to pay in installments over 3, 4, or 5 months, but you will end up paying more overall for these options.
Alternatively, you can opt for a Sziget 5-day pass for €299 or 3-day pass for €219. If you’re really 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 €79.
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 if you’re passing through Budapest as part of a longer trip.
If you bought a Sziget early bird ticket, you could have gotten a Szitizen Prime ticket, which offers you a goodie bag with some branded merchandise in it along with your ticket. Unfortunately, early bird Sziget 2019 tickets have already sold out.
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. This means if you rock up last minute, you might struggle to find somewhere to put your tent. There are two ways to guarantee yourself a good camping spot.
The first way is to purchase one of two kinds of moving-in passes. The first kind lets you move in three days before the festival starts (Sunday instead of Wednesday) and costs €50, the other kind that lets you move in one day before (Tuesday) for €25.
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 €95, opting for VIP camping, which comes with a pool and extra services for €189, and even booking a wooden hut to stay in rather than slumming it in a tent. Be warned, however, that a wooden hut for four people costs €700.
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, bellepads (luxury tents) and more.
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 Sziget festival Budapest. Just make sure to book something as soon as you know that you’re going because places fill up fast.
I already snatched an Airbnb. Getting an apartment seemed to get me the most bang for my buck but if you’re really on a budget, staying at a hostel or getting an Airbnb room somewhere will be cheaper. If you want a bit more luxury, you can also look for hotels near Sziget festival Budapest.
If you’d like to try Airbnb but don’t have an account yet, you can sign up through my link to get a discount on your first stay.
I’d also recommend searching on Booking.com as there you can find hotel rooms but also apartments and hostels. Their filter options make it easy to find something to fit your needs and their handy map makes it easy to see how far away from the festival site you’d be staying.
How to get to Sziget festival
Getting to Budapest
The cheapest way to travel to Budapest from abroad is probably 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.
If you’re coming from Belgium or the Netherlands, Maximaltrips organizes a return bus trip specifically to Sziget.
The easiest way to travel to Budapest for most of us, 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 as well.
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. There is a shuttle set up from Budapest airport to Sziget specifically to transport festival-goers. More information about this shuttle 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. More details regarding boat transfers are to be released closer to the time so watch this space.
If you’re planning on visiting Budapest before going to the festival you may want to invest in a Budapest CityCard. This card gives you unlimited travel on public transport, so you can use it to get to the festival once you’ve finished sight-seeing. It also grants you free entry into a dozen museums and gives you some sweet restaurant discounts.
Get your Budapest CityCard here.
What to pack for Sziget
The below items have been recommended to me by previous Szitizens and include what I’ll be taking to Sziget. This is just for the festival site, as I booked an apartment in the city center and won’t be camping.
- old sneakers
- waterproof shoes
- comfi trousers
- tops and t-shirts
- a sweatshirt or two
- a rain jacket
- paper tissues
- lip balm
- a reusable water bottle
- wet wipes
- toilet paper
- credit card
- smartphone and charger
- a power bank
- ear plugs
- painkillers and bandages
- bug spray
What not to pack for Sziget
Sziget is a liberal festival but there are some obvious things you are not allowed to bring. Drugs and alcohol are forbidden but you can buy alcohol at the festival site – you’ll just need to pay a bit more for it.
You’re also not allowed to bring fireworks (duh), glass, cutting tools, general dangerous items, and blades longer than 8cm.
This hopefully all makes sense. What might come as more of a surprise is the festival’s ban on umbrellas. This is presumably so you don’t poke someone’s eye out in the crowd. Just bring a raincoat instead.
Finally, don’t bring a gas cooker or heater. You’re not allowed to cook at the festival for safety reasons but there are loads of places to buy food on-site.
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.
If you don’t like the idea of wearing your money around your wrist, you can also pay using a contactless Mastercard card. This works just like using a debit or credit card in normal life.
Sziget festival aftermovie
Are you in the mood yet? Still deciding Then maybe last year’s aftermovie might help your mind.
And that’s it for now! Once I’ve been to Sziget, I’ll make sure to update this post with notes from my own experience there.
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