Vitoria-Gasteiz City Guide

plaza virgen blanca vitoria basque country
••• Plaza de la Virgen Blanca, Vitoria, Basque Country (Pais Vasco), Spain. Image: Damian Corrigan

Until recently just a small provincial town, Vitoria-Gasteiz (Vitoria in Spanish, Gasteiz in Basque, officially both) is now the capital of the Basque Country (Pais Vasco) and is doing its best to keep up. See these Pictures of Vitoria-Gasteiz for the highlights of the old town.

There are limited flights to Vitoria. Bilbao or Zaragoza are more likely options.

Best Time to Visit Vitoria-Gasteiz

The Vitoria Jazz Festival in the second week of June is a great time to be in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

Read more on July Festivals in Spain. The city has its more traditional festival in early August. Read more on August Festivals in Spain

Number of Days to Spend in Vitoria-Gasteiz (Excluding Day Trips)

You could see the city in a day, though you'd need a second day to visit its museums and art galleries.

Hotels in Vitoria-Gasteiz

For hotels in Vitoria, check out these links:

Note that there is more than one Vitoria in the world - with Travelocity, make sure you're searching for hotels in Vitoria in Spain!

What to Do in Vitoria-Gasteiz

  • Go for pintxos The Basque Country calls tapas 'pintxos' and you'll get some nice ones on c/Datos and c/Cuchilleria. Bilbao and San Sebastian may be better, but here is cheaper.
  • See Vitoria's TWO Cathedrals That's right, they have two cathedrals - Maria Immaculada and Santa Maria.
  • The Atrium & Museo de Bellas Artes art galleries Found on (c/Francia) and (c/Fray Frisco) respectively.
  • Check out the city's museums: the playing card museum (c/Cuchillería), the museum of archeology (c/Correría) and the natural science museum (Siervas de Jesus).
  • Arrive in Spain! Ryanair flies very cheaply to Vitoria Airport

Day Trips from Vitoria-Gasteiz

Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, is not far away and you could do Bilbao in a day if all you really want to see is the Guggenheim (though Bilbao warrants more of your time).

Vitoria is poorly served by trains (there are none direct to Bilbao and only one a day to Logroño) so you'll need to take the bus.

Where to Next?

Bilbao, to the north, is the obvious choice, but if you've already been there, there is Logroño to the southeast, Pamplona to the east and Burgos to the west.

Distance to Vitoria

From Madrid 353km - 3h30 by car, 4h30 by bus, 4h30-7h30 by train, 1h flight (with Iberia). Read more on Madrid

From Barcelona 569km - 6h by car, 7h30 by bus, 7h by train, 1h20 flight (with Iberia). Read more on Barcelona

From Seville 820km - 8h45 by car, no bus, train or plane. Read more on Seville

First Impressions of Vitoria-Gasteiz

Chances are you'll be arriving in Vitoria-Gasteiz by bus and will be coming into the new part of the city. Vitoria has seen vast expansion since it became the capital of the Basque Country and has thankfully been designed by someone who appreciates open spaces. Most of Vitoria's nicest parts are in the new town and that is where you will find most of the city's 'life', though they hold more of an attraction for those living here than for visitors; as a tourist, you'll be wanting to see the nice parts of the old town.

From the bus station, cross the road and take c/Esperanza to reach the Atrium.

Ignore the terrible pun (it's an atrium that has art in it, geddit?) and the even worse sculpture outside - the collection inside is well worth seeing. Afterward, continue heading west and walk into the old town, a collection of narrow streets that feel more like an outer suburb than the center of a city, until you reach c/Cuchillería.

From here you can turn right and head up to the Museo Fournier de Los Naipes (the card museum) and then on to Museo de Arqueología or left and down to Plaza de España and Plaza de la Virgen Blanca.

Plaza de España, though not the most exciting of Spain's plazas, has a nice collection of shops around its edge and signifies that you have re-entered the new part of town. At the bottom edge of the square is c/Dato, Vitoria-Gasteiz's shopping district and the heart of modern-day Vitoria.