13 Survival Tips for Your First Time at Sziget Festival

I was like Simba in the ravine on my first day at Sziget, there were people coming at me from everywhere. I couldn’t quite get my head around the Sziget payment system and I definitely hadn’t had as much to drink as some of the people I saw strewn around the site.

As I got to know the festival and people had obviously got over the excitement of arriving at Sziget, I got in the swing of things. I want to help you avoid that initial WTF? stage and get straight in there to the good vibes and great feelings I ended up getting from the festival.

1. Dress for warm, cold and rain

Sziget Festival tips

The temperature suddenly drops in the evening and you’re going to want something warm, no matter what the weather was like in the day. During the week I was at Sziget it rained (torrentially), was scorching hot, freezing cold and at time just ‘nice’. Pretty much like being in England actually.

READ MORE: What to Wear to Festivals

2. Don’t stress about money

The price of things is confusing, yes. My advice would be just to hand your Sziget payment card over and be done with it. If you think too much into all those zeros you will literally blow your own mind. All the drinks are around the same price – cheap. If you want super cheap go local (beer and unicum), and stick with pizza for the best satiation for your forint.

3. Take trainers or CAT boots

Sziget Festival tips

Even when it was raining it was too hot for wellies. I ended up wearing trainers every day, despite taking an array of planned flip flops for a few reasons:

  • Too many people in an enclosed space is not good for your toes.
  • Some areas were really muddy.
  • You’re standing around a lot.
  • It was cold at night.
  • They’re comfy and protective.

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tips for sziget festival

4. You can smuggle in booze

Apart from the first day they seemed pretty chill on the door, although they did have a quick glance in my bag to show willing. You can definitely smuggle in a hipflask or two, or try one of my many other ways to smuggle booze into a festival. So long as you didn’t have crates of the stuff they didn’t seem to mind.

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Check out the Food at Sziget Festival

5. You can pre drink right up to the gate

Sziget Festival tips

The route from the tram to the entrance gate was littered with people knocking back drinks. Although from what I heard and what I suspect, not many Brits were involved. For us, the drink inside was so cheap it wasn’t worth it. For the Hungarians however, the drinks were four-fold the prices they were used to.

6. You don’t have to camp

Yes, camping is fun and you’re definitely deeper in on the festival action, but there’s so much cheap accommodation in Budapest you really don’t have to put yourself through this. Trust me, I love camping, but I really don’t think I could’ve done the 8 nights at Sziget. With the whole spectrum of weather to deal with, the 415,000 people and the crammed in feral tents… no thanks.

I got an apartment with my friend in Buda. It was £10 each per night and door to door from the festival it was 30-40 minutes.

Some of our friends pitched a tent at the Sziget site, which they said was still 40 minutes from the main stage. The crafty fellas also got a cheapo apartment in town though, so depending on how their night went, they could choose where to sleep.

READ MORE: Beauty Tips for Festivals

7. The food is brilliant

tips for Sziget Festival

You don’t have to worry about taking camping equipment to cook, or anything like that. The food at Sziget was plentiful and cheap, for Brits coming from the pound anyway. It might be nice to have a few cereal bars and dried fruit, but you can easily get into Budapest for cheap supplies. The nearest supermarket would be about 20 minutes on the tram, or there’s one on site too.

Top tip: don’t try and eat between 6-8pm from the festival stalls, it all gets a bit crazy at feeding time. Tell your stomach it can wait another few hours.

Phwoooarrr, Check Out the Food at Sziget Festival!

8. Everyone is really friendly

As I said, at first I was overwhelmed by the people but I soon got to realise it was a really friendly festival. People are here from all over the world – usually with their patriotic flag across their back – and everyone just wants to have fun.

Chat to people, be nice, make friends, don’t get angry with pushing people at the main stage and you’ll have a great old time.

9. Don’t just stay at the main stage

Sziget Festival tips

Around 75% of my Sziget was spent at the main stage but it was actually when we went about off-piste that we had the most fun. We wanted to see a lot of the headliners, that’s cool, but the main stage was just so, so busy you couldn’t enjoy being in with the crowd.

When we went to the Stonehenge Stage, the Irish Stage or the Village Stage we had a great time dancing around to whatever it was they were playing up there. I’d definitely recommend you get out more.

cool things to do in budapest

10. Take a look around in the day

This is something I would’ve liked to do more of. And I guess is one of the few benefits of camping. There’s a whole schedule of cool stuff going on in the day time. Unfortunately the earliest I ever managed to make it in was about 4pm for the bands. If I went again I’d definitely try to make the most out of this.

11. Time your visit to the Sky Bar well

tips for Sziget Festival

The Sziget Sky Bar goes 50m above the ground, giving awesome views to be enjoyed with a cocktail of your choice. If you want to give it a go, you need to time it well. Thankfully for us we just caught the end of the Outkast set, but the people behind us would’ve gone up there to see, nothing.

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tips for sziget festival

12. Buy the Sziget-Budapest Citypass

With all the tram travel I did, and the Budapest activities during and after the festival I definitely would’ve saved money by getting this. You can buy the pass for 2 or 13 days and it covers all transport, discounted spa and beach entrance, free shuttles passes, free boat passes and other discounts throughout Budapest too. It starts from 12euros.

