Sziget festival is an annual music festival which is held in the beautiful city of Budapest in Hungary. It sits the island of Obuda, which turns into an island of freedom and music heaven for seven days quenching all kinds of festival-goers thirst.
It attracts people from all over the world, who are all there for the high quality music and to create new magical experiences, whether that’s a new culture, meeting new friends or creating special memories with friends.
What’s even more amazing is that it’s held in Budapest and you get the chance to explore an incredible city. It’s a gorgeous city with plenty of things to do, it also has something for everyone. It’s suitable for a long weekend break or if you want a nice relaxation down the Danube.
This Sziget, Budapest travel guide will hopefully explain how to perfectly enjoy Sziget festival and answer any of your questions. It’s also a travel guide on visiting Budapest, so even if you’re not here for the festival you can find some ideas of things to do here.
We’ve been to Sziget festival twice and now we can’t imagine a summer without it. What’s not to love about this festival? Easily accessible, amazing weather, cheap alcohol, world famous artists providing a range of genres.
There is something for everyone at this festival. Known as the ‘island of freedom’, you’ll immediately understand why. As soon as you enter, there are so many activities and things to do for you to choose from. We’ve walked around the island on a number of occasions and always find something new going on.
There’s so many food and drink places to choose from, a supermarket, so many different music tents and local culture activities taking place. They have whacky traditions born in Hungary on show, a circus, a rodeo. The list is actually endless and you will discover something new each visit which will make you fall in love with this place.
When is it and what’s the weather like?
Firstly, Budapest is great to visit all year round, even in the winter. Items are cheap and it’s easily accessible. The festival usually takes place in the first week of August, starting from the Wednesday all the way to Tuesday. During summer though, which is when the festival is on, you will find consistent temperatures of 30 degrees and higher. In 2019, we had days which reached 36 degrees.
Obviously that can be unbearable at times, so you will have to bring suncream for sure. Having said that, it’s also wise to bring waterproofs just in case of a storm. This has happened on each year for us, luckily we found shelters in a tent but they quickly fill up and you may be left outside to drench.
How to get there
Hopefully this Sziget festival, Budapest guide will answer some of your questions. The festival is based in the city of Budapest, further north on the Óbuda Island, which is on the river Danube. It usually falls in the middle of our summer travels so it depends where we currently are in Europe on how we get there.
Budapest has a huge airport, which has flight connections with many major cities so it is easy to get to, however we also like to work out the cheapest option. We don’t always fly direct to Budapest or fly from there to our next destination after the festival. In Central Europe, you’ll find other nearby airports which could save you lots of money. We use skyscanner to assess the prices and also use it to find nearby airports.
Therefore, check other nearby airports such as Vienna, Bratislava as you can get a Flix bus from these cities to Budapest for much cheaper. If you don’t mind a long ride on the bus, then you can even check further cities such as Belgrade and Zagreb which takes around 4-5 hours on a flixbus. Omio is another useful bus company which you can use to get to Budapest. Last year we visited Lake Bled in Slovenia and got a bus from Ljubljana straight to the festival. You can check our travel routes here.
Where to stay In Budapest
As part of this Sziget, Budapest guide we hope to give you the perfect location of where to stay. The festival runs for 7 days (Wednesday – Tuesday) and offers camping, however in a near average temperature of 35 degrees daily, that sounds like torture to me, maybe it’s my age showing. Camping offers and information can be found here.
Staying away from the festival gives you a chance to also explore Budapest, which is what we recommend. The first time we stayed here we were a bit out of town for the festival but still had an amazing time. It required a couple of metro/bus rides and usually a ferry which wasn’t ideal. The year after, we were much wiser and made sure our stay was close to Oktogon (a main area of the city) for convenience.
We had a nice central location and only had to get a 5-minute metro to Jászi Mari Tér, where we could then get a 30-minute ferry to the festival. Be wary though, the queues for the ferry can be enormous which can leave you baking in the sun, sometimes there is no escape on the ferry either with not all of them having AC. Tip – You can take alcohol with you on the ferry for pre-drinks but not into the festival.
What’s at the festival
Back to the fun…
The festival itself is amazing. Purchasing drinks at the festival is much cheaper than UK festivals (around £1 a pint), which means you don’t actually need to pre-drink. There is so much quality food choice to keep you filled up throughout the day, you won’t know where to start. Our personal favourite was Burrito del Diablo. The layout of the festival, makes it easy for you to work out where you need to go. We can’t recommend this festival enough.
You will find:
- Boat parties
- Foam parties
- After parties
- Theme parties
- A range of music genres
- Fairground rides
- Arts & crafts and many more which can be found here.
You’ll find that a lot of Budapest is shaded from the buildings which makes walking around okay despite temperatures being 30+ degrees each day. We bought a city pass from the Sziget festival website which was brilliant as we had access to all public transport whenever we needed, aswell as access to transport to the festival and back. The city pass access also gives access to use one of the famous thermal spas for free. We found this pass to be a must when visiting the city and you can buy it here.
We used the Széchenyi thermal spa as part of the deal with the pass. We had no idea what we were doing when arriving and the queues were very busy. Thankfully, after some time we managed to get in, however there was no chance of a sun bed and the place was very busy. This didn’t affect our experience, we found a place to dump our stuff and get in the spa. We definitely recommend going here for a time of relaxation, get there early if you want a sun lounger. You can find a whole list of places to visit on the Sziget website here.
Other areas of interest
We find our energy to explore the city whilst the festival is on limited, but if you do want to explore this beautiful city then there is plenty of choice. You can visit historic building such as Fisherman’s Bastion, Buda Castle, Parliament House. These look especially nice at night alongside the Chain Bridge which stand out when lit up.
Furthermore, there are also many Ruin Pubs scattered around the city in what look like deserted buildings. These unusual bars offer an edgy vibe with comfortable but worn out furniture. Popular ones include Instant, Fogas Ház, Kuplung and Szimpla. If you get the chance to visit Budapest then definitely go, ideally go during Sziget festival.
Finally, Hungary is located in Central Europe which means there are many countries and cities located nearby. Budapest is perfect to travel to if visiting a nearby city or if you want to visit another city after it. Check out our Travel Routes page to see where we visited before and after our trip here. If you get the opportunity, this festival and city are a must-visit.
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