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Vitoria-Gasteiz Travel Guide

Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)
Coat of Arms of Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)

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Coordinates: 42.846667°, -2.673056°

Population: 253,672 inhabitants (2022)

Vitoria-Gasteiz is usually dwarfed by the main Basque cities. However, it is a beautiful and unique city in its own right.

The city is the capital of the province of Alava, a region with deeply rooted inhabitants. Vitoria-Gasteiz, since Roman times, has been a strategic point for Spain, as it is of high cultural and historical interest. This provides it with a valuable heritage that is preserved for the enjoyment of all humanity.

Most of the buildings in this city date from the 15th century. However, there are also constructions predating this time, such as the Old Town, which is protected by an impressive medieval wall with multiple watchtowers built in the mid-11th century.

Vitoria-Gasteiz is also known for its green ring, a large natural space that surrounds the entire city and which earned it the European Green Capital award in 2012. Vitoria-Gasteiz is one of the jewels of the Basque Country and of Spain – a fascinating destination due to its history and grandeur, difficult to find anywhere else on the planet.

Top 10 places to visit in Vitoria-Gasteiz

Medieval Almond

Old Town of Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain)
The Old Town of Vitoria-Gasteiz, also known as the "Medieval Almond" due to its unique oval shape, is located on the only high point of the Vitoria-Gasteiz plain.

This walled enclosure guarded the medieval city. It is even said that it protected the kingdoms of Castile and Navarre at that time. The fortress, which has several watchtowers, was built in the 11th century (although recent archaeological finds indicate that this wall might be older) and is one of the most impressive and emblematic historical centres in Spain.
Two recently restored sections of the wall can be visited. A special place in the medieval enclosure is the “corner of silence”, located between the Villa Suso Palace and the viewpoint of the wall. It is a space where one can observe phrases about the memory and oblivion of the writer Mario Benedetti.

St. Mary's Cathedral

Catedral de Santa María (Vitoria-Gasteiz - Spain)
Also known as the “Old Cathedral”, this is a wonderful work of Gothic architecture in Spain, built in the 14th century as a church-fortress located at the highest point of the nascent city for that time.

Many experts consider the portico as one of the best artistic expressions in Spain. Inside are three portals beautifully decorated with reliefs and statues. Its chapels have images of Gothic, Flemish and Italian Renaissance styles, as well as paintings by the artists Pedro Pablo Rubens and Anton Van Dyck.
Because the Cathedral of St. Mary is immense and full of beautiful details, a visit is practically mandatory. While this sanctuary is undergoing a restoration period, one can manage a guided tour without any problem, as it is open to the public under the modality "Open for works". Visitors can observe the restoration process live and go into the crypt, which was turned into a museum.
The Cathedral of St. Mary won the Europa Nostra prize in 2002. This is a prize of enormous importance, granted to works of conservation and restoration of patrimony.

Cathedral of Mary Immaculate

Cathedral of Mary Immaculate (Vitoria-Gasteiz - Spain)
Popularly known as the “New Cathedral”, the Cathedral of Mary Immaculate, mother of the Church, is the most important neo-Gothic religious building in this region. In addition, it is one of the most voluminous temples in all of Spain.

Although the work was never completed as it was in its initial project, this cathedral is impressive. Its beauty lies in its wealth of Modernist-style sculptures, most of which are located in the crypt of this enclosure.
The cathedral ambulatory has severed as a space for the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art of Alava since 1999.

White Virgin Square

White Virgin Square (Vitoria-Gasteiz - Spain)
The main square of the city, White Virgin Square is the meeting point for the people of Vitoria-Gasteiz. It is the ideal place to eat and drink in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

This beautiful place owes its name to the patroness saint of the city. In it, every August 4, a crowd of people from Vitoria-Gasteiz gathers to see the famous “descent of Celedon”, an emblematic character who slowly descends from the sky with an umbrella to indicate the formal start of the patroness saint festivities of the city.
In the middle of White Virgin Square, also known as "Old Square", stands a monument to the Battle of Vitoria-Gasteiz on June 21, 1813. This battle led to the defeat of the French troops at the service of Napoleon Bonaparte and practically meant the end of the Spanish War of Independence.

New Square

New Square (Vitoria-Gasteiz - Spain)
Also known as Spain Square, this was historically used as a market and bullring. Today it is a place of high tourist interest because it is home to some of the most prestigious restaurants and bars in the city.

New Square was inaugurated in 1781 and served as the inspiration for the creation of other main squares in the Basque Country.

Its style is Neoclassical and it is shaped like a perfect square.
On the north side is the Town Hall, where the offices of the municipal government are located. The west, east and south areas are open to the public.

