Everything you need to know to enjoy Sziget Festival
Sziget has just started, and the first day is already sold out, most likely because of Ed Sheeran's performance. The festival lasts until 13 August, there is a Ferris-wheel, Auchan prepared for the arrival of partygoers with their own DJ, and getting our money back from the FestiPay wristbrands will finally be a tad bit easier this year. We took a walk on the Óbuda Island, and gathered all the info you will need to enjoy your time on Sziget.
How do I get there?
The easiest way is the H5 suburban railway line, which was put on a tighter schedule. The stop you will need to watch for is "Filatorigát." During the festival, H5 will even be operational at night, there will be trains every 15 minutes on the section between the Batthyány Square and Aquincum stops. You can access H5 by subway line M2, tram lines 4-6 and 1, or tram lines 19 and 41 if you approach from Southern Buda. The night tram services on Budapest's Grand Boulevard will also run on a tighter schedule, and night bus services 901 and 918 will operate with higher capacity vehicles. BKK launched a special boat service for the time of the festival, you can take it at Jászai Mari square, the only other stop is Sziget, you can find its timetable here. If you use tram line 4-6, do not forget:
It only operates from the Corvin-negyed stop to the Buda side of Margit Bridge.
You can buy tickets for public transportation in BKK's purple vending machines all over Budapest, and at the BKK customer service point near K-Bridge, the main entrance to Sziget. It's easy to notice as it is an old, repurposed bus. Ticket vendors there speak several foreign languages.
If you prefer to take a taxi, the official provider of Sziget is City Taxi - that means they are the only ones who can take you onto the island, Budapest Taxi and Főtaxi only take you to K-Bridge. Their rate is universally 300 Ft (~€1)/km with an added 700 Ft (~€2.33) basic fee.
If you arrive by car, you can find the official guarded parking lot at Szentendrei road 107-113, where a 10-day pass is €95, or the unguarded parking lot at Bojtár street 51, where 10 days costs you €75 - at the latter one, there is a free one-time return shuttle service to the festival area, though the organisers are asking everyone not to come by car.
There is a direct transfer bus from Budapest Airport to Sziget, its timetables are here. It's a non-stop service, buses are leaving every 40 minutes. You can use this transfer service and all other forms of public transportation (except for 100E) for free with a City Pass, which also grants you discounts to several museums, to Lupa-beach, and a free one-time pass to a Budapest spa. You can buy a CityPass in person at the Liszt Ferenc Airport Terminals 2A and 2B, at Keleti railway station (at the tourist information centre), at Akvárium club on Deák Ferenc Square, or at any BKK sales points.
How do I get in?
Coming from the Filatorigát stop of H5, you can enter the festival area through K-Bridge, or through the H-bridge if you took the airport transfer. If you take the Sziget boat service, don't worry either - there is an entry point at the dock as well. Try going there early if you want to get in on time, as checking in takes time. If you did not get your wristband beforehand, you'll have to take your ID or passport with you, as they are necessary for checking in. But the challenges do not end with getting your wristband, you will need to get through the security checkpoint too: A limited amount of food and 2.5 litres of non-alcoholic beverages are allowed, but security will ruthlessly confiscate any alcoholic drinks, umbrellas, or potentially dangerous objects.
As we mentioned above, Tuesday's already sold out, however, you can still buy one-day tickets for all the other days. You can get tickets, passes, and camping tickets on location and online, and we would suggest the second option, as getting in (without standing in the queue for tickets) will take around half an hour or more as it is. One more thing:
Only buy tickets from official sources or services that generate a new voucher (such as ticketswap),
as there are already fraudsters selling fake tickets, despite it being only the first day.
You will need to sleep too, every now and again
There are several types of accommodation available at Sziget, but most are already sold out. There are still camping lots and pre-pitched tents available at the Apero Camping (where they speak English and French as well), in Bridge Camping, in the Glamping Podpads village, and in the Eco Camping. Most campings have a reception, showers, toilets, safe deposit boxes, and Wi-Fi for free, but you have to pay for charging your phone in all of them, except for Eco Camping.
You can still rent tents and portable chargers, but Sziget is all out of rentable sleeping bags, yoga mats, and blankets. If you want to find accommodation outside the festival area, it's worth taking a look at Airbnb, Booking, Trivago, or Szállás.hu.
Daytime temperatures will be around 30°C all week, and temperatures will only dip 10°C lower at night, so don't forget your summer clothes and bathing suits. You might need a sweater at night, but lighter sleeping bags will be more than enough. So far, it seems rain is not to be expected.
When you're in and your tent is up,
Then you can visit all the locations and the various venues: the Main Stage and the A38 Stage are at the centre of the festival area, and Magic Mirror, House of Hungarian Music, and the SlágerFM stages are more towards the edges. You can check the line-ups at each venue here, and you can find a handy map here.
Food and drinks are sold all over the place, but you can find a larger food court near the left side of the main stage: A hamburger is around 2000 Ft, they ask 1150 Ft for a hot-dog, a gyros will cost you anywhere from 2000 to 3000, and a large slice of pizza is 1100 Ft. Drinks cost the same everywhere, but apart from buying canned or bottled beverages, you will need to get a reusable cup for them by putting down a 450 Ft deposit first.
- Dreher beer on tap is 750 FT, 850 in a can, and the alcohol-free version is 650.
- Wines cost 470 Ft/dl, a spritzer (fröccs) is 670 Ft.
- Beverages cost anywhere from 510 to 570 Ft, water is 490 Ft/bottle.
- Coctails range from 2000 to 4000, and you can buy a 2-litre cocktail bucket from 10,000 to 16,000 Ft.
Payment is cashless, you can either use your own contactless card or you will need to get a wristband which you will have to top up. You can do that through Sziget's app (available for iOS and Android) or at top-up points at the festival. Getting your money back from the wristband will be easier this year - after Sziget raked in around a 100 million Forints last year from non-refunded wristband balances, they decided to improve their system. Money loaded onto your wristband online will be way easier to get back. If you go to the top-up points, you will still have to get in line on the way out.
Another thing to watch: FestiPay terminals have a 10% tip as default, but you can set how much you'd like to tip anywhere from 0-20%.
Sziget, the city within the city
Besides the music blaring from the speakers, the beer in your reusable cup, and the food on your paper plate and on the end of your wooden fork, there are many other things waiting for you at Sziget, such as:
- Sziget's very own Aldi grocery store, where you can buy water by the carton, and even raw meat which they will happily grill for you,
- Two tobacco stores - one near K-Bridge, the other right next to the Aldi,
- A beach near Siesta Camping, where you can bathe in the Danube,
- You can get a tattoo that costs around 22-45,000 Forints, or henna, if you want something less permanent and way cheaper,
- You can try boxing for 600 Ft,
- There is a festival shop near Magic Mirror where they sell chargers, tents, sunscreen, and everything else you could possibly need,
- If merch is boring, there are Tom and Jerry and zombie masks, bunny ears, costumes, and whatever else necessary for partying in proper style.
- If all of that is not enough for you, you can take a ride on the Ferris-wheel for 2800 Forints.
This article is a slightly edited translation of the original published in Hungarian by Index.
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