The majority of religious Hungarians are Roman Catholic (about 40%), about 12% belong to the Reformed Church, 2% are Lutheran, about 0.1% are Jewish, and the same rate is Orthodox Christian.
Being in the middle of the Catholic area in Hungary, Pápa is a traditionally Reformed town, with a prestigious Reformed High School.
The Community Activity Center (CAC) is an organizational community establishment in Pápa for SAC families, serving community-building purposes.
It is operated by the four National Support Elements. There is a library functioning there with English, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish and Hungarian language books and movies to rent, as well as a fully equipped kitchen.
There are regular activities in the Community Activity Center, such as the international Spouses’ Brunch or Movie Evenings. You can check the monthly schedule of the CAC on the Strategic Airlift Community closed Facebook Group.
You are only allowed to join the group if you or your family member is affiliated with the Strategic Airlift Capability.
Every month a different nation’s spouses host the International Spouses Brunch, which is a nation themed gathering with special national food and activities.
If you like running or swimming by your own schedule, the forests around Pápa and the Park of the Castle (Várkert) downtown will be excellent places for your routine run, and so will be Pápa Swimming Pool and Spa (Várkertfürdő) if you are rather in favour of swimming.
Pápa area is preferred by many cyclists due to the nearby slopes of the Bakony, however be careful when riding a bike outside of Pápa, cyclist lanes are not very common. If you like biking and scenery, go try the excellent bicycle path around lake Balaton, which is only about 50 kms away from Pápa.
Pápa is located just by the foot of the Bakony Hills. Hiking in the forests and villages of the Bakony are really popular and provides beautiful scenery in every season.
Find detailed information on hiking trails on Wikiloc.
Pápa is about an hour drive from Hungary’s biggest lake, Balaton. The Balaton area provides various sporting, recreation and entertainment opportunities. Summer is the peak period, but there is something to do around in every season. To be up-to-date about Balaton events and opportunities this is a great source to start from.
Pápa and surroundings residents like to spend their Summer evenings by the nearby Nagytevel Lake, which is only 10 kms away from Pápa in the neat little village of Nagytevel. Entry fee to the beach is very low, and it is free for Nagytevel residents. The lake lays in a beautiful valley, and it is excellent for swimming and various water sports. The beach shares its territory with the Nagytevel Camp, so if you feel like sleeping under the starry sky in a tent, you can do that by the lake.
Pápa has a lot of green areas with parks and playgrounds. The largest and most popular park is the Castle Park (Várkert), behind the Esterházy Castle. It is a great place for running, walking, just sitting down and chatting and it also has a nice playground for children. When you are there, check out some of the biggest plane trees of Hungary.
Várkertfürdő is an indoor and outdoor swimming facility and spa with serveral services, treatments, and pool types available.
Várkert is a beautiful park in the heart of Pápa. Great for recreational running, walking, or biking.
This great and scenic bikeway stretches all around Lake Balaton.
Nagytevel Lake is a popular beach very close to Pápa during Summertime.
Every spring we gather at the Main Square of Pápa together with locals to celebrate the legacy of the late TSgt Jason McIlvaine who was the one to come up with the idea of a community running event back in 2012.
The event has evolved into a family day of sorts, and is a joint effort with members from NATO, Heavy Airlift Wing, Boeing, Pápa Air Base and Pápa Town Hall in the organizing team.
Every year the proceeds of the event go towards a different local charity, who also contribute to the success of the event with volunteers and stage performances.
The Norwegian Cardboard Boat Race is a big favorite amongst the community. The event takes place at a fishing pond near Pápa and is organized by the Norwegian SAC community.
Each team gets the same amount of cardboard boxes, tapes and some utensils out of which they need to build a boat which will have to transport two rowers from the team across the pond.
After the laughter and fun of the event, there is music, dancing, drinks and food.
Every Spring, the local Dutch contingent paints the town in orange to celebrate their king’s birthday with an orange party, some orange food and drinks.
A crayfish party is a traditional summertime eating and drinking celebration in the Nordic countries.
The tradition originated in Sweden, where a crayfish party is called a kräftskiva.
The Swedish contingent graces the SAC Community with this event every year, and it is usually the craziest night (in a good way).
Party accessories are comical paper hats, paper tablecloths, paper lanterns and bibs.
The atmosphere is always fun with noisy eating and traditional drinking songs sung together.
A night of live music and dancing follows the dining part.
The Norwegian Spouse Community organizes a Christmas Market every year, where members of our community sell their home- and handmade goods, with all of the proceeds going towards a different local charity each year.
It is an afternoon filled with music, food and drinks, good conversations and true Christmas spirit.
The United States’ national holiday, the 4th of July, is celebrated with games, barbecue, drinks, and, of course, fireworks usually by a nearby lake. The US contingent invites the entire community to join their celebration of independence.
Pápa has a lovely main square with the big Catholic church in the middle of it. Many of the town events are held on the Main Square, just as the annual Christmas Fair, the Game Festival in the Summer, and the Wine Festival and Goose Festival during the Fall.
The castle is nicely renovated and refurbished, and can be visited with a tour guide. There are also audio guides in all 12 of the SAC languages translated and recorded by volunteers from our community.
The castle also hosts temporary exhibitions and cultural events. In the winter time, an ice rink is set up in front of the Castle.
Traditional textile processing of the area is the so-called blue dyeing. A museum downtown is dedicated to showcase the phases and technique of this ancient art.
JMSZK serves as the local theater. There are theater plays, presentations, conferences and family events hosted by the institution.
There are English-speaking days in the local cinema, when the audience can watch the movies in English without subtitles. Be prepared for quite a SAC gathering on these days.
Classical music is taught in the Bartók Béla Music School, ending the school year with students’ concerts. For information on how to enroll to classes, please contact the Family Support Assistant at the CLO.
Keep in mind however, that most of the teachers do not speak foreign languages.
Recently renovated and restored Main Square is one of the highlights of the town with an enourmous benedictine church in the middle.
The Castle is arguably the best sight in Pápa. In its restored rooms you can participte on a guided tour, possibly in your own language with an audioguide.
Blue-dying is a centuries old tradition to ornate fabric, with its capital in Pápa.
The town’s theatre and venue for cultural events.
Pápa’s movie theater caters to international residents with original language movies every week.
Classical music is taught in the Bartók Béla Music School, ending the school year with students’ concerts.