Budapest's streets will soon be filling up with music lovers and revellers, as the 22nd annual Sziget Festival is held this August in the city. From 11th -18th August, Sziget – which means island in Hungarian - takes over Óbudai-sziget (Old Buda Island), a 266-acre island on the Danube. One of the largest music festivals in Europe, Sziget usually draws around 400,000 visitors looking for big name bands and culture in one of Europe's prettiest cities.
Sziget has been called the “European Glastonbury”, as the festival has eight stages, attracting plenty of big name pop and rock acts. Headliners this year include Outkast, Blink-182, Macklemore, Ryan Lewis, Calvin Harris, Manic Street Preachers and Queens of the Stone Age.
With the tag line “Island of Freedom”, there's much more than just music at the festival. There's a beach where you can drink cocktails and lounge in the sun on deckchairs and the Sziget Eye, a giant ferris wheel from which you can view the entire site.
Further highlights include Magic Mirror, Sziget's dedicated zone for queer culture, hosting discussions, performances, workshops and more, plus Sziget ArtZone, where you can create, make and learn about art.
How to get to Sziget
Sziget is easily accessible from the centre of Budapest, so why not pair your festival visit with a Big Bus Tour? Travelling from Nyugati train station (stop 17) to the main entrance to the festival at Mozaik Utca takes just 28 minutes on public transport. The Budapest underground system is the second oldest in Europe, established in 1896, so you'll experience a little piece of history on your journey to the festival.
Budapest is famous for its thermal spring water. The Gellért Baths, stop 10 on your Budapest Big Bus Tour, are a wonderful place to rejuvenate. Built in the Art Nouveau style, it's the grandest bath you'll ever take, and works wonders for all manner of aches and pains.
Margaret Island (stop 16) is another lovely place to relax. A green oasis just down the river from Sziget, it's a popular location for cycling, swimming and sunbathing, with shaded walkways, spas and ruins.
Budapest has a long, fascinating history and a rich culture, which you can explore when you hop-off your Big Bus Tour. The Grand Synagogue (stop 5) is the largest in Europe. Built in the Moorish style, it's well worth a visit for its Jewish Cemetery and Memorial, a moving reminder that Dohány Street on which the synagogue stands was, during the Holocaust, the border of Budapest's Jewish ghetto. Heroes' Square (stop 26) hosts the Museum of Fine Arts and has an important place in Hungarian history.
If you're worn out from partying, remember that the Big Bus Tour of Budapest includes a free river cruise. Relax and enjoy the views - Parliament, Fisherman's Bastion, the Chain Bridge and the National Theatre all look wonderful from the Danube.