In this square, one will frequently see the people of Vitoria-Gasteiz sharing the multiple terraces, while their children run and play inside the square. In addition, this place is the official headquarters of the city for all kinds of celebrations and concerts.

Also, every Sunday, this site becomes a collectors' market where one will find hundreds of people from Vitoria-Gasteiz selling and exchanging stickers, postcards, coins, antiques and much more, as it is a tradition in this city to go to this square on Sunday mornings.

Museum of Fine Arts

Vitoria - Museo de Bellas Artes 02
This art gallery has a beautiful collection of the best Basque art from the 18th and 19th centuries. Most of its works symbolize the romanticism and realism of this region.

The museum is located in one of the most splendid places in Vitoria-Gasteiz, the Augustín-Zulueta Palace, a neo-Renaissance mansion of enormous beauty.

However, the interior is even more impressive due to the delicate wooden details in each of its rooms.
Two floors of this palace are dedicated to the art of Basque painters such as Antonio de Lecuona, José Echenagusia, Eduardo Zamacois, Ignacio Zuloaga and Elías Salaverria. In addition, there is a room dedicated to the work of the Alava painter Ignacio Díaz Olano.

Bibat Museum Complex

Museos Bibat Vitoria-Gasteiz
In the heart of the Medieval Almond is the Bibat Museum Complex, made up of two buildings that perfectly combine the modern and the medieval.

One of them is the Alava Fournier Card Museum, located inside the Bendaña Palace. The other is the Alava Archaeology Museum.

The Palacio de Bendaña, also known as the Palacio de Arrieta-Maestu, is a beautiful fortified mansion in the medieval Renaissance style.
It serves as the home of this interesting museum, which has one of the best collections of playing cards in the world, donated by the owners of the famous playing card company, Heraclio Fournier.

The Alava Archaeology Museum is a modern copper and glass building designed by the architect Francisco Patxi Mangado. It is dedicated to preserving and disseminating the city's archaeological heritage.


ARTIUM Museum (Vitoria-Gasteiz - Spain)
Since its creation in 2002, the ARTIUM Basque Museum of Contemporary Art has become one of the benchmarks for contemporary art in the world.

It houses a collection of more than 3,000 pieces by the most prominent Spanish artists, such as Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and Eduardo Chillida, among many others.
The ARTIUM Museum also organizes educational activities to promote and teach art to future generations of Vitoria-Gasteiz, in addition to holding artistic exhibitions – either its own or organized with the collaboration of other museums in Spain and Europe.

Eduardo Dato Street

Vitoria - Calle Dato 11
This beautiful street begins its route in New Square and ends at the city's train station. It is a special pedestrian promenade where one can mingle with the people of Vitoria-Gasteiz, as it is the main shopping street and the most popular in the city due to its variety of bars and cafes.

Walking along this street, towards the middle, is Arca Square, where the bronze statue known as "The Walker" is located. It is one of the most important symbols of Vitoria-Gasteiz, as it represents those who arrived in the city and decided to stay there forever.
The walker is an extremely thin man who stands approximately 3.5 meters tall and was created by sculptor Juan José Eguiazábal.

For every event or festivity in Vitoria-Gasteiz, and also when a team from the city wins a championship or has an important triumph, the walker dresses up to celebrate the special occasion.

Florida Park

Florida Park (Vitoria-Gasteiz - Spain)
Florida Park is located in the heart of the city. It is a wonderful place inspired by the French gardens of the 19th century, especially the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

This unique corner of Vitoria-Gasteiz has a romantic and pure appearance characterized by the hills, paths, caves and waterfalls found there, as well as the beautiful vegetation, comprised of more than 160 species of trees and shrubs.
This park is especially splendid on spring and summer days, when cultural activities and outdoor shows are held at the bandstand inside it.

Also within the park facilities are two outdoor bars that invite visitors to relax and enjoy a special space for themselves and their families.

How to get around in Vitoria-Gasteiz

The vast majority of the sites of interest in Vitoria-Gasteiz can be visited on foot, as practically everything is located in the Old Town. However, if you need to go from one end of the city to another, you can easily use the public bus system.

The bus service in Vitoria-Gasteiz is very efficient, as it has a day service with a frequency of 10 minutes and a night service with a frequency of 30 minutes. One can monitor these transports through an app. In addition, this system has special lines for sporting events and to go to the city's airport.
Another option is to use the tram, which has two lines connecting the neighbourhoods of Ibaiondo and Abetxuko with the Old Town. In addition, one can travel around Vitoria-Gasteiz using the taxi service, which is available 24 hours a day, or by renting a vehicle.

