Why You Should Visit Vitoria-Gasteiz
The capital of the Basque Country and of the province of Álava has had a long and tumultuous history of war, disobedience and cultural identity. Vitoria-Gasteiz has been an important location for trade and travel between Spain and Northern Europe. Founded in 1181, this city has had a wide-reaching cultural and political agenda. Its founding ethos has been equal opportunity to all people. Their preoccupation with social, urban and environmental responsibility means that the residents of Vitoria rank highly on Europe’s quality of life index. Putting history aside, here’s why you should visit Vitoria-Gasteiz!
These paintings were commissioned in 2007 by artists who wanted to turn the city into an open art space which reflected the culture and connected the people with the city. Each year more pieces are added, and now they even extend to locations outside of the city. You can check out the full mural tour here!
Old Blends With New
Vitoria has my favourite old quarter in the Basque Region. During the afternoon hours, many businesses shut up shop and these streets can be completely deserted. Whilst the residents have lunch at home with family before returning to work or school take this opportunity to wander the cobbled streets and have an entire quarter to yourself.
My nights out here have always been varied as the great thing about Vitoria is that the bars change in dynamic and feel. It’s also cheaper than other cities in the region. If you get a chance visit Darkablar: cool food, contemporary vibes and events can be found here. You also can’t go wrong with a glass of wine for under two euros!
There’s a artistic stain that marks itself across the city. From postales advertising painting classes to design studios, there’s a real effort to keep creative. Which is why I’m not surprised that my favourite gallery is also here. Artium is Vitoria’s prestigious contemporary art museum. On a Wednesday, the entrance fee is just a suggested donation and on others it is six euros. Boring art does not exist here. If the 1000 light bulbs hovering precariously from the ceiling in the foyer isn’t enough to impress you then I don’t know what will.
A city of only 315,000 people, there’s a wonderful marriage of country and urban living. Just beyond the city walls are countless hikes, walks, bike rides and adventure activities to get your heart pumping. After all, this is the Basque Country – you don’t get a city without the greenery.