13. Learn some Hungarian

Sziget Festival

Just knowing a few words seemed to work wonders with the bar staff. They’ve got a tough job behind the bar trying to work out what all the different nationalities want from them. Showing some sort of effort to communicate in their language was appreciated, or at least the probable mispronunciation made them smile.

  • Two beers – két sört
  • Two wines – két bor
  • Please – kérem
  • Thank you –  köszönöm
  • Cheers – Egészségedre!
  • Goodbye – búcsú

Stay in Budapest, it’s awesome!

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Sziget Festival in reviewFirst day at Sziget Festival

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  1. by Jade Lee Wright on October 6, 2014  2:49 pm Reply

    Haha different currencies is always a confuckulation for me - so I completely agree, as long as you know you aren't getting completely and entirely ripped off - just go with it!

    I featured you and a couple of other really inspiring travel bloggers in my latest travel post - hope that's OK! xxxx


    • by Vicky on October 8, 2014  2:17 pm Reply

      'Confuckulation'? Love it. Thanks for the mention, and you got off lightly not meeting up with that Chris from Backpacker Banter. He'd have you drinking triple Jack Daniels on the rocks in no time!

  2. by Joe on February 3, 2015  4:05 pm Reply

    I think this year might be our first time at Sziget, so this might just come in handy! Did you ever make it to Roskilde in Denmark? If not, check it out here: http://catchmercurial.com/roskilde/

    • by Vicky on February 6, 2015  7:15 am Reply

      No! I really want to though. I'd probably go this year in fact but a selfish friend has booked her wedding that weekend, and I'm bridesmaid so I can't bail :)

  3. by Joe on February 6, 2015  8:20 am Reply

    Argh, so inconsiderate... I'll try to enjoy for you!

    • by Vicky on February 6, 2015  10:30 am Reply

      Ha, thanks!

  4. by Katechka on August 25, 2015  2:21 pm Reply

    Very good article with valuable tips! I went to Sziget in 2014 and loved it so much that I returned in 2015. If you want to read how it was this year, check out my gateway: http://www.katechka.com/sziget-festival-gateway/

  5. by Lilla on April 19, 2016  5:04 pm Reply

    It was an awesome article! I myself am a huge fan if Sziget, and considering that i live in Budapest it is really in every way the best for me.
    Besides that, i could understand the bartenders' smiles - goodbye is not 'búcsú' it's viszlát. :) (but every effort made is appreciated, its meaning is nearly similar)

    • by Vicky on April 20, 2016  8:13 pm Reply

      Sziget was crazy! Are you going again this year?

  6. by Dario on May 22, 2016  6:09 pm Reply

    thank you for doing this. i might go to budapest in 2017. it will be my second festival and i am shure i am going to survive it thanks to you. <3

    espacially the part with the payment system is important. thanks a lot!

    english is not my native language. i am sorry for every mistake :)

    • by Vicky on May 23, 2016  2:46 am Reply

      Ah I hope you make it there – it was a fun week! Let me know if you have any more questions or anything. I'd love to help out :)

  7. by Alisha on July 19, 2016  6:02 pm Reply

    Hey i'm going to Sziget this summer! Just wondering, do you have to top up your festival card with cash you already have? and does it have to be in the Hungarian currency or can it be a different currency?

    • by Vicky on July 22, 2016  6:11 am Reply

      I seem to remember that you could do it direct from your card but it might help to have some forints just in case it doesn't work. :)

  8. by Kathe on July 22, 2016  9:27 pm Reply

    Hi guys!
    how about toilets? it's crucial for me :D are there nice clean sweet smelling flushing toilets? (please pleeaasee say yes :D )
    Aand another question...do you think it's safe to stay alone in a tent? Thank you :) (maybe other questions are coming :D )

    • by Vicky on July 24, 2016  8:25 pm Reply

      Errrmmm, I think "nice clean sweet smelling flushing toilets" is quite a big ask, and I'm pretty sure you're not going to find them at Sziget I'm afraid. I don't remember them being too bad, but then they definitely weren't the best either. Yes, you should be fine. Are you going alone or just sleeping in your tent alone? As soon as you start putting locks on things people know you have something good to hide.

  9. by Olaf on July 25, 2016  10:20 am Reply

    hi, what about money over there? do they accept Euro or should I convert them to Forint?

    • by Vicky on July 25, 2016  1:06 pm Reply

      You'll need forints, but have you read my article on money at Sziget Festival? It operates differently...


  10. by Bernardine Bugeja on January 20, 2017  11:45 pm Reply

    Good evening, thanks alot for this helpful article a found it very useful. I am going for the first time this year to sziget festival and i have no idea what to get etc.... i was going to buy the vip area since they have clean showers and clean toilets (they said) since we were going to camp there for a whole week. As for our belongings, will it be a bad idea locking the tent? Are there any securities there?
    Hope to jear from you soon and thanks in advance :)

    • by Vicky on January 31, 2017  1:26 pm Reply

      Yeah, I think locking the tent is a bad idea. It makes it look like you have something worth stealing in there. Sometimes you can get lockers – have a look out for those. Otherwise it could be worth renting a small apartment between you, as well as camping, so you have somewhere to go in the day. The year I went was a rainy mud bath but I think usually it's a sweat box. It's not too far from Budapest city centre so you can totally go and wash at the public swimming pool too :)

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