Balaton Sound Review: A European Electric Music Fesitval

balaton music festival

Welcome to Balaton Sound, one of Europe's largest open air electric music festivals, with DJs from all around the world. Set in one of Hungary's most beautiful locations - on the banks of the gigantic Lake Balaton, which is so big it's affectionately nicknamed the Hungarian Sea. [This post was last updated on the 16th of September, 2023.]

Our Review of Balaton Sound Music Festival

Balaton Sound runs for five nights, you can stay for all five or just opt for one night. I went on the last night and I'll be honest with you - up until this point I hadn't heard of Balaton Sound and I didn't know it was one of Europe's largest open air music festivals. All I knew was that my fellow blogging friend, American Dave, had been gifted tickets in return for a blog post. So I reached out to them and they gave me VIP tickets in return for a blog post too.

balaton festival hungary

Although this thus has the potential to be a very one-sided and biased blog post about Balaton Sound, I can tell you up-front: it isn't. I had a fun time, yes, but there were downsides too and I will tell you about them. I'm not here to curry favour with some company that's probably not going to read this post anyway. And even if they did, my integrity means more to me than money (plus they didn't pay me lol). Put frankly, I'm in the position of having tried the tickets, and I'm allowed to be honest. Because I want to give you, dear reader, an honest view (from my perspective) because that's what I'd like to read in your position.

Location: Balaton Sound Is At... Lake Balaton!

First things first, Balaton Sound is right on Lake Balaton which is a really big plus in my books. It's one of Hungary's main and most beautiful attractions, which means you can 'tick seeing that off' at the same time as experiencing a music festival abroad. It also means that you can go swimming anytime you like - another big plus in my books as I often get overheated and over-stimulated (and, let's face it, stinky) at festivals. The solution? Fresh water swimming.

lake balaton festival

This was my first time visiting the 'Hungarian Sea' and I was happy I finally had an 'excuse' to visit. I arrived by train (with my Interrail pass) and the lake really does go on for miles and miles, like... a sea (the German name for Balaton is 'Plattensee').

balaton hungary festival

Despite the fact it rained a little bit in the evening, the weather was really really great - Hungary gets HOT in the summer, which meant we could walk around all night without being cold. I sound like an old woman... but if you've been to festivals in certain countries, *cough UK cough* you'll know how terrible it can be to be at a festival in rainy weather. This is not like that. The weather is great.

Stages And Acts

balaton lake festival

With music playing from 10 in the morning until 6 in the morning on ten different stages at Balaton Sound, there is something for everyone - as long as everyone likes electric. Which I'm not that interested in really lol. I mean it's an electric festival so I'm assuming if you're interested than of course you like electric. Some of the stages were GIGANTIC - like the main stage where we saw Marshmello! (Who was the only artist I knew and at that I only know one song lol.)

balaton sound festival

There was another stage (the Telekom Arena) which was completely undercover. (Great for if it rains.)

balaton sound accommodation

Some stages were smaller - perfect for dancing and chatting to people: we even bumped into a Hungarian YouTuber here!

balaton music festival review

The best thing about it is the range of different styles, if you're bored with one you can visit another.

review of balaton festival hungary

There was even a foam party at one stage - really at Balaton Sound you can expect to find anything and everything you might be looking for at a hedonistic electronic music festival.

lake balaton festival tips and advice

Which includes a big wheel, a zip-line and a bungee jump!

guide to balaton hungary festival

But it didn't just stop at the stages, even when you were just walking between the stages you could expect to find something super cool, perhaps a trope of people on stilts:

balaton lake festival review

a strange other-wordly jellyfish march:

review of balaton sound festival

or perhaps an awesome walking marching band:

balaton sound accommodation

These guys were my favourite - they were so talented! And if memory serves, my favourite stage was a small one where they played 90s and early 2000 hits (which are still really popular in Hungary, retro radio big time!) 

Having VIP Passes at Balaton Sound

lake balaton music festival

We had VIP passes and they were totally worth it! Firstly, we had the best view of the main stage (aka we were higher up, especially important for shorties like me).

lake balaton festival hungary

When it started to rain we were the only ones under shelter. Okay it only rained for like 20 minutes but it was great to be under-cover.

music festival at lake balaton

We had clean toilets and no queues. This is a massive bonus. Probably the biggest bonus actually. One of the things that I hate the most about festivals is gross toilets, and with the VIP passes this was not an issue.

Food at Balaton Sound

I've been vegan for a couple of years now - actually, it was travelling to foreign countries and seeing various cuisines that made me go vegan - and Hungary is, admittedly, the land of lard, sour cream, eggs and bacon. So before the festival, I was wondering... am I gonna be okay? Well, surprise! There's a thriving vegan scene in Hungary apparently (one might wanna check out the FB group Vegan in Hungary for further info).

music festivals at lake balaton

I was impressed by the food options at Balaton Sound. There was a lot of choice and considering it was a festival, the prices were very very reasonable. Budapest is a very vegan friendly city with lots of great vegan restaurants. Hungary as a whole isn't too bad - all the cities have at least one vegan restaurant, but out in the sticks it can be a bit harder.

balaton hungarian festival

I was expecting us to struggle at Balaton Sound and end up living on chips. But I was delighted to find falafel and hummus at many stalls and ecstatic to discover a whole vegan stall - the food at Vegan Love was incredible!

