The Travel 2
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We visited Hungary during one of its most hectic weeks throughout the year. Budapest was storming with tourists, simply because it was the second week of August. A lot of people are off work, and students are on their summer break. However, August is a great month to visit Hungary not just for the nice weather. Sziget is also the name of a yearly festival, that goes on for approximately 8 days, starting from the second week of August. Like other festivals, you can stay for a whole week, or opt to visit for a couple of days.
Our main idea for our Hungary trip was to explore Budapest, so it was best for us to get the one-day passes to Sziget festival.
Amazing fact: Sziget means island in Hungarian. Sziget island has no habitants, and in winter is transformed in a normal park where you can enjoy a stroll (similar to Margit island).
Getting to the island is not a difficult feat. We hopped onto the tram, which took us to Budapest’s main train station, and after got a train from there. After your stop, you will need to walk about 10 more minutes to arrive at the festival. No need for a GPS. Just follow the line. Getting public transport to get to Sziget island, and back, might be the best idea to reach the island.
Since we are talking about an island, public transport does not drop you off exactly at Sziget’s entrance, apart from the water ferry… Although we did see a couple of bicycles and bikes parked outside the island’s entrance.
TIP: Budapest’s trams are not registered on Google maps. Because of this, Google maps will suggest alternate routes and transport, which most of the time might mean that you’re not going for the easiest, or cheapest route. However, there are a couple of transport-related apps which are helpful when it comes to planning your route.
At the festival you will need to transfer some money on a Sziget pay card; unless you own a Master Card. You can transfer the money right after you exchange your Sziget ticket for a wristband. However, you can also top up your Sziget pay card once you’re in. We found a huuuge queue at the first ‘money’ booth at the festival, which would be the one next to the main entrance. We thought that was the only place that we could affect a transaction, and so we queued and transferred the money there and then.
Instead, we suggest you wait, enter the festival, and do the transaction then. There are more ‘money’ booths on the island, and they will hardly have any queues. At the end of our day we had some lingering money on our Sziget pay card. We went back to one of the ‘money’ booths, and transferred the money back to my VISA without any problems.
Food stalls are everywhere around the island. You can buy paellas, burgers, hot dogs and also different types of pasta. There’s a large selection of food for vegetarians as well. Having said this, food on the island might be a bit on the pricey side, and we noticed that a lot of ‘Szigetens’ leave the island to get groceries from a nearby supermarket or shop.
Since we spent just one day there, we took some snacks and a packed lunch with us. You are allowed to enter the island with food, drinks, and also alcohol. We bought dinner from a burger food stall on the island, and it was not bad, but the portion was not enough to satisfy our hunger. We also bought a portion of pasta which had an awful sauce, and was definitely not worth the money.
Conclusion – Should You Go To SZIGET Festival?
Sziget festival was our first experience at a festival of this sort. Theoretically, we do not have any other experiences to compare this with, but I believe that you know a good thing when you see it. We enjoyed our day to the full. Our one-day pass was somewhere around €70, and it was worth the money (considering our overall experience, and keeping in mind that we saw 4 acts). Likes and dislikes depend on what you’re after, but all we can say to that is that we went without any expectations, and were definitely impressed.
Things to consider if staying for a whole week:
- If you’re going to camp, think ahead regarding bad weather. Take suitable raincoats and wellies, as well as other waterproof camping gear.
- Do take your bathing suit, sun lotion and a beach towel. When the weather is favourable, everyone will come out of their camps to sunbathe, and a quick dip in the Danube river will be in place.
- Take ear plugs and an eye mask.
- The showers and public facilities were super clean. However, I suggest you take instant shampoo and wet wipes. They should do the trick if you’d need a quick fix.
So, without further ado, here’s this year’s Sziget website. We booked our tickets online, and it was super easy to be admitted in. If you are thinking about getting them tickets, you should also download the Sziget app. It keeps you updated with whatever’s happening on the day, and you’ll receive notifications with any changes in the schedule(s). The app is also great to help you keep track of the (contactless) paying system they have everywhere around the island (using the Sziget pay card mentioned before).
We had an awesome experience on the island, and seeing some amazing acts on that day was truly the cherry on the cake. We witnessed Iggy Azalea, Galantis, and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Here are some more memories of that day…
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