Due to the fact that it is a practically flat city, a good way to get to know Vitoria-Gasteiz is by bicycle. The city has around 160 kilometres enabled for this means of transport.

In addition, Vitoria-Gasteiz has a small airport 8 kilometres north of the city, a train station located on Eduardo Dato Street and a bus station with extra-urban routes to all of Spain.

Accommodation in Vitoria

All the highlights and interesting things in Vitoria-Gasteiz are very close to each other, so one can enjoy its Green Belt and Old Town in just three days. If you are very organized and plan your itinerary, you can see everything in less time.

One of the main points of focus for a visit to this city is accommodation. The area of tourist interest and the main historical monuments are located practically in the centre of the city.
In this sense, the Old Town is, without a doubt, the best area to stay in Vitoria-Gasteiz. Here are tourist places of great importance, such as White Virgin Square, the Cathedral of St. Mary, the Church of St. Michael the Archangel and Cuchillería Street, where one can find the best gastronomy and wine production in the city.

Another good area is to the south of the Old Town, in the Ensanche and Leuven neighbourhoods, which are quiet, safe and pleasant places. Nearby are Florida Park, the Heraclio Fournier Museum and the Main Theatre.

In Vitoria-Gasteiz, one also has the option of renting accommodation in rural houses outside the city. This is especially ideal for those who want to enjoy agrotourism. In addition, near the city, one can find areas for caravans and, for the more adventurous tourists, sites to enjoy camping and fresh air.

Gastronomy in Vitoria

With high-quality local products, gastronomy is one of the great attractions of Vitoria-Gasteiz. We present five dishes that one must try during a visit to this beautiful Basque city.

Victorian stew

Without a doubt, Victorian stew is the dish with the most history and flavour in the city.

This dish has a special feature in that it must be cooked in three deep pots. For its preparation, chickpeas and red beans are used in a similar proportion, along with onions, cabbage, carrots, Iberian bacon, chorizo, blood sausage meat, cane bones and ham.
In the first pot, one cooks the red beans with the onion (chopped into small pieces), the bacon and the ham bone. In the second, one puts the chopped cabbage together with the carrots and the chorizo. In the third, one puts the chickpeas, black pudding and bones.

Each pot has a different cooking time, with the one for the chickpeas being the longest. When everything is ready, all the ingredients are mixed to obtain this delicious meal.

Scrambled eggs of perretxikos

Revuelto de perretxikos
Perretxikos, or spring mushrooms, are widely consumed in northern Spain.

Scrambled eggs are a very common dish on the tables of the people of Vitoria-Gasteiz, especially together with snails during the San Prudencio festivities.

Perretxikos are widely used in stews and creams, as well as to accompany meat. However, the most common way to take advantage of their flavour is scrambled with eggs, onion, garlic and finely chopped parsley.

Pinto bean cream

This dish can be tasted in multiple ways, with the most traditional being the one that has all its "sacraments", such as chorizo and blood sausage.

In addition to beans harvested in Vitoria-Gasteiz's orchards, this succulent dish contains leek, onion and garlic, as well as cabbage.


Goxua - Moverelbigote
Another of Vitoria-Gasteiz's typical dishes is the very rich, sweet Goxua, which is prepared in a small clay pot with a first base of cream and a second of sponge cake. Pastry cream and then liquid caramel are added to the top.

Stuffed chard stalks

Not for nothing did the great Martín Berasategui include this delicious dish in his famous recipe book. Chard stems are stuffed with ham and cheese, then coated with egg and flour and fried on both sides.
These stalks can be accompanied by a rich sauce such as stew, blue cheese or yogurt sauce.

Other information of interest

The green belt of Vitoria-Gasteiz is a conglomerate of semi-natural parks surrounding a large part of the peripheral area of the city, with a high landscape and ecological value linked by recreational corridors.

In a few words, the city of Vitoria-Gasteiz is surrounded by an immense green area created with an ecological and recreational utility for the enjoyment of its residents and visitors.

This ecological project began in 1993 and obtained worldwide approval with its selection as one of the initiatives that improve the living conditions of cities, granted by the United Nations. It also received the designation of European Green Capital in 2012.

The green ring is comprised of six parks: Armentia, Salburua, Zabalgana, Olarizu, Zadorra and Errekaleor. All of them are intertwined by means of a circular itinerary. This tour can be done by bicycle so that one can feel the natural space in its maximum splendour.

One of the most outstanding places in the green ring is the Ataria Nature Interpretation Centre located in the Salburua park. This building has a high viewpoint from which to observe the wetlands.