Accommodation At Balaton Sound

Balaton Sound offers an lots of different accommodations options for every tastes: from tents up to hotels, and wooden huts too! We stayed in a two person wooden hut. Think garden shed. But with bunk beds. In some ways it was pretty basic: a bunk bed, some space for our bags and a door that only locked when we weren't in it (i.e. it had a padlock but it was on the outside). This was fine as a concept - given only two options I'd rather lock my stuff in safe when I'm out than lock myself in when I'm in, because I can guard myself and my stuff when I'm in but not when I'm out - and it's not like you lock yourself into a tent at a festival anyway. However, the down side was that it did mean that in the middle of the night the door blew open in the wind and wouldn't stay shut after that, which meant that sleeping suddenly felt like we were in the middle of a horror film. It's also not necessarily the best option if you want some privacy or safety for some reason and would like to lock the door from the inside.

In other ways it was grand: the mattresses were surprisingly comfortable, there was electricity for me to charge all my nasty cameras and phones and it was so great to be able to safely lock our things away when we went out.

You can rent tents from Balaton Sound or bring your own and rent a spot. There were also lockers to rent to keep your things safe. There were different huts to ours too, some shaped like tents, others painted like animals. Basically, there are lots of different options for everyone! You can also book your accommodation separately on Airbnb or on

The Vibe of the Festival

I wasn't so sure about the vibe at Balaton Sound, these weren't the friendly Hungarians I know and love (probably because lots of them weren't Hungarians). Everyone was buff af. This is what the average person looks like at Balaton Sound - hunkolicious and topless. Which is absolutely not a problem per-say, but no one felt very friendly. I'm not saying there was a connection. I'm just wondering.

festival at balaton lake hungary

Perhaps it was because we were there on the last day and everyone was hungover and grumpy, but perhaps not: our friend Elias Limitless had been there the whole time and also said it had been hard to make friends. Granted he smelt like he hadn't washed for five days, because he hadn't. But whilst I'm the kind of person to make friends with someone who hasn't washed (and indeed I'm the kind of person to not wash that regularly either) the average Balaton Sounder didn't seem to be. So yeah, Balaton is more the kind of festival where everyone walks around like a puffed-up peacock and isn't that interested in making friends. I come from the kind of place where festivals mean the opposite - you look rubbish, you smell rubbish and you all leave with the best of friends. This was my number one issue with Balaton - the unfriendly people, but maybe it was more about me and I'm not a likeable person lol. But it did mean that the friend we did make, Elias, meant all that much more, and we could bond a lot over not making friends haha. I was also really happy at the time that people came up to me to say hi because they recognised me from YouTube - they were friendly!

How to Get to Balaton Sound

First things first you've got to get to Balaton. It's super easy from Budapest (less than two hours on a direct train). We took the train from Budapest to Zamárdi (the nearest station to Balaton Sound). I used my Interrail passes to get there. You can read more about that here: how to travel around Hungary with an Interrail pass. I highly recommend getting Interrail passes and tying in your Balaton Sound trip with an Interrailing trip round Hungary so you can see more of the beautiful country. I used my pass to see Budapest, Balaton Sound, Debrecen, Szeged and Eger (and then Hamburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo and Birmingham too!)

balaton sound festival in Hungary

Back to Balaton Sound: once you've got to the station, you can walk or get a taxi to the festival. The walk takes about 30 minutes. Which feels longer if it's sunny and you have heavy bags. Haha.

Wrap Up: My Balaton Sound Review

All in all, I did end up having a blast at Balaton Sound. The weather, the food, the location, the music were all awesome. I loved having VIP tickets and really recommend them (if only for the clean toilets). Don't just take our word for it though, our best bud Jones went too and loved it, here's his 2016 Balaton Sound Review. Would I go for the whole five days? Probably not, one night was enough for me. Would I go again for the night? DEFINITELY!!! Particularly if I took a group of like-minded people next time. Here's to Balaton Sound next year! Oh and btw I also make YouTube videos, here's the one I made about my time at Balaton Sound, which will probably give you more of a vibe feel than my words have done:

Disclaimer: Travelling Weasels were invited as guests but as always all opinions are our own. We have never, and never will, recommend something we haven't personally tried and enjoyed. We research our collaborations very carefully beforehand to check that it will be something we enjoy. On the unlikely occasion that we do dislike something, we tell you! P.S. If you're interested in a way of travelling and getting accommodation cheaply, you might wanna check out house sitting. was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount, feel free to click on the link to use it :)

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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