Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of the Basque Country; where the Parliament, the Government and the home of the Basque President reside. It is best known for being the only Global Green City in Spain since 2019, for its sustainability and commitment to the environment. In 2012 it was Europe Green Capital for its sustainable initiatives in the environmental, social, cultural and economic fields, and in 2016 it has obtained the international certification “Biosphere Responsible Tourism” as a sustainable tourist destination, being the only Basque municipality that holds it.

I recommend enjoying the medieval city, its parks and Green Ring, its cleanliness, its special cuisine, its safety, its music, magic or theater festivals, the tranquility of its citizens, … in short, a city to enjoy time and live the slow life. It is ideal to rest from today’s busy life, and as a place of accommodation to get to know the entire Basque Country.

The streets of the Medieval Almond still maintain its old layout and remains of its defensive wall. Their stories, palaces, the Cathedral of Santa Maria and the churches of San Miguel, San Pedro and San Vicente, their social and cultural life …have inspired writers such as Victor Hugo or Ken Follet, and some filmmakers. Every September a Medieval Market is held in its streets with merchants dressed as in those times; where you can live a travel on time. It also hosts the Playing Cards Museum, one of the top 5 in the world. The current design of Spanish cards was created in Vitoria-Gasteiz and most of the Fournier decks of Poker and Bridge that are mainly used in Las Vegas and the world are also manufactured here.

In the medieval tower of Doña Otxanda, from the 15th century, the Natural Sciences Museum exhibits a collection of amber from the province itself dating from the Lower Cretaceous. In the Fine Arts Museum you can appreciate Spanish art of the XVIII and XIX centuries, and Basque art from 1850 to 1950. But also there are many other interesting museums such as those of Sacred Art, Armory and the Basque Center of Contemporary Art. Besides, my guests are always surprised by the unusual Museum of the Lanterns with pieces of polychrome glass that make up El Rosario de los Faroles.

Even though if you are not interested in the religious theme, an orderly way of knowing the most significant places in the city is following the path of the Camino de Santiago (Basque interior) that is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. A specific tour of the life and history of Basque Jews is recommended along its Judería street, Casa del Cordón or Parque Judimendi, an old cemetery. However, today the Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, the Plaza Nueva, the Plaza de los Fueros and the Dato street are the nerve center of almost all leisure and gastronomic activities.

Music is the beautiful art that represents Vitoria-Gasteiz. There are more than 10 music festivals a year: Azkena Rock, Big Band, Jazz, Old Music Week, Carmelo Bernaola International Music, Gasteiz Calling, Punk Rock and Hardcore music, Aitzina Folk and Zubiazpi Fest It is hometown or life of countless composers, organists, singers, musicians, … such as Sebastian de Iradier and Salaberri, the creator of Havana’s La Paloma, the most versioned song in the world. Any topic of your interest, tell us to include it in your tour.

If you have little time, you can see the essentials of the city in one morning, but you will never know how it vibrates; well worth two days of stay to meet her and about 4 to complete the province. Nearby are the Basilica of Armentia or Estíbaliz, the Roman city of Iruña Veleia, the fields of the historic Battle of Vitoria, the Salinas de Añana, the Garden of Santa Catalina, or the Park of Salburua. The marathon, basketball or gymnastics have many fans in the city; and some international events are enjoyed in those disciplines.

And remember: if a pigeon comes to your window, treat it with love that is my person!

January 3, 2020