Vitoria-Gasteiz travel guide

Cities and towns

About Vitoria-Gasteiz

Vitoria-Gasteiz, in Pais Vasco, is an historical and artistic city surrounded by Green Spain.

The second largest city in the Pais Vasco region, and its political and administrative centre, Vitoria-Gasteiz has a rich cultural heritage evident in the architecture of its Old Quarter, known as the Medieval Almond. Built in the Middle Ages, the Old Quarter houses many fantastic Renaissance and Romanesque mansions as well as some exquisite religious buildings such as the the churches of San Pedro and San Vicente, the parish of San Miguel, and especially the stunning Cathedral of Santa Maria or Catedral Viejo (the Old Cathedral). Now increasingly well-known as an inspiration for Ken Follett's novel A World Without End, the cathedral is currently undergoing renovation and the 'open for work' initiative enables tourists and the public to enter the cathedral and see the renovations that are in process (hard hats are supplied!). 

Culture is an important part of life in Vitoria-Gasteiz with many festivals on the city's calendar. The long-running International Jazz Festival, the Azkena Rock Festival and the International Theatre Festival are three of the most renowned events celebrated in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

There are also lots of local festivities including the huge festivals in honour of the Virgen Blanca, the feast of San Prudencio and the pilgrimage to Olarizu. There are also many museums such as the Basque Museum Centre of Contemporary Art (the Artium), the Museum of Fine Arts (the Bibat) and the Fournier Museum of the Playing Cards as well as an archaeology museum and a weapons museum.

The Green Capital of Europe 2012, Vitoria-Gasteiz is a brilliant example of sustainable development in urban planning. Natural parks made up of wetlands surround the city in its 'Green Belt' with forests, grasslands, fields and rivers offering much to do out of doors including outdoor sports and birdwatching. Nearby is the Rioja Alavesa wine region, an area full of vineyards that are known worldwide for their excellent wines. Food lovers are also catered for in Vitoria-Gasteiz with prestigious patisseries and cake shops, especially the 7 premises of Confitería Goya where culinary craftsmen make the famous chocolates known locally as "Vasquitos" and "Nesquitas".

Why visit Vitoria-Gasteiz?

  • The Architecture
  • Festivals
  • Food and drink
  • Green Spain

Overview

  • Country: Spain
  • Region: Pais Vasco
  • Province: Álava
  • Population: 238,000
  • Coordinates: 42.851806,-2.670021

Coordinates shown are based on the WGS84 system, please check driving directions before departing.

Nearby attractions

The Guggenheim Bilbao, on the bank of the River Nervíon, is a remarkable and instantly recognisable structure of titanium, glass and limestone that was created by the renowned architect Frank Gehry.

The Museo Gustavo de Maetzu is housed inside the grand Palace of the Kings of Navarra in the historical town of Estella.

Known as the 'Pearl of the Cantabrian' and one of the most beautiful urban beaches in Europe, La Concha beach is a stunning mile-long stretch of white sand in the heart of the city.

Prepare to be wowed at the Aquarium de San Sebastián, the first natural science museum ever built in Spain. Not just one of the most modern aquariums in Europe after its recent renovations and extension, it contains over 5,000...

Places to visit nearby

Haro in La Rioja is is the wine capital of the region and is famous for it's Wine Festival and the wine fight, the Batalla de Vino.

Bilbao is a captivating contradiction of old and new. Such buildings as the striking new Guggenheim Museum are set against the stunning Gothic architecture of the Old Town

Gernika-Lumo, in Pais Vasco (the Basque Country), is an important historical and political town, and is the symbolic home of Basque rights and peace for the people of the region.